This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Vanshika Bhatt. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

I Used To Think Period Sex Was Wrong, But It Has Changed Over Time. Here’s Why!

More from Vanshika Bhatt

This post is a part of Periodपाठ, a campaign by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with WSSCC to highlight the need for better menstrual hygiene management in India. Click here to find out more.

For a culture that raises eyebrows at every mention of sex or periods in a normal conversation, period sex is an even more controversial topic. So when I came across photographer Nolwen Cifuentes’ documentation of queer couples having sex on their period, I was a little taken aback, but admittedly in awe of the pictures. For someone who loves watching art capturing human bodies in their raw and natural state, her work made me look at period sex as a profoundly intimate and beautiful act.

I tried to juxtapose my thoughts about the pictures she had taken with the popular notion about the topic I often come across- it’s gross and dirty. This is contrasting to the kind of ‘open’ conversations my friend circles have. There is enough dialogue about sex and menstruation, but period sex has never really come up.

There is anecdotal evidence that period sex can help ease a person’s mood and even alleviate cramps. Orgasms release endorphins which are the happy hormones. This release during periods can thus enable a menstruator a great deal! So it does seem like the thing to try with your partner, but do people do it?

I put out a message asking people who felt comfortable talking to me about their experiences, and a few of the people replied! So well people do it. To understand their experiences, I conducted interviews talking in-depth about their thoughts and feelings about period sex.

A Change Of Perception

I used to think it was wrong and not okay, but my perception has changed a lot over time. I think it is about finding the right partner“, says Swati*. She says that the feelings of it being gross are part of the experiences of trying it initially and that it also depends on how your partner makes you feel about it. Finding the right partner, according to her, meant finding someone with who you could openly have a conversation on period sex.

Varun* who is in his final year of college described his first experience of period sex to me, “I got to know she was on her period when she got to my place. I’m not going to lie. I was a little hesitant because I thought it would get messy. But once we did it, there wasn’t any mess, and I did not have a bad experience. It went well.” He says that he had read about period sex and his only inhibition about it was that it could be messy. It turns out; it isn’t so dirty!

Talking to people made me realize that the mental image of period sex created when you first think about it is often a blood-bath situation! But menstruators do not have a bloody river flowing from their vagina. Yes, there is blood but not everywhere and not the same amount every day or even in every cycle.

I used to update my partner’s flow app, and that is how I got to know the flow is different on different days. The thing is that most men know about periods and what happens, but they do not know that it is not a bloody or heavy flow every single day of the period. Even advertisements do not convey that clearly“, adds Varun.

I try to imagine the picture of periods men might have. Blood everywhere, almost a Quentin Tarantino movie. But that was about men which brings me to my next question.

What Is Period Sex like For Women?

A lot of women think period sex will be weird or gross and hence they do not give it a thought. Often, it is almost by default that sex for those days will be out of the question. Of course, there are also days where you feel not up to it. However, the conversation around period sex has a lot to do with how we think about our bodies and sharing them with other people.

Swati says, “It’s a very vulnerable time when a girl is bleeding. And women grow up with a certain type of conditioning where they are often not comfortable with menstruation themselves.

She says that a lot of how you feel depends on your partner as well. You both should be comfortable with it. Not everyone is comfortable being naked with each other, and a lot of couples have sex with the lights closed. So having sex on periods is a whole new addition to intimacy.

Tanya* says that it was not uncomfortable for her and her partner to see blood on the towel or the protection. “The thing I have noticed is that a lot of women are not comfortable seeing period blood and they are scared of ‘kahin lag jayega’“. She also adds that people should give it a try if they are comfortable as she found sex better during her period.

The interviewees left with me some dos and don’ts they considered necessary for people who were thinking of giving period sex a try. Here are some of them:

  • It is not just about you being comfortable, but they should be too. Talk to your partner about it and proceed only if they are comfortable with it.
  • You can conceive during your periods too. So use protection.
  • Please don’t assume your partner will not be into it. A lot of men are okay with having sex during periods, and often we stop ourselves because we think they won’t be into it.

While I hope reading this article takes some stigma off this topic and initiates a discussion, I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea. It is perfectly okay to not be into it or to have a partner who is not comfortable with it. These conversations also brought to my notice the lack of these narratives in media representations.

Sex is capitalized on! It is sold in the form of products and often in problematic ways. From Axe deodorants and their objectification of women to various other problematic representations, we deserve healthy conversations around sex. Like Swati put it, “Just show the actual thing and stop with the subtler representations!

* The names of the interviewees have been changed by the author to maintain their anonymity.

The author is a part of the current batch of the #PeriodParGyan Writer’s Training Program

You must be to comment.

More from Vanshika Bhatt

Similar Posts

By Meharmeet Kaur Thandi

By Meharmeet Kaur Thandi

By Shabnam Sheikh

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below