There are a few pairings in life that will always get polarizing reactions. Like:
Pizza and pineapple
Fries and ice cream
Periods and sex
Did you just make a face at any of those? Exactly our point.
For the record, we’re fans of all three. And if we’re feeling especially indulgent, all at the same time..
By 2030, it is possible to create a world where no woman or girl is held back because she menstruates. This means a world in which every woman and girl is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame.
It’s easy to dismiss the idea of menstrual health education – especially by those of us who are fortunate enough to not be affected by poverty, limited access to sanitation and period stigma. “Well I already made the switch to menstrual cups and use reusable cloth pads – what else is there?”
Let’s break a stigma then and talk about period sex…
In a survey done by UK personal care health brand Bodyform, they found that half of the 2,000 respondents would ‘never’ have sex during a woman’s ‘time of the month’ and despite it being a regular and biological function, 1 in 5 adults wouldn’t talk to their partner about periods!
“Well isn’t that just a personal preference then? And don’t you preach about not being judgmental when it comes to someone’s icks and yums?”
Of course, we agree that period sex is not for everyone – especially for those with religious, health and personal preferences. What’s interesting for us though is that in the same study, they found that:
• 36% would be happy to have sex if they or their partner were menstruating.
• Men are happier to have sex during a woman’s period than females are, with 21% of adults claiming the idea of it doesn’t bother them at all.
• Some of the reasons that women state for not engaging in sex on their periods is that: ‘it’s embarrassing, a turn off, or that their partner is just not very sympathetic.’
So here comes one of the perks of the job: demystifying the myths of period sex!
Myth 1: It’s unsafe to have sex on my period
The general consensus from the medical community is that there is nothing wrong with being penetrated during one’s menstruation. However there is still the usual risks of STIs and pregnancy (remember how strong and hardy sperm can be?) during this time of the month. According to an ob-gyn expert quoted in Health.com, Jessica Shepherd, MD, “(The) possibility of transmission of diseases that are bloodborne is increased because of the presence of blood. (While) period blood is different from “regular” blood that’s in the veins and arteries, however there is still the possibility of transmission.”
As the case in any sexy (period or otherwise) entanglement, we suggest that if in doubt, suit it up!
And yes, by ‘suit’ we mean wear a condom or dental dam…
Myth 2: I don’t feel sexy on my period
We totally get it. You’re bloated, gassy, fatigued and the closest thing you’ll want to feel being dipped and licked is a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
However there’s lots of studies that prove that increased libido and feelings of arousal is a common symptom of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (a.k.a the dreaded PMS) because of increased testosterone. It also doesn’t help when some women also experience breast sensitivity and tenderness as the body goes through ovulation.
But what about on your actual period? Well, in the first few days of your period, your estrogen and testosterone levels will be at their lowest. However by Day 3, they’ll start to rise. Since your reproductive and sexual organs may be more engorged with blood during your period, it can also increase your sensitivity and responsiveness to touch and pleasure.
So hey, the next time you’re on your period, maybe you’ll still want to reach for an actual Ben (and/or Jerry – whoever rocks your boat)!
Myth 3: I get cramps and am in pain
True story: I used to suffer from such painful period cramps that I’d fainted once in an Indian restaurant and had to take a nap in their pantry amidst the potato and onion sacks to wait for the painkillers to kick in. The very next day, I brought myself to the GP and started birth control to ease the cramps and never looked back.
There are certain medical conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis where the pain is truly debilitating and we hope we don’t come across as dismissive or patronizing to those who suffer when referring to period pain.
However for those who do experience menstrual cramps and related migraines, orgasms are cited as being a natural pain-reliever as it releases oxytocin and endorphins. Since it also causes contractions in the muscles of the uterus, some doctors note that it supports a more efficient release of the uterine lining which may also lead to shorter periods and less cramping.
An interesting observation is that your period would also affect the sex positions that would feel good or terrible at that time of the month. Since the cervix is lower and more sensitive, you may find that your usual go-tos like doggy style may feel too intense and painful as it might hit your cervix. Instead, missionary and spooning are recommended as feel-good positions for period sex.
Myth 4. It’s messy
Sex is messy. Naturally.
If they won’t show the usual sex suspects like wet patches, sweaty hair and musky smells on TV and movies, we’re not surprised if most people shun period sex because they feel it’s not ‘normal’. (Editor’s Note: Kudos to I Will Destroy You tampon sex scene for taking a step in normalizing it!)
Thankfully this is the easiest and straightforward myth to bust:
• There’s always shower sex but remember to still lube up (with silicone-based lube) as you don’t want to dry out.
• Use dark towels or even waterproof blankets for any potential messes. While there are definitely waterproof blankets designed just for easy sex clean-up like the Liberator Fascinator Throw, here’s a handy and cost-saving tip: check out waterproof pet blankets that do the same trick!
• Convinced to have sex on your period but still squeamish about the blood? Well, there’s a cup for that!
We were just as intrigued and mesmerized by Intimina’s Ziggy Cup when Pink Lifestyle sent one over to review. Intimina is a Swedish brand that focuses exclusively on “comprehensive collection of products and information for women at every stage of life, from the first menstruation to beyond menopause.”
Not only is the flat design of this reusable medical-grade silicone menstrual cup unusual, it’s actually the first and award-winning cup that can be worn during sex! Unfortunately we haven’t been able to test it in real-time yet but check out our thoughts on the Ziggy Cup and we’re now ironically looking forward to Aunt Flo’s visit just to try out our new shinny toy!
Myth 5: My partner won’t like it
Well, with the aforementioned stats above on how partners are happy to engage with their menstruating other halves, and interviews where men have chimed in that “I would do it for her” and “She has to deal with it, so there’s no reason why I should run away and hide.” – we suspect we might be making it into a bigger deal than it really is.
So, there’s only one way to bust this myth: ask them and try it out.
And you’ll never know…. you might end up inventing a new favourite pairing just like salty potato chips with rich sweet chocolate!
Thank you to Pink Lifestyle for gifting the Intimina Ziggy Cup. It retails for SG$48 and available online and in-store (ISETAN Scotts Shaw House, 305 Orchard Road, Level 2).
All of Shy & Curious’s picks are independently selected by yours truly. All product details, prices and availability are accurate as at the time of publication.