Let’s Talk About (Period) Sex, Baby


This is a picture of a pantyliner with red glitter, referencing period sex.

The menstruation copulation. The bloodbath bang. The “I’m not pregnant” intercourse. Whatever you want to call it, period sex needs to be addressed right now. The relationship a girl has with her period can be so complicated, and there’s little reprieve or escape for most, until menopause. A period is like that one person you hooked up with two years ago, that continues to hit you up, and at this point you have nothing better to do than chill with them but then you remember why you stopped seeing them in the first place so you leave, and then next month boom. There they are in your DMs, and you’re back. And it’s this never-ending cycle of wanting them, then not wanting them, then freaking out because you don’t have them, then getting them again, then losing your mind because you keep finding yourself in the same bloody cycle. But enough about the love/hate relationship most women have with their period; the real issue at hand here is period sex.

The stigma that surrounds periods honestly makes no sense. Women will literally share the most intense, in detail, gross, and personal issues and stories with random girls in the bathroom of a bar, but if they’re in need of a tampon, it is suddenly an act of stealthy secrecy, as if it’s the most shameful thing to do in public and that everyone is going to judge you. Bottom line is, periods make many people uncomfortable, even though they are completely natural, normal and nothing to be ashamed of… at all. Ever.

So how do you handle it when it’s that time of the month and you want to get it on? Women already feel bloated, crampy, emotional and especially horny. Is it too much to ask for a little help to forget about our monthly pain for like 20 minutes? There is much diversity of thought related to whether or not you should have period sex or not, and why or why not. Some people report a fervent “No f*cking way,” while others voice an enthusiastic, “Yeah, why not?” The most common response reported, by people who have periods and the people who are intimate with them, was, “It depends.” Such mixed feelings can be confusing, annoying, and a little bit concerning, when all you want is a clear-cut answer. There are a few themes that people repeatedly mention, when in discussing whether period sex is an option.

​Period Sex is Messy

Welp, it can be. Certainly. Menstruation is sometimes messy, depending on how you define “mess” and the level of flow in any given day. There’s no avoiding that, and there can be tremendous variability from month to month, so it keeps you guessing. How fun! Not to fear, though. There are ways to help with the mess. First, you can change locations. For example, go in the shower. Shower sex kills two birds with one stone, in that you can have sex and stay clean the whole time. However, sexy shower time can sometimes be an issue especially, depending on the shower, your level of comfort with sex while wet, and privacy. For those who share bathrooms with others (roommates, family, etc.) communal bathrooms may not be private, and that can temper your hot and heavy fun. So you can’t use the shower, now what? You can always put down a towel on the bed and go to town, but that still leaves the need for laundry, and likely a shower. Keeping some genital-safe wet wipes near the bed can help foster an easy cleanup.

Isn’t Period Sex Gross?

For some people, seeing blood can add to the level of felt intimacy and arousal. For others, misinformation, shame or fear may make the idea of blood during something intimate as sex, less ideal. To reiterate… periods are not gross. They are natural. But some people do not like blood, and that is okay. Periods aren’t like bloody noses. It’s not going to start pouring out and look like the prom scene from Carrie. During an entire menstrual cycle, women lose about 80 mL of blood which translates to about 6-8 teaspoons. So, no need to fear an explosion of blood spewing out at all angles and splattering all over the place, like a scene from Law and Order: SVU.

Either way, period sex may not be ideal, but it’s not gross. Gross is a word that is attached to shame or disgust, and implies there is something wrong with what is being described. Obviously there is no rule that says anyone has to have period sex. But if your first reaction is to decry it as gross, you may want to examine how your judgments about bloody sex were formed. Negative messaging about sex, or internalized or externalized messages rooted in sexism, can leave people with negative beliefs about period sex. At the end, if you feel strongly against period sex, that is okay, but do ensure you are not shaming yourself or someone else for thinking it’s okay because of clashing values. Besides, being sex positive is sexy.

Period Sex Can Hurt

People have different levels of sensory experiences to begin with, and some people might notice a change between non-period and period sex. Most people who take part in sex on the crimson wave note that when the sensation of blood is present, it feels like extra lubrication. This may be an added perk! Hey, it saves money on lube and is eau natural! For some women, wearing a tampon can result in some feelings of tenderness or dryness, in the immediate aftermath of its removal, so you may want to give it a little time or a little lubrication if you’re feeling a little raw. Everyone knows that periods can cause cramps and cramps hurt (thanks, Captain Obvious), but having sex while on your period actually reduces the discomfort caused by cramps and bloating.

Now that you’ve had a chance to review the facts, you might be able to more readily answer the age-old question of whether or not to have period sex? Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to approach this issue, as long as there is full and active consent. If you are still hesitant about doing it, then don’t. Sex means something different to everyone so if being on your period makes you feel anything less than how you usually feel, then don’t do it. No one is forcing you or your partner to do this. It is only an option if you and your partner are comfortable. Whether or not you have sex during the red wedding, you can still cue up Game of Thrones and cuddle with bae, and have that extra bowl of ice cream. Periods are hard, sex on your period doesn’t have to be.


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Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.



Author Bio

Leila Fine is a 19-year-old college student from Rockland County, New York. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies at Iona College.  After her undergraduate work, Leila will further her studies by pursuing her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology and aspires to become a Certified Sex and Relationship Therapist. As a freshman in college, she was hired to publish a weekly column for an online magazine called, HerCampus. 



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