Some women and their partners are adverse to the idea of sex during the menstrual period (that sounds awfully formal, but everything else just sounded wrong). The reasons probably differ from person to person:

  • The site of blood. I once dated a guy who freaked out at the very though of one red blood cell anywhere. Nothing says, “I love you, baby,” more than, “Oh my God, is there blood on me, I can’t look.” Sigh. Next!
  • Libido issues. Not all of us feel our sexy best when we’ve spent the day popping in and out of the bathroom thinking, “Ah shit, is that blood on the back of my pants,” while doing that oh-so-special head swivel dance to catch a glimpse of your ass in the mirror.
  • Your vulva feels a bit raw. Pads chaff, especially if you’ve been wearing them day and night for 5 days (tampons or a menstrual cup can take care of this problem, BTW).
  • Cramps. It can be harder to get hot and heavy when all you are thinking is, “Why for fuck’s sake do they not make an Ibuprofen-tini?”
  • The mess. I mean fighting over who is sleeping in the god damned wet spot is bad enough, but on a heavy day, well, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t mind washing sheets and towels, but hauling that big-ass mattress pad into the washer and dryer is a chore. Never mind wrestling it back onto the bed. Am I the only one who has trouble with that?

Here’s the thing. Orgasms can help cramps, big time. In addition, if you avoid sex entirely during your period that can be 7 or more sexless days a month. Or what if your period comes while you are on an awesome vacation. Are you really going to not have sex in Fiji because you have your period?


If no one cares about the mess, then awesome, However, if the thought of the mess/clean up/sight of blood is holding you back, there is hope. Pop in a SoftCup (disposable menstrual cup) or a diaphragm (if you happen to have one) before hand. Personally I think the SoftCup works better because it sits around your cervix rather than below it. Also, very few women have a diaphragm on hand because you need to be fitted, but you can buy a SoftCup at just about every drug store. Both are easy to insert and remove and because they are pliable, you and your partner won’t feel them during sex.

The makers of the SoftCup say you shouldn’t use one if you have an IUD, because you might accidentally snag the strings and pull the whole damn thing out. Well, I have an IUD (sorry if that’s TMI) and have never had that issue. I’m not really sure how that would be possible, and so I asked a couple of OB/GYN colleagues and they were all, “Huh? I don’t think you could pull your own IUD out that way.” So while technically possible, I think the risk is probably low.

The mess-adverse also have the option of shower sex. Personally, I have never mastered the art of sex standing up on a slippery surface, but if that works for you, rock on baby. Just don’t forget the lube, because water is a terrible lubricant.

How well does the SoftCup work? It’s awesome (potential bias alert: I am already a big fan of the menstrual cup) and I have never accidentally dislodged my own IUD. And trust me, it’s a whole lost easier than wrestling with that damn mattress pad that seems determined to be the death of me.

Remember, this post is not direct medical advice

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  1. Thank you for this straight forward informative post! Going out to get a soft cup so I can have fun tonight!

  2. The Flex Company bought out Softcup… but Flex is supposedly making the same thing but with more modern materials. I tried Flex for the first time last week… I’ve never been able to have sex during my period (grosses us both out) but with Flex it was great. So nice to not have to worry about vacation planning around my period!

  3. This is a great idea, but I asked my girlfriend to dye me red for Easter. We use a separate set of sheets with a shower curtain under them. I personally love the blood but I will keep it in mind for when we are in hotels. Thanks for the post.

  4. it’s 2016, how come I never found this article??? Absolutely gonna try this, THANK YOU! Just brilliant!

  5. I tried the product and there was still a mess during sex. I think it might be too large for me. Is it possible that I have a tiny cervix? Is there any similar alternative?

  6. I had an IUD and despite being super careful it became lodged in my cervix and having it removed was the most painful traimatic experience of my life. You do NOT want to roak bumping or yanking those strings. A couple of tampon removals resulted in horrible shooting pain with that thing in…

    1. If it’ s placed far up around enough to catch the bleeding can you still recieve oral with no issues?

  7. Wow, thanks so much!!! I am recently divorced and ready to rock and roll and just when things are getting good, BAM…there’s my period! I read about the softcup but hesitated because I also have an IUD and seem to have the never ending period currently! Even though I’m not a doctor, I had the same thought…wouldn’t it be hard to pull your own IUD out? Thank you, thank you, thank you for clearing this issue up for me!! You are awesome for posting this and helping a long neglected woman get her mojo back!!

  8. Thank you SO much for this article! I have just recently started dating someone new, and he isn’t as comfortable with period sex as my previous partners. I have an IUD as well, and heavy periods in combination with my love of white sheets have made me not so keen on it either, but I am a raging panther around that time and was looking to find a solution. I’m definitely going to give the Softcup a try, and will report back! I am also excited to never have to use a tampon again, they irritate me a great deal and removing them is often painful. Is it a problem that taking charge of my own feminine and sexual health turns me on? LOL! 😀

  9. Hey, This product seems like a great idea, I recently rekindled an old relationship and we are taking a romantic celebratory mini vaca this weekend and I just got my period this morning, SO ANGRY, I mean he went the whole 9, cabin in the woods in the Pocono Mountians fully equipped with a jaccuzi, and we are crazy about eachother in every way. In a sense, this weekend has been 10 years coming and is supposed to be special, nothing says romance like- oh sorry, its a horror movie down there- maybe next week when were back to real life. Anyway- My question is, What about size and durability. :-/ I know we have all felt we needed to add at least one TMI here, but i gotta say it- total TMI- I bleed every single time we have sex, literally, for almost 10 years. Its from a combination of his size and the type of sex we usually end up having. I am worried that he may end up breaking it or something. Also, wouldnt they be able to feel it? I didnt think those cups went very deep.

  10. Thanks so much for this (my boyfriend thanks you too)! I have a Paraguard IUD and I was scared off of using SoftCups during sex because of the warning about IUDs. I have used a DivaCup during my period (but not during sex, obv,) without problems for a couple years, but given its position, the suction didn’t seem like it could be much of a problem. Though now that I think about it, wouldn’t there be a much larger (but still minuscule) risk of catching the strings from an IUD in a tampon? And no one tells you not to use those.

  11. Hey Dr. Jen! I totally LOVE the Softcup and advocate for it during our TOTM! Not only is it effective with preventing leaks and such BUT it’s great if you want to have sex while on your TOTM! and your partner will be none the wiser. 🙂 I was recently on Sistah Talk TV Show and I happen to mention the Softcup as a way to have sex without the mess.

    Val Carey

  12. Hmmm…I must try this! Thanks for this info! My husband had no problem with menstruation when we were dating. After we got married, though, after a particularly heavy flow (TMI), he completely freaked afterward b/c there was just so much … I’m just going to stop saying TMI, b/c the whole nature of this article and comment is TMI … Anyway, I am so ridiculously wanting it when I’m on my period. LOL I think I will give this a try and attempt to coax my husband into it. Although, even with the doctor’s go ahead, he wouldn’t do me when I was even slightly dilated with our 2nd child b/c it freaked him out. 😦

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