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Can You Have Sex on Your Period?

last year12 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

Even if it gets a little messy, period sex has lots of benefits. Fewer cramps and a shorter period? Yes, please!

Can You Have Sex on Your Period?

Having sex on your period can get messy but, to be honest, that’s about the only disadvantage.

And, since a lot of us are on our periods for almost a quarter of the month, avoiding sex on your period can mean that you miss out on a lot of opportunities to have fun ‒ along with a few other benefits!

It’s time to have an open conversation about this subject.

No judgment here, this is a safe space with no taboo.

In this article: 📝

  • Is it bad to have sex on your period?
  • Is it safe to have sex during period?
  • Can I get pregnant on my period?
  • Is it good to have sex on your period?
  • How to have sex on period
  • Fun things to do in bed while on your period

Is it bad to have sex on your period?

Is having sex on your period bad? Nope, not at all.

As long as you and your partner are both okay with it, sex during periods is not bad, dirty, or embarrassing.

There are two main reasons why some people are hesitant about period sex.

The first is just the ick factor.

If you have sex on a day when your period is heavy, it’s likely to make a mess.











A lot of women can feel self-conscious about what the sheets are going to look like afterward.

If anxiety is taking you out of the moment, period sex won’t be as much fun.

The other reason is cultural taboo – whether that’s the old-fashioned view that a woman should try to hide her period or internalized teachings from some cultures and religions.

The best thing to do is be honest and talk to your partner about whether you’re both comfortable having sex while on your period.

You might also decide that you don’t want to have sex on your heaviest days, but you’re okay having sex at the beginning or end of your period, whenever your bleeding is at its lightest.

You can also set things up beforehand – putting a towel over the sheets, stashing wet wipes by the bed, or even planning to do it in the shower – to minimize how much you have to clean up when you’re done.

And remember, sex is still fun even if you have to plan ahead.

Is it safe to have sex during period?

Yes, on the whole, having sex on your period is safe.

While it might be messy or look like a crime scene, it’s not likely to cause you any additional pain or infections ‒ in fact, it can actually be used as a form of pain relief from those dreaded period cramps.

Can a man get an infection from period blood?

Yes, it is possible for your other partner to get an infection from your period blood.

After all, period blood is still blood.

In fact, there is a theory within the medical community about sex workers and the potential increase in the risk of passing HIV to their clients ‒ but the results weren’t conclusive as the study was very small.

And another study also suggested that there is a “strong statistical association between sexual intercourse during menstruation and self-reported STD history”, although just over 25% of their small sample of 1,586 women said they even had period sex.

The same study also reported that “almost half the women who had intercourse more than twice a week and more than one-third of the women who had more than seven lifetime sex partners reported that they usually have vaginal intercourse during menses”, which suggests that the women they asked may have sex more often, which can also increase the risk of an STD.

So there’s not nearly enough research into the risk of STDs during period sex, and they seem to be more based on assumption than actual studies.

But based on these theories, it’s generally better to avoid ingesting another person’s blood ‒ whether that’s via oral sex on your period or if the other person has a cut or other open wound that gets period blood on it.

Sure, the chances of getting an infection from someone else’s period blood are pretty rare, but they’re certainly still there, so take precautions.

Can having sex on your period cause a UTI?

Having sex pretty much always carries the risk of a UTI (urinary tract infection), but it’s not really known whether your chances are increased if you have period sex.

Unfortunately, there are still woefully few medical studies on period sex, so we can’t say definitively whether having sex on your period increases your risk of getting a UTI.

But it’s generally a good idea to follow these tips to avoid a UTI anyway:

  • Stay hydrated so you can pee often (your pee should be pale yellow usually).
  • Wipe from front to back, so you don’t get anything from your butt in your vaginal area.
  • Pee after sex to “flush out” your vaginal canal.
  • Avoid irritating vaginal products, like douching, feminine sprays, or scented soaps.

Can I get pregnant on my period?

So, can you get pregnant if you have sex on your period?

Well, you’re not as likely to get pregnant on your period as you are at other times during your cycle, but it is still a possibility.

If you don’t want to get pregnant, you should always use a form of birth control, no matter where you are in your cycle.

The rule of thumb is that women ovulate 14 days after their period starts.

But that’s not true for all women!

And even if you usually ovulate on day 14, lots of things – stress, illness, travel – can cause you to ovulate a few days earlier.

Say you have sex four days after your period starts ‒ day 4 of your cycle.

Sperm can survive in your body for up to five days.

If you usually ovulate on Day 9, or if something caused you to ovulate early this month, it’s definitely possible to get pregnant while you have your period.

Another thing to consider: you might bleed at another time in the month and mistake it for your period.

If you have sex while you think you’re on your period, but it’s actually spotting during ovulation, the chance of getting pregnant can be much higher.

This can happen if you don’t track your cycle, if you have an irregular cycle due to a condition like PCOS or endometriosis, or if you’re on birth control that means you regularly skip your period.

It’s also worth remembering that you can also still get an STD if you have sex on your period.

While there’s nothing inherently dangerous about period blood (to men or women), some illnesses like HIV and Hepatitis B can be passed through period blood as well as through sexual contact.

The point is, it’s still best to use protection, even if you’re on your period.

What happens if sperm goes inside during period?

If sperm goes inside or around your vaginal or vulval area while on your period, there is still a chance of getting pregnant.

While you may not be at your most fertile at this point (that typically happens later on, during your fertile window), there is a chance of getting pregnant at any point during your menstrual cycle.

This is partly because sperm can survive for up to about 5 days after ejaculation, so while there might not be an egg for them to fertilize during your period, 5 days later, there could be.

So if you don’t want to get pregnant during period sex, it’s best to still use a method of birth control.

Can sperm survive in menstrual blood?

Yes, menstrual blood is not a spermicide, so sperm can survive in period blood.

So sperm can hang around the vaginal canal and vaginal area for up to 5 days, during which, you could get pregnant.

Is it good to have sex on your period?

Not only is having sex on your period a-okay, but it might actually do you some good.

Let’s take a look at the potential benefits of having sex on your period:

Shorter periods

Does having sex on your period make you bleed more? Sometimes.

Especially if you orgasm, the muscles in your uterus push the blood and tissue out, so you might bleed more heavily just after you have sex.

The upside of this? You might just finish your period a day early.

So if you’ve heard stories of people saying “I had sex on my period and it stopped the next day”, they probably weren’t lying!

Can having sex on your period make it last longer?

Not normally ‒ in fact, it’s more common for period sex to shorten your monthly bleeding.

Does having sex on your period shorten it?

Yes, there is a chance that having sex on your period can make your period shorter.

However, you may notice heavier bleeding directly after sex, which could be your uterine muscles contracting and pushing out more period blood than would have come out if you didn’t have period sex.

Pain relief

Does having sex on your period help with cramps? Maybe, yes!

Sex releases endorphins – feel-good hormones which are proven to bust pain.

So if you have a headache on your period, or if your cramps are particularly stubborn that day, sex might give you some relief.

And to come back to orgasmic muscle contractions, the tension, and release that goes on in your uterus might be one of the most effective ways of chasing away your menstrual cramps.

Why does sex hurt on my period?

For some people, however, period sex can have the opposite effect, causing more pain instead of lessening it.

Pain during period sex (or sex at any point in your menstrual cycle) can potentially be a sign of an underlying condition, like endometriosis or PCOS.

So if you are experiencing pain during period sex or at any other point in your cycle, it can be worth a chat with your doctor.

Better sex

First off, there’s a chance that your sex drive is going to go up around your period.

This isn’t true for everyone – lots of women want more sex around the middle of their cycle instead – but if you’re very much in the mood for sex, there’s more chance it’s going to be great.

Second, if you usually use lubricant during sex, you might not need to while you’re on your period because your flow acts as a natural lubricant.

Third, there’s more blood flowing to your vagina and your clitoris while you’re menstruating.

This can make your skin extra sensitive to touch, so sex might feel even better than usual.

One small caveat here: The heightened sensitivity, combined with the fact that your cervix sits lower in your vagina during your period, means that some positions might be painful. As much as the missionary position promises to minimize how much you bleed during period sex, you might feel more comfortable with a position that gives you more control over the depth of penetration.

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How to have sex on period

So, if you’re keen on trying period sex for yourself to see if you can unlock any of the benefits, here’s our quick how-to guide.

  • Let your partner know that you’re on your period ‒ if you know it’s due or if you’re already on your period, it’s a good idea so they don’t freak out! That way, they can also have a choice as to whether or not they want to continue.
  • If you’re using a tampon or menstrual cup, make sure to remove it if you’re planning on any penetrative sex (or if there’s a chance things could… escalate to it).
  • Lay down a towel (a darker-colored towel is best), just in case there are any leaks.
  • Or switch to a ‘wipe-clean’ space, like a bath or shower.
  • Prep things to clean up ‒ period blood can be a pain to get out of cloth.
  • If you want to have minimal clean-up, having sex on first day of period or the last day could be the best bet. Not sure when the last day of your period is? Wait until your bleeding gets a bit lighter ‒ that’s usually close to the end.

Fun things to do in bed while on your period

If you’re still feeling in the mood, but period sex isn’t for you, there are other ways you can have fun in the bedroom (or outside of it, whatever works for you!).

Oral sex on your period can be an option ‒ if your partner wants to avoid period blood, you could keep your tampon, menstrual cup, or sanitary pad in, and they could focus on your clitoral area.

A sensual massage can be another great way to connect when you’re on your period, plus it can help with pain relief, too!

Even if something like oral sex is off the table, or one of you would rather keep foreplay above the waist only, you might still be able to find other ways to be intimate at this time of the month.

So, is it okay to have sex on your period?

Yes! As long as everyone involved is happy, don’t let your period get in the way of a good time.

But always be sure to remove your tampon or menstrual cup before penetrative period sex, otherwise, you might be in for a trip to the doctor to have it taken out.

Want to talk with other women about having sex on your period?

Join us on Peanut ‒ we’re not afraid of period talk.

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