Period sex is one of those taboo subjects that so many people still don't want to talk about, but that deep down loads of us want to ask questions about. Cosmopolitan UK spoke to women's menstrual health app, Clue to find out exactly what you need to know about having sex on your period, including period oral sex...
1. Orgasms can ease cramps and symptoms of PMS
The endorphins released by orgasms can relieve common PMS symptoms such as stress, but they can also relieve menstrual cramps for some people - based on the strength and intensity of the climax. Vaginal orgasms have substantial alleviating properties, much more than clitoral stimulation.
2. Menstrual blood is 100% not harmful
It's 2015 and all that, but some people are genuinely still under the impression that period blood is 'impure' and carries infections that could spread if another person comes into contact with it. Simply put, there is NO truth in this - menstrual blood is a mixture of healthy blood and tissues that the body no longer needs, so absolutely no harm will come from a partner getting a bit of blood on them or their genitals.
3. Orgasm may speed up the release of menstrual blood
Period sex is always going to be a bit of a messy affair, but you may notice more blood than expected, even if your period is fairly light. This is because orgasm increases the rate at which endometrial debris are expelled from the body, which in turn can decrease the length of your period.
4. Nearly a third of people have sex during their period
Just because no one talks about it, it doesn't mean that no one is doing it! Research has shown that 30% of sexually active people have sex during their period - and loads of women and people who menstruate even notice an increase in arousal around this time of the month. Sex can feel different at various points in your menstrual cycle, too. So if you're getting it on more than usual during that time of the month, you're not alone...
5. And it can make sex more enjoyable
As mentioned above, studies have shown that periods have no negative effect on sexual arousal, and some people will want sex more during their period. Many women and vulva-havers claim to be more turned on and feel more sensitive around this time, leading to an increase in pleasure when stimulated.
6. It's a natural lubricant
Enough said. But you can still use extra lube of course if you want to.
7. You're more likely to spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Proceed with caution - while there are good points to it, sex during menstruation may contribute to transmission of some sexually transmitted infections (such as HIV). To allow the blood to pass, the cervix is slightly more open around this time, which puts you at a higher risk if of infection if exposed to an STI. If in doubt, follow your usual safe sex guidelines and use a condom.
8. Yeou can still get pregnant…
People with regular 28-day cycles are less likely to ovulate around their period (and therefore less likely to get pregnant), but you're not made invincible by a bit of blood. There are many reported cases of ovulation happening close to menstruation and, because sperm can live up to seven days, it is actually possible to get pregnant during your period. So if you're having sex with men or people with penises, bear that in mind.
9. But if you do, your baby won't have red hair just because you conceived during your period
FFS. We don't even know how this is still a myth, but let's clear it up anyway - while a red-headed sproglet is still a possibility if you conceive during your period, it's deffo no more likely than if you conceived when you were period free. Rumours of this started in the Middle Ages, when it was a widely believed notion that ginger children were a result of copulation during menstruation, but it's total nonsense, in case you were wondering.
10. Clean up can be easy
You might enjoy period sex, but chances are, your bedsheets won't. To remove bloodstains quickly and efficiently, soak them in cold salt water before washing ASAP, then spray on a stain remover and wash as usual. Hey presto - any visual reminders should wash right out.
11. You don't have to do it (OBVIOUSLY)
Period sex is a personal choice, and not one every person chooses to make. Don't ever feel pressured to have sex while you're on your period if you don't want to - if your partner can't wait a few days, they're probably not worth waiting for.
Clue is a woman-led digital health startup and the world's fastest growing period tracking and fertility app.
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