Period sex can be super beneficial to yourself and your partner. There’s natural lubrication and orgasms are clutch for reducing period pain. However, if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy, this would still not be a fantastic opportunity to have unprotected sex. That’s because our reproductive cycles are finicky, prone to change and the exact status of your uterus is largely unknown to you, despite the technologies we now have at hand. Here’s why.
Up first: a quick basic biology class. Getting pregnant involves an egg, released by the ovary, to be fertilised by sperm, inserted during unprotected sex. An egg, once released from the ovary, can only wait around for its suitor to arrive for 12-14 hours, at which time the clock strikes and your poor egg gets sent into oblivion, flushed out along with the lining of your uterus, an event we call menstruation. The egg is released during the ovulation section of your menstrual cycle, which is the best time for sperm to meet their match. But (there’s always a but), it’s not always as simple as that.
Sperm can move in and stick around
Little swimmers, once inside a women’s body, can check in and stay for about three to five days, waiting around for the egg. It’s for this reason that your period tracker app will often alert you to your ‘fertile window’: even if you have sex five days before ovulation, sperm could still be around, and pregnancy can occur.
What does this have to do with your periods?
Every person’s menstrual cycle differs. In some cases, a shorter menstrual cycle occurs, so ovulation is much closer to menstruation, making that window between Egg Oblivion and pregnancy much smaller.
What if I’m on contraception?
If you take a contraceptive, the monthly bleeding you experience would be a withdrawal bleed, since the combination of hormones from birth control typically prevent ovulation from occurring all together. Of course, there are instances where birth control failed, resulting in pregnancy.
The bottom line
Do not be afraid sexy time during your periods, but keep track of your cycle with an app or calendar, so you’re in tune with your body. If you don’t want to fall pregnant, take extra precautions, like using contraception. Condoms also double-up as STD barriers – feel free to use those too. And remember: every body is different.