There are few sex acts as divisive as period sex. Some people are so put off by it that they’ll cancel a date if impending blood is so much as hinted at. Others love the jubilant messiness of menstruation, the extra lubrication it supplies or the boosted sensitivity it can bring. And for a lot folks, period sex is just another kind of sex — not good, not bad, just neutral.
Personally, as someone who menstruates and has a medium-to-high libido, I’ve come to realize that period sex matters a lot to me. I’ve had partners who’d outright reject me at that time, declaring blood-soaked sex a hard limit of theirs, which is totally reasonable. But I’ve learned, through much trial and error, that this attitude is a dating dealbreaker for me. I only want to have sex with people who make me feel desirable all month long, no matter what’s going on with my body, and who see this natural biological process as normal, or even sexy.
Of course, people on the “anti” side of the menstrual-sex debate — both menstruators themselves and those who sleep with them — are absolutely entitled to their opinions and their boundaries, and should never be pressured into doing something they don’t wanna do. But since you’re reading this, I assume you have at least a passing interest in period sex, and want to learn more about making it as fun and hot as it can be.
A couple caveats before we continue. Yes, pregnancy is still a possibility during your period, and yes, you can still get and transmit STIs. So if you use condoms or other safer-sex measures normally, you should be using those during period sex, too.
With that in mind, let’s talk about period sex: the pros, the cons and what products make it less of a mess and more of a joy.
What Makes Period Sex Different?
Blood. I mean, obviously. Period sex is messy — the blood can stain your sheets, smear on your skin and even permanently discolor some sex toys. The good news is that you can address this issue by simply laying down a dark-colored towel before you start — not only to catch any drips, but also for you to wipe your hands (or other body parts) on as needed. If you’re worried about ruining a toy, you can put a condom on it before you use it — although toys made of non-porous materials, such as silicone, glass, metal and hard plastic, won’t tend to stain in the first place.
One benefit of period sex is that when blood’s a-flowin’, you may not need as much (or any) lube. That said, it is possible to experience higher levels of vaginal irritation or inflammation during menstruation, so you might want to keep some lube at the ready anyway.
Cramps. Many people feel throbbing and aching around their lower abdomen and/or lower back during their period, which can make it hard to focus on pleasure and relaxation. Assuming the cramping isn’t too extreme, though (and if it is, you should speak to your doctor), an over-the-counter pain medication will usually bring it down to a manageable level.
Notably, orgasms are also great pain relievers, because they release natural feel-good chemicals like dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin into the body. So when you bring a menstruating person to climax, congrats — you’re basically Patch Adams.
Cervix Position. The cervix is the small passageway connecting the vagina to the uterus, which menstrual blood and (sometimes) babies pass through. It changes position slightly throughout the hormonal cycle, and is at its lowest point while you’re menstruating. Many people find it uncomfortable to have their cervix bumped into, or touched at all, so you may need to try various different positions to find one that’s comfortable at that time. Or you could just skip penetrative sex altogether, and stick to external stuff like oral and using clit vibrators.
Breast Pain. Some people’s boobs get sore and tender right before their period, due to hormonal changes, and this discomfort might continue for a few days or more. So if you’re normally a fan of breast stimulation — like gentle kissing and licking, or more extreme activities like breast-slapping or using nipple clamps — you might want to avoid it until the pain subsides.
That said, some find that extra boob sensitivity feels good — to each titty its own.
Self-Image. Some people who menstruate, though certainly not all, may feel insecure, ugly and gross during their period — whether due to the blood coming out of them, mood swings, bloating or some combination of factors. This feeling might be so intense as to make them not want to have sex during their period at all, which is fair. But I can say from experience that this self-doubt can sometimes be allayed by a partner who’s vocally enthusiastic about your body, even when it’s bleeding. A well-timed “I want you so bad” or “I can’t wait to taste you” can make all the difference. Obviously, though, no still means no.
Now that I’ve got your blood pumping, let’s talk about how to make period sex hotter, cleaner, less stressful and more pleasurable. Here are some of the absolute best products for sex at that time of the month — period.
If you’ve got a thick, dark-colored towel that you don’t mind ruining, it’s totally fine to just lay that down on the bed before you get busy. But if you’d rather use something purpose-specific, there’s always the Liberator Throw.
It’s a blanket designed for sex. A waterproof inner layer keeps blood, lube and other fluids from soaking through to your sheets, and the velvety fabric on the outside feels luxurious and sensual to the touch. When you’re done, you can toss it in the washing machine.
I would especially recommend this product if you or your partner are prone to squirting — the mix of blood and ejaculate can leave your bed looking like a crime scene without one of these. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’ve rarely felt more loved and spoiled than when a partner’s given me a full-body massage during my period; it helps me feel relaxed and desired, at a time when I’m normally feeling the exact opposite.
This candle’s “wax” melts into a jojoba-based massage oil when it’s lit. Just drip it onto your partner’s skin and get to rubbin’ (you can lay down the aforementioned towel or Liberator Throw beforehand if you want to keep massage oil off your sheets). The fragrant combo of amber, cedar, clove and lemongrass is soothing and helps me feel sexy, instead of gross and sad.
I don’t know about you, but after sex (especially good sex), I usually just want to lie there and drift off to sleep. It’s annoying AF to have to get up and rinse off any blood residue in the sink or shower. Keeping a package of wipes by the bed, however, lets you skip that hassle and focus on savoring the afterglow.
These wipes are pH-balanced and aloe-infused, so they’ll spare you the genital irritation some wipes can cause. Put some in your nightstand so you can clean up quick and cuddle after sex instead of having to drag your ass to the bathroom.
Nitrile or latex gloves are sometimes recommended as a safer-sex measure, because they prevent STI transmission that could happen if you have any little cuts or nicks on your hands. But even if that’s not a concern of yours, dark-colored disposable gloves can be a good addition to period sex if you’re a fan of fingering (or fisting).
When you want to move onto something else, you can just take your glove off and throw it away, rather than having to wash your hands to prevent accidentally getting a bloody handprint on your sheets, headboard or wall (hey, it happens). And because these are black, they make the blood harder to see, which could alleviate self-consciousness and keep you focused on pleasure.
Lube isn’t always strictly necessary for period sex, because again, the blood adds substantial slipperiness into the equation. But there’s really no such thing as too much lube.
This one has aloe in it, which can ease any genital irritation that might be going on during menstruation. It’s pH-balanced for the vagina so as to prevent infections, too, and can be used with any kind of sex toy. It’s a fantastic lube to use at any time of the month, but especially when your vag is angry and sore and you want something super-soothing.
Ever heard of menstrual cups like the DivaCup? This thing is similar, except it’s actually a “menstrual disc.” It has a flattened-out shape and is made of softer silicone than most cups. This makes it more comfortable for some users, and also means that you may be able to have penetrative sex while it’s inside you, resulting in less mess.
I’d still lay down a towel or a Throw (see above) before attempting this, though, because cups are far from foolproof. And be sure to use a lot of water-based lube (like the Aloe Cadabra), so that you slip ‘n’ slide against the silicone disc rather than scraping against it.
A warm bath can be a welcome respite from period pain. It’s also a great place to masturbate or have sex while you’re menstruating, because the water washes away any mess.
Taking that principle to the next level, this inventive plastic trough is designed to be tied onto your bath faucet with an included ribbon, so that it can divert the stream of water directly onto your clit. Getting off using the power of water pressure is a time-honored tradition for many people, and this $30 piece of plastic makes it much more comfortable to do so.
You can use the WaterSlyde solo, or a partner can join you in the tub to play with your nipples, whisper filthy things in your ear or whatever else feels good while you let the bath faucet do its thing.
Sometimes period sex requires some creative positioning, whether due to a hypersensitive cervix, achy muscles or just not wanting to douse your entire bed in blood. Missionary might be your best bet if you’re concerned about spillage, because the angle of it can keep blood contained while you’re fuckin’ — and that’s even more true if you use a positioning aid like the Liberator Jaz.
This firm-yet-forgiving piece of microfiber-covered foam makes plenty of positions comfier and more sustainable. For instance, you can slide it under your hips, or your partner’s, to adapt missionary into a different angle that’s less likely to let blood spill out. When you’re finished, you can zip off the Jaz’s lining and machine-wash it.
The legendary Magic Wand is, in many ways, the perfect vibrator to use during your period. It’s big enough for all-over body massage if you’re feeling achy. Its broad head can be pressed into your lower belly to relieve cramps. It’s even strong enough to be used through a menstrual pad and underwear, should it come to that. (I sometimes feel squicked out at the thought of touching my own junk while I’m on my period, so it’s nice to get some distance from it and still be able to get off.)
This vibrator is so good that you’ll likely love it at other times of the month, too. It really is “magic”!