Sex during Menstruation – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Sounds gross, yes, but there are some who practice it.

I’ve come across people who ask how safe sex is during menstruation. It is still a controversial issue. For one thing we are sure about is that it never fails to make you frown upon hearing it.

The good and bad of period sex are yet to be discovered. However, a number of theories suggest that the practice more of a disadvantage rather than an advantage.

The Good

In a way, it relieves menstrual cramps. How? Endorphins (a type of hormones to relieve pain and affect emotions) are secreted during orgasm and thus decrease menstrual pains.

The Bad

Naturally during menstruation, the veins of the uterus are congested and are prone to rupture easily. Vaginal walls swell as well during menstruation. This explains the dull pain in the vagina during menses and is 100% normal. Having intercourse during your period can increase the chances of irritation to the swelled up walls. The advantages of endorphins at this point mask the danger of period sex where irritation of the vaginal walls and introduction to infection are major risks. Any wound or bleeding is a fine gateway to infection.

The cervix is slightly opened during menstruation to let out blood. This heightens the risk of infection, not being limited only to the vagina, but additionally to the uterus. The penetration of the penis into the vagina during menstruation is no more than the introduction to germs at a time when the body is unable to fight them (studies have shown that immunity is decreased during menstruation).

Orgasm results in rhythmic uterine contraction. During menstruation, this helps shed blood faster and shorten your periods. A similar reaction happens when a menstruating woman lifts up heavy loads or does strenuous exercises. This explains why most athletes experience amenorrhoea (missed periods).

Sex during the menses also increases risk of HIV infection.

The Ugly

Obviously, period sex can be really, really messy and unhygienic. This fact by itself drops the interest of both parties about the idea of having sex during menstruation.

So, is period sex good or bad? Well, momentary pleasure versus risky health – you be the judge.

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118 Comments

  1. Hello there, doctor. Thank you for sharing this info. I have a question though. My boyfriend complains his penis itches a lot during period sex. He can’t wear comdons because they’re all too small and hurt him. My previous partner never complained of this, but I was alone and had no sex with anyone for 4 years before meeting my current boyfriend, so I don’t know if something changed in my body. What could be the cause of the itching? I’m 43.

    • There are several custom size condom shops that you can find online. Your BF may be able to find a better fit there if none of the usual commercially available sizes fit him. Since your history is so specific i.e that your BF only itches during sex while you are on your period, it will be logical to assume something is irritating his skin. It may not be something in you that has changed but more that he is sensitive to something that your previous partner was not sensitive to. It does not sound like an infection to me although you can only be sure if you do a swab test. It appears the most efficient solution to your problem is to find a condom that fits your BF.

  2. Phoebe

    My periods started on 1st July but after the first day, I had a gap and the bleeding appeared again after 2-3 days..it ended on 8th July.My boy friend and I had sex on the same day and the next day too. My bleeding has started again from 8th July and it is still going on. What can be the possible reason of this prolonged period?

    • I assume you are rather young. So such period abnormalities are usually due to Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding or Anovulatory cycles. However, there can be many other possible causes. You should see your doctor just to be sure.

  3. Hi.
    My boyfriend and I are both clean STI wise. We have sex without protection because he is very gifted and no condom fits him, the small ones do more harm than good.
    But he has reason to believe that if we do have sex during my periods he will fall ill because a friend of his fell ill when he did that. How true is that? Is he at risk of getting some germs from my blood and developing some genitalia disease? Isn’t blood sceptic until such time that blood borne pathogens enter your system, which would mean that even the infected person will also fall ill & develop fever or some inflammatory response?

    • There is no scientific reason why anyone should fall sick if and when they have sex during a period. If you are ill, you obviously can pass the infection to him but this happens regardless of whether you are on your period or not. For example, if you have chickenpox, and you have sex with your BF, he will get chickenpox. Regardless of whether you are on your period or not.

  4. Nhyleve

    Is it okey having sex on the first day of period?
    What is the advantages and disadvantages?
    I need your answer.ASAP
    Thanks.

  5. Mercy

    My husband has a penile wart. The doctor stated that since he had a small cut when we had intercourse during my menses, bacteria got inside and caused a wart. Is this likely? Is HPV the only cause of warts? Please advise.

    • drtan

      By definition, warts are caused by HPV. If what your husband has was caused by anything other than HPV, it should not be called wart. Your doctor might have just used the term “wart” for convenience. You should verify this with him/her.

  6. i had sex with a gal friend in her menstruation. what do i do to detoxify myself

  7. Unknowingly During sex , my wifes period started, but the problem was , now when she goes for urine, the vaginal wall gets pain , please suggest any issue is there , what is the medication to stop or relif from the pain

  8. hello doc
    my gf is virgin we met 2 days ago and we had sex I did it in in the way that penis was just on the top of vagina and she got discharge but i didn’t even discharge on that. it was her 2nd day of period. after that she complianed that she is not bleeding at all. is there any chance to get pregnant?

  9. My friend had unprotected sex on her first day of her period. Is that safe or not??

    • What do you mean by safe or not? She cannot get pregnant that is for sure. But she still is at risk of various STDs and infections.

  10. Hey doc, nice topic. I had sex with my girl on her period cause she wanted it bad. I want to know the risk i am involved do in if any and what I need to do after this. Thanks

    • Assuming that she does not have any infections, you are not at risk of anything. If she does have infections like STDs or HIV, then you are at an increased risk of contracting these infections. Since it is near impossible to tell if someone is carrying an infection or not, the prudent thing would still be to see your doctor.

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