Period sex is a tricky topic. There's no question that it can be messy, but studies also show that women's sex drives are higher during menstruation. According to research, this is because the combination of an estrogen surge combined with testosterone before you get your period naturally leads to a heightened libido. Other factors may contribute as well, such as the natural lubrication that comes with menstruation—but sometimes both women and men feel a little squeamish at the prospect.
Here, six real people explain exactly how they navigate period sex—if they navigate it at all.
If you have a light period, it's actually really enjoyable.
"I have a really light period—it lasts three days at most and never maxes out a tampon—and I've always really enjoyed period sex. As soon as my period hits, my sex drive spikes and I find that sensations feel more intense, maybe because of extra blood flow to the area or the extra lubrication. None of my boyfriends have ever had an issue with it—they were always down to do it as long as I was. I think part of being a sexual adult is accepting that sex is a messy thing. Better to give over than get icked out!" —Emily, 32
My partner isn't interested, and it bothers me.
"In previous relationships period sex hasn't been an issue, but my current boyfriend is strictly against it. It hurts my feelings a little if I'm being honest, but I get it and would probably feel the same way if the tables were turned." —Taylor, 24
If the woman doesn't mind, neither do I.
"I've been with girls who are grossed out by it and prefer to give oral sex that week, which I'm obviously totally fine with. But with girls who don't mind, yeah, it's great—I just make sure to be careful with the sheets and put down a towel." —Paul, 28
If you're comfortable with the person, go for it.
"I've always found that I'm a little squeamish about period sex in new relationships, but once I feel comfortable with the person, I really enjoy it. My libido is definitely higher during my period, but I have to get over the mental hurdle of knowing there will be extra cleanup afterward and precautionary measures taken ahead of time (whether or not you have nice sheets, a towel is a must). My overall thoughts, though? A woman shouldn't have to ignore her sex drive for a week just because of a little blood." —Rachel, 36
It used to freak me out, but I'm over it.
"Before I got together with my current partner, I'd always been a little wary of period sex, and none of my previous girlfriends had ever brought it up. To be honest, blood really freaks me out—but my partner has said things like "It's not real blood" that make me feel less queasy about the whole thing. She enjoys it, so I do too. It's a win for both of us." —Matt, 31
Just make sure to take your tampon out.
"I think period sex is great, and I enjoy the extra lubricant it provides. But my No. 1 tip for navigating period sex is to check more than once that you took your tampon out. Trust me, I've been there, and realizing you didn't take your tampon out really takes the fun out of the whole thing." —Cara, 27
Want more relationship advice? Here are the best pieces we heard in 2017.
And in order to be your best self in your relationships—whether it's with a friend, family member, or partner—you need to FEEL your best, inside and out. Ready to learn more about how to become your most vibrant self? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.