Riding the Crimson Wave

Valley Advocate

By Yana Tallon-Hicks
August 11, 2011

Great sex is peppered with a lot of punctuation—slow, seductive “dot, dot, dots,” hyphens for sexual meldings like “girl-on-girl” or “penis-to-booty” and, hopefully, lots of exclamation points!!! But the punctuation mark many avoid in a steamy sex sentence is the period. With a few mental readjustments and a little physical finagling, you’ll find that sex during the old monthly is actually bloody good indeed.

The biggest hurdles to a great threesome with Aunt Flo are fear and shame. Though over half of our society bleeds monthly, our culture is terrified of a woman’s period. From scented tampons, to the unbreakable codeword “feminine product” to the stupid blue goo poured on every pad in a period-related commercial (what am I, a Smurf?), we’re taught to hide our natural menstruation. It’s dirty, gross, unattractive and anti-sexy. This shame, when mixed with the already guilt-ridden world of sex, makes for a bitter Bloody Mary of fear for bleeding women and their sexual partners.

However, when put into perspective, a tiny little dot at the end of your monthly sentence isn’t that scary. Sure, guys, I can understand your apprehension. I bet the idea of your little soldier bleeding can only conjure up traumatic images of painful battle wounds.

Bleeding associated with pain is bad. But bleeding associated with a woman’s natural cycle of shedding unused uterine lining is actually no big deal. Having sex during one’s period isn’t going to make your bedroom look like a scene from Scream. The average period produces just two tablespoons of blood. That’s less than the amount of cream most people put in their morning coffee. If that isn’t convincing, do the math: a period happens once a month and lasts about a week. That’s a quarter of a year’s worth of perfectly good sexy time wasted. In my two-woman bedroom, that’s half a year. Enough said.

For most women, the first few period days produce the most blood and cramps. On these days, and during her period in general, don’t expect to have your usual sex. Cramps and vaginal wall sensitivity can make internal penetration painful, so don’t forget about other types of sex—whether it be oral, clitoral stimulation or using a smaller dildo or vibrator for penetration. Not only are (her) orgasms known to relieve cramps, but having an orgasm before penetration can relax previously tense muscles, making post-orgasmic penetration easier.

Period sex can feel like having sex with a new vagina, which can be fun for both parties. Many women get more lubricated, vaginal walls can feel tighter, orgasms feel different and fluctuating hormones can make you just pain horny.

If you’re feeling red and randy, there are steps to take to make Mother Nature less distracting. Set yourself up for a smooth transition by wearing a light pad that comes off when the panties drop or taking your tampon out beforehand. If your flow is heavier, keep your tampon in, tucking the string into the lower folds of your vagina to keep the path to your clitoris clear. Just make sure to take the tampon out before penetration!

Don’t walk the red carpet on top of surfaces you care about. Change out the silk sheets and put down a towel. Though it’s a little harder, you can still get pregnant on your period. And if you’ve mistaken your bleeding for your period when it’s actually ovulation, you’ll be easier to fertilize. STIs, which are transmitted through bodily fluids, can also be transmitted through blood, making transmission easier during your period. Latex barriers make for safer sex and an easy cleanup. If you’re squeamish, opt for black latex gloves, dental dams and condoms (try Durex Tuxedos) that are sexy and color-discreet.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.