A Period Piece

I love having sex when I’m on my period because I’m always really horny. Are there things I should be doing to be as safe as when I’m having regular sex?
—Sexy Period

For the most part, safe period sex is the same as safe regular sex.

As a general rule, condoms are recommended during all penetrative sex. During vaginal sex, there’s a risk of STI transmission through vaginal and ejaculatory fluids. While on your period, an extra fluid is present and can increase that risk.

Menstrual fluid can also make it more difficult to tell if you’re irritated or bleeding from penetration, and any irritation or small tear can be an entry point to STIs. Your cervix, which is the entrance to your uterus, is also more open which can increase the chance of bacteria entering the uterus.

It’s not all bad news, however, since the extra fluid from your period can mean more lubrication, which can make penetration easier by reducing friction and preventing those same irritations.

While unlikely, there is still a risk of pregnancy while on your period. Sperm can survive for up to 72 hours and, depending where you are in your cycle, some people mistake spotting for still being on their period.

If you’re doing other things leading up to penetration, remember that minimal contact with menstrual fluid is safest.

If you like being fingered or manually stimulated, your partner can wear latex gloves. If you like being orally stimulated, you can use a dental dam and you can try keeping a tampon or menstrual cup in if
the stimulation is mostly external and you want to prevent the flow of fluid.

You can even find black latex gloves or dental dams if either of you is uncomfortable with seeing too much fluid.

Aside from physical safer sex practices, you and your partner’s comfort will play a role in how safe you both feel. Before having sex on your period with a partner, it can help to talk about what each of you is and isn’t comfortable doing and if there are ways to increase that comfort.

Some people like minimal menstrual fluid, while some don’t mind it, and others love it. It’s good to know where each of you falls.

If you want to avoid making too much of a mess, you can stick to lighter days in your cycle. You can also put down a towel and keep another wet towel close to wipe up after.

Some people really like having sex in the shower when they’re on their period so that they don’t have to worry about making a mess.

You can also keep whatever menstrual method you use in place during foreplay up until the time comes for penetration. Condoms can help with easier clean up since your partner is likely to have less fluid on them.

When it comes to positioning, missionary can be a good one to prevent outflow but there’s no need to avoid certain positions if you’re both comfortable. It’s also worth mentioning that some positions that penetrate more deeply, such as ones from behind, could be uncomfortable during your period since your cervix is softer and may be sensitive.

If you and your partner are both comfortable, then period sex can be both safe and a lot of fun. As you mentioned, some women get hornier during their period and there can be some great benefits to being sexually active during your cycle—with or without a partner.

Orgasms can be a natural and awesome way to reduce menstrual cramps and physical discomfort, so doing whatever gets you there during your period can also be a great tool!

—Melissa Fuller @mel_full

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