How to Talk to Your Partner About Period Sex

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There are many reasons to talk openly about sex with your partner, especially because communicating clearly and honestly about sex has been proven to lead to better sex, and lack of communication can lead to emotional, relational, and sexual problems in relationships.

However, talking about sex at all can be challenging for many people. When it comes to topics like menstruation and having sex on your period, it can feel like an intimidating conversation to have.

No matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may be, in a relationship where at least one person menstruates, the notion of period sex is one that will arise every month. There are many benefits to period sex, but that doesn't make it any easier to discuss.

Ahead, we'll review why period sex is beneficial, why it's difficult to discuss, how to better communicate with your partner about it, and tips you can use to enjoy period sex.

The Health Benefits of Period Sex

There are many mental, emotional, and relational health benefits to having sex, and there are additional benefits to having period sex.

Less Painful Cramps and Better Orgasms

Dr. Alyssa Dweck, sexual and reproductive health expert for INTIMINA, tells Verywell that "period sex alleviates menstrual cramps." She says that it's the orgasm itself that helps to diminish cramps "due to increased neurotransmitter release, like dopamine, during orgasm," and adds that "orgasms can be more intense during your period and sexual drive might be higher, too."

During an orgasm, vaginal walls can contract and relax rhythmically every eight-tenths of a second, and this can help alleviate menstrual cramping.

Lower Pregnancy Risk

In addition to fewer cramps and more intense orgasms, it's also much less likely for pregnancy to occur from period sex. While you can get pregnant if you have sex near the end of your period, as the sperm can take several days to travel to the egg, this isn't a common occurrence.

Only 6% of pregnancies have been attributed to sperm that was more than three days old, and that is generally considered outside of the ovulation window.

Reduced Stress and Improved Sleep

Sex can be beneficial for our well-being and reduce stress. Dweck notes that "endorphins released with orgasm are feel-good chemicals, leading to a general sense of well-being and elation."

Since so many menstruators feel less than ideal on their periods, this can be a great relief.

Lastly, menstruation can be disruptive to sleep, and sex leads to improved sleep. Dweck says that "stress and disrupted sleep during and before menstruation are super common," and points out that better moods and stronger mental clarity result from sufficient quality sleep.

Why It May Be Hard to Talk About Period Sex

There are many different reasons that it's difficult to discuss sex during menstruation. These are three of the most common.

Period Stigma

Period stigma is the discrimination faced by people who menstruate. It is also often referred to as "period shaming." An example of this might be a commenting "You have a bad attitude, you must be on your period."

Even those of us who consider ourselves very progressive are immersed in a society in which periods are considered dirty, embarrassing, and taboo. Despite our best intentions, we may harbor negative feelings or discomfort around the subject.

Dweck notes that "cultural, religious and family values and upbringing imparted on the subject matter are all important variables in attitudes towards period shame."

Personal Topics Are Sensitive

It can be hard to talk about anything intimate or personal, and that discomfort factor may be amplified when discussing period sex.

Both periods and sex are sensitive topics, and individuals may carry many different and complex feelings about each one of them. Approaching two challenging and emotional subjects together can be daunting, but it can be done with courage and care.

You Aren't Sure Where Your Partner Stands

Before discussing a topic like period sex with your partner, you might not have any idea how they feel about it. Because our periods only occur for several days each month, it can be fairly easy to avoid bringing up sex on your period.

You might schedule to not see your partner then, or you might say you aren't interested in having sex that day.

Not knowing how your partner feels about period sex can lead you to assume the worst: that they think it's gross or dirty. These worries can then compound your discomfort in bringing up the idea.

How to Talk to Your Partner About Period Sex

Now that you understand the benefits of period sex, as well as why it might be hard to talk about, you're ready to move into actually discussing it. So, how should you do that?

Be Direct in Your Approach

Dweck recommends you be direct in bringing up period sex with your partner.

You can begin by telling your partner there is something you would like to discuss with them, then either express your interest in period sex or ask them their opinion on it. You might be surprised at how well your partner responds!

For instance, you can start by asking, "What are your thoughts about period sex?" or telling your partner, "I'd love to have sex with you while I'm menstruating! What do you think?"

Address Your Partner's Reluctance

There are many reasons why both non-menstruators and menstruators might be nervous about period sex. In additional to period stigma, some people are squeamish about the messiness and physical element of having sex while a person is on their period and actively bleeding.

Dweck notes that the mess factor may be intimidating, so it can be helpful if you prepare for the discussion with ideas around how to mitigate the mess. Particularly, Dweck mentions that "some partners may see blood and worry they are causing pain or injury. Providing reassurance that this is not the case is key."

Talking to Your Menstruating Partner

Maybe you are a non-menstruating partner, and you want to discuss the possibility of having sex with your menstruating partner while they're on their period. By using open, honest, and respectful communication, it's totally OK for you to initiate the conversation!

Be sure to approach the subject with care and sensitivity. You can start by assuring your partner that you are comfortable with having sex with them while they're menstruating, and that you find them desirable when they are on their period.

It's OK if your partner needs time to consider this. Do your best to be supportive and understanding no matter the answer they give you.

If your partner says no because they are not comfortable or not ready yet, acknowledge where they are and let them move at their own pace. Respecting their boundaries is an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship.

How to Respond

Maybe your partner just asked you to have sex while you're on your period and you're not sure how to answer them. Notice how you feel in response to their request. Does it make you uncomfortable? Excited? Stressed? Relieved? You may not know how you feel about it yet, and that's perfectly fine.

Communicate honestly with your partner about how this idea makes you feel. Express any discomfort or concerns you have. It may be helpful to tell them you need some more time to think about it; you could both decide to continue the discussion another time.

If you do decide to have sex while menstruating, express your needs to your partner beforehand. For instance, if you're feeling particularly vulnerable while menstruating, you and your partner may talk about ways they can make you feel reassured, relaxed, and as comfortable as possible during sex.

You may want to avoid certain positions, put down a dark-colored towel beforehand, or keep a wet towel or wet wipes close by for cleaning up afterward. Communicate and prioritize whatever makes you feel most supported.

Period Sex Tips

Let's take a look at some tips you can try if you and your partner are ready to have period sex.

Consider Using a Menstrual Disc

You can also prepare for period sex with a menstrual disc, which will minimize if not completely alleviate the blood issue. Mentioning this to your non-menstruating partner may help alleviate their anxiety about the blood involved in period sex.

Menstrual discs work by collecting the flow of blood far enough inside the vagina that it forms a seal and prevents leakage. They are able to hold a larger amount of blood than a tampon can.

Suggest Shower Sex or Placing Towels On the Bed

If you aren't ready to try a menstrual disc but you or your partner are concerned about the mess, there are still solutions that allow you to have sex while one or both of you are on your period: you can have sex in the shower, which will allow both parties to wash off any blood easily.

You can lay a dark towel down on the bed underneath you both. Towels should be enough to collect any blood present, and can then be put in the wash. There is also the option to have sex on a waterproof bedsheet.

Offer to Use Birth Control to Skip Your Period

If your partner simply won't get involved with sex while you are menstruating, or if you yourself are too uncomfortable with it, there is always the option of birth control that allows a person to skip their periods.

Dweck notes that for many people, "menstruation is a sign of health, fertility, and femininity." It is nothing to be ashamed of, and should only be skipped if that is your physical preference.

A Word From Verywell

Period sex can be a difficult topic, but talking about it and exploring it can have emotional, physical, sexual, and relational benefits. If the discussion about it with your partner is intimidating, remember that difficult conversations are always the beginning, not the end. Regardless of the outcome, it is a good opportunity to practice honest communication and develop greater understanding, compassion, and closeness with your partner.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mallory AB, Stanton AM, Handy AB. Couples’ sexual communication and dimensions of sexual function: a meta-analysis. The Journal of Sex Research. 2019 Sep 2;56(7):882–98.

  2. Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, Baird DD. Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation — effects on the probability of conception, survival of the pregnancy, and sex of the baby. New England Journal of Medicine. 1995 Dec 7;333(23):1517–21.

By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.