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Crimson tide rolling in and all you can think about is getting it on? Having sex on your period often gets a bad rap, but allow us to blow your mind: You can enjoy period sex and, it’s perfectly fine to have sex on your period 🤯.

So, if having sex while menstruating is something you want to do, go right ahead. In fact, a 2009 study of young women found that nearly half had had sex during menstruation.

Sex during periods may also not be your jam. And that’s also 100 percent A-OK if you prefer to stick to kissing, massages, or other forms of outercourse. (Or, you know, just take a rain check!)

But if you’re all about having sex on your period for a more colorful sexual experience, here are the good, the bad, and the messy details.

Need a little encouragement? There are some benefits to having sex during your period.

It might ease period cramps

Period cramps can be a wet blanket for making whoopee. But if you power through to a Big-O, you might find some relief.

There isn’t hard evidence saying orgasms fix cramps, per se. But orgasms do flood your bod with endorphins, which can act as a natural pain reliever. Take that, Midol!

It might make periods shorter

Orgasms make your uterus and cervix contract. Since your uterine lining is what sheds during menstruation, it’s possible that orgasms help empty it out more quickly. Shorter periods? Yes, please!

It can increase your sex drive

Sexual desire fluctuates during your cycle, and it just so happens that some of us feel our horniest during menstruation. Driver, roll up the partition, please…

Period blood is like free lube

Menstrual blood is basically a natural lubricant. OK, but isn’t having sex on your period going to be bloodier than “Saw IV”? Well, the average person loses only 1 to 6 tablespoons of menstrual fluid during a cycle. It’s really not a lot of blood.

It can ease headache pain

Remember when we said orgasms can be a pain reliever? It’s not just for cramps: One study of people with migraine and cluster headaches found that many felt relief after sexual activity. In some cases, people even felt complete relief from their head pains.

While sex during your period has some benefits, there are a few things to consider.

You can get pregnant on your period

Yes, you can get pregnant while on your period. Wait… huh?

Everyone’s menstrual cycle is a different length. Some women have short cycles and sperm can live inside the female body up to 5 days. So, it is possible to get preggo if ovulation occurs right before or right after sperm stops by to say hello.

Additionally, it’s possible to mistake vaginal bleeding while ovulating for a period — which, again, could lead to pregnancy.

The likelihood of getting pregnant on your period is low, but it’s still a risk.

The dreaded forgotten tampon

Repeat after us: I will remember to remove my tampon.

If you have penetrative sex while wearing a tampon, the tampon will get pushed against your cervix and cause discomfort or pain. It could also go MIA and up your chances of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). So please, just take your tampon out!

If you want to keep your flow in check during sex, try a period disc that can be worn during sex.

You can still get an STI

You can still transmit or contract STIs on your period from sex without a barrier method. STIs are always a risk from vaginal and oral sex without using barrier methods.

In fact, bloodborne diseases like HIV can be passed more easily when you’re menstruating. Using a barrier method such as condoms during penetrative sex or dental dams during oral sex is your best bet for protection.

Oh, and this is super important: Those sex-friendly period discs don’t protect you from STIs (or pregnancy!).

You still have to be cautious about pregnancy and STIs while having sex on your period. If you use contraception and protection just like when you’re not swimming the red tide, then period sex is still safe.

Nothing about menstruating makes sex particularly dangerous (or “dirty”). Period blood may be messy, but ultimately, it’s just another body fluid.

Ready to bring Aunt Flo into the bedroom? Here’s how to prep:

  • Consent! First things first: Talk about whether you’re both really into this! Everyone needs to consent before sex, ya know?
  • Remember to remove your tampon. Once you’ve got the green light, take out that tampon.
  • Prepare for stains. For the love of Arm & Hammer, cover your bed or floor with older bath towels or beach towels, so you don’t stain your fanciest I’m-getting-laid sheets.
  • Protect yo’self. Use a barrier method and a form of birth control if you want to avoid STIs or pregnancy.
  • Make cleanup easy. Keep tissues, baby wipes, or a wet washcloth nearby for easy cleanup.
  • Still sounds too messy? Give shower sex a go.

You don’t have to ditch sex on your period. Period sex can be safe and fun. Period. But if it doesn’t sound like fun for you or your partner, that’s OK too.

Thanks to the magic of hormonal fluctuations, some people may actually feel extra-horny during their period. Plus, period sex comes with some benefits to help ease those annoying period symptoms (looking at you, cramps and headaches!).

But like most good things, period sex has some cons. It’s totally possible to get pregnant on your period. And STIs can be transmitted during period sex, so you still need to use protection, like condoms.