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Is It Safe to Have Sex During Menstruation?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Barring the transmission of diseases that can be transmitted sexually and the spreading of blood-borne infections, it is generally safe to have sex during menstruation. Having sex during a period won’t harm the menstruating woman or her partner. This doesn’t mean that a woman who has sex during her period cannot become pregnant, however. It is possible that sperm that enter her body during menstruation may survive long enough to fertilize an egg that is released later. For these reasons, if sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk or pregnancy is a concern, a couple may be wise to use a condom at this time or abstain from sexual intercourse.

Generally, sex is safe during menstruation. None of the physical processes that occur during menstruation are dangerous for the menstruating woman or her sexual partner. In fact, many women find sex during menstruation helps to relieve some of the more unpleasant symptoms that often accompany menstruation. For example, a woman may find that it helps to relieve cramps and tension. Some women even assert that sex helps relieve menstruation-related headaches and irritability.

Many women also find that pleasurable feelings are increased when they have sex during menstruation. For example, some women are more aroused during menstruation, and others find it easier to have orgasms during this time. This may be due, at least in part, to the fact that menstrual periods are associated with increased feelings of fullness in a female's genital area.

Just how safe sex is during menstruation may depend on whether or not a couple uses protection or is certain that both parties are free of STDs. During menstruation, a woman’s cervix opens to allow menstrual blood to pass through, which means a woman may be even more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections than at other times in her cycle. A menstruating woman may also be more likely pass blood-borne infections on to her sexual partner during this time. Even yeast infections may be more likely to take hold during menstruation because of changes in the pH of the vagina. To keep sex safe during menstruation, people who are not certain they are in monogamous relationships are usually advised to use condoms.

Discussions of safe sex during menstruation often include pregnancy. Some people may be under the impression that they need not worry about pregnancy during menstruation. The truth is, however, that it is possible for sperm that enters the body during menstruation to survive long enough to impregnate a woman. Though not likely, it is even possible for an egg to be released while a woman is still having vaginal bleeding.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon965377 — On Aug 11, 2014

@anon176162: You said your new boyfriend ejaculated on a towel. There could be a chance that his pre-ejaculate, a watery lubricant that his penis secretes before his ejaculation, could contain semen, that would cause you to get pregnant. Some couples think that if a male pulls his penis out of the female's vagina before he ejaculates (aka coitus interruptus) she will not get pregnant. Not true.

By amypollick — On Aug 20, 2013

@anon345571: *Anytime* you have unprotected sex, you can get pregnant. Granted, your chances are lower when you're having your period, but they are by no means zero. A pregnancy test wouldn't tell you anything this soon. You'll need to wait at least four weeks before even one of the early response tests will give you anything like an accurate result.

Using contraception correctly and consistently is a must, but only 100 percent abstinence makes for a 100 percent chance of not getting pregnant.

By anon345571 — On Aug 20, 2013

I had sex with my boyfriend on day one of my period and I wonder if I might be pregnant. That was Sunday and tomorrow will be the third day. Should I buy a pregnancy test?

By anon325414 — On Mar 16, 2013

I had sex with my girlfriend on the second day of her menstruation and it stopped flowing on the third day. I had sex with her again on the fourth day and it is still not flowing. This month, the time for her menstruation has passed and I want to know the cause.

By anon317550 — On Feb 02, 2013

I had sex (once) while on my menstrual cycle. Even though it was a quickie, I must say, it felt better than normal quickies. Why did we do it? My boyfriend had a really long day of work and he wanted a good night of sleep. I told him that I was on my menstrual cycle and he said, "That's what condoms are for." We had sex in the shower, so if anything leaked, blood wouldn't get on the carpet. Just be careful. Use protection and sanitize the genital areas.

By light — On Jan 22, 2013

I had sex with my husband on the first day of my period, but on the remaining days I had normal bleeding as ever -- heavy on the second and third day and a bit light on the fourth day, and then gradually decreasing. Is there any chance of pregnancy?

By anon311057 — On Dec 29, 2012

@anon176162: Most likely it will be a combination of two or three men's DNA. I complained to the police about a similar matter three years ago. They were very helpful and referred me to a local clinic. I became an inpatient and learned to respect my body. Hope you find this information useful.

By anon310524 — On Dec 24, 2012

I have sex with my partner during second day of my period and it results in two things. First, my period is over by the third day and second, I have blood in my stool as I also did anal sex for the first time.

By anon197649 — On Jul 17, 2011

Anon 176162: What did you complain to the police about?

By gravois — On May 27, 2011

Though it is by and large safe to have sex during menstruation, this should not be your only consideration. There are other things to think about besides just the risk of STDs or pregnancy.

The woman may have physical or emotional discomfort that makes her less interested in sex. One or more of the partners might object to the idea of having sex during menstruation. If there is any hesitation coming from either partner, this should be respected. Many people elect to abstain from sex during menstruation because they have determined that this is preferable.

By whiteplane — On May 25, 2011

I think that you should treat sex during menstruation the way you would treat sex at any other time, which is to say that it needs to be safe, responsible and pleasurable for both partners. You do not need to take any extra precautions during menstrual sex if you are already practicing safe sex. Developing responsible habits is the best way to develop consistent habits.

By Ivan83 — On May 23, 2011

My wife and I have never felt any reason to abstain from sex while she is menstruating. There are no negative effects for either of us. There is really no discernable difference at all except for the occasional presence of some blood, which is of course normal.

She has told me that she sometimes feels more aroused during that particular part of the month. It ends up working out for both of us and we have never had any problems.

By summing — On May 22, 2011

@anon176162 - If you clarify your question a little I might be able to answer it. Did you end up having a child with one of these men? You mention a DNA test, whose DNA are you trying to determine?

If you are less worried about paternity and more worried about whether these men may have committed a sexual assault by having unprotected sex with you, you should go to the police immediately. They can help you determine if a crime has been committed and lead you through the steps of collecting evidence.

By anon176162 — On May 15, 2011

I had unprotected sex with my ex-boyfriend two years back. But i was not pregnant. I used to get regular periods. Later we broke up and i again had unprotected sex with my new boyfriend four months back but he used to ejaculate on a towel and i was not pregnant and i got my regular periods since we broke up. i complained to the police so if i go for a DNA test, which DNA will be detected?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
Learn more
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