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26th March, 20213 min read

Can you have sex on your period?

Medical reviewer: Dr Ann Nainan
Author: Helen Prentice
Last reviewed: 25/03/2021
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

Your monthly period is when your body sheds the lining of your womb (uterus), which comes out of your vagina as blood. The bleeding lasts an average of 5 days. But it doesn’t mean you have to avoid having sex.

There are, however, a few things you should know if you’re planning to have sex during this time. So read on to learn the facts about period sex.

Having sex on your period

It’s up to you whether you want to have sex while you’re on your period, But if you do, it’s a good idea to be prepared.

The main challenge will be dealing with any blood. To minimise mess, you can cover the bed with a dark-coloured towel, or consider having sex in the shower or bath. It’s a good idea to keep some wet wipes and tissues handy, too.

And if you use tampons, don’t forget to remove your tampon before sex – otherwise it can get pushed further into your vagina. This may mean you can’t remove it yourself, and a healthcare professional will need to do this for you.

However, there are actually some possible benefits to period sex, including:

  • relief from period pains/cramps – when you have an orgasm, the muscles of your womb contract and release, which can help to relieve any painful cramping you get during your period. Sex also makes your body release ‘feel-good’ chemicals called endorphins, which can help you feel better
  • shorter periods – your womb muscles contracting during an orgasm may help to push out the lining more quickly, which could make your period shorter
  • better sex – some people say their sex drive increases and they feel more ‘turned on’ when they’re on their period, which could be due to hormonal changes
  • natural lubrication – your period blood acts as a lubricant, so you probably won’t need to use any extra lubrication

Can you get pregnant from period sex?

Although it’s very unlikely, it’s 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 don’t want to get pregnant, it’s best to use contraception, such as a condom.

Is it safe to have sex on your period?

As well as a small risk of pregnancy, it’s also still possible to get and pass on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if you have sex during your period.

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.

Key points

  • you don’t have to avoid sex when you’re on your period
  • you can make preparations to manage any mess
  • you may find sex helps with pain and makes you feel better during your period
  • it’s still possible to get pregnant (although it’s unlikely) or spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • using a condom will help protect against pregnancy and STIs
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We include references at the end of every article, so you know where we get our facts. We only ever take evidence from medically-recognised sources, approved by the UK National Health Service's The Information Standard, or certified by Health On the Net (HON). When we talk about popular health trends or claims, we'll always tell you if there's very little or no evidence to back them up. Our medical team also checks our sources, making sure they're appropriate and that we've interpreted the science correctly.

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.

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