Having sex on your period is possible, and it can sometimes be even more pleasurable.
Here are some tips for having sex while on your period while feeling as comfortable as possible.
Embrace the potential messiness.
- Rawpixel.com/ Shutterstock
Letting go of your fear of making a mess can actually improve your sexual experience. And not just during your period.
“More comfort around messiness can break down barriers to sexual enjoyment. Studies have shown that people who have higher arousal are less grossed out by bodily fluids and ‘messy period sex,'” psychologist and sex therapist Shannon Chavez told Glamour.
While it’s not possible for everyone, by trying to embrace the messiness and just being in the moment, you can set yourself up for a more carefree and enjoyable experience.
You may want to use extra lubrication.
While some consider menstrual blood to be a natural lubricant, your menstrual cycle can actually lower your body’s natural lubrication levels.
Dr. Felice Gersh, M.D., a gynecologist at Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, previously told INSIDER that your body’s natural lubrication will be at its lowest while on your period because that’s when your body’s estrogen levels are at their lowest.
So, using some form of extra lubrication can make sex on your period a bit more comfortable.
You may feel comfortable having sex in a bath.
- Paul Sturgess/Flickr
Your body won’t actually stop menstruating while you’re submerged in water, but physics works in your favor. As Tonic reports, the water pressure can stop blood from flowing out.
While you may still experience some bleeding during sex, having sex in the bath can potentially be more comfortable and make for less of a mess.
For some types of sex, you can leave your tampon in.
- REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
If it makes you feel more comfortable, you can try having oral or anal sex while keeping your tampon in. And, in some cases, it can make sex more enjoyable.
“Keep a tampon in and enjoy oral sex or anal sex without worry,” sex therapist Gloria Brame told Glamour. “The combination of your body sensitivity in your nipples and around your sex organs and the slight pressure of the tampon inside could make anal sex even more enjoyable than usual during periods.”
But, if you’re having vaginal intercourse it’s generally safer to remove your tampon first.
Avoiding foods that can make you feel more bloated could make you feel more comfortable.
- Geoff Peters / Flickr
Sometimes period-related bloating can make you feel uncomfortable, and some foods can make it worse.
According to Healthline, salty snacks such as chips and pretzels, refined carbs like white flour and pasta, and sweet stuff like candy and chocolate can all lead to more fluid volume in your body.
So avoiding foods that can exacerbate water retention could help you feel less bloated and potentially more comfortable during sex.
If you’re stressed about the mess-factor, lay out some dark-colored towels or sheets.
If the idea of getting blood on your sheets is causing you added stress, you may want to consider spending a few bucks on a set of dark-colored or black sheets that won’t show stains as readily. Plus, they may be easier to clean afterward.
If sheets require too much forethought, you can also lay down a dark-colored towel or two.
Though you will have to make sure that you and your partner stay on the covered area, the towels will protect your sheets and mattress from extra staining and you can just toss them into your laundry pile afterward.
You might want to experiment with different sexual positions to find what’s most comfortable.
There’s a lot going on while you’re menstruating, which can make certain sexual positions can feel different than normal. If you find that your favorite position is suddenly uncomfortable, try something new to find what works.
Lying on your side with your partner behind you can be a good position to try during your period, advises Healthline. Increased blood flow to your pelvic area during your period can also make you extra sensitive, so take things slowly if you need to.
Don’t forget to consider birth control and STI protection.
- Flickr/Shawn Latta
Keep in mind that it is possible to get pregnant during your period.
You’re also more susceptible to contracting an STI during your period. According to Health, the environment inside your vagina is less acidic than on non-period days. This makes it easier for microbes to survive and multiply in your reproductive tract.
Your cervix is also slightly open during menstruation, increasing the likelihood that bacteria or viruses will travel into the uterus. Plus, the increase in bodily fluids means that your partner is also at greater risk of contracting any STIs that you are carrying.
So if you want to avoid STIs and pregnancy, you’ll probably want to use some sort of barrier protection method during period sex.
Talk to your partner about your feelings around period sex.
If you have anxiety surrounding having sex during period, talking to your partner about it might alleviate some of the embarrassment or nervousness you might feel.
Change the Cycle recommends having an open conversation with your partner about how comfortable you both feel about having period sex.
If your partner has never had a period, they might be wondering if it hurts you to have sex during that time of the month or if it’s even safe. Give them the facts and keep the lines of communication open.
If you opt for solo sex, remember to take extra care with cleaning your sex toys.
- Viacom Media Networks
Of course, you don’t need a partner to have sex. It’s perfectly safe to masturbate while on your period.
Plus, according to Planned Parenthood, masturbating while you’re menstruating can sometimes help relieve cramps.
Just be extra cautious about cleaning your sex toys, as blood can be a bacterial medium, Dr. Deborah Wilson, gynecologist previously told INSIDER.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.