Tips for Having Sex During Your Period

Though it may pose some logistical concerns, there's no scientific evidence that having sex during your period is harmful to your health. Some women even find that having intercourse while menstruating brings several benefits and is more pleasurable than it is at other times.

It's important to remember, though, that just because your body is eliminating your uterine lining because an egg was released but not fertilized doesn't mean you can't get pregnant while you have your period. Likewise, concerns about sexually transmitted infections are the same regardless of the time of the month.

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Benefits of Period Sex

Having sex while on your period has several benefits that are due to physiological changes that occur in response to intercourse.

Cramp Relief

Cramping during your period occurs because the uterus is contracting to shed its lining. Many women find that orgasms may relieve their menstrual cramps because the uterine muscles contract and then release, easing the constant state of muscle tension during this time.

And, of course, sex triggers feel-good endorphins, which can get your mind off of your pain and discomfort.

A Shorter Period

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

In theory, this means you could have shorter periods if you are having period sex, though there is no scientific evidence to back this up.

Headache Relief

Studies show that sexual activity can partially or completely relieve headaches. Researchers aren’t sure why this occurs, but they speculate the rush of endorphins during sex helps to numb headache pain.


If your vagina is usually on the dry side, menstrual flow can act as a natural lubricant, making sex more comfortable and reducing the need for lubrication products.

Safety Considerations

There are a few things you should pay attention to addressing so that sex during your period doesn't result in problems.

Pregnancy Risk

While the chance of getting pregnant during your period is low, it is still possible. Some women may have shorter menstrual cycles and/or menstrual irregularities, which may impact when the ovary releases a new egg.

In addition, sperm can stay alive in the reproductive tract for up to five days, according to the American Pregnancy Association. So, fertilization may occur well after you might expect it to. If you aren’t trying to get pregnant, contraception is still a good idea.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections are the biggest downside to having sex during a menstrual period. This puts partners at risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, or herpes. These viruses quickly spread during contact of the blood and exposure to menstrual blood raises the risk. Having unprotected sex during your period or at any other time can increase the risk. Using condoms can protect from the risk of spreading or catching an STI.

Removing Tampons

It's important to remember to remove a tampon before having sex. A forgotten tampon can get pushed further into the vagina and potentially cause a bacterial infection that can unnoticed until it has progressed.

A tampon that is too deep in the body may need to be removed by a healthcare provider.

Planning Ahead

There is no denying that sex during your period can get a bit messy. With a little bit of pre-planning, you can reduce the need for clean-up.

Stick to Light Days

If you know that days 3 to 5 of your period are lighter, try having sex on those days. However, if sex on day 1 of your period doesn’t bother you or your partner, go for it.

Decrease the Flow 

To minimize the amount of blood in your vagina during sex, you could try using a menstrual cup—a relatively small, flexible device that is an alternative to tampons and pads. It essentially collects the blood as it passes through the cervix and keeps the vagina relatively clean.

Most reusable menstrual cups need to be taken out before sex, but the soft disposable ones do not. Your partner shouldn’t feel the cup, and there shouldn’t be any leaks during intercourse. However, some women may feel discomfort using this sort of device during sex; the vagina may feel crowded and/or there may be pain.

If you use a menstrual cup, confirm with your healthcare provider that the kind you have is safe to use during sex. Note: The menstrual cup does not protect against pregnancy.

Another option for decreasing menstrual flow is the vaginal contraceptive sponge. It traps blood in the upper part of the vagina just like the menstrual cup. Though it may not as effective at collecting the blood, it’s likely more comfortable. It also has the added benefit of preventing pregnancy.

The menstrual cup and the sponge will not protect you against STIs. Condoms (male or female) are the best method for protection.

Both of the menstrual cup and vaginal contraceptive sponge should be removed after sex.

Have Towels and Tissues Handy

Before having sex, place some towels under you to protect your sheets and mattress, and keep tissues nearby so you can wipe yourself when you're done.

Opt for Missionary Position

Lying on your back during sex can lessen blood flow. Be careful about deep penetration because the cervix is lower and more sensitive during this time of the month.

If things start to hurt, let your partner know and proceed slowly.

Try Shower Sex

The flow of a running shower can help wash away menstrual flow as it appears, helping with the mess factor.

Rethink Foreplay

Using your hands during foreplay can be messy when you are on period. If this bothers you or your partner, consider other ways to get one another aroused.

Oral Sex

Having oral sex during your period is safe. To minimize the mess you could use a menstrual cup, contraceptive sponge, or tampon. Just remember to take out whatever you use when you're done. 

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to have sex on your period? 

Yes, it is safe to have sex when you have your period, but you should still practice safe sex. A woman can still become pregnant from having sex during her menstrual period. Likewise, unprotected sex at any time of the month can put you at risk for an STI.

Can a man get an infection from period blood? 

Having sex with a woman during her period will not cause a man to get an infection. However, any unprotected sex could put you at risk for a sexually transmitted infection. It is important to still practice safe sex any time of the month. 

Is there a less messy way to have sex on your period? 

For less-mess period sex, use a flexible menstrual cup or contraceptive sponge. You can also avoid sex during heavy flow days, try shower sex, or stick to missionary position—just keep a towel or incontinence pad under you to avoid staining the bedsheets.

A Word From Verywell

Not everyone enjoys period sex, so talk to your partner ahead of time and find out how your partner feels. Some religions and cultures don’t believe in having intercourse while a woman is on her period, and it is important to respect your partner’s feelings and beliefs.

Discussing concerns and feelings ahead of time gives both partners an understanding of expectations, considerations, and concerns.

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Article Sources
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