Sex on Your Period

A nude woman lying on a bed with a red blanket covering her butt.

It is common for people to avoid engaging in sexual activities during menstruation. Menstrual blood, tampons, sanitary pads, or other menstrual products can potentially make partners feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. There are also certain religions and beliefs that during menstruation, females are “unclean.”  However, there can be benefits to having sex during menstruation and many crafty ways to avoid the mess. When practiced safely, sex during menstruation is a safe, natural act and causes no harm to either partner.

Before Having Sex on Your Period

During any sexual encounter, it is essential to ensure that your partner is comfortable and has given consent. Communication between partners is absolutely crucial to having a safe, enjoyable, and pleasurable sexual experience. Before you and your partner get too intimate, you should inform them that you are menstruating. Many partners will not mind, but it is best to communicate about it regardless, in case your partner prefers not to engage in certain sexual activities. Even if your partner is comfortable with it, having a discussion about it can help you to prepare and be more comfortable in that moment. Later in this article we will give you some tips on how to avoid a potential mess and stains. If one partner is not keen on the idea of having sex during menstruation, then you can use this time to discuss the idea and understand why the partner is uncomfortable. It is completely okay to not want to have sex while you or your partner are menstruating, but it is important to discuss those reasons with your partner. This article will also explore plenty of other ways to pleasure your partner and yourself that do not involve sexual intercourse.

The Benefits of Having Sex During Menstruation

It is common for females to feel more aroused during the first few days of menstruation due to hormonal changes, which can make the experience more rewarding for both partners. Additionally, many women who engage in sex during menstruation report that their menstruation seems to end earlier than if they had not had sexual intercourse. This could be explained by the fact that muscle spasms of orgasm allow menstrual flow to come out more quickly than usual. Furthermore, the hormones that your body releases during sex (such as oxytocin) help relieve the menstrual cramps, mood swings, sadness, low energy levels, and irritability associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).1 Menstrual fluid can also act as a great natural lubricant.1

The Risks of Having Sex During Menstruation

A female can get pregnant at any point during her menstrual cycle, even on her period. Although it is less likely to occur during your period than during ovulation, it is still possible.  If you are trying to avoid pregnancy, it is important to continue using at least one form of birth control. However, it is always recommended to combine two forms of birth control, such as a barrier method and a hormonal method.

It is also extremely important to use at least one form of protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during every sexual encounter, such as the male condom. During menstruation, the cervical opening (also called the “os”) expands to allow blood flow.2  This creates an easier pathway for bacteria and viruses to travel into the female’s uterus and pelvic regions and transmit an STI. Also, the vagina is less acidic at this time, which puts the female at a greater risk of a yeast or bacterial infection.2

Tips on How to Avoid a Mess During Sex

A simple, common way to avoid a mess during sexual intercourse is to place a towel or cloth underneath the female when she is lying down. A dark towel is ideal. Many people are surprised to see just how little blood actually comes out! It is also possible to have sex in other positions, such as with the female on top, but there may be more blood due to gravity. In any of these positions, it is a good idea to keep some soft tissues or a small cloth nearby just in case.

A shower head releasing water.

Another great way to enhance cleanliness is to have sex in the shower. Not only can this introduce novelty and excitement into your sex life, the water will also help wash away any menstrual blood. Since water can wash away the natural lubrication of the vagina, it might be a good idea to use a lubricant.

If you use sanitary pads, there is also the option of leaving your underwear and pad on during sex and just pushing them to the side. It may be a good idea to put on a fresh pad before engaging in sex. The pad helps absorb any menstrual flow that may come out, and it even has the added bonus of making the vagina feel tighter to a male partner as he rubs against it.

Diaphragms, contraceptive sponges, or menstrual cups that do not have a stem can also be used to help lessen menstrual flow leakage.

Alternatives to Penetration During Your Period

If you and your partner are not interested in penetration during menstruation, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy each other!

Clitoral Stimulation

The clitoris is an erogenous zone located at the top of the vulva, above the vaginal opening. It contains 8,000 nerve endings, and many women find stimulation of the clitoris to be extremely arousing and pleasureable.3 A menstruating female can insert a tampon if there is concern about menstrual fluid leakage. Stimulation of the clitoris is a way to have virtually mess-free sexual play.

Sex Toys

A variety of black butt plugs.

If you and your partner do not want to engage in genital-genital contact, the use of sex toys, such as dildos and vibrators, can aid in direct genital stimulation. They can also be used to stimulate the anus. Make sure the toys are properly cleaned before and after every use. If you switch between the vaginal area and the anal area, make sure to clean the toy thoroughly between every switch. Toys such as dildos can also be covered with a condom. Make sure to use a new condom for every use, and a new condom every time you switch between the anal and vaginal areas to reduce the spread of bacteria. Transferring bacteria from the anus to the vagina can lead to serious infections.

A partner can perform cunnilingus, which is oral stimulation of the vagina, on a menstruating female with the help of a dental dam. A dental dam is a thin piece of latex or silicon rubber that is placed on the vulva or anus. Dental dams are typically available at your local drugstore, but if they are not then you can cut one out of a male or female condom. This barrier may help a person feel more comfortable stimulating their partner while they are menstruating. Dental dams also help protect against the spread of many STIs.

Anal Play

Anal intercourse or non-penetrative anal play can be an alternative to vaginal penetration. Again, as with any sexual encounter, it is important to communicate with your partner to ensure that there is clear and confirmed consent. With any type of anal play it is important to use a condom (if it involves a penis or sex toy) and lots of lubrication. This is due to the fact that small tears in the delicate anal tissue can allow for easy transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and viruses, including HIV.

Cunnilingus With a Dental Dam

Two persons laying down. The man is shirtless and holding onto the other person's leg.

A partner can perform cunnilingus, which is oral stimulation of the vagina, on a menstruating female with the help of a dental dam. A dental dam is a thin piece of latex or silicon rubber that is placed on the vulva or anus. Dental dams are typically available at your local drugstore, but if they are not then you can cut one out of a male or female condom. This barrier may help a person feel more comfortable stimulating their partner while they are menstruating. Dental dams also help protect against the spread of many STIs.

Stimulating Other Body Parts

A person holding sliced watermelon fruit in front of their breasts.

The body contains many erogenous zones that are very sensitive and when touched in a sexual manner, can be very arousing. The obvious erogenous zones are around the genitals, but other areas such as the breasts, neck, feet, thighs, and back can be stimulating as well. There are fun and sexy games you can play as you explore your partner’s body. Massage can also be used to stimulate these areas of the body. Giving or receiving a massage is a great way to build intimacy in a relationship, and to feel physically close to a partner without having sex.


A couple of people tounge-kissing.

Kissing is also a great way to connect with your partner without having penetrative sexual intercourse. In addition to mouth-mouth kissing, a partner can kiss any other part of their partner’s body, as described in the previous section.

Dry Sex

Dry sex is also known as “dry humping” or “outercourse”. Partners can engage in dry sex with or without clothes on, as long as no bodily fluids are exchanged. Typically during dry sex, partners rub their genitals against each other in a pleasurable way without any penetration. Dry sex can be an exciting and erotic experience for both partners, and it can even lead to orgasm. It is a great way to arouse one another without having to worry about blood.

Stimulation of the Non-Menstruating Partner

If one or both partners are not comfortable having sex while one of them is menstruating, they may find that it is a good time to focus on the non-menstruating partner’s pleasure. This agreement requires communication so that one partner does not feel like their needs are being ignored. The menstruating female can manually or orally stimulate their partner. Sensual massage techniques can also be used during focused stimulation of a partner’s genitals.

Concluding Remarks

It is completely safe and healthy to have sex while a partner is menstruating. There are ways to minimize any potential mess from the leakage of menstrual fluid. If period sex is not for you, then there are many other ways to be sexually stimulated with a partner that do not involve direct contact with the vagina. Make sure to click on the pink highlighted words throughout this article to explore the topics in more detail, and take a look around the rest of our site! If you have any questions that have not been addressed in our articles, then please check out our Popular Questions page or submit a question to us directly through the Ask the Sexperts feature!


1. Spechler, Diana.“How to Have Sex During Your Period.” Women’s Health. Web. 1 March 2013.

2. “Stop the Period to Have Sex or Have Sex During Period.” New Health Advisor. Web. Nd.

3. Gordon, Allan. “Description of the Clitoris.” Springer. Web.

Last Updated: 21 October 2016.