"Can I have sex on my period?" and many more questions

Never has there been a better occasion to respond: do whatever the f**k you want.

We shouldn't expect too much of a society that uses blue liquid to represent menstrual bleeding, as if what flows from us were tropical juice and not blood. Yes, blood. Warm because you're living, thick because you're healthy and monthly because you complete your cycle. And, psssttt, want to know a secret? That's totally normal!

This widespread rejection of menstruation extends to all spheres. From your school days, when you would hide your pads up your sleeve before sneaking off to the bathroom (drugs are smuggled with less artifice), to now, where your Mum still asks if your "Aunt Flo" has come to visit. Umm, listen, Mum. I don't know about Aunt Flo, but my womb is shedding and I want ice cream.

In adverts, that veil of clouds, cotton and girls doing handstands shrouds a reality which is far from horrible and in fact natural, healthy and necessary. What's more, there is a huge gap between the concept of periods and actual periods, particularly among people who don't menstruate and have no idea about what goes on, but allow themselves to be deceived by theories like "she's not talking to anyone, it's her time of the month" or "if you make mayonnaise while you're menstruating it will curdle". As if periods made us both tyrants and incompetent.

Anyway, this is how it goes: day one of your cycle and the bed head is as still as a post. Maybe you want to have the sex of your life, maybe you don't, but whatever happens that night it will be conditioned by the misconception that you CAN'T have sex on your period. And that, my friend, is a lie. The following information will set you free, so go ahead: read and soar...

I don't feel like it! Why not?

Although the only visible trace of menstruation is blood being released from the vagina, it is so much more than that. Menstruation forms part of the menstrual cycle: a whole roller coaster of hormones. In the first few days of your cycle (your period) you're in a kind of emotional valley, which you got to a few days before. Many women suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which, as its name suggests, comes just before your period. There is no specific set of symptoms because everyone reacts differently to hormones, but if I had one word to describe them it would be this: SLUMP.

PMS eases on the first or second day of your period, but that doesn't mean it'll be a bed of roses from here on out. Periods cause discomfort: you bloat and you ache, etc. Your period itself shouldn't be painful but it is often uncomfortable (if it hurts a lot you should check you don't have PCOS or endometriosis).

And if I do feel like it... Why is that?

That roller coaster of hormones is working in your favour. As explained above, hormones affect all women differently. Some feel like crying while others feel very, very horny. So if you're someone who goes into overdrive when you're on your period, seriously, thank your body.

So can I have sex then?

There are many benefits to having penetrative sex on your period. First off, the lubrication and sensitivity. If your biggest concern is making a mess, go ahead and use your imagination. Put a towel down, use an old blanket to protect your mattress or do it in the shower. On the first few days of your period there will be minimum friction and maximum sensitivity, as the vaginal walls swell. On the final few days, you will need to use a lubricant, since your flow is lighter. Natural lubrication is limited at this stage.

12% of women admit that they don't want to have sex while they're on their period because they don't want their partner to feel uncomfortable. In reality, period blood is just another bodily fluid and contains no "nasties" provided the person menstruating has no health problems. If you're not doing it, make sure it's because you don't want to, not because you're ashamed. You should also bear in mind that not all sex is penetrative; 8 in 10 women require clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. So if you want to have sex but you (or your partner) aren't ready to destigmatise blood, you can have some fun with your cup in, for example. You can do whateverrrr you want, besides vaginal penetration. It's not as if you have limited options!

But if you're not convinced and you still find yourself climbing up the walls, make a choice: left hand or right hand? Masturbation is another fantastic solution and you don't have to wait 'til you're aroused to do it. What if I told you orgasms relieve pain? You can fight the discomfort of your period with an orgasm. Can you think of anything better? 


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