Sex and your period
What’s going on in your body
When you're on your period, your body doesn’t undergo any physiological changes. There’s no swelling or narrowing and you won’t have any particular sensitivity. The triggers for menstruation are connected to changes in the mucus in the uterus, caused by hormonal fluctuations at the end of the menstrual cycle. How heavy your period is and how long it lasts varies from person to person. It can be between 5ml and 25ml and last between two and six days for a 28-day cycle.
As a result of these hormonal changes, some women can experience different unpleasant symptoms like cramps, nausea, headaches, tiredness and anxiety caused by a particularly heavy flow. These problems can get in the way of socialising and your love life. For the majority of women, there’s nothing to stop you making love when you have your period. From a medical point of view, menstrual blood only becomes a problem if individuals have sexually transmitted diseases. In these cases, the blood can encourage the infection to pass from one person to the other. If you could be at risk you should always use protection.
Yes or no?
Menstrual blood doesn’t get in the way of penetration, but some women avoid sex during their periods because they feel dirty. According to a study carried out by feminine hygiene brand Nana, 80% of women avoid sex when they have their periods and 75% pull away from cuddling. 45% actually avoided spending the night with their partners, too. Doctissimo user Syka says: “It’s not that it hurts, it’s just that I don’t like it, and my boyfriend doesn’t either. He doesn’t like seeing blood down there, and so in general we avoid sexual relations until the end of my period. Then the sheets and our skin don’t get covered, although I admit that it washes out fine.”
However, others feel the opposite, and can experience a real boost in sex drive during menstruation. Sophie772 explained: “During my period, I’m hypersensitive and more open to sensations, so my orgasms are ten times stronger than usual. It gets really boring if I abstain because my periods last a week. I make the most of it! The blood doesn’t bother me, and even arouses me so I always want to orgasm when I’m on my period.”
For men, there is the same divide. According to bebe94 “When you love each other, nothing gets in the way of that, and abstaining from sex for five days is a long time.” Others are more reticent, however. All the men we asked said they needed towels to protect the mattress, and most liked to be in the shower. It's each to their own.
Old wives’ tales
Finally, here are a few explanations behind the old wives tales that surface again and again in our forums:
- Can you still get pregnant when you have sex during your period?
It’s still possible to fall pregnant when you have sex during menstruation. Female fertility levels are generally higher during ovulation. In cases where the menstrual cycle is disrupted, fertilisation can take place before a woman has finished her period. If you don’t want to get pregnant, make sure you continue to use contraception during this time of the month.
- Is it dangerous if you forget to take your tampon out?
It’s unlikely that neither of you will notice the presence of a tampon, but if your passion takes over you’ll still be able to take it out afterwards. This means there’s no risk where tampons are concerned.
- What about oral sex?
This isn’t such a common practice, we admit. But theoretically speaking, there’s nothing to stop it, as the clitoris is situated above the vaginal opening, and is particularly sensitive during menstruation.
Menstruation is a natural process, and there’s no reason for life to stop when you get your period. For those who suffer from painful periods, however, or premenstrual tension and other side-effects, you may prefer to avoid any kind of action for a few days.