A woman period might be one of your most sexually vibrant times,” says licensed sex therapist Vanessa Marin. For one, you’re likely off-the-rails horny, due to shifting hormonal levels. Second, having sex during this, uh, intimate time can make you feel even closer to your partner, adds certified sex therapist Holly Richmond, PhD. Aw!
There’s a fifty-fifty chance you’re missing out on some seriously needed sexy time. Nearly half of women skip all genital activity during their time of the month, found a 2018 survey from period-tracking app Clue. It’s time to stop shorting yourself of period sex.
Beyond that, sex when you’re menstruating can feel incredibly awesome (more on that later) and calm your moody mind, Richmond adds.
But if the thought of having sex when you’re menstruating makes you (or your partner) squeamish, quick reality check: “It’s healthy and nothing to be ashamed of. It can be like sex any other time of the month,” explains Marin.
In fact, “medically speaking, having sex when you’re menstruating is just fine,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University Medical School.
1. Talk to your partner about what you want—and don’t.
Before you get busy, “identify which sexual activities will be allowed and which will be off limits,” suggests Janet Brito, PhD, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist in Honolulu. Then communicate those boundaries to your partner. For example, if you’re not into penetrative sex, tell them so you can figure out other options, like clitoral stimulation.You can even “put your hand over your partner’s hand to guide them where you want to be touched and with what pressure,” says Brito. “As you guide their hands, make sure you verbally communicate, too, so they understand all the cues.”
2. Focus on the advantages of your flow.
Instead of worrying about all the extra fluid involved, look at blood as a plus—after all, it’s just extra natural lube. “If lubrication tends to be an issue for you, you might love period sex,” says Marin. And even if it’s not, a little extra wetness never hurts…
Another perk to period sex, she says: It can increase your pain threshold, easing headaches, cramps, and other not-so-fun stuff that you’re dealing with during that time of the month. Keeping the physical benefits in mind can help nix any of the mental hangups preventing you from going for it.
3. Use protection.
Period sex can feel like the world’s most satisfying slip-n-slide (sorry, had to), but all that lubrication also make it a bit easier to spread a sexually transmitted infection, like chlamydia or gonorrhea.
“The environment makes it easier for bacteria to go from the cervix up into the uterus,” says Minkin. “Unprotected sex during this time is a little more dangerous for the woman because the effects of the infection can ascend [into the uterus] quicker.”
(Quick bio lesson: In between periods, you have cervical mucus that helps protect against bacteria taking a trip up your cervix, says Minkin. When you’re menstruating, that gets shed along with your uterine lining.)
And while you’re less likely to get pregnant on your period, it’s still possible. “Sperm can hang around for a long time,” says Minkin. “And if you ovulate early that month, there’s a chance you can get pregnant if you’re not using contraception.”
The answer? Condoms, condoms, condoms (or for oral, a dental dam)—especially if you’re doing the deed with a new partner.
4. Prep your bed before any period action.
If you’re worried about red-stained sheets, put a thick, dark-colored towel down over your bed, then pop it in the wash after, says Marin. It’s really as simple as that.
5. Hit the showers.
Still a bit iffy about the whole thing? Try period sex in the shower, says Brito. You’ll hardly notice the blood, and you both can suds each other up after
To avoid pain and friction down there (true story: shower water isn’t lubricating), “use a silicone-based lube,” Brito adds. (Just make sure to clean your shower afterward, since that ish can be slippery.)
6. Have extra lube on hand.
Chances are your period sex routine involves taking out your tampon right before getting busy to minimize the mess. The only prob with that strategy? It can leave your vagina dry without time to replenish its natural moisture, says Minkin, making sex all kinds of uncomfortable.
To avoid that, the fix is simple: Have a trusty lubricant around that you can grab in a hot second.
7. Try a menstrual cup or disk.
Certain menstrual cups and disks sit in such a way in your body that they catch blood but also allow you to have sex wearing them.
Just note that not all menstrual cups are safe to wear during sex, so before buying, always check the label. The last thing you want is getting something stuck up there when you’re trying to enjoy sexy time.
8. Choose the right period-sex positions.
Missionary—or any position that involves you on your back—is your best bet when your blood flow is on the heavier side, because you’re less likely to leak. But really, “have fun with whatever position makes you feel the most confident,” says Brito.
If you want something more gentle—or feel bloated and gross—she recommends spooning. Looking for something more intimate? Try direct gaze (a.k.a. straddling your partner as they hold your butt, hips, or back to bring you closer).
If you want to chill without going total dead fish, give relaxed doggy a whirl, says Brito: “Rest your chest on your bed, prop your belly on a pillow, and raise your hips slightly to meet your partner’s genitals.”
9. Go solo.
Whether you’re single, in a long-distance relationship, or just want to have fun sans partner, Brito encourages you to masturbate. “Not only will you be able to spend time with yourself, you will also feel relaxed,” she says—which you probably need when you feel a little…off.
Have fun in the shower by aiming the shower head on your clitoris, or use a waterproof vibrator.
Either way, alone or not, period sex—like any sex—is all about enjoying yourself. Might as well work with what biology gave you!