Can you have sex on your period? The short answer is yes. Having penetrative and non-penetrative intercourse while menstruating is totally fine, as long as you’re comfortable and in the mood. For centuries, women have struggled with shame surrounding both their sensuality and menstruation. There is no biological reason to feel bad about either of these things together or separately. In fact, there are many mental and physical health benefits in engaging in period sex if you and your partner are comfortable with it.
TC46 spoke with Dr Sushma Tomar, Infertility Specialist & Endoscopic Surgeon at Fortis Hospital in Mumbai, and Dr Manjiri Mehta, Senior Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician at Hiranandani Hospital in Mumbai. They talk about women’s sex drives, mid-cycle heat, need for tracking your cycle and dealing with increased libido.
1. What are the common factors that affect a woman’s sex drive?
Dr Mehta notes the following factors:
- Internal desire
- Stress of any kind, physical or emotional
- Need for birth control
- Increasing age
“There are many psychological causes that impact the sex drive; low drive could be triggered by having mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, work-related stress, financial stress, low self-confidence, physical or sexual abuse, negative sexual experiences and more”, says Dr Tomar.
2. What are the signs of a heightened sex drive in women?
“Sex drive can be heightened due to a stress-free period, being in a good mental state, or having good sex and enjoying it. Apart from this, a good physical workout and change in certain medications also help”, says Dr Mehta.
Dr Tomar explains, “Sexual desire differs from person to person. Sexual satisfaction depends on the frequency, method, and your partner.”
3. How does the menstrual cycle affect your libido?
Dr Mehta states, “The hormonal interplay is responsible for varying libido during different phases of the menstrual cycle. The drive is at its peak just before, during and just after ovulation period.”
“Sexual desire is influenced by hormones estrogen and progesterone. So sexual desire is heightened at the time of ovulation and decreases after ovulation. Cervical position and lubrication during ovulation increase your desire. The sensitivity of breasts, touch and response is also dependent on the hormones. Experience of pain during arousal is also heightened during the mid-luteal phase. But every person’s experience is unique and different from the other. During ovulation, there is a spike in progesterone hormone, which causes an increase in body temperature. In the last 14 days of the luteal phase, your body temperature is slightly on the higher side because of this hormone”, clarifies Dr Tomar.
4. Why does your sex drive spike during your periods?
“The sexual drive is at its peak around the ovulation period and not during menses. Menses is a period where chances of becoming pregnant are almost zero, and this in a few women may improve desire”, shares Dr Mehta.
5. What is mid-cycle heat and what are its causes?
Dr Mehta states, “Mid-cycle heat is related to estrogen, progesterone, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing hormonal interplay. Due to this the sexual desire may also be at its peak.”
Dr Tomar shares the following details, “Sex desire is dependent on hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Ageing can also affect the sex desire. So sexual desire is a combination of hormone stimulation and physical sensations. Signs of heightened sex drive in women differs from woman to woman. For some, it is normal to have sex once a day, for some, there is no desire for sex even after a few weeks. High libido sometimes becomes a problem, as hypersexuality or out of control behaviour have a negative impact on your health, relationship and work life. As you feel unsatisfied, making you angrier, increasing stress, triggering depression, triggering anxiety and loneliness. It becomes difficult for such people to maintain a healthy relationship.”
6. Should you have sex during periods? What are some pros and cons?
Dr Mehta explains, “Sex during periods is not very hygienic, it may increase chances of Endometriosis & Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). On the positive side, it provides natural lubrication and may offer relief from cramps.”
“There is no need to avoid sex during your menses; sex during menses can help give relief from menstrual cramps. But, chances of spreading Sexually Transmitted Infections increases during menses”, states Dr Tomar.
7. What are the benefits of learning to track your cyclic changes?
Dr Mehta points out that, “Tracking of cyclical hormonal changes comes in handy, and helps you to organise your time and prioritize your work; it can also help in avoiding unwanted pregnancy.”
8. What are some tips for women to recognize and deal with increased libido during periods?
“For women with increased libido during menses – maintain good hygiene. Use protection, do not wear tampons during intercourse, as it can get lost and forgotten”, advises Dr Mehta.
TC46’s 5 Period Sex Tips For Beginners
- Clean up after: Washing your privates after sex is a hygienic practice
- Try period sex in the shower: No mess and no clean up necessary
- Take out the tampon/cup: These should not be worn during penetration
- Practise safe sex: You can get pregnant while on your period; worse, you can get an STD
- Have fun and be creative: Remember, penetration is only one of the many ways to make love and achieve climax