Is It Safe To Have Sex While On Your Period? What The Experts Say

Sex during your period is a topic that comes up in the minds of those who menstruate at least once in their lifetime, especially if they experience an increase in libido thanks to their hormones being all over the place (more specifically, a slight surge in testosterone). 

But the obvious questions — Will it be messy? Is it safe? — will likely run through your mind. If you're in a new relationship, you might worry about your partner's comfort (or discomfort) with the idea. If you're trying to avoid pregnancy, you might be wondering if having your period is a foolproof plan not to get pregnant during unprotected sex. And what about infections?

Sex during your period cannot harm your body in any way, according to experts, but there are some considerations to keep in mind. According to board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Andrea Chisholm, while unprotected sex at all times of the month could put you in danger of contracting or spreading sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the risk is higher when you're on your period. "If you have an STI that can be spread through blood, you may put your partner at even greater risk of getting it if you have sex while on your period," she wrote for Verywell Health. So protection is key, even when you have your period. Additionally, the higher blood pH level during your period could make you susceptible to things like yeast infections, according to Healthline. So if you do have an infection, sex during your period might make things worse. That being said, there are upsides to sex during your period. 

Benefits of sex during your period

Orgasms that release endorphins in our system can relieve period cramps and headaches, which are common period symptoms for most people, per experts. As OB/GYN Dr. Aruna Kalra told Health Shots, "Serotonin and dopamine are mood-enhancing hormones, which are released while having an orgasm. These are effective in curing menstrual cramps. While having an orgasm, blood flow increases and pain tolerance goes up, so ultimately, it makes us feel happy, relaxed, warm, and sleepy."

Plus, sex during your menstruation can also feel good, because there's natural lubrication to work with. And the increase in sensitivity in your vagina can also make things feel better. But if you're used to wearing tampons while on your period (which will soak up the blood inside), there is a chance that you'll require lubrication, especially if you remove the tampon right before sex. Also with tampons, it's important to remember to remove them before attempting intercourse with your partner. You certainly don't want to shove the menstrual product further in than it needs to be. 

As for getting pregnant during your period, yes it is a possibility, say the experts, especially if you have unprotected sex toward the end of your menstruation. Sperm can stay alive in your vagina for three days after sex, plus there is also the possibility that you're miscalculating your ovulation cycle, per Healthline.

Contraception and obvious concerns like STIs and infections aside, messiness is the next big question on everyone's minds.

Concerns about the messiness of period sex

Menstruation can make sex messy, but there are ways to work around it, especially if you and your partner are on the same page. There's no need to stop having sex while on your period because of this. If you're super concerned about soiling your sheets or furniture, you can choose to have sex when your menstruation is lightest, recommended Chisholm (via Verywell Health). Wearing soft and disposable menstrual cups or even a vaginal contraceptive sponge (a birth control device that's essentially made of polyurethane foam coated with spermicide) can also reduce the amount of blood you'd be dealing with. Remove the device and the cup afterward, advised the OB/GYN.

If you don't want to bother with any of these, simply lay down some towels before sex. And keep some tissues at hand for when you may need them. Sticking to positions like missionary or even just opting to stimulate one another orally could make things less messy. Planning ahead and communicating openly with your significant other can make things feel a lot more comfortable for both of you. If all else fails, try jumping in the shower for some intimate time. The water and soap will wash away any blood and put your mind at ease if you're worried. 

As an OB/GYN at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. Carrie Coleman, told Everyday Health, "Sex is a normal part of life and should be enjoyed by all women. Basically, ensuring you have good contraception and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention throughout the menstrual cycle should make it even more safe and enjoyable."