Sex on your period: Fact or Fiction?


Sex during periods. As a Sexual Wellness Specialist (formerly CHECS), I am asked about this subject a lot.

Do other couples do it? How does it work? Will I get pregnant?

There are myths and half-truths floating around about sex during a period, so I’m going to try to set the record straight…

Can you have sex on your period?

Yes! But like all issues surrounding sex, communication is critical. This means checking in with your partner. Depending on whether you’re the one menstruating or not, questions might include: “How do you feel during your period? Would you ever want to have sex while you’re menstruating?” or “I’m on my period right now. How do you feel about having sex while I’m menstruating?” For many folks who menstruate, desire for sex changes during different times of the menstrual cycle. For example, a person might experience increased desire during menstruation or ovulation – it all depends on the person. Be sure to talk about desires and feelings to ensure everyone is on the same page from the beginning.

Is having sex on your period bad for you?

No! Having sex while one or more partners are on their period is not harmful. In fact, there are a few ways in which it might be helpful! First, the contractions of orgasm might help relieve menstrual cramping. Second, sex might feel particularly great because the vagina is super lubricated due to menstrual secretions. If you are worried about the blood, you can always throw down a towel first.

Can I get pregnant if I have sex while on my period?

Yes! If you have unprotected vaginal/penile intercourse during your period, it is possible to get pregnant. Sperm can live in the vagina for up to five days. So depending on when your egg is released, sperm could be present to fertilize it.

Are other people doing it?

Who cares? Having sex during menstruation is a personal decision, so I cannot stress enough– Talk with your partner and see how they feel. Many couples have had the same conversation. If nothing else it can be another opportunity to get to know your partner and their likes, dislikes and comfort level.

This article has been edited for clarity and updated formatting since it’s original publishing date.

Most recent edit: July 8, 2013

18 Comments

  1. My husband loves to have intetcourse while i am menstruating, of course i bleed heavily, so he puts down a towel first, i do have intense orgasms, and i have noticed my cramps go away, but i was wondering if it was safe. I’ve got the answers to all my questions, thanks to your website.

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    • Thanks for the question! I will first say that I am not a medical provider (I have my masters in Public Health), so if you have specific medical questions check with your doctor. However, I will do my best to answer your question.

      If you are on a hormonal contraceptive, like the birth control pill, and you are consistent about taking it everyday, then you should be protected against pregnancy during the placebo pill week (i.e. the week you have your period). If you are not using any contraceptive method, it is possible for a woman to get pregnant from vaginal intercourse while she’s menstruating. If you and your husband are not seeking pregnancy, then you should reduce that risk by using a contraception method, like condoms (or birth control pills, the patch, the ring, etc).

      If you are not concerned about pregnancy and you have been having sex on your period and using condoms simply because it makes one or both of you feel more comfortable, that’s totally fine. Menstrual blood will not harm your partner, though.

      Does that answer your question?

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  2. Pingback: Lingering questions from “Orgasm? Yes Please!” « HealthyHeels

  3. I’ve recently was wondering the same thing if its ok to have sex during my period. I always thought it wasn’t healthy but I guess I was wrong. But then again I’m not a doctor. I discussed all this with my boyfriend and we are not using and birth control or contraceptions. We aren’t planning on kids anytime soon but if it happens it happens we don’t plan anything we do. I mean he owns his own business and I keep house and will be starting to work on a farm once it gets warmer. But we have discusses everything and we are very open with each other about everything we do. We might be young but we know how we feel about each other and we know we are going to be married someday. But being open with the one you are with is key to everything if you aren’t open and comfortable with talkin about it then its not a wise choice to be in that situation.

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  4. I found this website very interesting….me and my partner have been tryin for a baby since january….and whilst just having my implanon taken out in jan weve tried everything….however finding out i can get pregnant on my period is a bonus as i thought it was imposible and must admit i got dissapointed to find out my period had arrived during intercourse….heres hoping it happens soon!! ThankYou for your information….It has helped!!! :))

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  5. My partner and I always do it. oral as well Just put a towel under you and lay on your back so its not messy ! During oral my flow always stops and it only gets a bit messy after intercourse. It really helps ease my cramping and it relaxes me a lot and I always have a nice sleep after.

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    • Sofia, if you’re trying to become pregnant, we recommend a prenatal visit with your medical provider to ensure you’re doing everything you can to have a healthy pregnancy (such as taking 400mg of folic acid each day for at least three months prior to conception). In terms of the timing – consider tracking your cycles. For a woman with a 28 day cycle, ovulation is likely to begin 14 days after her period started. However, for many women it’s a bit more complicated than that as many women have irregular and/or longer cycles. Body basal temperature and cervical mucous can help determine the timing for your ovulation patterns. Your provider can help you with tips for maximizing your chances for becoming pregnant. Good luck!

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  6. Thanks :) I cannot tell you how long ive been stressing! at first i thought i was pregnant because i had sex (protected/with condom) on the first day of my period and It just stopped coming after, I thought i was pregnant because i started getting back pains and my period didnt run at all after the first day i tried it.. I went to the clinic and they told me i was fine but on the internet on another website it said it is possible to get pregnant with a condom, and i was really scared because im only 17 and i dont want a child at a early age.. this made me want to stop having sex until i turn 30 and married:D

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      • Melissa, not to freak you out but as we mentioned above, it IS POSSIBLE to get pregnant while on your period. In Ashley’s case, she didn’t get pregnant after having sex on the first day of her period – and if you have a regular cycle, if you had sex on the first day of your period it’s unlikely that you would ovulate soon enough to become pregnant. It is just all so individual that there’s no way to know for sure in your situation. If it’s been less than 5 days since you had unprotected sex and you’re still worried, you can get and take emergency contraception over the counter to decrease your likelihood of pregnancy. Again, as we mentioned above, having sex on your period is not contraception (a way to avoid pregnancy). You’ll want to use a condom or another form birth control.

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    • Plan B is about 85% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies when taken with 5 days of unprotected penile/vaginal intercourse. This is true whether you’re on your period or not. Hope that helps! If you have further questions, call your medical provider or pharmacist for more information. If you’re a UNC student, call 919.966.2281.

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