Regarding people who don’t have period sex
Writer Alanna Lauren Greco is determined to stop the shame.
One recent Sunday morning I was leaving the apartment of a guy I’d been casually seeing. Putting on my shoes, I noticed a brownish spot on his bed, no doubt the result of our having sex the night before while I was on my period.
“Want me to wash your sheets?” I oered. “No,” he replied. “I’ll take care of it.” Honestly, that’s probably the hottest thing a guy has ever said to me.
Period sex isn’t exactly mainstream. I don’t know any TV show or movie where both parties are into it, and I’ve never discussed it with friends until I told them about the sheet incident. Many of them admitted they only have sex while bleeding if they’re in ‘serious’ relationships, most said they opt out altogether because of the mess, and one had been traumatised during a hookup after a guy noticed her tampon and made a comment about chunky tomato sauce. Another summed it this way: “Getting blood all over is o-putting.” I was stunned. How much blood are we talking about? Is it actually so much a towel won’t prevent mattress stains? How nice are your sheets? Are they really more important than having an orgasm? It’s not like you’re painting each other with menstrual blood; usually it’ll only coat his shaft. Throw down a towel or – if the flow is too heavy and you aren’t about the cleanup – head to the shower instead.
This isn’t the dark ages, when women on their periods were thought to be damaged and sent into isolation, forbidden from even touching the same cutlery as men. And while we’ve made it from those sad times to tampon ads with women in white clothes triumphantly playing sports, the stigma persists. We spend our menstruating lives trying to hide our period’s existence (just think of those spy-like tactics you use to conceal a sanitary pad en route to the bathroom). But if I’m now supposed to be able to climb a mountain while my uterine walls are shedding, why can’t I reversecowgirl (or at least missionary)?
My theory: most period-sex aversion relates to period shame. It’s one thing to rule it out when you have terrible cramps – totally get it, see you in a week – but it’s another to avoid sex altogether because you think menstruating makes you undesirable or is embarrassing. I suspect mess objections are about women wanting to be a ‘perfect’ and uncomplicated partner. Period sex forces a guy to see you as more than just a hookup; you turn into a real person with real bodily functions. But if a guy thinks those functions make you too much trouble, maybe don’t sleep with him. Imagine if you got pregnant or sick, someone who gets grossed out by periods probably can’t help you through that.
Speaking of guys, I asked their feelings on the subject, too. Periodsex resistance generally boiled down to “Ew” and “Periods are scary/not my problem.” To all of them I say: not seeing vaginas as having any purpose besides your pleasure is dehumanising and rude. Do you think it’s OK to be grossed out by female body fluid while we’re supposed to be OK with your body fluid on our chests, butts and, for the daring, faces? Side note: semen also stains, and I’ve never heard of a guy laying down a towel to spare the sheets.
I’ll only concede if a guy is a germophobe or faints at the sight of blood, he can get a period-sex pass. Obviously sex should be enjoyable for all those involved. But to the others: get with the program. Also, don’t you dare think of periods as an excuse to expect a blow job.
And to period-sex-reluctant ladies: some woke men are willing but assume we aren’t. “I just think she’ll say no,” one guy told me. So the first step to doing the deed with a couple of Lil-lets in your bag: approach with confidence. Second: disclose sometime before everything starts.
So if you aren’t currently a period-sex haver, ask yourself why. Internalised shame? Close-minded partner? Expensive sheets? Make some changes. You deserve to have sex whenever you please.