Periods and Sex - Let's talk about it
We all go though a plethora of changes when we are riding the crimson wave. Some of us are notoriously hangry. Others feel their entire emotional spectrum in one go. However, the idea of having sex during periods is something many are still uncomfortable with. Here are a few facts that will help you further understand this.
Are there any benefits?
1. Relieves menstrual cramps
An orgasm is a perfect solution for those who struggle with severe cramps during their periods. Orgasms release dopamine, oxytocin, and other endorphins into our body system. These chemicals, which are produced by our nervous system, reduces pain, stress and produces a feeling of euphoria. While over-the-counter medication does help in alleviating period cramps, there is nothing more powerful than our body's natural painkiller.
2. Shorter period cycle
Although not 100% guaranteed, there is a reason why this claim does make sense. During an orgasm, the uterus contracts. Hence, during menstruation, the blood in the uterus gets pushed out into the vagina. The blood is pushed out at a faster rate and this results in a shorter period cycle.
3. Natural Lubrication
This is especially useful for those who suffer from some form of vaginal dryness or are allergic to the lubricants available in the market. Of course, there might be some of you who are uncomfortable fathoming menstrual blood as an alternative for lube. And that is completely normal. However, most of the "menstrual blood" we see is not actually blood - apart from the substantial amounts of uterine lining that breaks down every month, menstrual fluid also contains cervical mucus and vaginal secretions. The overpowering red colour might be intimidating, but the natural lubrication during period sex can make your experience more comfortable.
Is it safe?
For most parts, yes. Although period sex tends to be messy, it is safe. However, there is still the risk of spreading a sexually transmitted infection (STIs). Although this risk is present even on a non-period day, almost every STI poses a slightly larger threat when you are on your periods. There are three main reasons you are at a higher risk of contracting an STI if you have sex during your menstrual cycle. Firstly, blood-borne STIs such as hepatitis tend to thrive in environments as such. Moreover, when you are menstruating, your cervix opens a small amount for the flow of the menstrual blood. When this happens, viruses and bacteria can easily make their way into the uterine cavity and upper cervix. Another reason is that our vaginal tract becomes more alkaline and less acidic when we are menstruating; microbes are more likely to survive in an alkaline environment.
What can I do about this?
If you're not sure whether your partner is 100% safe, your best bet is to use a latex condom for protection.
Can you get pregnant if you have sex during your menstruation?
A popular misconception is that a woman cannot get pregnant during her periods. Although the probability of getting pregnant is significantly lower during menstruation, there is still a sizeable chance of getting pregnant. Menstruation usually last for 6-7 days. In a typical 28 day cycle, ovulation takes place between day 11 and day 21. A sperm can typically survive up to 5 days after sex. So if you have sex near the end of your mensuration, you will be approaching the fertility window.
However, this widely depends on factors such as
- Sperm life-time
- Menstrual cycle length
- The ovulation date (as the egg usually disintegrates between 12-24 hours)
Precautions/Tips to make the experience better
- Communication - We cannot emphasise enough on this. Before trying out anything in the bedroom, it is important to seek consent and understand whether your partner is comfortable. It is equally important to communicate your needs/wants and understand your partner's as well.
- Don't forget to remove your tampon
- Keep tissues/towels at hand - This is to help with the cleanup after sex. You might also consider spreading out a towel on your bed to avoid leaking your bedsheets.
- Shower Sex - Not only do you get to avoid the mess altogether, you also get to try something new.
- Be open to trying something new - Of course, you have already taken the first plunge if you are having sex during your periods. But your usual positions might be uncomfortable during this time, so you may want to consider trying out different positions as well.
- And lastly, wear protection - It will protect you against STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
On an average, a menstruator has between 400 to 500 periods in their lifetime. This roughly equates to 10+ years of periods alone. Hence, there is absolutely no need to feel ashamed or awkward if you want to have sex during your periods. However, make sure to take proper precautions.