Ask Sex Coach Leigh: Period sex

Question: My boyfriend and I have been together for eight years. We have great sex and have dabbled in anal, but he refuses to have sex with me during my period. It grosses him out. How do we overcome this?


Hi lovely! Let’s talk about bodies. The average person who menstruates gets their period for four days, every month, for about 38 years. That’s 1,824 days of blood, which is not only a fuckton of blood, but also a fuckton of sexless days, if period sex is off the table in your relationship. Some folks don’t like having sex while they are menstruating, either because of pain or bloating or lowered libido. That’s super valid, but that’s not your story. You, lovely, are getting an extra dose of suckiness with your monthly cycle – no sex.

For your beau to have any chance of overcoming this, we have to look at what exactly grosses him out. Is he generally squeamish or overly fastidious? Those of us who menstruate are so, so used to the blood, but if his only exposure to blood is STI tests and the occasional bloody nose, if he shuts his eyes during crime shows or gets dizzy when someone mentions surgery, it might have less to do with your body and more to do with his own. If that’s the case, there are ways you can minimize the visuals. Have sex in the shower, where clean-up is built right in. Use condoms, if that’s not already part of your safer sex protocol. Try for sex on your lighter flow days, and put down a dark towel. It might simply be a case of out of sight, out of mind.

We haven’t talked about what kind of sex you’re not having during your period. Those tips are good for P in V sex, but does his rule include ALL sex? Maybe he doesn’t want to earn his red wings, but can he lick your pussy while you have a tampon in? Can you continue dabbling in anal? Can you give him a blowjob while you use your vibrator? What about kink or cuddles? Hopefully there are sexual activities that can make you both happy at any time of the month.

I want to go back to the idea of “grossness,” though. Everyone has a right to their preferences. It’s deeply important to me to not yuck anyone’s yum, and I think that should extend to not yumming someone’s yuck, if you will. It’s okay if he doesn’t want to have period sex. But it’s also okay if you do. And while it might not be his preference, or even something he can get past, I want to remind you that periods, and period sex, are not gross. Bodies are not gross. Your body is not gross. Bodies are complicated and messy and magical and beautiful, but they are not gross. Period sex can be great: some people who menstruate have higher libidos during their cycles, blood provides lots of natural lubrication, and orgasms can make cramps go away. Nature tends to know what it’s doing.

Sometimes, a statement like “period sex grosses me out” reveals a deeper belief that women’s bodies are inherently inferior to men’s. I hope this isn’t the case with your boyfriend. I hope that when you tell him that you are unhappy with this monthly celibacy break, he hears you. I hope he can see his comfort zone the way all comfort zones should at least be considered: as an arbitrary construction that might no longer be serving him. I hope he considers your pleasure to be equal to his, and wants to find ways to show you this every day, whether or not you have your period. And I hope that if period sex is a deal-breaker for him, he can communicate that to you kindly and honestly, and give you space to make an informed choice about your own needs and deal-breakers.

If, instead, you take a step back and realize that this is just another piece in a puzzle of minimizing your desires, criticizing you, and practicing casual (or overt) misogyny, then, in the words of my first sex hero, Dan Savage, it might be time to DTMFA. But I sure hope not.

If you have a sex or relationship question you would like me to answer (anonymously), please contact me.

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