Cause my swag is serious,
Something heavy like a first day period…
–          Janet Jackson (Feedback)

Having breakfast with a close friend the other day, she raised having sex on her period. Well, actually she asked me if I had sex on my period. She happily offered up that she had on many occasions, though conversations with other women about this seemed to make them squeamish. She figured that I wouldn’t be, and she was right. As you know, I’ll happily discuss anything and everything!

I have had sex during my period but I generally don’t as a matter of course. Not for any other reason than I’m not a lover of mess, to be 100% honest. Having your period is normal and natural and we all go through it. Intelligent men also understand that it’s part of life and it’s a normal biological female function and not a thing of shame or disgrace.

I love that people are starting to throw period parties for their daughters!

I think what’s so interesting that even in this day and age that women talk in hushed tones about periods. Some women are indeed “squeamish” to talk about blood. We talk among each other, but not loudly, about menstruation. Something as normal as breathing. Women bleed. We just do.

Over a year ago my body decided to rebel against me. I had never had period pain. Like ever. Yes, feel free to hate me.

My periods lasted for perhaps 3 or 4 days and was never heavy. It came and went in a whimper and politely didn’t interrupt my life very much since the day it arrived on my 11th birthday. So after years of uneventfulness, (discounting miscarriages and the brilliant birth of my children which is a whole other story), my body decided to give me a wakeup call. I started to bleed.

Not just a little, but a lot, and often. There was no rhyme or reason to it. I had blood tests and stressed that I was pre-menopausal.

I started to spontaneously bleed during sex. Oh, thank you body for that not so joyous moment!  It happened on several occasions with the Producer. I was initially mortified (okay a lot mortified) the first time it happened. There was no warning and no pain. Just blood.  He thought he’d hurt me. Ugh.

I asked my doctor if by any chance it might have been due to the size of him…or the sometimes athletic sex we were having, and peering over her glasses at me, she shrugged, ”Unlikely. But if it is, aren’t you lucky?” Then we both laughed, me blushing…and I knew she was going to offer up that story at a dinner party or two. I always say, if in doubt, ask.

In the end while the messy red sex slightly embarrassed me, it wasn’t the end of the world, or the relationship. Why would it be really? He was awesome about the whole thing – but the mess, on the sheets and on him, did freak me out…Not so much the blood, but that fact that I felt defective. My body wasn’t cooperating.

As it turned out, I had abnormal pre-cancerous cells playing havoc with my cervix, and a bit of a non-threatening mass that was playing having with my uterus…once that was dealt with, and they finally found a pill that worked for me, the bleeding stopped. Which, having bled so much I was anaemic, was a relief. (Pap smears are vital!).

I have a number of close friends who routinely have sex during their menstrual cycle. One chuckled at me a little just today when I talked about mess. “Yes, but you’re a neat freak,” she gently teased me. As she so rightly pointed out, it all comes out in the wash! She did say that she just uses towels laid over sheets. To be honest, she said that it’s not all that messy for her anyway, and she has been doing it since her twenties. She said prior to that, she thought guys wouldn’t like it, which all changed when she dated a guy who actually asked if they could. It broke down her defences about messy sex. In fact he quite liked giving oral sex while she had her period too. She conceded that doing so was a bridge too far for most men but penetrative sex hadn’t perturbed any of her lovers.

This gorgeous woman said she actually feels more aroused during her period, much to the joy of her partner who she admits to jumping on at the slightest provocation!

Another friend when I raised this on the phone the other day said for her it is the complete opposite. Heavy flows and period pain accompanied by hormone induced headaches mean that she couldn’t think of anything worse than having sex during her period. “Nooo,” she groaned down the phone line, “Just the thought of it makes me cringe. I feel bloated and crap and I can’t think of any time when I feel less sexy.”

I once dated a younger Italian who thought it was quite normal to have sex with women during their period. Of course, he probably thought it was normal to have sex anytime and anywhere. Such is life when you’re young and single, right? He said that (loosely translated from his native tongue), “To be a captain, one must be a pirate who navigates all seas…including the red sea.” Well, ahoy there, me hearties!  Arrrgghhh.  Okay, that all sounded much better in Italian but doesn’t everything!  To be honest I never played first mate with him on his voyages to the red sea. It just didn’t happen.

On the flip side of that, I know some men are not ofay with sex and periods. Sometimes it’s cultural. Sometimes it’s just personal choice for a man as much as it is for a woman.

Some women swear that sex during their period actually relieves period pain, and I imagine that’s because sex released endorphins, and we all have showers, right?

In the end I think like all things sexual, it’s all personal choice. If you enjoy it, why not I say?  Do what makes you happy and what feels right for you.

What are your thoughts? Do you have sex on your period or not?