Menstruation takes anywhere from 2 to 10 days and happens every 2 to 6 weeks. That’s a lot of time spent bleeding! It’s natural that a person would sometimes want to masturbate or have sex during these long periods of… period.
Some of us even experienced heightened desire during so-called shark week.
But how do you handle the potential mess? What do you do about sex toys? And is there anything you can do about that knee-jerk urge to go “ew, no way”?
While I can’t cover everything in a listicle, I’ve done my best to offer some good tips for your next (or your first!) menstrual merry-making.
Face the messy truth about period sex.
“There Will Be Blood” is more than an award-winning film. It’s the reality of period sex. No matter what precautions you take, there will be blood. It will leak down your thigh, it will drip on your duvet, it will get on dicks, vibrators, fingers, and elbows.
One time I found a small splatter of dried menstrual blood on my bedroom wall and realized it was from pulling a dildo out too enthusiastically.
There are, of course, menstrual cups and discs and latex period panties. But no dam is flawless. Bodies contort, pelvic muscles clench, things get jostled. Arguably the best way to have period sex is to accept that the period is part of it. The viscous fluid, the coppery taste, the musky smell.
There will be blood – and it will be fine.
Don’t forget the “being on your period” part of period sex.
Sex won’t “cure” your usual period side effects, although it can definitely help with pain relief. You’ll still need to stay hydrated, avoid caffeine (or at least skip that second cup of coffee…), avoid salt (which can worsen bloating), and do your best to get some physical activity in to help reduce cramp intensity.
Throw some period self-care into foreplay. Ask a partner for a nice belly and/or back rub. Share a decadent chocolate snack – and don’t forget to take an iron supplement to combat the dizziness. Wallow in a warm bath.
Cover your bases – literally.
Period sex can get messy, especially if your arousal produces additional fluids. To keep your sheets or carpet from getting stained, put down a large towel or a specialized blanket. Liberator makes absorbent blankets in numerous sizes, from travel throw to king size. For even greater protection, you can grab some fluid-proof sheets.
Covering your bases might include uncovering a few, too. Is your partner wearing their favorite tshirt? Might wanna keep that out of the splash zone.
Consider additional barriers.
Not sure if you or your partner(s) will be comfortable getting blood on your hands, face, or in your mouth? You can use nitrile (or latex) gloves, condoms, and dental dams to limit contact with blood. These have a practical value beyond just reducing mess: they can be discarded and replaced as you play, so you don’t have to deal with friction from tacky or flakey dried blood.
If you’re especially wary of seeing or touching blood, you might also want to consider keeping your underwear on. Sex toys with powerful vibrations – like wand vibrators – can be felt through fabric.
Have something to wipe off with.
“I’ll just wipe my hands off on the towel I’m laying on!” you might say. But what if you run out of clean corners? What if you have to get up quickly, but both hands are smeared? What if your partner needs to wipe themself off but you’re not ready to roll off the towel? Now there’s a handprint on your pillowcase and blood on the doorknob.
Use waterproof sex toys.
To save yourself a lot of hassle later, stick to sex toys that will be easy to clean. Waterproof sex toys with minimal texture, no seams, no openings, and no charge port holes are ideal. If your toy is really gunky, use hot water while washing it off.
If your favorite sex toy is an air pulsation toy like a Womanizer or Satisfyer, you’ll have to be extra careful because blood can be drawn into the nozzle. Place a dental dam over yourself and then apply the toy. This can make it trickier to get a suction seal, so make sure to put lube over both sides of the dam and press the toy firmly against yourself.
Prioritize positions that ease menstrual cramps.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget that menstruating is often very uncomfortable. That doesn’t change just because you’ve brought out the We-Vibe Wand. So before the cramps catch up and have you doubling over, try tucking into a comfortable position.
Everyone’s bodies are different, so what eases your cramps is going to vary. Some people like to lay flat on their belly with a heating pad against their gut. Some like laying on their back with their hips raised by a Liberator Wedge. An ex of mine liked having their legs held up because it relaxed their pelvic muscles. You might enjoy doggy style sex with a partner using a doggy style strap to keep a heating pad against you!
Have an aftercare plan.
There are two kinds of aftercare you need to think about: the personal and the practical.
Some of us might need some extra cuddling after the vulnerability of period sex. What kind of attention, reassurance, or space will you and your partner(s) need from each other? Will period sex or masturbation necessitate a snack afterwards?
What are you going to do directly after sex or masturbation? Are the blankets going right into the washing machine? Are you planning to shower off? Are your bloody toys being left unwashed until tomorrow?
Be honest about your boundaries.
There’s a lot of stigma around period sex. It takes time to unlearn all the negative messaging we’ve grown up with and continue to read and hear. If you’re worried it’s going to be “gross,” it’s important that you think about why you think a bodily function is “gross.” Periods are messy, but they’re not dirty.
That being said, blood is a pretty common source of discomfort for people. You don’t have to have period sex, even if you’re sex positive. (Sex positive means embracing the vastness of consensual sexual expression – and that vastness includes people choosing not to do something.) If you do have period sex, it’s okay to have boundaries about how much interaction you’re having with blood. Hands and sex toys only? Oral only if there’s a dental dam?It’s also okay if you need some time to get used to it. Feel free to start with short explorations. If you’re masturbating, try it out in the shower where blood is washed away as soon as it arrives. If you’re having sex with partner(s), try mutual masturbation, where you’re each handling your own bodies. You can graduate to more hands-on (and hands wet) pleasure as you go.