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Period sex: Should you worry?
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Period sex: Should you worry?

Following safe sex practices and discussing hygiene measures and partners’ preferences can make intimacy during periods better

Medically speaking, sex during periods is generally considered safe

While getting intimate during periods can be quite a messy affair, experts say that there are no potential health risks. Experts have even highlighted that menstrual sex can have health benefits. For example, menses (blood and other matter discharged from the uterus during periods) can act as a natural lubricant, making intercourse smoother, says Dr Sahana KP, obstetrician and gynecologist, Apollo Hospital, Bangalore. The endorphins (happy hormones) released during orgasm can also help relieve menstrual cramps and improve mood.

Is it safe to have sex during periods?

The stigma associated with menstruation is rooted in cultural values and perpetuated through various means such as language, media and societal beliefs. Menstruation is still often viewed as dirty or impure, which can affect women’s physical and mental health, sexuality and social status. 

Apart from the social stigma, menstruating women might be dealing with painful abdominal cramps. Dr Shaik Habiba, obstetrician, gynecologist and infertility specialist, Habiba Clinic, Bangalore, shares, “Some women can have painful periods (dysmenorrhea), especially if they have endometriosis (a condition in which tissue similar to the uterus lining grows outside the uterus) or other underlying pathology. These women might particularly try to avoid having sex during their periods for fear of pain.”

Women are also more prone to vaginal infections while menstruating, reports a study. Menstrual blood, which is slightly alkaline, can cause the vaginal pH to increase. This, along with hormonal imbalances, disturbs the microbial microenvironment of the vagina, inviting infections. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be transmitted even while having sex during periods, remind doctors.

Others might have concerns about getting pregnant after having sex during periods. Dr Sushma Tomar, consultant – obstetrician and gynecologist, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, shares the rare possibility of pregnancy, especially during late menstruation. This can occur in people with short cycles, for example, in those with cycles lasting 22–23 days (about three and a half weeks) instead of 28 days, ovulation is a bit early. Hence, there could be chances of pregnancy. 

Benefits of sex during your periods

Engaging in sex during menstruation can have certain benefits. Sexual activity leads to the release of endorphins, which may contribute to improved mood and stress reduction.  “Menstrual blood can also act as a natural lubricant, aiding the process of sexual intercourse during periods,” adds Dr Sahana. Besides, during periods, women’s sexual organs become highly sensitive, which can contribute to elevated levels of pleasure. Experts also emphasize that menstrual sex holds all the benefits of sexual intimacy when it is normalized and accepted by both partners.

Managing intimacy during menstruation

• Use barrier methods

To lower the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other infections, Dr Tomar suggests using condoms during period sex as well as maintaining personal hygiene

• Manage the mess

“Towels or dark-colored spreads can be spread to absorb any messes while getting intimate during your periods,” says Dr Tomar.

Dr Sahana suggests that respecting each other’s boundaries and maintaining open communication are fundamental aspects of a healthy intimate life.

Takeaways

  • Engaging in sexual activity during this time is generally considered safe from a medical standpoint.
  • Condoms can be used to prevent the spread of STIs as well as avoid unwanted pregnancies during this time.
  • Intimacy during periods can be beneficial in relieving menstrual cramps, boosting mood and increasing intimacy between partners.

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