Infection Risk From Sex During Your Period
Its crucial to practice safe sex while youre having your period because you could still get or transmit an STI, like HIV, during this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus may be present in menstrual blood. Therefore, doctors strongly encourage using a condom to decrease this risk.
Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, says that anecdotally speaking, there are two reasons for this risk. Any bodily fluid can carry HIV or STIs, and , the cervix opens slightly, which might allow viruses to pass through, she says. My message to women is youre not off the hook as far as using protection.
You may also be more prone to some infections in general at this time. Your maintains a pH level of 3.8 to 4.5 throughout the month, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . But during menstruation, that level rises because of the higher pH level of blood, and yeast is able to grow more rapidly.
Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are more likely to occur the week before your menstrual period, and intercourse during this time can exacerbate symptoms. But clear evidence is lacking for any increased risk of getting a yeast infection if you have sex during your period.
The Ins And Outs Of Period Sex
So now we know it is possible to get pregnant on your period, its important you take the right precautions. When used correctly, barrier methods such as the condom are very effective at preventing pregnancy and also offer protection against STIs.
While many may think its gross or messy, having sex on your period is perfectly healthy and lots of women swear by it for a number of reasons. Due to a dip in progesterone, you may find your sex drive increases around menstruation. On top of this, orgasms can alleviate period cramps and cause the uterus to contract more, which in the end can mean shorter periods too.
While you might be expecting a Stephen King-style horror scene, you may actually be surprised by how little menstrual blood there is. The heaviness of your period is a very personal thing that varies from cycle to cycle, however, the average woman will only produce 6-8 teaspoons worth of blood during her entire period. That being said, you might want to have an extra towel on hand, or suggest things get steamy in the shower.
It Will Make You Feel Good In All The Right Ways
When youre menstruating, you are generally a little more turned on than usual due to a spike in estrogen and testosterone, says Jill Hechtman, MD, ob-gyn and medical director of Tampa Obstetrics.
And when you take your O to new heights, you might also experience some pain relief when it comes to cramping. While research hasnt completely confirmed this connection, some women swear it helps. Sex isnt a guaranteed cure for those painful aches, but it can certainly be an enjoyable supplement to downing a couple of Advil.
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First Thing’s First: Can You Have Sex On Your Period
Yes, you most certainly can. Thanks to a lot of hard work over the past few decades, fewer and fewer people think that an “ew periods” mentality is OK.
Many more people enjoy period sex than you realize. Though it’s 100% safe, it’s always a matter of what you are your partner are comfortable with. For some women, it’s even more fun thanks to the natural lubrication provided by menstrual fluid and a potential increase in sex drive.
Period Sex Could Shorten How Many Days You Bleed
Your period lasts as long as it takes to shed the uterine lining , but period sex could help decrease the length.
In the same way that orgasms could help cramps by stimulating uterine muscle contractions, climaxing could also speed up the shedding process. Theres no real scientific data on this benefit, but anecdotally people report this as a positive to period sex, so it may be worth trying and tracking whats true for you.
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It Could Also Be The Spermicide On The Condom
Spermicides are commonly used in gels, suppositories, and condom lubricants.
Nonoxynol-9 is the most common active ingredient in spermicide. Its known to cause irritation in some people, especially when used frequently.
Doctors used to believe that spermicide, which kills sperm, could help protect against pregnancy and certain STIs.
Research has also proven that spermicide isnt effective against STIs. In fact, frequent spermicide use may actually increase your risk of contracting HIV or another infection.
Although spermicide is no longer used on most condoms, it hasnt been banned across the board. This means that some condom manufacturers may still add spermicide to their product. These products are labeled accordingly.
Less Need For Vaginal Lubrication
Youre less likely to need lubricants if you engage in intercourse during menstruation, because menstrual discharge tends to provide enough lubrication. If you do need a lubricant, then water-based lubricants are widely available and safe both for sex and for condoms, says ob/gyn James Simon, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Silicone and hybrid lubricants that are water-based and silicone-based are likewise safe for both sex and condoms. Oil-based lubricants, especially mineral oil-based lubricants, can deteriorate condoms increasing the risk of breakage and are not recommended with latex condoms, he says.
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Unprotected Sex During Your Bleed On The Pill
Provided you take your contraceptive pill exactly as prescribed, you can safely have unprotected sex at any point, including your bleed.
Your bleed is not the same as a normal period, but is a simulation of it. Since the combined pill stops ovulation happening in the first place, there is no egg present to fertilise. However, you should start your next pack as soon as your bleed has ended, as otherwise breakthrough ovulation could occur.
Its also worth remembering that even though you can safely have sex without using condoms when on the combined contraceptive pill, you will not be protected against STIs.
If you missed pills or didnt take it as instructed there is a chance you could still get pregnant, so you should avoid unprotected sex. Find out more about what to do if youre worried about having missed a pill.
Stds Are Still A Possibility
Rumor has it that STD transmission could increase during menstruation, potentially because your cervix is slightly open at this time to let blood out. Dr. Streicher explains that, in theory, since STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia are ascending infections, anything that helps them travel up into the uterus could increase the possibility of transmissionagain, in theory. There isnt enough research out there to back this idea up yet.
No matter what, its crucial to remember that just because there isnt necessarily an increased risk doesnt mean that theres no risk. Stick to your typical STD prevention regimen during period sexmeaning you should use a condom if you or your partner havent been tested.
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How To Have Sex During Your Period: Handy Tips
If you want to have great sex during your period, follow these helpful tips:
- Have an open and honest discussion with your partner. Tell your partner how you feel about having sex while on your period. Ask them how they feel as well. If one of you finds the experience uncomfortable, its best to wait.
- Lay a towel on the bed to prevent staining the sheets.
- Keep wet wipes handy to clean up after sex.
- Remove your tampon ahead of time if you are using one.
- Make sure to use protection against STIs and pregnancy.
- Some positions might be uncomfortable when you have sex during your period. Try something different and find the most comfortable position for you and your partner.
How Does Conception Occur
The ability to conceive is miraculous. It requires the meeting of a males sperm with a females egg. Once a womans ovary releases an egg, the egg lives for only between 12 and 24 hours. The male sperm can live for about three days.
The typical female cycle is 28 days. Day 1 is when she starts her period. A woman typically ovulates around day 14 .
Ovulation is when a womans ovary releases an egg for fertilization. If a sperm is available in the uterus, pregnancy can occur.
Ovulation can vary based on a womans cycle. Some women have a longer cycle of around 35 days between periods. Ovulation would then happen around day 21. Women with a shorter cycle of 21 days ovulate around day 7.
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Is It Okay To Have Oral Sex During Your Period
Just as with vaginal penetration, oral sex during your period can be safe and really depends on you and your partners comfort level. If oral sex is something you enjoy, theres no reason to stop. Using a dental dam can reduce exposure to STIs.
STIs via oral sex are still possible, and with menstrual blood, there may be a slightly increased risk because of the added body fluids. If you prefer oral sex to penetration, you could consider keeping a tampon or menstrual cup in to minimize exposure .
It Can Intensify Intimacy
Period sex makes you more vulnerable with your partner and yourself. Most peoples period experiences are generally private no one really knows the intimate details of their period and period blood other than themselves. But period sex opens the door to allowing another person to experience your body during this time. It can expose your sensual being and might lead to other unexplored sexual areas.
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When To Start Birth Control: Youve Just Had A Baby And Dont Want To Think About More Just Right Now
Ideally, discussing which birth control method you want to use postpartum is a conversation that you and your health care provider will start during pregnancy. It can be hard to sort through lots of options and make decisions when you are sleep-deprived with your little one.
Many medical professionals recommend that you wait between four to six weeks after giving birth before you have penetrative sex. This is so that your body has a chance to heal fully. Keep in mind that its possible to become pregnant very soon after having a baby, even if your period hasnt returned. While sex might be the last thing on your mind while your body is recovering and youre getting to grips with night feeds, its important to speak to your health care provider about the different contraceptive options available to you and to have a plan.
The implant, injection, progesterone-only pill, and condoms can all be used immediately after giving birth. Talking to your doctor about any individual situations and concerns is also important to pick the best method and the best timing, says Dr. Shwartz. Usually, we start either immediately after delivery or at the postpartum visit.
Your body has already gone through so much change, and if youve used birth control that contains estrogen in the past , it might feel like the most comfortable option to go back to.
Can You Ovulate On Your Period
You cannot ovulate on your period. If you are trying to plan a pregnancy, the best time to conceive is on the day of ovulation and 24 hours before – so the chances of being fertile on your period are extremely low. Its also worth knowing that some women may experience spotting around ovulation – this is a much smaller amount of blood than you get with period bleeding. If you are spotting, you may be fertile.
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Is It Safe To Have Sex After Periods
Quite a lot of women wonder about whether sex after periodsis safe or not. Many people believe that they can have sex immediately after periods and avoid pregnancy in that way. There are people who are not sure about that and want some clear explanation about having sex after periods and conceiving. Keep reading to learn more about it.
So How Do I Make It Less Likely To Have A Baby
- Dont have penile-vaginal sex.
- But if youre going to have penile-vaginal sex
- Control your and your partners behavior:
- Carefully track menstrual cycles to better understand normal cycles and predict ovulation.
- These methods take a lot of self-control and 100% consistency on the part of both partners. You cant control your partners behavior, so this can be a good backup method, but we dont recommend using one or both of these behaviors as the primary way to avoid pregnancy.
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Opt For Missionary Position
Lying on your back during sex can reduce blood flow. You might want to be careful about deep penetration because the cervix is lower and more sensitive during menstruation.
If you feel any discomfort or pain during sex, stop and tell your partner. Go slow and communicate to make sure you’re both comfortable.
Is It Safe To Have Sex On Your Period
As well as a small risk of pregnancy, its also still possible to get and pass on
In fact, you can actually spread some STIs more easily if you have sex during your period, because viruses such as hepatitis and HIV can live in period blood.
To reduce the risk of spreading or getting STIs, use a condom every time you have sex.
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Remove Your Feminine Product Before Period Sex
Whether youre wearing a menstrual cup or a tampon, make sure to remove it. Its best to remove your feminine product before starting anything so you dont risk forgetting.
If youre wearing a menstrual disc, you can wear it while having sex during your period. But make sure to empty it immediately before intercourse. If you dont, you risk creating an even bigger mess than if you werent wearing anything at all. Not great.
Can You Get Pregnant From Period Sex
Although its very unlikely, its still possible to get pregnant after having sex during your period.
This is because sperm can survive in your body for up to 7 days. And if you release an egg or ovulate early in your menstrual cycle, soon after the end of your period, this sperm can fertilise the egg and lead to pregnancy.
So if you dont want to get pregnant, its best to use contraception, such as a condom.
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Theres Really Not That Much Blood
One decent excuse to avoid period sex is the mess. On average, women lose about 30-40 ml of blood over the course of their entire period. If you have heavy periods, it might be around 60 ml. Which, for visual learners, is like a small tub, travel size, of face cream. So during the act of actual intercourse or fooling around with your partner, theres not going to be that much blood everywhere. This whole idea of it being a crime scene in my pants has got to go. We get why it feels like that sometimes, but its generally not true.
Planning Sex Can Help You Increase Your Chances Of Becoming Pregnant
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about womens health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.
Meredith Shur, MD, FACOG, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as a certified medical examiner.
If you want to get pregnant faster, you might be interested in knowing when you should have sex, how frequently to have sex, and whether there are factors that can increase or decrease your chances of becoming pregnant each month.
Its important to know that you can get pregnant at any time during your menstrual cycle, even if you are having your period. This is one of the reasons that birth control methods like the rhythm method are not very reliable in preventing pregnancy.
While unprotected sex doesnt lead to pregnancy every time, you can become pregnant if you have sex just one time. In general, fertility declines with age, and teenagers are far more likely to become pregnant with only one or a few sexual encounters than older women are. If you are having a hard time getting pregnant, there are some things to know that can help you maximize your chances.
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What Are The Benefits
Some women say that having sex while on their period brings several benefits, including:
1. Increased sex drive
Some women say they notice increased arousal at the time of their period. That comes down to hormone fluctuations which can see some experiencing a libido boost when ovulating, while others report feeling more turned on when menstruating.
2. Reduces painful cramps
It’s thought orgasms can relieve menstrual cramps because the uterus muscles contract and release, which can ease the constant state of tension. There’s also evidence to suggest that the hormones released during sex can take the mind off pain and discomfort.
3. Shorter periods
Another apparent benefit of the muscles in the uterus contracting in releasing is that it can help shed the lining of the womb – the blood – and experience a shorter period. However, there’s no scientific evidence to prove this theory.
4. Natural lubrication
For women who experience vaginal dryness, menstrual flow can act as natural lubrication and make sex feel more comfortable.
5. Relieves headaches
Experts say that sex can partially or completely relieve headaches but aren’t entirely sure why. Some say it could be the rush of feel-good endorphins during intercourse can help numb the pain.