Period Sex: To Fuck or Not to Fuck?

Do you fuck on your period?

Do you fuck your girlfriend while she is on her period?

Why or why not?

Period sex is a nasty, sticky business, but does it exceed the inherent nastiness of “normal” sexual intercourse?

Opinions on this topic are wildly subjective, varying from person to person, but for me, period sex is perfectly acceptable. It’s as natural as the hair on my legs and the sweat beads on my skin; mere functions of the body that I expect my sexual companions to accept and adore, along with the rest of me! Sure, I might not expect my partner to dine on the fruit of my loins when the red river is flowing, but primal vaginal intercourse has never phased me during menstruation. Luckily for me, none of my sexual partners have paid much mind to menstrual intercourse, either…. Not until my most recent long-term relationship, of course, where our conflicting opinions on period sex were a huge source of disunity between us.

This partner came from a more traditional mindset, feeling that sex with a menstruating woman is taboo. I didn’t know this about him, however, until months and months into the relationship, because my method of birth control minimized the signs and symptoms of my period. I remember how abruptly he desisted at the presence of blood, and how adamantly I disagreed with his decision. And, of COURSE, I took it personally. Imagine my poor soul, rejected by my lover for something I hadn’t been bothered to feel shame about in over a decade! In a heated moment where both parties are eager and libidinous, a bit of menstrual blood seems like a petty thing to stand in the way of nature’s union! I reacted with anger. I told my partner that his hesitance was “weak little boy shit,” and he actually asked me to leave his house.

Naturally, this innocent quandary, the result of a simple difference in upbringing, mutated into a recurring impasse between this partner and I. I thought to myself: “How can I care so deeply about someone so ideologically flawed?” and “How can he possibly stand to perpetuate this misogynistic, sexual double-standard?” and “I’m sexually liberated and can’t be expected to go back into the box of period shame for any man!”. As an angry feminist, my mind is frequently occupied by the sexual and societal disadvantages of the female body. Being sexually denied on the basis of a natural body function –something far beyond my control—feels like unjust suppression.

However, one of the major tenets of feminism is enthusiastic consent, along with the notion that consent can be withdrawn at any time, and for any reason, without question. Feminist concepts are always there to protect women who become uncomfortable in sexual situations, but occasionally I need to remind myself that men deserve the same respect in those scenarios. In this way, I have failed every time that I chided this partner for refusing to perform in the presence of my monthly flow. If he has a visceral reaction to blood, it isn’t fair to force him to proceed in conditions that make him uncomfortable. Moreover, it is unfair to make any assumptions about the source of this aversion. Sure, the angry feminist wants to assume that this is all a result of unrealistic expectations imposed on women by media and pornography, but who knows? Aggressive, punitive behavior does little to change minds, anyway, so the best thing for me to do is hold space and let him come around to the activity if, or when, he was ready… right?  

            Alternately… the long-term affect of being rejected on the basis of menstruation has inevitable, negative, repressive consequences on my relationship with my body. Suddenly, I would sink into a pit of perceived undesirability and dirtiness whenever my cycle rolled around. I felt off-limits, closed for maintenance, and out-of-order (but maybe we can try again later??). I was always comfortable with the ebbs and flows of my body, but I grew to resent my womanly fluctuations worse than I did when I was a fumbling teenager. It certainly isn’t fair to shame my partner for having boundaries, but is it any fairer that my sexual fire is allowed to decay, only to be replaced by insecurity, uncertainty, and doubt? If my partner insists on monogamy (a concept I am more flexible about) then shouldn’t he be prepared to meet all of my emotional and sexual needs? Who should concede, and how does a couple compromise when both parties are so firm in their beliefs?

In conclusion, I have reached no conclusion. Differing beliefs about period sex seem like an insignificant issue in the wide scope of relationship complexities, but over time, it is impossible to ignore. I especially curious to hear the opinions and experiences of others out there, who have run into this dilemma. (Click on the title of the post to leave a comment. <3)