Period sex survey: Why the taboo?

We believe that periods shouldn’t stop women from doing anything that they want to do. That includes sex – either enjoying intimacy with a partner or by yourself! But many people don’t like talking about having sex while menstruating, period.

According to a Bodyform spokesperson: “Sex is an important part of many relationships and periods are a natural part of life. No-one should feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing either subject with the people they’re close to – especially their partner.”

We want to banish the taboo around having sex during periods, so here at Bodyform we conducted some research to find out what people of all genders and ages think. Our survey of 2,000 people found that almost half of adults would ‘never’ have sex during a woman’s ‘time of the month’. 

Based on the average cycle, that means more than 65 days per year when getting jiggy is off the table for some! To find out more, keep on reading to see our favourite stats from the survey…

Can you have sex on your period?

Period sex is a subject that isn’t often talked about, so many of us have questions like is period sex okay? Will period sex feel good or will it hurt? Is having period sex healthy? Or even simpler, can you have period sex, and is it safe?

For the answers to all of these questions (and more) watch our above video with award-winning sex and relationships broadcaster Alix Fox who explains how to stress less about the mess and why there’s no need for period drama…

Is period sex safe?

The short answer to this is yes. If you choose to have sex while you or your partner is on their period then there are a few things to be mindful of. HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections) may be passed on more easily, and although it’s less likely, it’s still possible to get pregnant from having sex while on your period. Protect yourself as you would during any other point in your cycle by using a condom and/or your chosen method of contraception.

Put off by the mess

Embarrassment, worries about the mess and fears that it’s more likely to lead to pregnancy or STIs are just some of the reasons that many avoid being intimate with a loved one while they are menstruating. 

More than half of the women surveyed feel unclean, and 31 per cent just don’t feel in the mood; unsurprising considering intense period cramps mean all you want to do is snuggle under a blanket (with a steady supply of chocolate nearby). 

Out of the men who avoid period sex, over half find it a turn off. One in five worry they will hurt their partner – while period sex is completely safe for both parties involved, it may feel uncomfortable for some women as the cervix is in a lower position.

Infographic representing reasons for not having sex whilst on your periods

Make up or break up

Views on period sex can be dividing and have dramatic consequences. One in four people will go as far as to say the very idea of it is ‘disgusting’.  Check out what happened when we put men and women with opposing views on period sex on camera!

Differences in opinion can even cause conflict within relationships. Almost one in 10 of us have argued, or even broken up with a partner because they had differing views on having period sex.

Excuses, excuses…

Remarkably, out of the women aged 18-24 who say they’re cancelled a date due to menstruating, 70% said it was because they were concerned about the possibility of having sex during this time. Others have gone even further to swipe left on a potentially messy encounter…

Rather than be honest, one in 10 of us have made excuses to avoid it such as not feeling well, being too tired or having a headache.

Infographic representing excuses used to get out of period sex

Bloody good fun

Believe it or not, there are many benefits to having sex when on your period. Blood is a natural lubricant and orgasms provide natural period pain relief, so it’s no wonder 39 per cent of women say they have days during their period where they would be more inclined to have sex. 

In fact, 36 per cent would be happy to have sex if they or their partner were menstruating. To enjoy sex while minimising the stain risk, many people venture to the shower, lay down a dark-coloured towel to pop in the wash afterwards, or time activity around lighter days at the end of the period. Do whatever works for you!

If blood gets on the sheets, here’s how to wash away period stains.

To feel like your sensual self at ‘that time of the month’, let us introduce our laciest period pants:

We need to talk about period sex

Whether couples choose to have period sex or not is completely personal and up to them, but because of the taboo that surrounds the subject, many never even have a conversation about it.

Our survey showed that one in five adults wouldn’t talk to their partner about periods, with women stating it’s embarrassing, a turn off, or that their partner is just not very sympathetic. 

Despite the taboo, men are happier to have sex during a woman’s period than females are, with 21% of adults claiming the idea of it doesn’t bother them at all. 

Whatever your personal preference, we want to put a stop to the feeling that you can’t talk about period sex or menstruation and encourage people to open up and discuss these topics candidly. 

If you want to continue the conversation or have some questions, check out our page on sex and intimacy.

To look at the full survey results, check out this page.

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