Even though periods are normal and sex is normal, for some reason the idea of period sex sends a lot of women running out of the bedroom and into an isolation chamber with a bar of chocolate and a clock counting down the hours until they can have sex again, but you really don't have to!
Cosmopolitan.com spoke with Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn with the Mount Kisco Medical Group and co-author of V is for Vagina, to dispel these B.S. myths about having sex on your period.
1. Period sex increases your risk of infection. Unless you kept a tampon in for more than eight hours, which would increase the amount of bacteria in the vagina and is just not a recommended practice anyway, if you're in good health, there's no issue with increased infection during your period.
2. Having a tampon in during sex increases your risk of infection. While the above is true because leaving a tampon in that long will increase the amount of bacteria, a tampon in and of itself won't increase your risk of infection. That said, you still shouldn't wear a tampon during sex, but only because there's not a lot of room in there for sexual objects and the tampon. Plus, a tampon could get pushed far up into your vagina and be more difficult to remove. If you want to have something like that in during sex, try a diaphragm because that will sort of patch the period and catch the menstrual blood without blocking the vagina.
3. Women don't want to have sex on their period. This is understandable due to the mess it could cause, which is usually the reason that some women don't want to have sex during their periods, but a lot of women on their period are actually aroused as much as they would be any other time, some even moreso. Not to mention that sex really helps to relieve menstrual cramps, so there are plenty of women who want to have sex on their period and it can be beneficial if they do.
4. It's way too messy to do. Women are often worried they'll stain their sheets or their boyfriend will be grossed out. But if that's the case, there are options. Shower sex is a good option because there are no sheets involved and it basically cleans itself, but if you want to stay in bed, putting down a dark-colored towel works just fine.
5. You can't become pregnant if you have sex on your period. That's somewhat true if you have regular monthly periods. However, some women who have irregular periods might be spotting and not actually menstruating, and if that's the case, it's definitely possible you could still get pregnant during that time.
6. You don't need to use a condom. If you're having regular periods, then yes, you have a low chance of getting pregnant during sex, but if you have a condition like hepatitis or any other blood-born STD like HIV or syphilis, you would have an increased chance of giving your partner the disease without a condom.
7. Your period will be heavier if you have sex on your period. A lot of women think that having sex while on their period will make them bleed more, but that's false. The contractions that you have during orgasm might push some more blood out, but it won't make your period heavier or longer.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.