Although I have noticed this before at random times, I just find it a bit odd how uncomfortable guys get when women are either on their periods or when periods in general are brought up. Granted, I understand that the concept of bleeding for a few days does sound a bit gross (though I love my withdrawal bleed, since I associate that with being healthy) to someone who does not have to go through it; but I still don't truly understand guys' discomfort around it.
Also, when I'm on my withdrawal bleed, my partner and I will not have vaginal sex. I personally (also) think that sex while a woman is menstruating would likely be messy and uncomfortable (which is just my opinion on the matter); so I never push him to change his mind and respect his wishes. But I sometimes feel like someone with a disease because I'm suddenly unapproachable due to a natural occurrence. We never get upset about my bleed, just that we have to wait a bit before we can have sex.
I guess I'm wondering if anyone else sometimes feels "undesirable" because of their periods, or because sex (vaginal, oral, or manual sex, for example) is either too messy or not possible while they are menstruating. I don't think I would want to have sex while on my bleed as it is, but I still sometimes feel a bit depressed because I can't be as sexually expressive when I'm on it. I'm hoping this is normal, as I've been struggling between wanting to have sex (and so being upset about being on my period) but loving my bleed in general (because it means I'm healthy and not pregnant). Or maybe I just think too much!
I am sure there are others here who can relate to your experience and who will chime in. In the meantime, I just want to make sure you know that it is perfectly fine to have sex while a woman is menstruating, and that plenty of people do it. There's no reason for sex during menstruation to be uncomfortable, and if you take some precautions (such as putting a towel underneath and making sure to use a condom) it also doesn't have to be all that messy.
-------------------- Johanna Scarleteen Volunteer
"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005
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sorry for pitching in, but I feel I could share a bit of my own experience. For years, I've had spotting and then I took the minipill and it became more heavy. I bled all days, 7/7, so it was not as heavy as periods, but still enough to be noticeable and messy during sex with my boyfriend. The funny thing is that I was the one who felt bad about it. My boyfriend, once he knew it was perfectly normal and not harmful, couldn't have cared less
What bothered me was mostly that I had to make preparations for sex - like bringing a towel, taking a shower, etc - and to see blood at the end. Oh, and not being able to get oral sex - that was a big frustration for me Otherwise, sex itself was not different from when I didn't bleed - sensations speaking. Now that I'm off the minipill and my periods are back, I feel able to have sex during them, which I probably never would have dared if I hadn't had this experience.
I suffer from heavy painful periods, which is maybe why I'm less "proud" and positive about them than you are. But I'm working on my feelings to change that, because it's natural and as you said, a sign of health! Plus, sex during periods was quite common in the past; as my doctor told me, couples often did it to avoid a new pregnancy - a method which of course isn't very reliable. I think that today, we have somehow lost connection with our bodies - and I include myself in the "we": we want them clean, fresh, perfect. It's hard to resist the pressure, if you think of all the ads we see - i.e. for sanitary pads- that promote freshness and cleanliness before everything else...as if we became some sort of foul smelling slugs from outer space during our menses
Surely, this doesn't help men seeing periods in a positive light.
You probably know it already, but Heather pointed out this article to me when I discussed with her, and I found it really helpful:
BTW I didn't mean to be prescriptive, just to share my own story. I think it's perfectly fine if you both love your periods and don't feel like having vaginal sex during them. But if you feel limited because you would like to try it but your boyfriend doesn't, maybe you could talk about it with him. Maybe it's just because of misinformation or fear on his side...My bf was with me when I discussed this with my gyn, and I'm sure it helped make things comfortable for him
Posts: 29 | Registered: Jul 2012
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September, thank you so much for your response. I agree that sex while on one's menstrual period is possible (and can be less messy if one uses towels); and I'm sorry if I made it sound like that type of sex wasn't possible. Even if my partner was willing to have sex during my bleed, I'd probably feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. Of course, these are only hypotheses; but going off of how I used to feel about my period (it being messy and heavy flow), I'm hesitant about sex during my period anyway.
Angie88, thank you so much for your input. I'm so sorry that you've had a negative experience with bleeding... I can't imagine what that must have been like. I'm so happy that your situation has improved! I was a bit like you earlier on though, before I went on the pill. I had very heavy periods; and before I switched from pads to tampons, I almost always felt dirty, scared I was going to bleed too much, or just like some kind of outcast. Once I switched to tampons, I felt much cleaner and less of a "monster" (I hated having my periods then); and now, I feel much better about being on my bleed. But I'm torn between loving having it due to its healthy significance and wishing the timing would be different, since my partner and I couldn't engage in the types of sex we'd like. I know it's not a huge deal, as my bleed will be over in a few days, but it's frustrating that all of a sudden, due to a normal bodily function, women are seen as "dirty" and some men won't want to have sex with them. Of course, I know this isn't true for everyone; but even my guy friends shy away and freak out if a period is ever brought up as a topic (yet, ironically, they can talk about masturbation and their own bodily functions in front of us, and that's "normal". Sometimes I think I'm part feminist! Lol ).
I agree with you a thousand percent about how society socializes its members to think of periods as unclean, disturbing, and something to avoid if you can (like skipping your placebo week, for example). Even tampon commercials talk about "discreet" designs and wrappers; and actresses portray an embarrassed and "wanting to get rid of it" attitude towards their period, too. It's no wonder some people get uncomfortable!
Thank you so much for your encouragement! My partner is really against it; and we've sort of talked about it (and it might even depend on what day of my bleed I'm on), but we both just don't want to do it. I think I told him that I'd be willing if he was; but since he doesn't like the idea, I will not push it on him. Besides, I think it would make me nervous if we were having sex and I saw blood... And I also think that society pushes the fact that periods are really unclean, so that's another whole issue.
You know, I completely understand the frustration you have about wanting sex during your periods. Before this whole bleeding issue, having sex on periods was a big no no for me too. And it was usually during them that I wanted it the most ! Maybe it was linked with the hormones or cycle or maybe it was because I knew I couldn't, I don't know...But yeah, it was really annoying
And I also can relate to you feeling nervous about seeing blood after/during sex. It's been a real issue for me until very recently -that's partly why I came to Scarleteen in the first place! As I said, it hasn't prevented me from wanting or enjoying sex, but it surely was hard to cope with...You know, you just had some incredible sex and then, you see the blood and the harsh reality comes back...not a great "post sex" feeling, if you see what I mean. But discussing with people and finding sound informations here, I realised that this psychological discomfort had more to do with how I viewed my own body than with the blood itself.
Maybe you too could try to explore why blood associated with sex would make you nervous? Not in order to have sex during your periods, but to reach a state of reconciliation with yourself.
Anyway, I think it's perfectly fine if you could talk with your boyfriend and you both agreed on this matter. No one should forces oneself to do anything! But you seem to have conflicting feelings about your periods, so maybe understanding where they stem from could help you be more at peace with yourself?
Again, I don't mean to prescribe anything. It took me years to feel strong enough to do something about this, to work on and challenge my own thoughts... So maybe you're not in the right mood to do that just now, or don't feel like it, and you shouldn't force yourself if you're not ready - yeah now I AM prescriptive, sorry
My partner is extremely squeamish about blood. Not just menstrual blood, and not just in the context of sex, but all blood, all the time. Makes him feel kind of faint.
I'm absolutely comfortable having vaginal sex on my period/withdrawal bleed, but my partner (obviously) is not. I used to feel really undesirable because of it, actually- I was cool having sex on my period, but my partner wasn't, and even though I knew he had good reason, it still made me feel unwanted. (And we did still have other types of sex.) But I still felt (irrationally, I know) like there was something wrong with me.
I eventually found out about Instead softcups, which are a disposable menstrual cup and which can be worn during vaginal sex. Since I use menstrual cups rather than tampons or sanitary napkins anyway, finding ones that I could wear during sex, and that were a barrier between my vagina and any blood (they fix over the cervix and behind the pubic bone sort of like a diaphragm), was a pretty awesome development. They make vaginal sex a little bit less comfortable in certain positions, but it solved my "undesirability" problem.
Posts: 100 | From: Virginia, USA | Registered: May 2011
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Hi, copper. My angle on this isn't the angle you were specifically asking for, but I hope it's still useful.
Rather riffing off BrightStar above, I think there's a difference between someone not wanting to be in contact with menstrual blood and feeling/acting differently around us as an individual while we're on our bleed. There can be some ingrained societal stuff about "eek woman on period", like you touch on in your original post, and I think it's just not cool for someone to be uncomfortable with us for that reason - though I do understand that someone might need some time to un-learn the thoughts they've picked up.
Personally, I don't see a reason why someone wouldn't want to engage with me sexually if it was in a way where they wouldn't come into contact with my blood - for example, if I'm using a tampon (and maybe a quick wash to put them at their ease if they're genuinely icky about blood in general), manual sex and oral sex should be fine. Very personally, I'm not icky about body fluids, so would want to have all kinds of sex while I was bleeding, and would require any regular partner of mine to be adaptable to something close to that (with exceptions for people with phobias or squeamishness around blood in general). For me, that's the case because I myself am not over the moon by this bleeding thing my body does, but it does it and I accept that and I need a sexual partner to accept it too as part of interacting with me and that part of my body.
I know there's a lot of society, particularly guys, out there who get the heeby-jeebies at even the mention of monthly bleeding. Just to offer a little balance to that, I've had the pleasure and fortune to have had a number of male partners who were awesomely cool about the whole thing, who had no thought about no-sex if I was on my period, who didn't even find it worth mentioning when they found I was clearly using a tampon at the time. Even maybe...four?... at this point have entirely surprised and impressed me by picking up the sanitary waste wrapped in tissue afterwards and putting it in the bin (which I wouldn't expect of anybody), they were that unbothered. Their attitudes have definitely helped me to feel more comfortable about requiring some degree of acceptance from sexual partners in general, and that monthly bleeding is not something I need to hide or feel is shameful or undesirable.
-------------------- The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not. Posts: 1786 | From: Europe | Registered: Sep 2011
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