There’s always the lingering question of if a woman should have sex when she’s on her period, and the results are mixed.  While some argue that a woman shouldn’t, others, such as writer Stephanie Watson sees it differently. “Unless you’re especially squeamish, there’s no need to avoid sexual activity during your period,” she says. “Though period sex can be a bit messy, it is safe. And, having sex when you’re menstruating can actually offer a few advantages, including relief from menstrual cramps.” 

While that might be the case, based on my research for this article, here’s what I discovered about the risks:

Transmission of Viruses

Although transmission of viruses is possible when a woman is not on her monthly cycle, engaging in this activity places both partners at a higher risk of getting viruses such as STI (sexually transmitted infection), HIV, or hepatitis because there’s contact with blood. And Watson acknowledges other issues.

“The biggest downside to having sex during your period is the mess. Blood can get on you, your partner, and the sheets, especially if you have a heavy flow,” says Watson. She adds, “Aside from dirtying the bed, bleeding may make you feel self-conscious. Anxiety over making a mess can take some or all of the fun out of sex.”

Similarly, the female body is more prone to infection while on her period as the vaginal PH level increases during blood flow from a normal that is 3.8 to 4.5 over the month.  

And Due to the high level of PH, yeast can grow more rapidly that might cause painful and foul-smelling vaginal yeast infections. Some cases have also shown higher UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) after intercourse when a woman is on her cycle. 

Endometriosis and Sex during Periods

There is an association between intercourse when a woman is on her period and endometriosis—a gynecological condition where tissues that resemble the womb lining start growing somewhere else, such as in the ovaries or fallopian tubes. It is a long-term condition and can impact a female’s life in the long run.  And engaging in sex while a woman is on her cycle increases backflow, causing the woman’s endometrial tissues to relocate from their normal position.

The bottom line is to make sure you and your partner are safe during sex regardless, especially when a woman is on her cycle. If you choose to engage in sex while your partner is on her period, follow these suggested recommended steps from medical professionals:

1. If you have a tampon in, remove it before you start fooling around.

2. Spread a dark-colored towel on the bed to catch any blood leaks. Or, have sex in the shower or bath to avoid the mess entirely.

3. Keep a wet washcloth or wet wipes by the bed to clean up afterward.

4. Have your partner wear a latex condom. It will protect against pregnancy and STIs.

5. If your usual sexual position is uncomfortable, try something different. For example, you may want to try lying on your side with your partner behind you.

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