For all the progress we’ve made in the last few years with menstrual equality, one thing remains surprisingly taboo: period sex. Especially if you sleep with people who’ve never had a period of their very own, the idea of seeing blood and thinking “pleasure” creates a little cognitive dissonance. And that’s a shame, because period sex can be awesome. Ali Wong in her stand-up special, Hard Knock Wife, recounts a scene in which she was about to sleep with a guy, but bashfully revealed beforehand that she had her period. She proclaims his response—“Let’s make a f*ckin’ mess, Ali”—the most romantic thing she’d ever heard. That’s because being into your partner’s period is hot as hell!
For you readers who are already all about period sex, or interested in giving it a whirl, we're here to help it go smoothly. By following just a few simple tips about communication and being extra prepared (perhaps using some of the numerous new products that have hit the market recently, below), you can maximize your time of the month and all of its sexy benefits. Here are six easy ways to make period sex the best kind of sex:
Start Tracking Your Cycle
There are some amazing apps out there for keeping tabs on where you are in your cycle, so you can feel prepared and comfortable when Aunt Flo shows up.
The Clue app is straightforward, allowing you to log info and telling you when you’re most fertile and when you’re PMSing. It also keeps track of things like how much sleep you’re getting, how your cycle might affect how social you are in a given day, or how horny your period might make you. Their goal is to “close the global knowledge gap” around menstruation. Find out more here.
If your period is a headache (even literally), the MyFlo app offers medicinal information to treat symptoms caused by your hormones. Developed by a woman with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, the app gives you a quiz and then determines functional nutrition guidelines you can follow that might alleviate hormone-related issues like acne or cramps, and even help with period normalization. It also connects you with experts so you can get personalized information. Check out all the info here.
Even if you don’t share this information with anyone but yourself, it’s nice to be able to know when you might be feeling what—and when to be ready for some hot, bloody sex.
Get Comfortable Talking It Out
If you’re going to engage in period sex with another person (or any kind of sex, really), you should be honest about what you’re into before you get to it. Of course, you might find out your partner isn’t as onboard with making a mess as you are. That’s when it’s time for some real talk. “The most important thing is to be direct, but don’t apologize—women far too often feel compelled to apologize for their bodies,” says Gigi Engle, a writer and certified sex coach. “If your partner doesn’t want to have period sex and this is something that’s very important to you, you should have an honest conversation with him or her.” She says that it’s also not a woman’s job to coddle their partners, but you can make them feel comfortable with voicing their concerns. “Be empathetic, but share all the information,” says Engle.
Hop in the Shower
If you or your partner aren’t sure period sex is up your alley, try doing the deed in the shower. The blood washes off, so you can focus on what it actually *feels* like. It’s a way to ease yourself into the idea, says Engle, “without staining the furniture or linens.”
And speaking of stains…
Designate Some Period Linens
In fairness to period sex, all sex is messy, but unlike a little sheet washing, the stain removal process of period sex can be labor-intensive if you don’t prep accordingly. “Get yourself a period-specific towel and lay it down before you get down,” Engle advises. “It’s so much simpler than people think.”
The classic is a black or red towel (here’s an affordable and well-reviewed Amazon option), but if you want to get a little bit more high tech with it...
Try Some Period Sex-Specific Innovations
Ever heard of Thinx, makers of the period-proof underwear with those awesome advertisements? Well they just expanded their *oeuvre* and released a special Period Sex Blanket, meant to take the taboo out of period sex. It comes in a pretty opalescent pink color, and has a space age-y sheen to it. Of course, with a $369 price tag it’s decidedly not for the casual period sex haver, but if you’re serious about your bloody lovin’ and want to spend your money on tech that says so, this may be just the thing for you. Check it out here.
If you prefer something a bit more wearable, there’s also Flex. It’s a 12-hour tampon alternative that’s kind of like a diva cup in that it catches the blood that’s coming out of you, but with one really cool twist: Because it sits in your vaginal fornix (the part by your cervix), rather than canal, it collects blood without getting in the way of intercourse. That means you can enjoy hormones coursing through your body during that time of the month mess-free . (Here’s a review that might help you get a better idea of how it works.) It costs $15 for 16 Flex discs, so they’re affordable, too. You can buy them here.
And for after-the-fact, Sustain makes all-natural Post-Play Wipes specifically for when you’re done doin’ it and want to feel cleaner than T.P. allows, but don’t have time to hop in the shower. They’re $11 a pack, and you can get them here.
Embrace the Ick Factor
You can also just try to enjoy the fact that periods are messy and sex is messy and having both at the same time is going to be filthy—in a good way. “Lean into the bloodiness, love the bloodiness,” says Engle. “Blood is sexy. It’s feral. If you can get into it and just enjoy the mess and taboo nature of the experience, do it.”
The benefits of period sex are plentiful: Many people with periods experience a huge libido spike, thanks to all the hormones they're feeling. Sex during your cycle can help to relieve cramps and headaches, and can even make your period shorter, according to Engle. Plus, blood makes for some all-natural lube that washes right off of fingers, toys, and whatever else you play on using.
If that all sounds good to you, then go make a mess.