Your period can do many things: ruin your underwear, inspire works of art, and…boost your sex life? Sounds crazy, but it’s true. “Having sex while menstruating isn’t weird, uncommon, unhygienic, or unsafe,” says Sadie Allison, Ph.D., author of Ride 'Em Cowgirl! Sex Position Secrets for Better Bucking. Even better, it can help you bond with your partner. Try these tips to turn that time into the month into something you—and your vagina—can look forward to.
(Want to seriously turn up the heat on your sex life? The Women's Health Big Book of Sex has tons of tips and tricks you're definitely going to want to test out for yourself. *Winkyface*)
Sure, it makes sense to minimize the mess by doing things like laying down a dark towel. Bedding isn’t cheap! But sex can be a little chaotic during the most normal of sessions, so getting it on with Aunt Flo as a companion practically guarantees a bit of bloodshed. Instead of being embarrassed, try to think of it as hot proof that you’re doing something that can be seen a a little taboo.
“Doing things that feel forbidden can be a turn on,” says Megan Fleming, Ph.D., sex and relationship expert. “When you’re doing something transgressive, it can induce physiological effects like your heart rate going up.” Your body can interpret that as either anxiety or excitement, depending in part on how you frame the situation mentally. To that end, think of yourself as a badass who’s breaking her previous sex rules, then keep at it. And don’t worry about him freaking out at the sight of some blood. “If he’s game to have sex on your period, he already knows that might happen,” says Fleming.
“Sex is not all about penetration,” says Allison. "Break out the tongue." Anatomy-wise, your clitoris hangs out up to two inches above your vagina. If he aims his efforts there, chances are he won’t taste a hint of blood. If you want to take an extra precaution, turn to a tampon. “The best position would be on your back, as gravity would be in your favor if there did happen to be leakage,” says Alison.
Whether you’ve been a couple forever or are in a brand-new relationship, taking challenging risks together can bring you closer. “Pushing your boundaries in a relationship is like being up on a tightrope together,” says Fleming. “You’re doing something unknown, and it feels a little edgy. That quality can make the sex that much more exciting.” The best part of it is that a good partner will be the emotional equivalent of a safety net under that tightrope. If you’re overcome with mortification at any point in the experience, he should reassure you that it’s all good.
While doing the deed on your period can feel like a sexy risk, be sure to keep it from becoming an actual health risk: Use a condom if you’re not trying this out in a monogamous relationship where you’ve both been tested. As a bonus, the condom will help keep you from getting pregnant (because yes, you can even on your period), and he’ll be able to roll off the rubber and commence the cuddling ASAP instead of cleaning himself off.
Although menstrual cups aren’t necessarily new on the scene, many women still don’t know they’re an option. “They tuck in under your cervix to catch and hold the menstrual flow,” says Allison. Some aren’t for penetration, but others, like Softcup are A-okay for P in V. And even if some blood does sneak out, it’s no big deal. “It’s really just a little harmless color and extra lube,” says Allison.
Talk about getting wet and wild! Combining your period with shower sex not only protects your bedsheets from any accidental blood stains, it expedites the clean-up process and can make you feel more at ease with what’s going on. Another point in the period-shower sex column is that while the water would normally wash your natural lubrication away, your period blood will be there to help keep things slick, says Fleming. For the sake of a smooth ride, it’s still smart to keep too much water from coming into contact with your nether regions. You can even apply a bit of lube in the shower, says Fleming. Just don’t go overboard—a broken bone doesn’t make for a good boning session.