Dear SuzyKnew! What’s the real story on having sex while on your period? Some of my friends don’t do it at all during their time of the month. Other friends don’t care and say that they like it because it’s a safe time because you can’t get pregnant. Is this true? I don’t like all the mess, but my man doesn’t think it’s a big deal. What’s your advice?
Dear Friend, There are many opinions on this. On one end of the spectrum are women who embrace their powerful bodies each day of the month, and would likely reject a man who snubbed her because of a natural process. On the other end are women who are highly influenced by cultural rules and taboos that call for women separating themselves while menstruating. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. So, the real deal is that there is no physical reason that women cannot engage in satisfying sex at any time of the month. Unless she is in pain or suffering from an illness, she is capable of seeking out sexual pleasure whenever she wants. In fact many women report increased sexual pleasure while on their period. I’ve also heard from men who like the lubricating factor.
Now for the cultural considerations (I find this fascinating). Many traditional religions (including Islam, Judaism and Hinduism) consider contact with a woman who is menstruating taboo. The extent of this belief and practice varies with how conservative one is. Christian texts have little to say on the subject, many scholars believe that menstrual taboos were used to keep women out of positions of authority in the church. Many tribal societies still have “menstrual huts” and segregate women while they are on their period. And even in countries with social and political equity (such as the U.S. and many Western European countries), menstruation is still a taboo subject and if often spoken about in code or not addressed publically at all.
With all that said, let me address your specific questions:
Can you get pregnant while on your period?
Technically, yes you can. Here’s the skinny, we bleed during their periods, but also may bleed while we are ovulating. Thinking you are on your period when you are actually your most fertile is dangerous business. If you have irregular periods it may difficult to track where you are in your cycle. The Fertility Awareness Method can help you out here. Check out articles by the Roses of Fertility on SuzyKnew! for a guide to fertility awareness.
How much mess are we talking about here?
Not much, really. A typical period (with light and heavy days) is only a few tablespoons of blood and uterine lining. To decrease the mess, you can wait until the heaviest days have past. Other strategies include using the “man on top” position, having sex in the shower or lining the bed with towels. WikiHow has a fantastic entry on this- check it out.
Here’s another option- You can also skip your period altogether. Many women have menstrual disorders with painful and debilitating symptoms that force them to miss work and fun. Other women (I’ve seen this trend with busy moms and medical students) choose not to have a period at all out of choice or convenience. See Take Charge Of Your Menstrual Cycle! from SuzyKnew! Think no more tampons, no more cramps. Several contraceptive methods can be taken under the advice of your provider to stop your periods. These include: Depo-Provera, one type of intrauterine device (Mirena®), the birth control implant (Implanon) and a newer product called Lybrel.