Period sex is a hot topic, and even if it’s not for you, just enter­tain­ing the con­ver­sa­tion is undo­ing this taboo. It’s 2020, and we’re talk­ing about the bloody ele­phant in the room. 

It’s totally okay if you don’t want to have period sex; it’s not for every­one. You shouldn’t ever force your­self to do some­thing that you’re not entirely enthu­si­astic about. 

But it’s worth doing a per­sonal check-in to find out if there are con­cealed biases at play that are keep­ing you from doing some­thing you might actu­ally enjoy. 

So where are those biases com­ing from? 

The Stigma of Menstruation

Men­stru­ation has a long, exhaust­ing his­tory of stigma. Con­sider Levit­i­cus 15

“When a woman has her reg­u­lar flow of blood, the impur­ity of her monthly period will last seven days, and any­one who touches her will be unclean till even­ing…”

and any man that touches her will be unclean too, the verse says.

In fact, it was only in the 1950s that the med­ical com­munity finally accep­ted the sci­entific fact that men­strual blood is not, after all, toxic. 

We can attrib­ute this long­stand­ing the­ory to Dr. Bela Schick who, after noti­cing that some flowers had wil­ted after being handled by a men­stru­at­ing nurse, con­cluded that men­strual blood was toxic. He coined the term meno­toxin, a sub­stance secreted in the sweat of men­stru­at­ing women. 

From evil to deadly to just plain gross, period blood has a bad rap. It’s no won­der that some of us have trouble think­ing about incor­por­at­ing it into our sex lives. So many men­stru­at­ing people already face chal­lenges that keep us from enjoy­ing sex: body image issues, sexual trauma, or cul­tural mes­sages of shame. 

Keep­ing our peri­ods a secret

At the same time, we remem­ber being the girl who acci­dent­ally bled through her pants in middle school. Or if it wasn’t us, we watched as it happened to someone else. That was a les­son that our period is some­thing to be hid­den, lest we suf­fer pub­lic embarrassment.

We’ve been asked, in the middle of a con­flict, if we were on our period. That was a les­son that we should keep our period a secret, lest we risk being invalidated.

And we’ve grown up using euphem­isms to describe our period. We learned them from our moth­ers, and teach­ers, who learned them from their moth­ers and teach­ers. “Aunt flow”, “that time of the month”, and my new per­sonal favor­ite, “shark week”. 

These euphem­isms taught us that even when speak­ing about our peri­ods, we should keep an emo­tional dis­tance so that we don’t make oth­ers uncomfortable. 

How­ever, the cul­ture is chal­len­ging these beliefs. With more femmes tak­ing on pro­duc­tion roles, we’re see­ing more uterus-talk on screen. Sex-pos­it­ive pod­casts like the Sav­age Lovecast are openly tack­ling all kinds of sex-related top­ics, period sex included. 

The writers of Crazy Ex-Girl­friend devoted an entire musical num­ber to period sex.

Artists like Vanessa Tiegs are using their men­strual blood as a medium. 

In her essay, It’s Bloody Fant­astic, Adrienne Maree Brown con­cludes her essay with this ded­ic­a­tion, “This piece is for those who have wondered how we can live in a soci­ety that so eas­ily embraces the blood of war (or the fake blood of the war enter­tain­ment industry) but gets faint around blood that only exists as part of a cycle of life-making.”

Should You Try Period Sex?

Sure, why not? Before you try any­thing new, ask your­self: why am I try­ing this?

Is it because I’m curious?

Is it because I’m intrigued?

Is it because I want to make my part­ner happy even though I don’t really feel any way about it?

Is it because I want to appear a cer­tain way to someone?

Is it because my part­ner is pres­sur­ing me to do it even though I don’t want to?

If your answer is yes to one of the first three ques­tions, then go for it. But if you’re feel­ing pres­sured, or there’s a “no” going off in your brain, then take your foot off the brakes. You may need to do a little more dig­ging into what you’re feel­ing. And if you feel com­fort­able, you can invite your part­ner into that process. 

Tips To Make Period Sex Great

Period sex can be great for many reas­ons. First of all, you’ve got your built-in lube. Second, orgasms can relieve PMS symp­toms. Some men­stru­at­ing people find that they’re horn­ier when they’re bleed­ing so it can make for a really fun session.

Here are some point­ers and things to keep in mind to help you along your jour­ney of intimacy.

1. Get com­fort­able talk­ing about your (or your partner’s) period.

If you feel squeam­ish around period blood but sus­pect it may be cul­tural con­di­tion­ing, talk­ing about it is the first step. Start with people you trust, like friends who also men­stru­ate. Then chal­lenge your­self to be more open about it. Maybe you talk openly around male-identi­fy­ing people in your life who typ­ic­ally skirt the subject. 

Or maybe you join the many IG accounts openly talk­ing about men­stru­ation

Notice what it feels like to say some­thing dir­ect like, “I star­ted bleed­ing today”. 

2. Wait until day 3 or 4 to have period sex.

You (or your men­stru­at­ing part­ner) may be feel­ing kind of crappy on day 1 or 2 and the bleed­ing will likely be heav­ier. Wait until the flow is a little lighter to try it for the first time. You’ll be sur­prised by how little clean up is actu­ally needed.

3. Do it in the shower.

Yes, always the shower! If clean­li­ness is a con­cern, there is no bet­ter place to start mak­ing a bloody mess than in the shower. 

4. Do it by yourself.

You don’t need a part­ner to start smash­ing the pat­ri­archy. Solo period sex is still period sex!

5. Use a toy.

Does it weird you out but you want to chal­lenge that? Get a toy and play with your part­ner or your­self while you’re on your period. 

Whether you’re a per­son who men­stru­ates or your part­ner is, desire can feel elu­sive some­times. If you’re exper­i­en­cing more sexual desire on your period then embrace it. Lean into the exper­i­ence as far as you’re comfortable.

For some people, period sex just isn’t inter­est­ing. But for many of us, it’s an oppor­tun­ity to unlearn old les­sons that don’t serve us at all. 

Kara Daly, freelance blogger, copywriter, womxn's health, sexual wellness, copybykara, Vulvani
Kara 
Copy­writer | Web­site | + posts

Kara Daly is a freel­ance blog­ger and copy­writer spe­cial­iz­ing in womxn's health and well­ness. Visit her web­site at www.copybykara.com or fol­low her on Ins­tagram @karadillydally.