Periods are a physiological cycle that the vast majority of people with a uterus experience. Even though it is such a regular part of our everyday lives, religious and social taboos surrounding having sex on your period still linger, and there is a lack of conversation regarding sexual desire during menstruation as a natural, normal function. In fact, the word "taboo" itself originates from the Polynesian word for menstrual blood, "tapua."
However, despite its many taboos, period sex is not something we should shy away from discussing, especially when it comes to our sexual partner(s). We need to normalize discussing all aspects of healthy sexuality, along with everything that comes with it, including, but not limited to, having sex during periods.
So today, let’s break down some of these taboos and take a look at how period sex has (or has not) been discussed over the years, and how that conversation is (hallelujah) finally changing.
First — to really understand what happens with our bodies during our periods, and how it affects sexual activity — we spoke to urologist and sexologist, Dr. Maria (Mafe) Peraza Godoy.
And we also spoke to sex expert, Michelle Hope, an activist, sexologist, and educator who has worked with many marginalized urban communities to promote a holistic approach to sexual health and sexuality!
The experts spoke to us about everything below — and also offered guidance on navigating period sex in general:
• What really happens to your body during your period, and how it impacts your sex drive.
• How mental blocks can translate to physical tension that makes period sex uncomfortable.
• The potential physiological benefits vaginal stimulation and sexual pleasure can have for alleviating period discomfort.
• How the risks of having sex on your period are mostly the same as having sex at any other time.
• Ways to make period sex even more enjoyable — and how to actually put things into practice.