Monday, November 24, 2008

Boo Yaaa Period Time

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Well it is the first day of my period.  This month I thought I would turn the subject to sex during menstruation.  Many people stop engaging in sex because of the idea that during our periods we are dirty.  There are religions that specifically prohibit sex during a woman's period on that ground. This once again falls in line with the idea that the vagina is somehow foul and dirty. 

Sex during my period is something that I avoid.  I must admit that for the longest time it was because I felt ashamed of my monthly bleeding.  I wanted to hide the evidence of it from my partner.   I am quite sure that once again this stemmed from the idea the female biological process is disgusting. 

I was taught like many other women to hide any evidence of my period.  It was to be invisible to the world.  Any stain on my clothing was to be washed immediately lest someone discover my dirty secret.  This idea carried over to sex where I feared that my partner would find disgust in my body because it was dirty.

As I think about blood, it dawns on me that it is only menstrual blood that is deemed foul.  If I were to get a cut on my finger, no one would comment about how disgusting it may, or may not bet.  Menstrual blood is deemed disgusting not because it is blood, but because of where it exits the body.  It is tied to our social attitude towards the vagina.  It is deemed our unique female stain, and a stamp of our eternal impurity.

Even recognizing that the stigma attached to my period is meant to create woman as other and less than, I still cannot engage in sex during my period.  On an intellectual level I know that there is no reason for shame.  I am the same woman today as I was the day before my period started and yet there is a part of me that fears rejection, or the disgust of my partner.  There is a part of me that fears contaminating him with my foulness.

I no longer feel the need to hide the evidence of my period.  I deem it a part of being a woman; however truly revealing it on an intimate level with someone I care about, is something that I have not yet been able to do.  I don't know if I will ever get to the point where I can leave this conditioning behind me. 

Please share your experiences, or thoughts about sex during your period.  Have you been able to freely engage, why or why not.


30 comments:

Anonymous said...

love it love it love it
that's all
I generally stick a towel over the sheets :)

randombabble.com said...

You and I have officially managed to cycle at the same time.
I hope you are proud of yourself. ;)

Jadelyn said...

I don't usually have sex when I'm bleeding, but it's usually more because the mess kinda grosses me out. I don't care what kind of blood it is, I don't want it all over my sheets - or towels! - or all around on my legs and everywhere.

Then again, I only bleed about twice a year anyway, so it's not such a hardship to go without nookie for those couple weeks.

Anonymous said...

We usually just use a condom when I'm menstruating, so he doesn't have to do the big clean up afterwards, which I do. For me, it's basically just messier. Dated a guy once who LOVED it! He would like sniff me and stuff:-o Can't say I'm embarrassed, I just try to anticipate what the guy is thinking.

Dea

selkie said...

I don't have sex during my period simply becuase I don't enjoy it - I am a heavy heavy bleeder and literally it is so wet and slippery (TMI) that I literally feel nothing .. he is totally open to it - would be glad to have sex then as at any other time - but I don't like it- becuase frankly, it doesn't feel good.

I'm upfront about my period with my kids and taught them young all about periods (3 girls and a boy and yes, included the boy in general knowledge) -

I've had brutal periods form the time I got mine around 14 - then developed pathological PMS related to the cylce in my 30s (scary, murdering PMS) - so I'm not that fond of the whole thing - again not related to religion, thinking it "dirty" or anything, just its reality.

BUT, I made a point of "celebrating" my daughter's first period - sadly (my feeling but didn't let them know), daughter 1 got it just before she turned 11 (day before), daughter 2 at 9 - yes 9 years old and daughter 3, like me at 14. My son is used to having tampex, pads, etc aroudn the bathroom and has no issue running to the supplies to grab some when someone hits the bathroom and finds none.

On another note - I'm 52 - I am still regular and realizing that once it starts to miss, I will be sad ...becuase it means an end to part of youth and fertility

jemimaaslana said...

No sex for me during periods. I, too, am a heavy bleeder and considering I can bleed through san pads in no time, I'm not sure I want to test how many towels it'd take to prevent the bloody mess from getting to the sheets and mattress. Especially since there'll be those added fluids that come with horniness and sex.
I'm lazy and don't want to clean up the mess, so I choose not to make it in the first place.

Rj said...

I started a post on this subject vs. another kind of sex. I'll let you know when I finish it.

If you are heavy, I understand. But if you are open to it [while heavy], try it in the shower, where you can quickly rinse away. Otherwise, if your flow tapers, or is generally not so heavy, use a towel, like everyone else. You may even discover, that it is not as messy as you think. Trust me. I'm an expert in this area...LOL

La Lubu said...

First of all, can I just say right now how much I love your blog? Seriously Renee, you have been rocking my world for some time now, ever since your first guest-blogging stint on Feministe. Most of the time I agree with you, but even when I don't you always have something intelligent and provocative to say, and give me loads of tasty food for thought. I've taken an unoffical hiatus from blogging and even commenting on blogs I read because I've been super-busy and I'm tired of getting sucked down the rabbit hole of the Internet and not getting anything done. But I've gotta say---even if I don't have time to comment, I'm a frequent flyer here for reading, and I love what you do. (and fuck all the nay-sayers about "tone". Sweet bedda matri don't get me started about "tone" and policing the thoughts and expression of people who've been policed our whole got-damn lives. I fucking love your tone!! Makes me feel like I'm not alone in this world.)

Ahem. Anyway, thought I'd get that off my chest first, and damn! it is nothing short of revolutionary to have a monthly thread on periods!

For me, my only reservation about having sex on my period was the heavy bleeding; my period changed after I gave birth though---it's been (what I guess is) more "normal" bleeding instead of super-heavy. I used to avoid sex on the first couple of days of my period since otherwise---heavy towels and all---it looked like someone had been murdered in bed afterward (and jumping up to hit the shower after a nice relaxing orgasm kinda kills the "glow"---shit, I just wanna cuddle up and go to sleep). But, since my periods aren't heavy like that any more (no longer have to wear a tampon and a pad), putting down a towel seems to work just fine (if I remember clearly---it's not like I've been having any non-solo-sex lately! ;)

But then again, if I'm comfortable enough around a man to have him in my bed, I already know him well enough to know he's not going to have an attitude problem about sex during my period. I would probably be more reluctant to have sex during my period with a man I didn't know as well. And yeah, that would be a deal-breaker. "What? You're on the rag? Gross!" Hey, the door's right there pal, whether or not you let it hit you in the ass on your way out of it is your choice.

Anonymous said...

Period Sex...

Hmmm, let me think ...
I think i'll pass, I can wait a week.

...Tim

Dori said...

I have no problem with it, and sometimes I can really enjoy it, as a good orgasm helps with my cramps.

My spouse doesn't care if I'm bleeding or not. I used to date people who had a real problem with it, like, even cuddling and heavy petting bothered them because they knew I was bleeding, so I was cautious at first with the spouse. Zie was funny about it...I was hedging and talking through how other people had been about it when zie looked me in the eye and said "Anybody who has a problem with periods shouldn't be sleeping with a woman" lol

space said...

I don't have penetrative sex, and I actually often prefer being stimulated through my pants, so getting a period is little if any hindrance to the type of sex life I have, whether solo or partnered. I won't take my pants off if on the rag...I wouldn't want to have my boyfriend touch that stuff, as I already don't like to touch his fluids. (If I don't like other people's bodily fluids, perhaps I should just be celibate, given the argument Dori presented from her significant other.) But masturbation, dry humping, or having my boyfriend play with me with my pants on is fine. The one quirk, though, is that if I'm expecting my period soon, sometimes masturbation can trigger it...but then, I tried that last month when my period was running a little late, and it didn't seem to work. I eventually got it after 35 days since the last one - I usually go 31 +/- 2.

Amber Rhea said...

I don't have sex on the first or second day of my period because I usually don't feel very good on those days (cramps, bloating, general "blah" feeling). My partner and I definitely will have sex on any other day of my period if we're in the mood. We just put down a towel so we don't mess up the sheets. I figure any guy who can't handle it isn't grown-up enough to be having sex anyway.

BeccaTheCyborg said...

I personally have no problem with it, whether it's my own bleeding or a female partner's. My male partner's really squeamish about blood in general (can't watch it getting drawn, gets grossed out at cuts), so I can't really fault his discomfort at my blood. As for me, I have some health issues which have, among other things, increasingly led to me bleeding without fail from sex. All penetration, and when it's at it's worst, from getting aroused means (meant? I'm trying some medication to fix that, and it's too soon to tell) that I bleed. That's caused some obvious issues. Divacups helped. (The pain, on the other hand, was a whole other problem. The other meds helped with that, though it may last forever.)

As far as I'm concerned, get a towel if necessary and I'm good to go.

Amber Rhea said...

Also, I totally understand about people not wanting to have sex when they are bleeding very heavily. There have been a few times when I've felt up to having sex on the first or second day (which are also my heaviest days) and it definitely did look like a murder scene. :P Not something that I'm squeamish about, but annoying to clean up. I can understand not wanting to deal with it.

Tafari said...

I actually enjoy period sex (or stomping in the mud as many of my friends call it).

I my wife is down, she will allow it after she is past the heavy phase.

There is something about it that feel a little bit better, almost like pregnant sex but not as good.

Ojibway Migisi Bineshii said...

Because of sexual assault I can't really engage in this conversation but wish I could.

Rj said...

Ojibway,

Even though you can't engage [in this conversation], your presence is felt and understood. Thank you.

Rj said...

Oh yeah, Renee, where'd that pic come from?

victoria said...

Just want to honor the feelings and experiences of Ojibway Migisi Bineshii and all the others who for whatever reason aren't able to take part in this conversation.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy sex during my period. I find it releases my muscles and I don't cramp up so much. My partner obliges me and doesn't seem to bat an eye-lid about it. Also, I generally feel more amourous around my period. And that's what the shower is for...

hexy said...

My period kills me. It's incredibly painful, incredibly draining and exhausting, incredibly heavy, and complicated by endo. I generally medicate to avoid it, and when it does happen sex is definitely not on my mind.

That said, sometimes RIGHT at the end (as in last day or two of bleeding) I sometimes feel human enough to attempt it.

randombabble.com said...

I would also like to acknowledge OMB...*hugs*

After about the third day (my period lasts over eight days, sometimes ten), I LOVE sex on my period. The first day is too crampy, the second and third day are far too heavy, it just looks like a crime scene. After that, I am extra sensitive, and it is extra fun, plus, there is no need for any extra lube (sorry if that is TMI). Plus, for some damn reason I have an extra appetite during that time.

We have a special blanket that we put down for period sex that is large enough to fold in half doubled so that it protects our bed. I totally understand why some people would refrain from period sex, but once I pushed past my own personal stigma (not saying every refrains b/c they are grossed out or anything) it opened a whole new part of my sex life. Strangely, since my body rarely allows me energy to want sex the rest of the month, I welcome this burst of desire.

Octogalore said...

I've got the typical situation of yes swim in the red river and no drink from the red river.

I'm a little more squeamish with steady BFs and my husband now, than with earlier one-night pickups. Once in law school with a pickup from a local biker bar, I looked down, remembered it was that time of the month, whipped out the tampon and threw it across the room of my grimy studio apt -- it stuck on the wall as a calling card. The guy appreciated the spontaneity, but that wouldn't be the reaction of my husband to such an idea.

It's a privilege to be able to be lighthearted about ones period, as OMB's comment reminds us. A family member was raped as a child and she had a lot of difficulty with tampons. In sharing the lighter side I don't want to lose sight of the more somber. Hugs to you, OMB.

Ojibway Migisi Bineshii said...

@ RJ, Victoria, RandomBabble & Octogalore - Thank you for honoring my situation and where I am at right now in my life. Yeah I can't wear tampons right now. I have difficulty with them. For the Earth I wear washable pads, they are great! I was not raped but assaulted and harassed. I am healing and learning again to enjoy pleasure in a healthy way. So far it has been two years since the first incident and only one year since the last. It is taking some time to heal. To think of even being intimate with someone is a big step as I am still not healed. So, I know this will time take and that the right partner will come along to help me heal and enjoy pleasure and sex again.

(((HUGS))) back at you all! :-D

Anonymous said...

My partner and I are open to the idea of sex on light days but we've tried it and it just hasn't worked. For some reason, we haven't tried lube during that time and then I don't get aroused enough. Oh well. Maybe someday.

Oh, I definitely agree that period talk is seen as less acceptable than talk of other bodily functions and other blood is more acceptable. But sometimes it is surprising how squeamish people get at other blood too. Other blood can gross people out too.

whatsername said...

OK I think it every time you post it but that picture scares the shit out of me. lol.

Anyway, I didn't know cycles synced up over the internet, but I started mine just now. Thanks. :P

To the question at hand, naw, I don't like sex when I'm on my period. It's a weird combination of too slick AND too dry, my vagina doesn't feel particularly flexible or welcoming and usually it takes longer for her to recover afterwards. So, it's something I've done, but something I avoid now.

blue milk said...

What a fascinating discussion. I sometimes have sex while having a period but deep down in my psyche I am prone to shame around menstruation as well Renee. Because? Hmm because menstruation was not celebrated in my life and basically misogyny is everywhere. My partner is not squeamish at all and I would find it a lot harder to be confident about sex and periods if he were. I don't feel hugely relaxed about receiving oral sex while I have a period but then who wants to say no to an offer of oral sex so I've well and truly crossed that bridge also. I wish I was as gloriously relaxed as the comment above with the woman who flung her tampon across the room so it stuck on the wall!

Lauren said...

Thankfully, I think I've gotten over the media indoctrination that says periods are "dirty secrets." A lot of this may have to do with my switch to menstrual cups and cloth pads.. dealing with the blood on a personal level really made me realize it's NO BIG DEAL.

Whenever I'm at home, I have no problem possibly staining sheets (towels move around!) and getting messy because my boyfriend and I can just shower afterwords! But when we're in my dorm room or his, we generally avoid sex on my period because I'm usually wearing a menstrual cup and it's a hassle to clean up afterword. :(

But, I really enjoy sex on my period because it relieves menstrual cramps and increased sexual frustration!

Anonymous said...

I think genitals in general are seen as unclean. If I saw a smegma stain, I'd be just as grossed out as if I saw a big crusty smear on a woman's panties.

Though, yes, menstrual fluid is given extra attention and squickiness.

Theresa said...

It really depends on how painful my period is that month. Sometimes I am so crampy and bloaty that I don't feel like having sex. Other times I enjoy, and often initiate it. My husband doesn't mind. We just lay a towel down and jump in the shower afterwards. The only annoying thing is that usually right after I like to cuddle and fall asleep naked, and that's not really possible after period sex.

I actually lost my virginity when I was on my period. I just never thought of bleeding as a hindrance to sex.