If you are a period-getting person and don’t like period sex, I am not going to yell at you. There are a lot of situations, especially early on in our development, that can shape our feelings about periods for years into the future. It’s totally understandable that one could have internalized some of the embarrassment/fear/shame/disgust surrounding those early period experiences (firsthand or secondhand) think of periods as something to hide, be embarrassed about, or dislike in a vulnerable and hormonal situation– like sex.
Periods, for the majority of vagina-owners, arrive at a time in our physical and emotional development when we’re just beginning to ask ourselves “Who am I? Who do I want to be? How am I different than they think?” and often also asking “What are these feelings in my genitals? Why do my pants not fit and why are my boobs smaller/bigger than everyone else’s?” and then suddenly it’s the end-of-the-year field day and you finish the three-legged race and realize that there is a trail of blood running from your shorts to your ankle. The person who experiences a humiliating period-moment like this gets all of that firsthand humiliation, but then everyone around this person learns lessons as well about what is embarrassing and gross and what is acceptable to make fun of/whisper about/never speak of again.
You know what the best part about growing up is, though? Being able to take things that used to be a big deal and deciding they are not a big deal anymore. Periods are one of those things, and period sex is another one of those things. Period sex can absolutely be just as delightful as non-period sex, and really not any more messy or embarrassing than non-period sex can be. So, like I said, not going to be mad at you if you are a period-getting person and don’t want to have period sex– your body, your rules– but I do think that in many situations the fears about period sex are way disproportionate to what the sex is actually like.
For all those who don’t get periods and like having sex with period-getting types? You’d better be O.K. with period sex, and if you’re not, you need to get over it. Expressing disgust about a sex partner’s body is just not cool (actually, for the record, it’s not cool to express disgust about anyone’s body).
On to some things about period sex that are cool!
1. Period sex can relieve cramps and headaches associated with periods. There are definitely times when the cramps or headaches are just way too powerful to make any kind of sex or masturbation appealing or comfortable, but sex and masturbation really do help in a lot of cases.
2. Some people get extra-aroused right before/during the period part of their cycle. Sex dreams may increase. Sexual desire may increase. The whole clitoris/vulva/vagina area may become more sensitive-in-a-good-way. Unless you’re really trying to get work done, this is an exciting thing to acknowledge.
3. Everyone has heard the ol’ Towel-on-the-Bed trick, but how about the the ol’ Dildo-in-the-Shower trick? If you’re down to have sex but have a heavy period and are concerned about the amount of blood, you can always bring a dildo or even a wand vibrator into the shower (which is fun anyway) and clear things out a little bit to make way for a partner’s penetrative object, face, fingers, etc.
4. …Or, I mean, you could just have sex in the shower. Which actually though is more complicated than it may seem, as some of you doubtless are aware. Like, what about slipping? What about big height differentials? What about squeaky body parts because the natural lubrication of non-shower sex gets washed away? Period sex could solve that last problem if you don’t have shower-friendly lube, since a period provides extra natural lubrication! You could actually have an easier time with shower sex if 1+ person in the shower has their period!
5. Menstrual cups like the Diva Cup can be worn safely during non-penetrative sex-times. Menstrual cups are the coolest of all things. They don’t work for everyone and different brands may work better than others for some, but finding one that works makes period sex really easy. Menstrual cups are inserted into the vaginal canal to collect the blood, and don’t have any strings hanging out. Leaking just doesn’t happen with the right cup, so external stimulation and oral sex are non-bloody affairs. There is one brand, the Softcup, that looks a lot like a diaphragm and can be worn during penetrative sex for some people, but it’s not something that fits everyone. If you have a few extra dollars up-front, menstrual cups also save tons of money and garbage in the long run because they are washable, boil-able and re-usable along the same timeline as silicone sex toys.