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. 

Copy­wri­terin | Web­site | + posts

Kara Daly ist eine freiberu­fliche Blog­gerin und Copy­writer, die sich auf die Gesund­heit und das Wohlbefinden von Frauen* spezial­isiert. Ihre Web­site könnt ihr unter besuchen oder folgt ihr auf Insta­gram @karadillydally. | LinkedIn