Some people regularly practice sex during menstruation, and some avoid it at all costs. What are health effects of having sex on your period?
First of all, period sex is not a perversion: there are a lot of women who say that they feel more sexually aroused during menstruation, and sexual activity during this time of the month is especially pleasurable for them. There are also men who are so much carried away with desire that they don’t mind the mess and do not find sex during menstruation ‘gross’ and ‘dirty’. Women who have to use lubricants because of dryness during sex might not need them as the menstrual flow can serve as extra lubrication. What’s more, two important things happen when you have an orgasm. First, your body releases powerful hormones that relieve menstrual cramps. Second, your uterus contracts and expels greater amounts of blood and uterine lining so that your period gets shorter.
Chances to get pregnant during your period are low, and some women see period sex as an opportunity to forget about contraception. However, sperm cells are known to be able to survive in woman’s body for several days: if your ovulation comes earlier than expected, this might result in pregnancy. Thus, if it’s out of the question for you to get pregnant, you should not stop using contraception during your periods.
There are also ways to make you period sex less messy. You can wear a special female condom that holds the blood back; only have sex in the missionary position that limits blood flow, or postpone having sex until the end of the period to make sure that the flow is lighter.
Some doctors, however, oppose regular sex during menstruation. They point out that vaginal walls swell up during menstruation, and sexual intercourse might lead to their irritation. The pH level of fluids inside your vagina rises during your period and you get more prone to vaginal yeast infection. Your cervix slightly opens during menstruation so that viruses and germs can get inside your uterus (and there is also an assumption that menstruation may lower your immunity).
It should also be said that sex during menstruation might increase your risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. For this reason, it is recommended that you only practice period sex with a single, constant partner. If you are still going to have sex during your period with a partner whose STI status you don’t know, use a condom. (It is wise, however, to be on the safe side and always use condoms with new partners).
Last but not least, there are women who are especially prone to having urinary tract infections (which can be extremely unpleasant) as a result of having intercourse during their period. As your urethra is really close to the opening of your vagina, small quantities of menstrual blood infected with bacteria can get inside your urinary tract and cause a lot of trouble. (The same goes for men: doctors recommend that both you and your partner take a shower and urinate right after period sex).