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Everything you need to know about sex during your period

Author: Emma Libner

Many of us have been taught that menstruation is something we should keep to ourselves, and that sex during menstruation is difficult, disgusting and maybe even dangerous. A belief that goes all the way back to ancient Greece, where among others Pliny the Elder believed that men could fall over dead if they had sex with a menstruating woman (seriously!).

But what exactly is up and down when it comes to menstruation and sexuality? Let me give you a little tour in this article.

Orgasms can help with menstrual cramps

First of all: From a medical perspective, there is nothing against having sex when you are menstruating. Actually quite the contrary. Sex during your bleeding - either with yourself or a partner - can actually help with some of the symptoms that come with menstruation. This applies, for example, to menstrual pain in the form of headaches and cramps, which affect up to 90% of all menstruating people.

When you have sex, your brain releases a lot of good endorphins, which not only give you a euphoric feeling, but also have pain-relieving properties. We like that! Some also find that their orgasms have a relieving effect on menstrual cramps because the muscle movements from orgasm help the uterus to relax.

Menstrual pain and intimacy are not a bad cocktail, according to science. One could be tempted to say that sex, and in particular a good orgasm, works a bit like nature's own Panodil!

Your period can give you more desire

Another surprising aspect of menstruation is that many people experience an increased desire for sex when they bleed. Maybe it's you? And maybe you felt it… wrong? It's not, but as with so much else, science doesn't have a single answer as to why it happens. However, we know that during menstruation there is a naturally increased blood flow in the abdomen, which can affect the sensitivity in the area and thus, tadaa, make you more horny.

Your hormones can also affect your desire. During menstruation, the amount of testosterone and estrogen increases, and both can have a positive impact on the need for intimacy and sex.

Finally, there may also be psychosocial factors that come into play. Maybe it feels a little forbidden to have sex when you're bleeding - and therefore it's a little more exciting? Or maybe there is something delightfully liberating about the idea that the chance of getting pregnant is not nearly as high as at other times of your cycle? Both are perfectly valid reasons to have sex during your period. Just remember that STDs are still contagious even if you are menstruating and that the risk of getting pregnant is never zero percent. So remember to use protection if you get involved in sheet gymnastics.

Good advice for sex during menstruation

  • Lay out a dark towel or invest in a wet bed sheet. In larger sex shops, you can get sheets designed specifically for sex, which can be used both during menstruation and for other wet pleasures such as squirting

  • Find a comfortable position. During your period, the cervix hangs lower, and this can affect how you experience different sex positions. You may also want to minimize blood flow. So consider which position feels comfortable for you and tell your partner

  • Move the sex out into the bath. If the idea of ​​cleaning up after sex seems too unmanageable, the bath is an obvious place to move the act to. In the shower, don't think about stained sheets and clotted blood between the balls. On the other hand, it requires a little extra imagination, which with a little openness and patience can become a wonderful part of the sex itself

  • Focus on external stimulation. Sex is much more than penetration, so experiment with what feels good. Is it old fashioned hand action? A powerful vibrator outside the panties? Again; let your imagination run wild!

  • The menstrual disk is also an option during sex. In contrast to the menstrual cup, a disk is relatively flat and soft, somewhat reminiscent of an old-fashioned pessary, but thus holds the blood during sex. Just be aware that a menstrual pad does not have the same protective properties as a pessary if you have sex that could get you pregnant

  • Talk to your partner. Do you have a lot of desire when you menstruate? Or none at all? We know that the dominant cultural narrative about menstruation can make it difficult for many to talk about menstruation in relationships and other sexual relationships. We simply lack a language for our experiences. The best advice we can give you is therefore to try to communicate your thoughts and feelings as best you can - even if it can feel anxiety-provoking. In this way, you not only give your partner the opportunity to meet your wishes and needs. You also begin to create a language for your experiences, which in turn makes it easier to communicate them.

It's just blood

It is important to emphasize that there is no right and wrong when it comes to menstruation and sexuality. It's okay to want to bang like rabbits on day 2, and it's also okay to not want any kind of physical contact at all. This also applies regardless of whether you are bleeding or not.

And then it is perhaps worth remembering that all forms of sex involve secretions of one kind or another. Just think how important it is to be wet to be able to have penetrative sex. Or on the seat, which in many sexual contexts is a welcome guest in the bedroom.

If we consider menstrual blood as another bodily fluid that appears in our sex life, perhaps - if we want to - we can start sharing it with others without shame. It's just blood.

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