Confession time: I was not down with period sex for a long time. Like, as long as I’d been having both periods and sex at the same time — or rather, having periods and not having sex during them. Why? Because gross. And because messy sheets. And because most guys are squicked out about it…or so I thought.
It turns out, I learned from a particularly patient and awesome partner, that actually the sex part of period sex is enough for some (maybe even most? I don’t know, I’m not a scientist) men to risk a little additional slipping and sliding. Essentially, period sex is just not the big, gross ordeal I was conditioned to believe it was.
However! Period sex does come with a lot of additional considerations. So, if you’re thinking about giving it a go, here are a few items to mull over:
1. Your sheets. Your sheets are probably the biggest concern because linens are expensive and for most of us, doing laundry is a real pain in the ass. But surely, you have at least one cruddy towel you use when you color your hair, right? Lay that baby down, and you should come away with a nice, clean bed situation.
You can also try basically any position that doesn’t put you on your back, which will considerably cut down on the messiness of the act.
Another option? Do it in the shower. You get the benefits of instant clean-up, plus the added bonus of fun shower times with your mate.
2. Cramps. Cramps (and bloating, and acne, and other period troubles) can make you feel downright unbone-able and totally not in the mood. But you know what helps with cramps and makes your skin look better and helps you sweat it out? Gettin’ busy.
When you’re doing the deed during that Special Week, set aside extra time for foreplay — particularly below-the-belt foreplay. You’re going to need to get warmed up a little, so go slowly until you’re where you need to be.
3. The Yuck Factor. Like I said, I was thoroughly skeeved out by the idea of period sex because, you know, we live in a culture of bodily shame that makes us all believe that our periods render us toxic waste plants of vile putridity. But this is not the case! Periods are kind of not really that gross! They are just things our bodies do!
And if we’re being perfectly honest, sex is kind of gross when you think about how it’s two sweaty bodies bumping into each other until they both emit fluids. So…if you’re OK with sex, you should probably be OK with sex plus periods.
4. Pregnancy and STIs. Don’t be dull. You know better than to think that being on the rag is enough to keep you from getting knocked up or contracting an STI. If you’re having penetrative hetero sex, you can contract something or get pregnant. Wrap it up if you’re not using a back-up method. In fact, wrap it up either way, because it aids in…
5. Clean-up. Assuming you have skipped over my excellent sex-in-the-shower advice, clean-up can be kind of tricky. But as long as you come prepared, you should be all set.
Take a trip to your local drugstore and head to either the toilet paper or the tampon aisle. In the toilet paper aisle, you’ll find what is a pretty basic selection of adult baby wipes. These wet wipes are awesome for your impending game of Red Rover, because they won’t get all sticky and gross.
Or, you can visit the aisle with all the feminine hygiene products. There, you will weep silently to yourself as you see what is truly an explosion of depression, shame-based products (see above point about bodily shame) designed to inform women that their Netherlands are never to be seen, smelled, or even acknowledged unless they are scented like rain and gardenias. You could buy some of these, too, if you love gardenias.
Keep them by your bed. Done and done.
6. The conversation. If you and your partner have never talked about it before when you find yourself in the throes of passion, there’s a split-second where you’re completely in charge. Yes, you need to need to confess that there’s something going on in your undergarments, but! If this isn’t something you’ve tackled together (and you aren’t sure how he feels), take some simple advice I got from “The O.C.:” Confidence.
Instead of apologizing or asking permission, be straightforward. You’re flowin’, you still want to have sex, and if he’s down, it’s on. Then, let him decide. But assure him that you’ve got everything you need, that you’re not grossed out (we talked about that!), and that he probably won’t even really notice a difference.
Period sex is just like regular sex except with a little bit of a different hue to it. But the moral of the story if that if you’re into and your partner is into it, there’s no reason for you to abstain for a week while you derive pleasure solely from frozen desserts and reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy.” You’re still a human person on your period. You can still do all the human person things you enjoy.
[Photo from Shutterstock]