Period Sex: Can You Have Sex On Your Period?

It's safe to have sex during your period, but you need to practice safe sex

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Yes, you can have sex on your period. There is no scientific evidence that having period sex is harmful to your health. You might even find that sex on your period comes with benefits, such as alleviating period symptoms or making sex more pleasurable.

Keep in mind that you can still get pregnant and contract or spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during this time, so protection remains important. In fact, if you have an STI that can be spread through blood, you may put your partner at even greater risk of getting it if you have sex while on your period.

This article will go over the benefits of period sex, the safety considerations to keep in mind if you have sex on your period, and how to make having period sex less messy.

Romantic couple looking into each others eyes outdoors at night
Hero Images / Getty Images

Benefits of Period Sex

Having sex while you're on your period can trigger physiological changes in your body that may have several benefits.

Many women experience an increased libido on their period, possibly due to pelvic heaviness or a feeling of freedom because the chances of becoming pregnant are reduced.

The natural lubrication from menstruation can make sex more pleasurable and eliminate the need for lubrication products, too.

Orgasms Ease Menstrual Cramps

Period cramps happen because your uterus is contracting. The contractions help it shed its lining, which you see as the blood that comes out during your period.

Some people with a uterus find that orgasms help relieve menstrual cramps. Orgasms cause the uterine muscles to contract and then release, which eases the constant tension.

Sex also triggers feel-good endorphins, which can help take your mind off period pain and discomfort.

It May Shorten Your Period

Muscle contractions during orgasms help clear the contents of your uterus.

In theory, you could have a shorter period if your uterine lining was shed faster during period sex. However, there's no scientific evidence to back up this claim.

Endorphins Dull Headache Pain

Headaches are a common period symptom related to hormonal shifts. Studies have shown that sexual activity may relieve headaches.

Researchers don't know why, but they think the rush of endorphins during sex helps numb headache pain.

Is It Safe to Have Sex on Your Period?

While it's safe to have sex while you're menstruating, you still need to practice safe sex. This means protecting yourself from pregnancy, STIs, and other risks.

You Can Get Pregnant on Your Period

Your chances of getting pregnant are different depending on where you are in your cycle. While you may not be as likely to get pregnant if you have sex on your period, it's not impossible.

Some people have shorter menstrual cycles or menstrual irregularities that affect when ovulation (the release of an egg) happens.

In addition, sperm can stay alive in the reproductive tract for up to five days. That means fertilization can occur well after you've had sex.

If you are not trying to get pregnant, make sure you are using contraception when you have sex—even if you're on your period.

Increased Risk of STIs From Period Sex

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are a major risk of having sex, but having period sex can make them more likely. If a person with HIV or hepatitis has sex while they are menstruating, their partners are at risk because these viruses can be spread through contact with blood.

Changes in the vagina that happen during a period can actually make a person more vulnerable to infections. Having unprotected sex during your period increases the risk of other STIs, such as herpes.

While more women than men have STIs and experience more complications from them, unprotected sex in general also puts men at risk of contracting an STI.

If you have period sex, use condoms to guard against catching or spreading an STI.

Don't Forget to Remove the Tampon

If you've put a tampon in while you're on your period, don't forget to remove it before you have sex. A forgotten tampon can get pushed deeper into the vagina during sex and cause infection.

A tampon that gets lodged deep in the vaginal canal may need to be removed by a healthcare provider. If you are not able to remove the tampon yourself, seek medical care right away.

Tips for Less Mess Period Sex

Having sex during your period can get messy. However, with a little pre-planning, you can minimize the mess and keep the focus on intimacy.

Stick to Light Days

The amount of blood may not bother you and your partner enough to avoid period sex. If it does, think about when your menstrual flow is the lightest.

For example, if you know that you bleed pretty light on days three to five of your period, you may want to have sex on those days instead of on heavier days.

Decrease the Flow 

You may want to try using a menstrual cup—a small, flexible device that is an alternative to tampons and pads—during period sex.

The cup collects blood as it passes through the cervix, which reduces how much blood is in your vaginal canal during menstruation. Most reusable cups need to be taken out before sex, but the soft, disposable ones do not. 

Your partner shouldn’t feel the cup and it won't leak. However, you may feel discomfort using this device during sex; it may cause slight pain or make the vagina feel crowded.

Ask your provider if your preferred menstrual cup is safe to use during sex. Keep in mind that the cup is not contraception; it will not protect against pregnancy or STIs.

Another option for decreasing menstrual flow is the vaginal contraceptive sponge, which traps blood in the upper part of the vagina like a menstrual cup.

The sponge may not be as effective at collecting blood as a cup, but it might be more comfortable. It also has the added benefit of preventing pregnancy.

A menstrual cup or vaginal contraceptive sponge should be removed right away after sex.

The menstrual cup and contraceptive sponge will not protect you against STIs. Condoms are the best method of protection.

Have Towels and Tissues Handy

Before you have sex, put some towels down to protect your sheets, mattress, or furniture from getting any blood on them. Keep tissues nearby to wipe yourself with when you're done.

Opt for Missionary Position

Lying on your back during sex can reduce blood flow. You might want to be careful about deep vaginal penetration because the cervix is lower and more sensitive during menstruation.

If you feel any discomfort or pain during sex, stop and tell your partner. Go slow and communicate to make sure you're both comfortable.

Try Shower Sex

A running shower can help wash away any menstrual flow. You can also have a pleasurable intimate shower session by giving each other a sensual back rub with a soapy sponge.

Rethink Foreplay

If you're worried about you or your partner getting menstrual blood on your hands during foreplay or masturbation, just keep the towels or tissues you set out nearby to clean up.

If you or your partner are uncomfortable about touching blood, you can explore other ways to arouse each other.

Can I Have Oral Sex on My Period?

Having oral sex during your period is safe. If you're worried about leakage, use a menstrual cup, contraceptive sponge, or tampon.

If you don't want to put anything in your vagina, you can also use a dental dam—a square piece of latex that can be purchased or made by cutting a condom. Dental dams also help prevent STIs.


Period sex is safe and can have benefits like reducing menstrual cramps and headaches and might even shorten your flow.

However, you still need to practice safe sex. You can still get pregnant if you have sex on your period, and the risk of giving, or getting, a sexually transmitted infection, is higher.

If you want to have sex during a period, planning ahead can help make it less messy and ensure that you and your partner are comfortable and safe.

A Word From Verywell

Talk to your partner(s) about period sex. It's not for everyone. Some religious and cultural practices do not permit having sex during menstruation.

A person with certain medical conditions might not want to have sex on their period. In some cases, it's not safe to have sex with someone who is on their period because they may transmit infections through their blood.

While you would expect to see blood if you're having period sex, keep in mind that bleeding during or after sex when you're not menstruating is something to talk to your provider about.

14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Planned Parenthood. Can I have sex during my period? And If I do can I get pregnant?

  2. Go Ask Alice! Is it weird to feel hornier than usual during my period?

  3. Ojezele MO, Eduviere AT, Adedapo EA, Wool TK. Mood swing during menstruation: Confounding factors and drug use. Ethiop J Health Sci. 2022;32(4):681–8. doi:10.4314/ejhs.v32i4.3

  4. Hambach A, Evers S, Summ O, Husstedt IW, Frese A. The impact of sexual activity on idiopathic headaches: an observational study. Cephalalgia. 2013;33(6):384-389. doi:10.1177/0333102413476374

  5. Nemours Children's Health. Can a girl get pregnant if she has sex during her period?.

  6. Wigby S, Suarez SS, Lazzaro BP, Pizzari T, Wolfner MF. Sperm success and immunity. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2019;135:287-313. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2019.04.002

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STDs and HIV.

  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Genital Herpes.

  9. Office on Women's Health. Sexually transmitted infections.

  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lowdown on how to prevent STDs.

  11. National Library of Medicine. Toxic shock syndrome.

  12. Tampax. Worried about a lost tampon or getting a tampon stuck?.

  13. Van Eijk AM, Zulaika G, Lenchner M, et al. Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, and availability: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Public Health. 2019;4(8):e376-e393. doi:10.1016/S2468-2667(19)30111-2

  14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to use a dental dam as a barrier for oral sex.

By Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisolm, MD, is a board-certified OB/GYN who has taught at both Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School.