Period sex is one of those taboo subjects that no one wants to talk about, but deep down, everyone wants to know the deets. Cosmopolitan UK asked women's menstrual health app Clue to find out exactly what you need to know about having sex on your period...
1. Orgasms can ease cramps and symptoms of PMS.
The endorphins released by orgasms can relieve common PMS symptoms such as stress (obvs), and they can also relieve menstrual cramps for some people based on the strength and intensity of the climax. Vaginal orgasms have substantial alleviating properties, much more than clitoral stimulation.
2. Menstrual blood is 100 percent not harmful for the penis.
It's 2015 and all that, but some people are genuinely still under the impression that period blood is "impure" and carries infections that could spread if a guy gets in touch with it. Simply put, there is NO truth in this. Menstrual blood is a mixture of healthy blood and tissues that the body no longer needs, so absolutely no harm will come from him getting a bit of blood on his, ahem, sword…
3. An orgasm may speed up the release of menstrual blood.
Period sex is always going to be a bit of a messy affair, but you may notice more blood than expected, even if your period is fairly light. This is because orgasm increases the rate at which endometrial debris are expelled from the body, which in turn can decrease the length of your period. Basically, you can speed up your period by having sex. Win win, amirite?
4. Nearly a third of people have sex during their period.
Just because no one talks about it, it doesn't mean that no one is doing it! Research has shown that 30 percent of sexually active people have sex during their period—and loads of women even notice an increase in arousal around this time of the month. So if you're getting it on more than usual during that time of the month, you're not alone...
5. And it can make sex more enjoyable.
As mentioned above, studies have shown that periods have no negative effect on sexual arousal, and some women will want sex more during their period. Many women claim to be more turned on and feel more sensitive around this time, leading to an increase in pleasure when stimulated.
6. It's a natural lubricant.
Enough said. Trust us: You probably won't need any lube.
7. You're more likely to spread sexually transmitted infections.
Proceed with caution. While there are good points to it, sex during menstruation may contribute to transmission of some sexually transmitted infections (such as HIV). To allow the blood to pass, the cervix is slightly more open around this time, which puts you at a higher risk if of infection if exposed to an STI. If in doubt, follow your usual safe sex guidelines and use a condom.
8. Yes, you CAN still get pregnant…
People with regular 28-day cycles are less likely to ovulate around their period (and therefore less likely to get pregnant), but you're not made invincible by a bit of blood. There are many reported cases of ovulation happening close to menstruation and, because sperm can live up to seven days, it is actually possible to get pregnant during your period.
9. But if you do, your baby won't have red hair just because you conceived during your period.
We don't even know how this is still a myth. Rumors of this started in the Middle Ages, when it was a widely believed notion that ginger children were a result of copulation during menstruation. But it's total BS, in case you were wondering.
10. Cleaning up can be easy.
You might enjoy period sex, but chances are, your bedsheets won't. To remove bloodstains quickly and efficiently, soak them in cold salt water before washing ASAP, then spray on a stain remover and wash as usual. Any visual reminders should wash right out.
11. You don't have to do it (OBVIOUSLY).
Period sex is a personal choice. Don't ever feel pressured to have sex while you're on your period if you don't want to. If your partner can't wait a few days, they're probably not worth waiting for. (The same goes for you when you're really horny on your period and your guy doesn't want to have sex with you until it ends.)
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.