“I want to hook up with him but I just started my period!” says a long-time friend of mine through a text which she’s sending me from a bathroom stall somewhere on the north side of the city in a crowded bar.
My eyes stare at the text. I try to formulate words but come up empty handed. “Do it anyways,” I respond, to which my friend shoots back an eye-roll emoji face, knowing that I always put my orgasm before anything under the sun. So I start to wonder: is period sex on the first date a good or bad idea? Why is it considered so taboo? Is it because it’s the “first time” with someone new—but also, isn’t this a sort-of “test” where you can weigh out your potential partner? Why are we so ashamed of period sex on the first date? It’s the mess, right? It’s the lack of spontaneity. It’s the blood and the clean up and unease.
It’s no surprise that I’m a lover of period sex so my answers to all of these questions remain a steady quick — yes, yes, and more yes. But I’m also a serial monogamist so hook up culture, and the possibility of having my period, isn’t really in my cards. It’s easy for me to say, “Hell yeah, we are having sex,” when I’ve been with a partner for three years. How do we weigh the pros and cons with a first date and our cycle?
I asked a few of my close friends what they thought about period sex on the first date. Their opinions varied but were very specific to a first date. Jenna* writes to me, “Yes but I would ask first just because there’s a stigma. But I haven’t experienced a guy who cares.”
But by assuming your date will care seems to perpetuate the stigma. Or is it out of consideration for their bed sheets and clothing? I dived a little deeper into the idea by talking to Carla* who agrees that “Yeah, I think I can say ‘Oh, I don’t want to mess up his sheets!’ but really it’s just me being embarrassing that I messed up his sheets with blood.” She continues, “There is something jarring about blood that I think freaks a lot of people out. Even as someone who bleeds from my own body, I don’t want blood on my own bedsheets.” But opinions differ if dating someone for a while. “I love period sex!” says Erin* who goes into detail about why it benefits her and her partner. The mess isn’t as big of a deal and for Erin and her partner of two years, the messier the better. However, things were different in the beginning. “I wouldn’t have assumed period sex was something we would enjoy together. It was something we discovered later on in our relationship,” she explains.
Some of my friends even stated that they have cancelled dates if they have started their period —knowing that things will be intimate and and uncomfortable conversation may ensue. Sexologist Nikki Goldstein told New.com.au that if you act disgusted by period sex, “you can transfer it on to him.” While you may not want to partake in period sex, and you surely don’t want to force anyone into the action, you can turn the situation into a sexy experience. Goldstein advises using playful tactics like enticing your partner to play with other areas of your body. She goes on to say that we need to “bust the myth that periods make us un-sexy.”
Moreover, most women are really turned on when on their period. It’s also an added lubrication and creates a special bond between you and your partner.
In the Saint James Bible in Leviticus 20:18, a woman’s period is called her “sickness.” And in Chapter 2 of the Qur’an it’s considered an “illness.” Women are instructed to be left alone until they can be pure again. Historically, it’s been, and still is, viewed as a dirty action expelled from women—something to be avoided.
Dr. Logan Levkoff, a sex expert eloquently said, “Not everyone has to be into it, but if the response is disgust or horror, that partner sucks.” Someone’s first impression shouldn’t be a false image of who you are (although we are all guilty of creating a mask) but periods are a reality. They happen monthly. They happen a lot. They bring some baggage and some extra laundry detergent. Obviously, no one should be coerced into a situation that makes them uncomfortable but if someone has a middle-school style approach to your time of the month, it feels like a red flag for the many months that will potentially follow.
Of course having sex on your period is powerful, as well as not having sex on your period. Having sex on a first date while on your period is totally up in the air—some people don’t like to do a handful of things on the first date (sex included). My friend Sylvie says to me, “I’ve had sex on the first date and sometimes I haven’t. I hooked up with one guy while on my period on the first date because I knew he would be totally cool about it. In other cases, I’ve mentioned the period as a way to escape any potential hook up with them anyways. It was my body’s way of telling me ‘hell no.'”
For some friends, it’s an obvious yes, while with other’s it’s a depends-on-the-situation. For the future, it’s definitely a conversation worth having before completely canceling the entire night because of your body’s natural cycle.
*names have been changed