“Can you have sex during menstruation/periods? Is it safe to have unprotected sex during period? Will I get pregnant if I have unprotected sex during my periods?” I get such questions from at least 1 in 5 women who I see at my clinic, says Dr. Deepa Ganesh, one of the top gynecologists in Chennai. Here is all what you as a woman need to know about sex during menstruation.
Before getting into the topic details, you first need to know what causes periods in a woman. Every girl/woman who has reached puberty starts her periods. Menstrual cycle typically lasts for 28 days in most girls or women. In the middle of the cycle, an egg is released by the ovaries and the egg waits for 24 hours for a sperm to fertilize it. Also, during this time, a thin layer grows inside the uterus along its inner wall. This is called ‘Endometrial layer’. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm, the fertilized egg will be anchored in the endometrial layer for further development. If the egg is not fertilized within its waiting period, it is absorbed into the body or passed out. After two weeks after the egg’s waiting time, the inner lining of the uterus disintegrates and falls off through the vagina along with some blood. This is termed as menstruation or periods in a woman. The duration of menstruation ranges from 3 to 5 days and is associated with severe cramps, lower back ache and discharge of blood mixed with endometrial layer.
First let’s look at the benefits of having sex during periods
- Your periods time may be shortened.
Having sex during periods may induce more contractions to the uterus, especially if you orgasm. These contractions can help pushing more endometrial layer out shortening the typical 5 day period. Shorter periods means shorter time to go through period cramps.
- Relief from menstrual cramps
Having sex can trigger release of feel good hormones called ‘endorphins’. They make you feel good and help in having temporary relief from painful period cramps.
- Increased sex drive
Women usually have higher sex drive during ovulation. This is a natural response of the body that tells you to have sex so that the released egg fertilizes with the sperm. Some women can have higher sex drive during menstruation and having sex at this time can be even more enjoyable.
- More pleasure with extra lube
The blood that is supposed to be pushed out acts as an extra lube during sex and that can give more pleasure to you and your partner during the act.
- Helps relieve migraine headache
Women who have migraine suffer from severe migraine headache during their periods. As per a study it has shown that menstrual migraine headaches subside or even completely go away by having sex during periods.
Drawbacks of having sex during periods
The biggest drawback of sex during periods is the ‘bloody mess’ that is created. Sure, your man’s manhood will be soaked in blood, blood can leak onto the sheets, making it a little messy than having sex during normal times. If you are more conscious about the blood during sex, it can take out the pleasure part out the act defeating the whole purpose of having sex.
If you have any sexually transmitted infection (bacterial or viral), you can be 99.99% sure of passing it onto your partner if he is not wearing a condom. Wearing a condom can only reduce the odds by a great extent but doesn’t prevent from acquiring STDs.
Remember to remove your menstrual cup or tampon before having sex. Menstrual cup may be an obvious thing that you will remove but if you forget to remove the tampon, it might get pushed into the uterus and you may have to see a gynecologist near you to remove it.
Can you get pregnant if you have sex during menstruation?
Short answer is ‘No’. The chances of you getting pregnant for having sex during your period are very less but not zero! Very rarely there is a chance of you getting pregnant. Here are few things to keep in mind.
If you have sex while your menstruation is almost done, the sperm can still stay back in your body. Sperm can stay alive in a woman’s body for up to 7 days. If your body releases an egg within these 7 days after your periods, there is a chance that you will get pregnant. However, considering the 28 days typical menstrual cycle in many women, the chances of getting pregnant are very miniscule.
If you want to be sure not to get pregnant, tell your partner to use a condom.
Care to take when planning to have sex during your periods
- If you use tampons, make sure you remove it.
- Wash your vagina with chemical free soap and water well. This can help remove any stink and keep it clean at least before the beginning of the act.
- Spread a towel or a cloth on your sheets so that your sheets don’t get stained in blood. Blood stains are easily seen on light coloured clothes; prefer to use dark coloured ones.
- Keep wet or dry napkins closer to you, just in case, you want to wipe off anything during or after the act.
- You may tell your partner to use a condom if both of you prefer. (Some couple may want to go skin to skin during this time and that’s completely ok if you are sure that your partner is free of any STD and if you can take a very tiny risk of getting pregnant.)
- Feedback is very important. If you are not comfortable with anything that your partner is doing, you need to tell him. If you are not comfortable with your sex position, don’t hesitate to try a different one, after all, pleasure is your ultimate goal of getting intimate.