Destigmatizing sex by riding the ‘red tide’

The Dapper Vagina

Just because you are hanging out with Aunt Flow — your period — doesn’t mean you have to stop having sex.

My whole life, I was taught periods had to be hidden; I would sneak tampons to the bathroom whenever I needed to check on the condition of my underwear.

The menstrual cycle, the biological process that controls fertility, has a long history of being taboo.

Many religions have traditional laws that require menstruating women to be secluded from the main house in a separate hut, according to an article by Mark A. Guterman, Payal Mehta and Margaret S. Gibbs of Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Traditional Russian Orthodox  law considers menstruating women to be impure, and prohibits any contact between the woman and men during this period, with contact ranging from touching fresh produce to having intercourse, according to the article.

Contrary to these beliefs, having sex during menstruation actually has many benefits.  

Having sex on your period can shorten your period and help with cramps, according to “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” a women’s health manual.

Oxytocin and dopamine, two hormones associated with happiness, are released after orgasm creating a natural painkiller to ease cramps.

When women are menstruating, things are a lot more sensitive down there due to increased blood flow,  according to doctor and sex therapist Madeleine Catellan’s website.

That, along with the added lubrication, can lead to some pretty mind-blowing sensations, the website states.  

In addition, the contractions felt during orgasm can help release the uterine lining faster, thus potentially shortening your period.

Jump to my junior year of college and I was about to be naked and intimate with someone while I was on my period.

I was at his place expecting him to have Saran-wrapped his entire bed in preparation, but o my surprise, his bed was as it always is.

Maybe I was the one who was more freaked out by this than he was.

Though it was terrifying, I also found it liberating; I was saying no to the shame we put on ourselves every month for something natural.

Having period sex seemed to be a political statement to me.

I was actually pretty terrified to ride the red tide even though I am usually at my horniest during my period.  

The sex was not only great, I was finally able to let go and relax.

I wasn’t the scared sixteen year-old who hid tampons in her bra. I was a woman who was putting my needs first, no matter what. And that is pretty empowering.