Whether you’re nervous about venturing into the wide world of period sex for the first time or you’ve been an enthusiast for years but still worry about things getting messy, your partner’s freaking out, or the cleanup, we’re here to tell you: Fret not! There are plenty of great reasons to indulge in the joys of getting busy during your time of month, and a ton of ways to maximize pleasure when doing it.
“Orgasm will release feel-good chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins (our body’s natural painkillers) that can ease the pain of menstrual cramps and bloating,” says Shannon Chavez, a psychologist and certified sex therapist in Los Angeles. Plus, she says, “more comfort around messiness can break down barriers to sexual enjoyment. Studies have shown that people who have higher arousal are less grossed out by bodily fluids and ‘messy sex.’ ” Who could argue with increased pleasure, decreased cramps, and greater intimacy?
Still, in order to make it really worth your while, we asked sex experts for their tips on how to embrace your T.O.M. while getting busy. None of the following advice involves a black towel—we promise.
1. Think of blood as just another lubricant
Oh yeah, you heard us. “One of the great things about period sex is that you don’t need any lube because you’re already incredibly wet, which means some positions are actually easier for some women to be in rather than not,” offers Carlen Costa, sexologist and relationship expert. “Some experts suggest sticking to one position so as not to create a mess, but I say go for it,” she adds. “Your vagina is actually more open and receptive at this time, so if there was a position you were trying to do, but it didn’t work so well in the past, now is the time.”
2. Engage in tantalizing and extra-slow foreplay.
“Foreplay can be even hotter during this time of month. When you have your period your hormones are in overdrive, which means you might find it even easier to orgasm from touch or penetration,” says Emily Morse, Glamour contributor and host of the Sex With Emily podcast. “Remember that anticipation often heightens arousal and can make your orgasms even more intense. Although you might not be comfortable receiving oral sex, you can guide your partner to spend time playing with your nipples, teasing your inner thighs, and gently breathing on your clitoris which can be just the stimulation you need to intensify your orgasms.” Did we mention orgasms emit biochemicals that can help ease cramps?
3. Move things to the shower…
“If you‘re squeamish about the blood, try having sex in the shower, which will wash it all away as you cavort, or in the bathtub,” shares Gloria Brame, sex therapist and author of Sex for Grown-Ups. Tub bonus: Water usually temporarily stops the flow when you are submerged.
”If penetration is painful for you this time of the month, try a vibrating mesh sponge,“ advises Morse. ”If penetration is not an issue but you’re more concerned about the mess, try some suction handcuffs to kink up your shower play.” And even though “messy” sex can be some of the hottest sex, if it makes you self-conscious, some people find the cleansing shower setting helps loosen inhibitions.
4. …or make your bed.
No shirts, no (cotton) sheets, no problem. You could just cover up your regular sheets and retrofit your bed for period sex. “You can even get special bedding such as a rubber sheet to protect your bed… and explore your kinky side,” says Chavez.
No, we’re not talking the one that’s stirring your coffee. Come flow-time, this sex position can be one of the best: “When you‘re on your period, some women report more pelvic congestion, which is a heaviness that [may] trigger arousal,” says Costa. “This is why some women report wanting to have more sex while on their period, versus none at all.” Gentle positions like spooning can be a perfect way to enjoy sex right now, adds Morse: “You can play with the depth of penetration and different angles to make sure it works for you.” (The same goes for missionary!)