A girl should understand that her period and her vagina are in no way dirty or gross. Having sex while menstruating is not weird, uncommon or unsafe!

I’ve often heard people saying that it’s a taboo for a girl to have sex with her partner while she is menstruating and that she will go to hell because of this act. But I never quite understood how engaging in sex during one’s periods would decide whether she will go to heaven or to hell. There are several heinous acts which are committed by people and according to me those acts should be the deciding factors about heaven or hell.

Through history and even now, there are many taboos around sexual expression before, during or just after menstruation. In this article, I’m going to write about the menstrual cycle, sexual drives and the co-relation between the two.

After hitting puberty, a woman’s body undergoes hormonal changes wherein one of the ovaries releases an egg that travels through the fallopian tube waiting to be fertilised. Additionally, a lining grows in a woman’s uterus that prepares her body for the conception of a baby, in case the egg from the ovaries get fertilised. If the egg doesn’t get fertilised, the body then needs to lose this lining which dissolves with the egg and is released from the uterus which then results in periods. The blood travels out of the uterus through the cervix and is then released through the vagina out of the body. When this lining is completely shed from the uterus, the flow stops. The whole process, from the build- up of the lining to the discharge is known as the menstrual cycle.

Best way to talk to your daughters about periods

Sexual drive is also known as libido. Libido is a person’s overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity. Sex drive is determined by biological, psychological and social factors. Biologically, levels of hormones such as testosterone are believed to affect sex drive; social factors, such as work and family also exercise an impact as do internal psychological factors, like personality and stress.

The female libido or sex drive changes throughout the menstrual cycle as do many other aspects of life. For example, consider energy levels and emotions. Libido often peaks at the mid-cycle and premenstrual phase or just before bleeding, and the experience of these separate peaks is different.
Two of the hormones linked to female desire are testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is the sex hormone most often associated with men, aggressiveness, lust and masculinity. Women produce testosterone too (in the ovaries and adrenal glands), albeit at much lower levels than men – women have about one-tenth the volume of testosterone that men do.

A woman’s desire for sex is correlated to her menstrual cycle, with many women experiencing heightened sexual desire in the several days immediately before ovulation. This has been associated with changes in a woman’s testosterone levels during the menstrual cycle. According to Gabrielle Lichterman, testosterone levels have a direct impact on a woman’s interest in sex. According to her, testosterone levels rise gradually from about the 24th day of a woman’s menstrual cycle until ovulation on about the 14th day of the next cycle and during this period the woman’s desire for sex increases consistently. The 13th day is generally the day with the highest testosterone levels. In the week following ovulation, the testosterone level is the lowest and as a result, women will experience less interest in sex.

Also, during the week following ovulation, progesterone levels increase, resulting in a woman experiencing difficulty in achieving an orgasm. Although the last days of the menstrual cycle are marked by constant testosterone levels, a woman’s libido may get boosted as a result of the thickening of the uterine lining which stimulates nerve endings and makes a woman feel aroused. Also, during this period, estrogen levels also decline, resulting in a decrease of natural lubrication.

If a girl is having her period, she may safely assume that sex is off-limits. She probably won’t feel comfortable getting intimate during her period or may feel unattractive or just unclean. It is quite possible that her partner isn’t comfortable with intimacy while she is menstruating. In the end, choosing to have sex during ‘that time of month’ is a personal choice that both the partners have to be comfortable with. If you want to, however, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy intimacy at all times of your menstrual cycle. In fact, it results in real health benefits.

Personal comfort with sex during menstruation is both a male and female issue, as many women are taught that they are ‘dirty’ during that time, and many men are taught that menstrual blood can be ‘dangerous’ to their prowess — neither of which has any scientific basis, but cultural taboos can be very strong and are important. So talk to your partner about concerns that each of you have — including ways to stay safe and to contain any mess — and about the potential pleasure and benefits that you can both enjoy together.

Stay safe! Since the cervix of your vagina opens during menstruation, you are more prone to STD’s, bacteria and pregnancy. Menstrual flow contains germs, and it can be unhealthy for the partner. Everything will go smoothly if there are few things which both partners can take care of.

Sex is generally thought of as penetration, but there are many other forms of sexual play that can bring pleasure to both partners, even if both of you do not wish to have vaginal intercourse during your period. However, if both the partners are comfortable with intercourse, then the girl must lie on her back to lessen the flow of blood while engaging in the same.

Nobody wants their menstrual fluid to soak into their mattress, so in order to minimise that, it is advisable to place a thick towel beneath you while you are having sex.

Always use contraceptives. It will help in preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases, pregnancies and in causing a mess.  Try using Diaphragms; they fulfil a dual-purpose as birth control devices and as menstrual cups to inhibit flow. Talk to your gynaecologist, he/she will provide you with diaphragms which will fit your cervix.
Women can also try Contraceptive Sponges. It is generally inserted into your vagina during sex.  They can prevent pregnancy and have the side benefit of absorbing the flow although they don’t prevent STDs altogether.

Your partner can also use male condoms which will help in preventing STDs, pregnancies and blood on the skin.

Women can also use Female condoms, which will prevent their partner from coming into contact with blood, while enabling more heat and sensation. They are helpful in birth control as well,though they are a little less protective than male condoms.

Women can wear a menstrual cup for sexual play that doesn’t involve intercourse. Wear a soft cup for penetrative intercourse. Soft cups are specifically designed to be used for intercourse. They are shaped like diaphragms, are very flexible and are easily available at drugstores but always remember that while you can have sex with these soft cups, they cannot be used as contraceptives.

Orgasms can relieve menstrual cramps. They may also make your period shorter because the uterine contractions that come with orgasms can push out menstrual fluid more effectively.

Every woman should remember that their sexuality is no longer tied to their fertility and that we don’t just have to have sex to get pregnant. We can become aroused and desire sex at any time during our cycle – not just when we are fertile. Alternatively, because we can think and are sensitive to our culture and those around us, our libido is also affected by external factors – at times negatively. Many factors affect the female libido – biology, thoughts, culture and emotions to name a few.

Every man should keep this in mind, that when it is ‘that time of the month’ for their partner, it means many ‘unfortunate things’: complaints about excruciating cramps, an attitude that makes you wish you could lock her in a room and throw away the key, dealing with her desire to eat everything in sight, and emotional outbursts to boot.

A girl’s menstrual cycle is a beautiful thing, however. Without it, she wouldn’t be able to have the children that you will someday appreciate, so don’t look down upon it. Waiting for one week to have sex isn’t so difficult and if you’re really not into the downsides of sex while she’s on her period, there are other ways you can pleasure each other.

 Sources:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/sex-during-your-period.aspx

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/female-condom-4223.htm

“The Nature and Evolution of Female Sexuality” by Mary Jane Sherfey

Author : Naina Jha
She works as “Client Servicing Manager” with an advertising agency in Delhi. She has also worked with an NGO, called “Inter College Women’s Association” for 5 years and participates in various social activities.
She blogs here.
Edited by Divya Rosaline
easiet way to teach and learn about periods
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