It’s that time of the month – there are cramps, there’s fatigue, there’s bloating, there’s the need to eat a lot of ice creams while watching rom-coms – sigh, here comes your period again – but this is not all, women also experience a natural increase in sex drive while menstruating. A symptom that is usually pushed under the rug due to its lascivious nature.
While science is still trying to understand why women experience a heightened libido while on their period, here’s what Dr. Adeeti Gupta, MD, an ob-gyn and founder of Walk In GYN Care has to say about this controversial yet very natural phenomenon:
"The menstrual cycle involves the cyclical rise and fall of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA. All of those hormones play key roles in your sex drive.”
In fact, in a 2013 study researchers have studied the hormone levels of undergraduate women over two full menstrual cycles, where the participants recorded their sexual activity and feelings of friskiness in a daily journal.
Through this study, the researchers found that changing levels of estrogen and progesterone have a direct effect on libido. The estrogen suddenly drops at the beginning of the menstrual cycle period and then spikes on day two or three of the period, resulting in increased libido and desire.
On the other end, some argue that period horniness is not entirely dependent on hormones, it has more psychological roots. Where women simply want to experience an orgasm to relieve themselves from cramps and get in a better mood through sexual activity.
It’s interesting to know that some women claim that period sex can be more fun and beneficial than your routine romp in the sack.
Why is that?
Menstrual fluid is a natural substitute for a chemical lubricant, making penetration smoother. Further, according to research published in The Atlantic, vaginal stimulation alters the neurons in the brain to increase a woman’s threshold to pain, making dealing with cramps easier.
So no need to be a prude — turn, arghhh that time of the month, to mmmm that time of the month and get with your partner.
Here are some tips for having safe and happy period sex.
Pick light flow days
If you do not want a lot of mess, figure out when your flow is light, say on day 1 or 4 of your period and do it then. However, if a heavier flow doesn't bother you or your partner, then, calendar out, sexy time in!
Do it on a towel/on the floor
No one likes dirtying their linen, so make sure to spread a towel on the bed. Alternatively, just take the floor, it’s wilder and easy to clean.
Shower sex is best!
Too lazy to clean at all? Try having sex in the shower. The menstrual blood will provide great lubrication, running water means no cleaning, also how hot is it?
You can simply keep all your clothes on and orally stimulate your partner while they get frisky with you – the pleasure of intimacy without all the mess.
Make sure to use birth control.
We cannot emphasize this enough, menstruation does not make you pregnancy-proof. Although pregnancy chances are certainly lower during your menstrual cycle, research shows that over 30% of women have irregular cycles. This means you may not know when you’re ovulating. Consult a medical professional on the best method of birth control for you.
Tampons & Menstrual Cups out
If you have a tampon or menstrual cup in, make sure to remove it before you start fooling around.
In case the missionary feels uncomfortable, try different positions. For example, you can lie on the side while your partner is behind you.
Lastly, what’s important is that you listen to your body and meet your needs.
Adding to this, Nan Wise, a cognitive neuroscientist, says, “some women report that if they masturbate or have sex, they feel a relief in pelvic congestion or menstrual cramps."
Also, a woman already feels moody during her period, with that feeling friskier just adds to the edge of her emotions. So why not give yourself a little breather by giving into your urges?
Still on the fence? Guess what, doing it while on your periods does more than just stress and cramp relief — here are some added benefits of having sex while you’re menstruating.
Shorter periods due to uterine contractions during orgasm
Lighter, less painful periods
Strengthened immune system
Our final two cents on period sex are that all relationships require honest communication and mutual consent, so find out how your partner feels about menstrual sex ahead of time.
Most of all, respecting your partner’s feelings is important. Also, such conversations may just help deepen your bond and build more emotional intimacy between the two of you.