Wanking on the Rag: A Squeamish Masturbator’s Guide

I love to masturbate. Um, of course I do, I write about sex toys. But I mean, beyond just doing it for the physical pleasure of it, I also enjoy it mentally and emotionally: it’s a way for me to recharge, to unwind, to be good to myself.

So it sucks that there’s one week every month where masturbating is more mess than it’s worth. Or is it?

Here are some of my top tips for jerking off when you’re bleeding. Some of them are overlaps from my post on menstrual sex, but solo sex is worth honoring, too!

1. Choose a nonporous toy. If your collection includes toys made of jelly, TPR, CyberSkin, etc. (shame!), skip them for the time being. You can always use a condom over them, which you should be doing all the time anyway, but it would be best to just bite the bullet and upgrade to a toy you can use safely during your period.

Many of my toys have been subjected to menstrual blood, including my all-white Ella and my beloved Pure Wand. Nonporous toys should wash totally clean with a little soap and water, and the non-mechanical, waterproof ones can be boiled to sanitize. I do have one jelly toy left over from my ignorant days, which I never use anymore – but if I did, I’d leave it alone during my period. Bloody bacteria growing in toy pores = gross!

2. Buy yourself a blood towel. It should ideally be dark-colored and large. Hell, buy two, especially if you’re a squirter. Every time you masturbate or have sex during your period, lay out the towel underneath you so you can have at it without worrying about a mess.

If you’ve got the cash, why not spring for a red Liberator Throe? I can’t think of a better way to honor your divine reproductive essence while keeping your sheets clean! (On a related note, if anyone would like to buy/send me a Throe, please get in touch…!)

3. Investigate alternative menstrual products. Jade and Pearl make sea sponges which you can stuff up your vag at moon-time. They make it possible to be penetrated without mess, whether by a partner or by your own fingers or toys.

I also have a wide variety of menstrual cups which I use for everyday period wear. Depending on the cup, I may be able to penetrate myself shallowly or not at all while wearing one, but they’re great if you just want to masturbate clitorally.

4. Stay away from your cervix. Some folks get very sensitive while they’re bleeding, especially in the cervix area. If this is true for you, try a toy that’s squishier, shorter, or focuses on your G-spot rather than the far reaches of your vagina.

If you really crave a good pounding, maybe take an ibuprofen half an hour before attempting it, and avoid hard materials like glass and steel. Flexible silicone will be your best bet during this time.

5. Think of orgasms as painkillers. Sometimes, when I’m on my period, I feel miserable and achy and have no desire to jerk off. My cramps get so bad that I just want to lie on the couch and watch bad TV. But then I remind myself that I’ll feel better if I force myself to have an orgasm – and guess what? I always do.

It doesn’t have to be a big production. If you’re feeling too sore or lazy for penetration, don’t bother with it. Just grab your favorite clit toy and get off in a way that’s comfortingly familiar to you. You may not feel terribly enthused at first, but power through it if you can: there’s a good chance your cramps will ease up if you can make yourself come.

Jerking off can be a very healing and affirming thing to do during your period, a time when we’re most likely to have complicated relationships with our genitalia. Stop worrying about the mess and just be good to yourself!