Having sex while menstruating is not only completely normal, but it comes with a number of health benefits.
By Jenny Cook
The subject of menstruation – a basic bodily function – is slowly becoming more socially acceptable. However, having sex on your period still remains a taboo subject that’s shrouded in mystery; dividing the masses and causing widespread confusion.
The fact is that period sex is nothing to be embarrassed about – indeed, it actually has its perks. We caught up with the expert research team at Clue, the female health app, to find out the surprising health benefits of this little-talked-about subject:
Orgasms can erase cramps
If you suffer at the hands of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) then sex is probably right at the bottom of things you feel like doing but, in reality, spending a bit of time between the sheets could actually provide some much-needed pain relief.
‘For some people, the endorphins released by orgasms can relieve menstrual cramps – this is based on the strength and intensity of the climax. Vaginal orgasms have substantial alleviating properties, much more than clitoral stimulation.’
Reaching climax has also been proven to help reduce stress, too. Again, this is due to the endorphins released during orgasm.
Menstrual blood is not unhygienic
This is a common misconception that many people have about period sex, but – according to Clue – it’s little more than myth.
‘Some people are under the impression that period blood is impure and carries infections that could spread should it come into contact with the penis. As you will have probably guessed, this is total nonsense. Menstrual blood is simply a mixture of healthy blood and tissues that the body no longer needs and so no harm will come from him getting a bit of blood on his penis.’
Sex can shorten your period
Period sex is always going to be a bit of a messy affair, but you may notice more blood than expected even if your period is fairly light. The Clue team explain:
‘This is because sex increases the rate at which the uterine lining sheds. This can actually shorten the length of your period, and some women don’t see any blood for a day or two after period sex as a result.’
It’s more common than you might think
Research has shown that about 30 per cent of sexually active people have sex while on their period. Surprised?
‘Just because they do not talk about it does not mean that they are not doing it! There are plenty of societal attitudes towards period sex, and these can affect arousal. If you ignore these biases and instead listen to your body, you may notice increased sex drive during menstruation.’
It’s normal to feel aroused on your period
Speaking of sex drive, studies have also shown that being on your period has no negative effect on sexual arousal.
‘Some women will actually feel a little friskier during their period. Oestrogen and testosterone levels are low on day one, but will start rising on day three. Many women claim to be more turned on and experience increased sensitive around this time.’
On top of this, it goes without saying that there’s no need for lubricant during period sex, for obvious reasons!
You still need to use contraception
Although people with a regular 28-day cycle are less likely to ovulate around their period (and, in turn, less likely to get pregnant) that does not mean that you should skip protection.
‘Keep in mind that the fertile window can be highly unpredictable from person to person and cycle to cycle, and people with very short cycles may ovulate right after their period. There are many reported cases of ovulation happening close to menstruation and, because sperm can live up to seven days, it is actually possible to get pregnant during your period.’
Remember – what you do (or don’t do) while on your period is entirely up to you, but it should never be limiting or embarrassing.