Let’s just get this out of the way up front: Having oral sex on your period has been a taboo topic in the past—but it doesn’t need to be.
After all, you and your partner set the tone in the bedroom, and if you’re both game for something, like period sex, for example, then that’s kind of that. Sure, there are plenty of other factors to having oral sex on your period that are a non-issue during the rest of the month, like having blood in the mix. But there are ways to work around it.
If you’re curious about trying oral sex on your period, there’s really no reason not to ask for it. “We’ve been taught to be disgusted by and ashamed of our periods, so it makes sense that we’re hesitant to ask for oral sex while menstruating,” says Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast. “Many people are hesitant to ask for pleasure more generally,” she adds.
Just know this: You’re not the only person curious about having oral sex on your period. “Many people are very aroused while on their periods,” says sex therapist and doctor of health science Debra Laino.“The curiosity may come from the bit of taboo nature around having sex at a time when you ‘shouldn’t,’” she says.
And don’t worry, if you decide the idea of having oral sex on your period isn’t your thing, that’s one hundred percent okay. There’s zero pressure to try it. But, if you are into the idea, you probably have some questions beforehand. Here’s what you need to know before anything goes down.
What are the benefits of oral sex on your period?
There are actually more than you’d think. For starters, you can still have great orgasms, thanks to plenty of blood flow to your vulva during your period. “Menstruation should not pose any problems to having an orgasm,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School.
It also may feel better than penetrative sex, especially if you have cramps and bloating. “If you do have pelvic symptoms, oral sex may well be more comfortable,” Dr. Minkin says. It might even help you feel better down there if you’re crampy, O’Reilly says, according to a 2020 clinical study funded by Womanizer and Lunette.
The research found that 42 percent of people get relief from uncomfortable period symptoms using masturbation. Even though that study specifically looked at masturbation, O’Reilly says the orgasm part is key. “The findings illustrate that we may be missing out on one of the most accessible anesthetics: pleasure,” she says.
And, of course, continuing to have oral sex—even on your period—allows you and your partner to build even more intimacy together (research has found that sexual satisfaction can = relationship satisfaction).
Are there any sexual health risks to having oral sex on your period?
Technically, there’s a remote chance of spreading bloodborne STIs like HIV and syphilis if you have either of those those conditions, Dr. Minkin says. You can also contract and spread other STIs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia, just like you could if you weren’t on your period, she adds. But, if neither of you has been diagnosed with STIs, you should have lower risk. (Make sure you’ve both been screened first to be safe!)
If you want to be even safer, you could use a dental dam, says Minkin.
How to actually have oral sex on your period
There are a few things you can do to make this the tidiest, most pleasurable experience possible for everyone.
- Hit the shower. More water means the blood will simply wash away while you’re getting busy, Laino points out.
- Try a menstrual cup. If you or your partner is nervous about blood, using a menstrual cup will help minimize the amount of blood in the mix, says O’Reilly. “Many people prefer cups over tampons because they don’t have a string and they feel more confident that the fluid won’t leak,” she says.
- Use a towel. In case you’re in your bed, Laino suggests laying down a dark-colored towel to save your sheets.
- Pick a position that’s comfortable for you. If you tend to have pelvic floor tension during your period, pulling your legs up into a squat position while lying on your back might be the most comfortable, O’Reilly says. If you have cramping, you might feel more comfortable on your side. “There are no hard and fast rules to it,” O’Reilly says.
- Go for it on a lighter flow day. If you’re not into using a menstrual cup or tampon, but you don’t want to deal with a lot of blood, Laino suggests opting for oral sex on a lighter flow day where there’s guaranteed to be less blood.
The bottom line: Having oral sex on your period is safe, provided that you and your partner have been screened for STIs. It’s also easily doable, so if you’re interested, there’s really no reason not to have it.
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