Feeling more “ooh la la” and less “uuuugh” during that time of the month?

It’s actually totally normal to feel unsexy or super horny when Aunt Flo’s in town.

Here’s what’s going on and how to go with the flow (or not, if period sex isn’t your thing).

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Photography by Megan Madden. Prop Styling by Sara Schipani

Several factors come into play when you’ve got that bloody urge to get it on. Here are some common theories.

Hormones

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels ebb and flow during your menstrual cycle, which affects your sex drive.

During your period, estrogen drops and then rises a few days into your flow, potentially upping your frisk factor. Meanwhile, progesterone (which causes unsexy feels) stays low.

Testosterone also makes you hornier, but it’s more prevalent around ovulation and peak fertility (roughly 2 weeks before your period).

Low (pregnancy) stress

Knowing you’re less likely to get pregnant on your period can cause a wave of relief. This sense of safety may make you feel more in the mood. (Just remember: Pregnancy is unlikely but not impossible.)

Nerve stimulation

Theoretically, because your uterus expands during your period, it can press on different pelvic nerves and trigger arousal. However, more concrete research is needed to find out whether this plays a role in stimulating your sexual desire.

While there are many things we can chalk up to hormones (looking at you, acne), a high libido on your period isn’t always one of them.

While hormones may play a part, everyone’s levels vary. Plus, other factors — such as vaginal lubrication, relationship satisfaction, mood, and birth control — can affect your degree of horniness.

Ultimately, your horny feels come down to personal preference and desire. There’s no right or wrong time to want sex during your cycle.

The hot goss is that birth control crushes libido. But in reality, birth control may or may not affect your sex drive — during your period or at any other time.

Hormonal birth control (especially the pill) can impact sexy-time hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. But different types of BC contain different levels and types of hormones that don’t affect everyone the same way.

Basically, the science is pretty split on birth control and sex drive. It seems to depend on the person and the type of birth control.

Feeling horny doesn’t directly impact how your menstrual cycle works, but giving in to your desires during the red tide *might* help shorten your period.

It’s not an exact science, but orgasms get the blood flowing to your nether regions. And contractions from an orgasm may help speed up the whole uterine-lining-shedding situation (aka your period).

Absolutely! Having sex during your period — either with a partner or solo — can be great.

Getting off could have some serious period symptom relief benefits, including:

But does period sex have its pitfalls? Sure. Keep these FYIs in mind:

Wanna take a trip to Pleasure Town with Aunt Flo? Here are some of our top tips for fun and safe period sex:

  • Get everyone on board before you get it on. It’s important that you and your partner are on the same page about surfing the red tide.
  • Be prepared for stains. There will be blood. Cover your bed with an old towel or blanket to keep your sheets spot-free. It can also help to keep wet wipes, tissues, or a damp cloth on hand for in-the-moment cleanup.
  • Move your groove to the shower. If you wanna steam things up sans the bloody mess, shower sex is a great way to save your sheets and make cleanup a breeze.
  • Try a menstrual disc. OK, we said it’ll get messy, but (mostly) mess-free period sex can be possible with a period disc. Give one a whirl if you’re worried about your sheets and the post-sex mess.
  • Use a barrier. Sure, you’re less likely to get pregnant on your period. But there’s still a chance of pregnancy, and you could still transmit or contract an STI. Barrier methods (like condoms) can help prevent pregnancy and STI transmission.
  • Take out your tampon! If tampons are your preferred period product, be sure to remove yours prior to sexy time to avoid pain, discomfort, or TSS.
  • When in doubt, rub one out. If period sex isn’t your (or your partner’s) thing, take matters into your own hands. Masturbation can satisfy those horny feels, and it may also ease period cramps (score!).

Feeling super horny when you’re on your period is perfectly normal. While the exact reason isn’t known, a boost in frisky feelings could come from hormonal changes, the sweet relief of reduced pregnancy risk, or nerve stimulation.

Your birth control may also play a part in your sex drive levels, but researchers are still figuring that one out.

Remember: There’s no right or wrong time during your cycle to feel horny. Horniness hits on your period? Great! Afterward? Get it!

Simply put, you do you (or someone else) whenever it feels right.