Let's Smash the Period Sex Stigma

Photography by the talented  Most Exalted

Photography by the talented Most Exalted

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Sex is one of the greatest pleasures life has to offer. Second only to pizza. And guess what? Period sex is like pizza: If you want it, you deserve it. I'm real tired of old and outdated taboos lingering around, dictating what we should or should not be doing, so let's smash the period taboo once and for all, shall we? 

In an average woman's lifetime, she will menstruate approximately 450 times, for a total of 2,280 days. Contrary to the taboo that has remained in place for centuries, that's 6 years of great sex you could be enjoying. Let's keep normalizing natural female processes, but maybe we can take it a step further and even celebrate them.

Before I dive in: you obviously need to feel comfortable with your partner about opening up the conversation and possibility of trying period sex. The same rules apply to period sex as they do for any sex. Not into it? Don't do it. Don't pressure your partner and don't feel pressured by your partner. Okay? Okay.

FACTS 

  • You can still get pregnant when you’re on your period. What a bummer, I know. Having sex toward the beginning of your period gives you a much lesser chance of getting pregnant, though. If you have a partner you feel comfortable having unprotected sex with, the beginning of your period is a nice time to have sex sans condoms. But be aware, sperm can live in the uterus for up to 5 days, and if you have sex near the end of your cycle, it's possible that the sperm will be present when you ovulate and pregnancy can occur.
  • If you are imagining a bloody disaster post period sex, stop. You will probably be happy to realize it doesn't look like a murder scene when it's over. If you have sex during the end of your period, you might even find that there's no mess at all. And, really, isn't all sex a little messy and gross? 
  • If you aren't using birth control, in order to prevent pregnancy, you should use condom.
  • You can still contract STIs when having period sex, so be sure use whatever protection works for you.
  • There are a lot of religious, cultural and spiritual practices that discourage sex during menstruation. These practices are rooted in spiritual beliefs but not biological. There is nothing physically preventing or hindering you from having great sex on your period.
Art by Lyla Freechild

Art by Lyla Freechild

ALL THE REASONS YOU SHOULD BE HAVING PERIOD SEX

  • Menstrual blood = your body's natural lube. Lube makes sex better. No contest. And this particular lube happens to be free and all-natural. 
  • Orgasms cure cramps (and headaches). I personally don't want to have sex when I am experiences a lot of cramping pain during my period. With light cramps, though, I find that they tend to be alleviated by orgasm. This also works for headaches. Try it.
  • Shorter period. Can it be true? You might find that your flow increases after having sex. However, this also means that your period won't last as long. The same amount of blood will be present, but instead of taking longer to make its way down, the sex actually stretches the muscles and allows it to happen more quickly than it would have otherwise.
  • More Pleasure. Not only does allowing yourself to have sex during a week that you would have otherwise avoided it facilitate more pleasure, you may also find that your orgasms are stronger. This has to do with the natural lube we talked about, and also that you may be more sensitive to touch and to feeling during your period.

BEST POSITIONS FOR PERIOD SEX

  • Shower sex. I personally feel like I am always disappointed in shower sex. It is great for period sex especially, any and all mess is cleaned up right away. This is great if your partner is a clean freak but also still wants to get freaky. 
  • Laying on your side/Spooning. I find this to be great if I am having a self-conscious day about my period bloat or am feeling especially lazy but also am horny.
  • Missionary. Ole faithful, if you will. This position is great if you are worried about a mess, having your hips tilted upwards definitely helps, and don't forget that towel if you are especially worried.
  • Solo dolo. If you don't have a partner that you feel comfortable enough with to share period sex, or maybe your partner just isn't into it, self-pleasure is always a great option. You don't even have to remove your menstrual cup (or tampon) to experience clit stimulation and orgasm. Woo!
  • Anal. Oh boy, right? We can talk more in-depth about anal sex in an upcoming post...but for now, know that it is the perfect option if you aren't into period sex but still want to be having sex during your period. Bodies are cool.
I use the  Lunette Cup

I use the Lunette Cup

Just a note while we are talking about periods. If you haven't tried a menstrual cup yet, I would highly suggest it. The longer I continue to use mine, the more I love it. There is a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it totally changes the game. Not only is it safer for your body (i.e. no chemicals, toxins etc.) but it is also better for the environment and your wallet! Check out my favorite cup, and my blog on FAQs about menstrual cups.

Really though, the key to having great sex while on your period is to feel comfortable. Remember there's nothing to be embarrassed about! The Divine Feminine is in you. You are magic. Sex and menstruation are two totally normal and healthy things — so why not combine the two?

Boob Insecurities, Breast Exams, and My Thoughts on Bras

So, what happens if you don't wear a bra? Keep reading to find out.   Photography by Most Exalted

So, what happens if you don't wear a bra? Keep reading to find out. Photography by Most Exalted

Despite what the media tells us, boobs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors. This shit has made us so insecure about our naked bodies; our boobs are no exception. I have written this post to clear up a lot of misconceptions about boobs in the hopes of helping you heal and overcome your own insecurities and questions surrounding breasts.

Artwork by Tina Maria Elena

Artwork by Tina Maria Elena

The power of marketing truly blows my mind. I remember looking through magazines, movies and TV and seeing these beautiful models and actresses. They seemed to have perfect, perky breasts. It really wasn’t a thought in my mind to be embarrassed about my boobs until I was through puberty and considering the idea of allowing other people to actually see my boobs. I thought my areolae were too big. My nipples too flat. I thought I was a freak because I had hair around my nipples, and would spend time every day making sure I plucked all the hair out. There was no open dialogue about the normality of vast differences in breasts. If you find yourself feeling a little embarrassed about your boobs, I just want you to know that you don’t have to be. And whatever it is, it is SO normal. Boobs are super cool and also super weird. They can be 2 different shapes, you can have hairy nipples, 3 nipples, you can have super sensitive nipples. Speaking of nipple sensitivity, I have like...none. It kind of sucks, maybe? But I don’t know any other way. It doesn’t feel good (or bad) when my nipples are played with, because honestly I can’t really feel it.

All boobs are great boobs.

Our culture has instilled in us that boobs are objects. They are often seen as toys rather than body parts. YES, it is okay (and normal!) if your boobs are saggy, sensitive, insensitive, uneven, scarred, large, small, hairy or anything in between. 

Your body is your home.

Your body is your home.

Nipple Hair, Though?

It is estimated that around 30% of the female population has nipple hair growth. The real stats are probably higher because if anyone was in the throes of their boob shame, they aren't going to admit to having nipple hair to anyone. It is totally normal, and rarely indicates that there is some abnormality. Nipple hair growth is one symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) but you would have other symptoms, not just this one. 

Thinking about getting rid of it? For years I plucked out every damn wiry strand. Now? I rarely fuss with it because it doesn't bother me. If it affects your confidence, though, removal is an option. Whatever you do, DO NOT use products like Nair or other chemical hair removers. These are super sensitive nipples we are talking about here! Plucking was my go to, and it always led to gnarly ingrown hairs. You could just snip them to keep them trim, or you could shave them. Some salons even offer a waxing options, but definitely do not try this at home with your regular wax. 

Do I Really Need To Do A Self Breast Exam?

Yes and no. In recent years, medical professionals have shifted away from the idea that self breast exams are necessary. This is because women are not taught properly how to do it but also because studies have indicated that a woman who does the breast exam is no less likely to die from breast cancer than the woman that does not do the exam. It is increasingly being encouraged that you become intimately familiar with your unique breast shape and type, the feeling of your breast tissue and all of the regular bumps and lumps that are uniquely yours. Your breasts go through cycles, similarly to all of your other bodily functions, and you need to have an awareness of your own natural rhythm and cycle. If you haven't become comfortable in your awareness of your boobs and what they feel like yet, it definitely is not too late. Feel and touch on them regularly; if you have a partner, encourage them to be your second opinion. Having two people with a general familiarity of what is "normal" for you will be more beneficial if you ever feel like you come across an irregularity down the road. If you notice a change, especially one that is painful or involves swelling, discharge or itchiness, seek a medical professional. Do not just assume it will go away by ignoring the problem. I know this is a scary subject, but it doesn't have to be with a little education and a lot of self-awareness. 

I love a bralette. Comfy with just enough support and coverage. Photo by  Andrea Miner

I love a bralette. Comfy with just enough support and coverage. Photo by Andrea Miner

Did You Burn All Your Bras?

I didn't, actually. Sometimes I wear a bra, and sometimes I don't. I view bras now as another fashion accessory and not something that is unquestionably necessary. Wearing a bra is a choice, just as wearing makeup or shaving is a choice.

It's really uncomfortable for me to workout without a sports bra, so I don't. Most of my sports bras now come via my Ellie Activewear subscription box. I have never been let down. Some of them are for light impact like yoga or weight lifting, others for higher impact like jumping and running. 

As I stated in my story of my younger self, I used to opt only for underwire bras with a lot of padding. Now, though, I definitely prefer little to no padding. I typically prefer comfort to aesthetics. Fortunately, I recently found True & Co. whose bras are both comfortable and cute. Some tops that I wear are very shear, so I often wear the X bra to wear underneath those tops for work. The fit is great, and they even have a little quiz to determine which bras are the best for your boob shape and size.

So, what happens if you don't wear a bra?

  • You will feel like a free bird. You will probably decide you much rather prefer the freeing feeling of going braless. You know that feeling at the end of the day when you take your bra off? Yea, you can basically feel like that all day, every day.
  • Your tops will fit differently. This can be positive or negative, depending on your mindset and the top. Some tops I prefer to wear a bralette with because it looks better and makes me feel more confident. Other tops just look better without a bra.
  • Your back might start to hurt. The support that a bra offers is especially important for women with larger boobs. Without that support that your back is used to, there may be discomfort or pain. Don't just ignore that and push through it or there could be some real damage. Maybe trying a different style of bra that isn't as constricting or without wire could give you a more comfortable feeling while still offering some support. 
  • You will get some stares. You might not, but you probably will. I am always really amazed at the number of stares that I get directed toward my chest when I don't have a bra on. It's kind of annoying but I just tell myself it is out of curiosity and not coming from a harmful place. I am hopeful that it will become more and more normative and therefore will elicit less and less stares. 

I hope this post helped you in some way. Maybe it strengthened your resolve in what you already knew. Maybe it made you feel not so alone in your insecurity around your breasts. Maybe you learned something new. You are beautiful. Your body is exquisite. You are the Universe. 

My Experience with Menstrual Cups and FAQ

My experience with menstrual cups as well as a Q&A - Pin to read later!

My experience with menstrual cups as well as a Q&A - Pin to read later!

Have you seen or heard about menstrual cups? Maybe you already use one and love yours, this post isn’t really for you. But if you have seen them and are curious to know more, read on!

I have been hearing more and more about menstrual cups over the past year. One menstrual cup, if properly cared for, can last up to ten years! Think of all the waste you are eliminating by switching to a cup! AND all the money you will be saving. AND all of the time you will be saving by avoiding a bathroom break every other hour. You will no longer have to worry about things like toxic shock or unwanted chemicals sitting inside your body.

 I was always skeptical to try menstrual cups and never looked into it any more than a passing conversation. I read a couple of blog posts about them that piqued my interest. As I become more and more of an environmentalist, I realized I couldn’t ignore the issue any longer as I emptied trash can after trash can during my monthly periods. I was skeptical about making the switch mostly because I have an IUD and had read somewhere that you shouldn’t use a menstrual cup if you have an IUD because it could dislodge it. After doing more research and talking to real women that have IUDs and use menstrual cups, I placed my order.

My Personal Experience

I read many articles about different brands and decided that I would order the MeLuna. They didn’t send me a cup for free or anything like that, I paid for it with my own money. I know that my cervix sits up high, so I went with a larger cup. (*edit* I wanted to clarify that the only reason that I know that my cervix sits high is because my OBGYN told me) I also decided to get the Classic in purple and with the stem handle. The stem is about an inch long but because my cervix sits so far up, I am really glad I opted for this. You can cut it, if its bothersome for you or choose another of their handle options. I love how you can easily customize the MeLuna. I am really pleased with my purchase! I may end up getting the more athletic (firmer) material in the future because I did notice that when I worked out vigorously, I had some leaking. But, it wasn’t enough to bother me so much that I am going to order another any time soon.

I boiled the cup before I used it for the first time and that’s all the cleaning that I did. I also read in this same blog post that you should pee on your hands as a method of cleaning. It makes sense, because that is the same advice we get about having sex. Go pee when you are done! That is definitely a tip I would suggest to you. Sure, you are literally peeing on your fingers. But I would rather pee on my hand and wash it than have to deal with an infection. As far as placement goes, there was definitely a learning curve. I had to play around with how to fold it. I read that you should do Kegel exercises to get it in place, and that is a tip I would definitely recommend. I also do some squats once I get it placed just so it gets shimmied around properly. This might sound excessive but it isn’t that bad. I did have a minor freak out one morning when I couldn’t get it out, but I learned that I just needed to be a little more aggressive and less dainty with my removal. I would advise gripping it from the base of the cup rather than the stem. It’s easier to control that way. I didn’t really clean it beyond rinsing it off with hot water. I’m not really what you would call an overly hygienic person but for what it’s worth, I’m also never sick. Do with that what you will. . .

Store your cup in a bag like this, not something airtight!

Store your cup in a bag like this, not something airtight!


Q&A

I asked you guys on Instagram if you had any questions and got lots of feedback! Below I will list some questions that I had as well as some questions that you all asked of me.

Is it messy?

Kind of. I definitely would say it’s more messy than tampons. It’s about equally messy to a pad on your heaviest day. Women are often taught that their bodies are gross, especially during this time. Your period is one of the most natural things in the world. Yes, you will be getting up close and personal with your vagina. Yes, you will probably get some blood on your fingers. In my opinion, this is a wonderful exercise in self-love and acceptance.

Is it painful or uncomfortable?

It can be, if it isn’t the right cup for you. Or if it isn’t placed correctly. I had a couple of moments of uncomfortability but after taking it out and putting it back in, I realized it was just placed weird. The cup should not be painful for you, if it is, I would recommend getting a smaller cup. I have read that The Diva Cup is often not the right cup but the one women in the US most often purchase. They only come in one size, and for this reason, I recommend MeLuna or another company that has more options in sizing.

Can you wear it for a long time?

Totally! It depends on your flow but even on my heaviest days, I was only changing it twice! I wouldn’t recommend leaving it in for any longer than 10ish hours though. Check with your particular brand and see what they recommend.

Can I wear a menstrual cup and practice yoga?

Apparently, yes. I practiced 3 hours of yoga with mine in without any issues or leaking. The cup works by creating suction (kind of like when you were in elementary school and would put a cup over your mouth and chin and it would stick there for eternity) so you don’t need to worry about getting upside down and leaking everything as long as it was placed correctly to begin with.

What am I supposed to do when I am out in public?

Admittedly, I haven’t had this issue yet. Because I was only emptying it twice a day, this was easily avoidable. If you find that you will have to empty it in a public bathroom, I would recommend carrying a water bottle with you to rinse it off or just use the sink if you don’t care to.

Do I still need to wear period panties?

I would, at least for the first couple of months with the menstrual cup. Once I get into a tried and true rhythm, I may not ever have to own period panties again! But for now, I don’t want to accidentally ruin my good ones.

Is it worth the hassle?

In  my opinion, yes. And it isn’t really a hassle once you are used to it. I am lazy AF and the menstrual cup was made for lazy people. I spend so much less time thinking about my period because I can go so long in between having to empty the cup. I also feel like I have cut down SO significantly on the waste that I am putting out, that alone is worth it to me. I had a horrifying experience with a tampon once and thought I was going to die, so the fact that I no longer have to stress about the chemicals being leached into my body is amazing.

Lastly, I certainly recommend doing your research. Find what you think will work for you, give it at least 2 cycles to really get into a groove. If after that, it still isn't your jam, at least you can say that you tried.