So, you’ve got a big vacation/wedding/weekend away with someone new coming up and the last thing you want is to get your period. You’ve counted the days, and if you could just get your period to start today, you’d be done in time for the vacation/wedding/sexy getaway. Can sex start your period? With a partner or on your own, can an orgasm jumpstart menstruation?
Here’s the science of it.
Does Sex Affect Your Menstrual Cycle?
If you’re nearing the beginning of your period, research suggests that orgasming can kick start your period. Score! But how is this possible?
There are a couple reasons that sex can help start your period.
- Contraction and relaxation. Uterine contractions may encourage the process of menstruation. Although, they might also increase cramping—it’s up to the individual.
- Stress relief. The body releases feel-good endorphins during sex. These hormones can encourage the fluctuations in sex hormone required for your period to begin.
- Increased blood flow. During arousal, blood flow to the genitals increases.
Your period isn’t (unfortunately) going to miraculously start a week or 2 ahead of schedule to match your social calendar. Sometimes, unfortunately, timing isn’t on your side.
Is it Normal to Bleed After Sex?
If you’re not wishing for your period to start or aren’t close to your start date, is it normal to bleed after sex?
The short answer is no, but there are lots of reasons why it might be happening.
- Cervical irritation
- Vaginal dryness. The friction of sexual activity might cause small tears.
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Cervical polyps
- Cervical cancer
If you experience bleeding after sex, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider. If the bleeding is heavy or accompanied by pain, talk to your doctor to rule out underlying medical conditions.
Spotting and light bleeding in between cycles can be common and no cause for concern for some menstruators. Some reasons bleeding after sex, when you’re mid-cycle, might happen include:
Bleeding after sex and mid-cycle bleeding, in general, can happen for many reasons. It never hurts to investigate it further though. If you experience unusual bleeding, reach out to your healthcare provider to get a better understanding of what’s going on.
But if you’re close to your period and looking for sex to kick-start it for you and nothing seems to work. What options do you have left?
Can You Have Sex with a Menstrual Cup?
Say you get your period when you don’t want to—can you have sex while wearing a menstrual cup? Because of the positioning of the DivaCup, which sits in the vaginal canal to collect period blood, penetrative sex isn’t an option. But any type of outercourse is fair game.
Having sex on your period isn’t for everyone, but if you’re open to it, a reusable menstrual cup is a great solution. Wearing a menstrual cup during sex means less mess, no more stained sheets or towels, and you can focus more on pleasure.
Can You Have Sex with a Menstrual Disc?
If you’re looking for mess free penetrative period sex, a menstrual disc is a great option. The Diva Disc is designed to sit above the vaginal canal in the vaginal fornix, leaving room for penetrative intercourse. You can also wear your Diva Disc for any other sexual activity during your period to avoid the mess of menstrual blood.
Mess free period sex has never been easier. If you can’t jumpstart your period in time, now you’ve got a couple other options.
*A DivaCup or Diva Disc (although they might look like diaphragms) do not serve as birth control and will not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development – NICHD [hyperlink-start]www.nichd.nih.gov[hyperlink-end][link-start]www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/factsheets/stds[link-end]
- “Bleeding between Periods? How to Tell If It’s a Problem.” Cleveland Clinic, 9 Apr. 2018, health.clevelandclinic.org/when-should-you-worry-about-spotting-between-periods/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.
- Mayo Clinic. “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352594.
- Tarney, Christopher M., and Jasmine Han. “Postcoital Bleeding: A Review on Etiology, Diagnosis, and Management.” Obstetrics and Gynecology International, vol. 2014, 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4086375/#:~:text=Postcoital%20bleeding%20refers%20to%20spotting, https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/192087. Accessed 24 Mar. 2021.