Here are a few truths about having sex during someone’s period:
1. Being on your period can increase the sensitivity of your nerve endings, and that make sex feel super nice for lots of folks.
2. Period sex also brings a couple more medical risks I’m sorry I’m sorrrryyyyy. For the menstruating partner (“the Menstruator” is your power name today), semen and menstrual blood both alter the pH of the vagina, which can make it more susceptible to infections, like yeast or bacterial vaginosis. For the other partner, there is some research suggesting that period sex may increase your risk of contracting HIV. Condoms or not having sex can be used as protection against these risks.
3. It’s really easy to have sex while bleedin’: Just say, “Hang on a sec, I’ve got to take my tampon/Diva Cup/whatever out, I’ll be right back,” head to the bathroom, take it out, and come back. There are also a couple of options to prevent blood from escaping during sex on your period: An Instead Softcup or a contraceptive diaphragm can be used during intercourse to catch any overflow. But that’s not necessary so long as the sight of your menstrual blood doesn’t freak you or your partner(s) out. If you’re gonna have sex during your period without a barrier, though, make sure to grab your…
4. Sex Towel. A Sex Towel is a towel you own that is specifically for sexy messes, a towel that you keep handy for moments during sex that might get all over the sheets. Preferably black, red, brown, or navy, a Sex Towel is something you grab with studied casualness, shooing your partner over to one side while you lay it down and spread it out. It kills the moment for a sec, but you know what kills the moment worse? Suddenly realizing that you’ve gotten blood all over your sheets in a major way. Especially if someone else does the laundry (hi, Mom!).
Krista: My sex towel was once pink and is now a horrible rusty-beige color. It’s also fraying and torn in three places. Only the best for those I love.
Lola: My old sex towel’s name was Old Filthful. By the end of my relationship it stiffly held its own form no matter how much we washed it.
“What if I don’t get wet? What if I get too wet?”
Lola: Vagina concerns! OK, here we go: Vaginas are leaky, all day, every day. By “too wet,” are you thinking about ejaculation? You can be honest with us. Or are you worried that you’re gonna pee during sex? For the first thing, ejaculation (for anyone of any gender) doesn’t usually happen without an orgasm, and an orgasm is a joyful thing, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are theories that UTIs can be caused when people with vaginas don’t let themselves ejaculate, so there’s a health angle here too. For the second concern, just pee before sex. (Health angle: Pee right after intercourse, too—it can help prevent UTIs and other infections.)
Krista: I used to worry about not being wet enough when I was having sex with people, thinking they would take my being relatively dry as a sign of not being turned on by them. If you are seriously concerned about it, try squirting a little water-based lube into your hand and smearing it into and around your vagina; it’ll help things glide more easily and stop you from worrying. Lube feels great, and I’ve never had someone wonder why I wanted to use it.
“What if I smell bad?”
Krista: If your partner wants to have sex with you, it is almost guaranteed that they will like the way you smell. When I first started to have sex, I nervously asked my boyfriend how I smelled “down there.” He stared at me, and then said, “You smell fantastic, what do you mean?” I said, “I think my crotch smells really sweaty and weird, how can you like that?” and he laughed and said, “It smells like sex. That’s why I like it—it turns me on.” If you are washing yourself on a regular basis and you don’t have any infections, your crotch will smell like…your particular crotch. And someone you’re sleeping with is going to be very, very into that.
Lola: If a vagina smells very fishy, or has a strong odor of any kind, it might be a symptom of a totally treatable infection like bacterial vaginosis or yeast. But! There is a huge range of smells that are normal. Almost nobody smells “bad,” but almost everyone thinks they do.