Period sex is no longer an act of horny desperation during someone's period — it's just sex during the few days of the month that they're bleeding from their vagina. Some people think it's even better than regular sex, and as Rachel Bloom sings in Crazy Ex Girlfriend, if you're grossed out, think of period blood as cherry lube.
Just like sex throughout the rest of the month, period sex can be amazing, awkward, unremarkable, or just plain bad. (Again, it's just sex.) First thing's first: "You have to be willing to do it," says Megan Stubbs, a certified sexologist. Stubbs says the easiest way to make period sex hotter is to just embrace the mess and go for it. "It's like anal; you can't be like I don't like poop, you have to know what you're in for," she says.
Letting things get bloody in bed can be a great way to get over your other insecurities about bodily fluids (like semen, sweat, and whatever else you have going on), says Shannon Chavez, PsyD, a certified sex therapist. "The more comfortable you are around messiness during sex, the more sexual enjoyment you'll have," Dr. Chavez says. One 2015 study found that people were less disgusted by gory things when they were aroused, which kind of makes sense: If you have two competing thoughts in your brain (disgust and lust), which is going to be more appealing? "Once you consent with your partner, explore what feels right and break away from the shame," Stubbs says.
Here are some tips and ideas to take period sex to the next level with your partner.
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Use sex toys.
You can keep your tampon in and still have mind-blowing orgasms with a sex toy, especially since many women need clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, Stubbs says. "It [an orgasm] totally doesn't have to involve your vagina." Your period is the perfect time to try sex toys specifically intended for clitoral stimulation, or even a waterproof vibrator in the shower if you want to make things really wet and wild.
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Have oral sex.
If you usually use your period week to practice oral sex on your partner, turn the tables, Stubbs says. She suggests taking a piece of saran wrap and placing it over you or your partner's vagina — basically like a homemade dental dam — so you can enjoy oral sex. "Make sure it's big enough to prevent fluid from getting in your partner's mouth, but you can still have the sensations of oral sex," she says.
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Give your partner a heads up.
It's a good idea to give your partner a heads up that you have your period, just so they're not caught off guard or confused, Stubbs says. Ideally, you and your partner have been tested, and feel comfortable discussing your health, she says. Bring it up by saying something like, "I was just reading about how some people really like period sex — would you be open to doing that?" This way, you're floating the idea in a neutral way that doesn't put pressure on the situation or your partner, she says.
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Get a 'squirt sheet.'
Sex sheets are actually a thing, Stubbs says. If you're a heavy bleeder or don't want to wreck your nice sheets, having a machine washable and waterproof set of sheets specifically for sex is totally worth it, she says. "You can invest in these sheets, and then just get out the 'tarp' when it's time to have sex," she says. They're also great if you like to use lube but don't like the cleanup. Dr. Chavez recommends making the after-sex cleanup part of your "post-play," and talk about what you did or tried that worked.
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Get in the shower.
You've got the perfect period sex venue at home: the shower. Obviously, you can just wash away all the blood and mess when you're in there, but for some people shower sex can be tricky because the water can make vaginas drier (you can wash away your natural lubricant, too). "The bonus when you're on your period is that you have extra lube, so the water won't wash away moisture," she says. (The extra lube she's talking about is your period blood.)