I think the only time I’ve ever used the word “squicky” in real life was while telling my friend how my new boyfriend felt about menstrual sex. “It’s just weird for me, I guess,” I said, “because [my ex-girlfriend] was so okay with going down on me during that time of the month, and [the new boyf] is soooo not.”
It’s true – this was a tough adjustment for me. My ex had a vagina too, so she understood that menstruation isn’t such a big deal – but it wasn’t just that; she was a messy, reckless person in many ways, the type of girl to slather herself in paint and make breast prints on big pieces of watercolor paper. I think she was more inclined to “ride the crimson wave” because sexuality didn’t scare her, not even a little, not even the weird parts. My new boyfriend wasn’t like that, and his apprehension made me feel shitty about my lady-bits.
But then I rubbed off on him. Me and my relentless sex-positivity and vagina-lovin’. He must have absorbed some of my feminist unabashedness, because soon enough, his blood-related worries dissolved.
Here are some things that changed his mind, and that might change yours or your lover’s mind about period sex too:
1. Menstrual cups. Embarrassingly, I have a cup collection – two DivaCups, a Yuuki, a Lunette, and a Meluna. I just like to have a variety of color and size options – the average woman will only need one cup.
These things are great for a multitude of reasons that don’t have to do with sex – better for the environment, for the body, for the wallet (if you don’t collect them like me) – but they make sex easier too. While it is possible to have intercourse with a reusable cup in place, I don’t recommend it – I use them to facilitate oral sex instead. They keep the blood inside, so as not to freak out a partner, but they don’t dry up natural juices the way a tampon would if used in the same way. Worry-free cunnilingus, yum!
2. Menstrual sponges. I have some by Jade and Pearl – they are fairly cheap and easy to use. Truth be told, I am not a fan of sponges for everyday menstrual use – they’re not much better than tampons when it comes to body-safety and drying me out, and I find that they leak when I sneeze or laugh too hard. But! They work very well for period sex. (I’ve never used Softcups, but I hear they work just as well for this purpose.)
When inserted, sea sponges feel remarkably similar to the surrounding vaginal walls – soft, textured, and, uh, spongy. So you can tuck one up by your cervix and it’s very likely that neither you nor your partner will even be able to tell you’re on the rag. Just one word of warning: don’t go trying to pry out the sponge immediately after sex to empty it – during arousal, the cervix pulls up and back, taking any surrounding objects with it, so give it a few minutes or you might start panicking about not being able to get the damn sponge out.
3. Thick, dark towels. Really, these should be a part of everyone’s sex arsenal; if you don’t need towels at least once in a while, you’re doing it wrong, if I may say so. At the moment, I just use knockoff pashminas I don’t care about, but in the future, I’d like to upgrade to a Liberator Throe, a sex blanket that can absorb anything you squirt at it.
4. Mental preparedness. Yeah, menstruating vaginas taste a bit like iron. That taste doesn’t mean you’re getting blood in your mouth (necessarily), it just means you’re licking a healthy, normal vulva, so don’t fret.
Not everyone has to be okay with every sex act. I’m definitely not going to judge anyone who really feels that menstrual sex is not for them. But I want people to feel more equipped to have it if they want to… especially since orgasms are such a wonderful cure for cramps!