Having sex during periods may sound messy but there is nothing wrong about it. You should enjoy sex whenever you want. In fact, women are supposedly more aroused during their menstruation phase, the credit might go to the hormonal surges during periods. Another interesting fact about sex during menstruation is that it might reduce your distressing menstrual cramps. If having sex can give you relief from unbearable pain, why not give it a try? You might just be amazed at how quickly it works!

But apart from its health benefits, sex during periods has its own set of side effects too. For instance, it increases your chances of acquiring STDs, pelvic inflammatory diseases and urinary tract infection. So, before you decide to give it a try, it is better to know every detail related to it.

This article will serve you with everything you possibly need to know about sexual intercourse during the bleeding phase of your cycle. Grab a cup of tea, and read on.

  1. Benefits of sex during periods
  2. Can you have sex during periods
  3. Relief from headache
  4. Decrease in menstrual cramps
  5. Reduces pelvic congestion
  6. More number of days for sex
  7. Decreased risk of pregnancy
  8. Side effects of sex during periods
  9. Risk of sexually transmitted disease
  10. Risk of pelvic inflammatory disease
  11. Increase in menstrual blood flow
  12. Risk of endometriosis
  13. Risk of pelvic congestion
  14. Sex can be messy and smelly
  15. Tips for having great sex during peiods
  16. Takeaway
Doctors for Sex during menstruation, is it good or bad

If you have decided to give it a try, sex during periods could have its added advantages other than the sheer pleasure of it. It not only helps reduces period pain but also has the least chance of surprising you with an accidental pregnancy. Let us have a look at some of the scientifically proven benefits of period sex.

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Generally, women get their periods every month and they last almost 3 to 7 days.

In some cultures, sexual intercourse is prohibited while a woman is menstruating, considering women on periods to be unclean and physical relation during periods is considered a sinful act. The reason behind this could be possibly related to hygiene issues or to minimize the risk of infections arising from it. Even if you are not an otherwise religious person, most people tend to avoid sex during this time of the month, being hesitant of the possible effects.

Well, the good news is, unless you are bothered by a bit of a mess, sexual intercourse during menstruation is considered to be absolutely fine. In fact, The National Health Service considers sexual activity during periods to be as normal as other days.  

During periods, the body is already going through a lot of pain and cramps, when headache adds to this, it might become a nightmare. But, what if you were told sexual intercourse might provide you with relief from your pain as well as uplift your mood. Seems interesting doesn’t it now?

A study reveals that sex might help completely or partially alleviate migraine pain and pain associated with cluster headaches. Some patients taking part in the study even reported using sexual intercourse as a therapeutic tool for migraine headache.

So, the next time you have a headache during your periods, you can try indulging in some passionate lovemaking and see if that works for you.

Yes you heard it right, sex during periods might help you in getting rid of those painful menstrual cramps arising from your uterus. Also known as dysmenorrhoea, period pain is one of the most common complaints in a majority of women in their reproductive age. While mild pain is bearable to an extent, severe pain usually needs medications. Some women also rely on herbs, lifestyle changes and diet for avoiding this pain.

But surely nothing compares to the ease and gratification of sexual intercourse. Sex is a natural phenomenon, which is designed to bring calmness and pleasure as well as to extend the genes to a new generation. There is nothing to be ashamed of it. In fact, studies suggest that having an orgasm will lead to a significant reduction in the severity of period pain.

So, why not take advantage of all of its benefits if you can?

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Pelvic congestion occurs due to the irregular circulation of blood in the pelvic area, leading to long-standing pain in the pelvic region. It is especially common in women of premenopausal age and could be quite difficult to diagnose. Pregnancy further increases the risk of this condition. People with pelvic congestion syndrome often experience pain while walking, changing positions and movement. Interestingly, studies reveal that if a woman achieves orgasm during sex, it might have a suppressing effect on the pain and discomfort associated with pelvic congestion. So, if you are suffering from this condition, you can definitely try sex to get some relief from your pain and discomfort.

If sex is one of your guilty pleasures, you can definitely enjoy it during your bleeding days too. Usually, people avoid having sex in the 5 days before ovulation and 1 day after ovulation as there is an increased risk of pregnancy during this period of the menstrual cycle. This takes away almost 1 week of sex from the whole month. Including menstrual days in the list, decreases the duration of abstinence.

So, if you and your partner are comfortable with getting intimate during periods and not squeamish of a little blood, it will be an excellent booster to your sex life.

During menstruation, there is no ova in your uterus for fertilisation. So, there is virtually no chance that you’ll get pregnant if you have sex on your period. But this does not mean that you can have unprotected sex. Sperms can stay for a few days in your uterus if you have a shorter menstrual cycle, any viable sperm present in your uterus can fuse with the newly released ova and lead to pregnancy. Other than this unprotected sex comes with many serious health risks to you or your partner. So, it is always advisable to use appropriate birth control methods while having sex, even if you are on your periods. Unless of course, you are trying to get pregnant.

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On one hand, where period sex has benefits for your health, it also has certain downsides in the form of diseases and complications. All these could be minimized by using protection during coitous but no one method is foolproof. Consequently, it becomes important to be aware of the possible side effects of having sex during periods. Read on to know what those downsides are and how you can avoid them.

The first and foremost complication of sex during periods is sexually transmitted diseases. There are various types of sexually transmitted disease like AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia infection. Although pathogens of these diseases can be transmitted by other sources like saliva or direct blood contact, sex during menstruation becomes an easy way of spreading infection by these pathogens.

A study indicates that increased risk of STD through menstrual blood is due to the loss of cervical mucus plug (protective barrier) during menstruation, iron in menstrual blood, dilated cervical opening, increased alkaline pH of vagina and surge in estrogen and progesterone level. All of these make the environment of your vagina more suitable to the growth of pathogenic microbes thereby increasing the risk of infections.

The overall risk of developing STD can be prevented by using an appropriate method of contraception like condoms. Encourage yourself and your partner to always have protected sex, no matter the phase of your menstrual cycle.

Read more: How to have safe sex

Another consequence of unprotected sex during menstruation is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It is an infection of the female reproductive system that leads to pain and inflammation in the pelvic area. It could be really distressing and may even make it difficult to do your day to day work. A study claims PID to be the most threatening complication of intercourse during menstruation. However, the same study recommends the use of condoms in patients who already had PID in the past and also who are at a high risk of developing PID, during sexual intercourse.

Read more: Anal sex

If you are sexually active during periods, it might cause you heavy flow afterward. The reason behind this is the rupture of uterine veins, which are congested and are prone to damage during this time of the month.

(Read more: Heavy periods cause, symptoms, treatment)

But the positive side to this is that you may observe early termination of the menstrual cycle within 1 or 2 days after intercourse. This happens because all the blood that was meant to flow slowly for a longer period of time, flows at a rapid rate due to increased contractions in the uterine muscles stimulated by intercourse. Doesn’t exactly seem like a disadvantage now does it?

Endometriosis is a hormone-dependent, chronic inflammatory gynaecological disease. In this disease, tissues of the inner uterine layer start to grow on sites other than uterine cavity like in ovaries. Endometriosis is caused by several etiological factors. However, few researchers indicate a double number of reported cases of patients of endometriosis who indulge in sex during menstruation as compared to patients of endometriosis who do not.

Sex can be an excellent way to reduce and manage the symptoms of pelvic congestion; however, it would only be beneficial if you have an orgasm. In any other situation, sexual penetration could be an aggravating factor for pelvic congestion.

If you are involved in sexual activity and have pelvic congestion syndrome, make sure the sex makes you reach the highest level of excitement in order to prevent any complications in future.

Sex during menstrual flow can be messy as there is active bleeding going on while you are having sex. The blood can spread on the bedcover, your body as well as your partner's body. All of this can take away the fun during sex. On top of that, if you are someone who has a heavy menstrual flow, it can be a bad idea to even think. But you don’t bother a bit of mess go for it.

Menstrual blood has a unique smell, which might be unpleasant to your partner. Although if he is into you it might not affect him but sometimes the odour of blood might have a negative impact on your partner's sexual desire and make turn him off.

If you are looking forward to trying period sex for all of its benefits, here are a few tips, which would help you in easy, less messy and more enjoyable sex:

  • Put a towel or extra bed cover to prevent all the mess and extra cleaning after you are done
  • Use wet wipes to clean the blood off your and your partner’s body
  • If you are wearing a tampon for management of bleeding, make sure to remove it before
  • Always use condoms or other birth control measures
  • Lay down on your side or take the bottom position to avoid an excessive mess
  • Have sex in the shower, if you are comfortable doing it there
  • Talk to your partner about the possible risks and downsides of sex during periods so you are both on the same page about it

Period sex could be fun and beneficial to health provided that you take appropriate measures to prevent the complications and risks associated with it. To avoid STDs and reduce the risk of STDs, never ditch on contraceptive pills or condoms no matter what phase of your cycle you are in. Always check in with a gynaecologist if you have any concerns you may have about your sexual health or if you want to know more about the possible effects of sex during periods on your overall health.

Dr. Pratik Shikare

Dr. Pratik Shikare

Obstetrics & Gynaecology
5 Years of Experience

Dr. Payal Bajaj

Dr. Payal Bajaj

Obstetrics & Gynaecology
20 Years of Experience

Dr Amita

Dr Amita

Obstetrics & Gynaecology
3 Years of Experience

Dr. Sheetal Chandorkar

Dr. Sheetal Chandorkar

Obstetrics & Gynaecology
6 Years of Experience


  1. Elias E. Mazokopakis et al. Is Vaginal Sexual Intercourse Permitted during Menstruation? A Biblical (Christian) and Medical Approach . Maedica (Buchar). 2018 Sep; 13(3): 183–188. PMID: 30568737
  2. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Can you have sex during a period?.
  3. Hambach A et al. The impact of sexual activity on idiopathic headaches: an observational study. Cephalalgia. 2013 Apr;33(6):384-9. PMID: 23430983
  4. Michelle Procto, Cynthia Farquhar. Diagnosis and management of dysmenorrhoea . BMJ. 2006 May 13; 332(7550): 1134–1138. PMID: 16690671
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  6. University of Michigan, Michigan, United States [Internet] Improving Sexual Health: Vaginal Lubricants, Moisturizers, Dilators & Counseling
  7. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [Internet] Washington, DC; https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Fertility-Awareness-Based-Methods-of-Family-Planning#standard
  8. Tanfer K, Aral SO. Sexual intercourse during menstruation and self-reported sexually transmitted disease history among women. Sex Transm Dis. 1996 Sep-Oct;23(5):395-401. PMID: 8885071
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