It is common for women to report feeling “hornier” during menstruation (when on their period) than during other stages of their menstrual cycle. Researchers suggest that this may be a result of a reduced risk of pregnancy during menstruation (freeing many women to feel more sexual during this time) or due to increased pelvic congestion (likely producing feelings of heaviness that translates into experiences of arousal). Although many women experience a heightened libido during menstruation, anecdotally, many couples avoid having sexual intercourse during this time of the month. The menstrual blood, sanitary products, and menstrual cramping/bloating can potentially get in the way of the “mood.”
So, is it true that women have less sex during menstruation as compared to other times during the menstrual cycle? Well, in an in depth study conducted by researchers at Indiana University that followed a group of young women for several months, sex did decrease during menstruation (click here for more information). In fact, the women reported having sex on approximately 4% of days that they had their period compared to around 13% of days when they did not. Interestingly, not all sexual activity decreased during menstruation, with researchers reporting that women’s oral sex activity DID NOT fluctuate across the menstrual cycle (see, BLOW JOB WEEK IS A SCIENTIFIC FACT!).
Despite the fact that the frequency of oral sex remains unaffected by a woman’s period, not all couples enjoy oral sex nor do they find it as pleasurable as other sexual activities. Further, there are many benefits to having sexual intercourse during menstruation. In fact, many women report that their menstruation seems to end sooner after engaging in sexual intercourse than if they had not had sexual intercourse, likely because the muscle spasms from orgasm allow menstrual flow to exit more rapidly. Furthermore, research suggests that the hormones released during sex (such as oxytocin) help relieve the menstrual cramps, depression, and irritability often associated with menstruation.
So, with all the benefits of sexual intercourse during menstruation, how can we encourage more couples to “get it on” during that time of the month? Well, spreading a dark towel on the bed prior to having sex can help the “laundry freak” relax, latex condoms can make clean up much easier, and shower sex can be a fun and easy way to avoid the mess all together.
Women: Remember, there is no reason to feel embarrassed. Menstruation is a natural component to a woman’s life. So, be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your partner so that all parties involved understand each other’s desires and hang-ups.