Period sex; some of us love the idea and some of us are utterly freaked by the idea. So today I thought I would dive in to the topic. Introducing period sex to those of you who have not even thought it was a possibility, sharing some tips for trying it for the first time and introducing some ideas as to why no one should be made to feel ‘gross’ or ‘dirty’ because of their sex life or their period.
What is period sex?
Period sex is what it says on the tin. Sex during your period. It is not any more complicated than that. Of course, period sex will introduce some new factors into the game.
The main factor is blood and there are not many ways to avoid it (although there are some). So before we go any further, if you have a fear or phobia of blood, period sex might just not be for you. However, if you do not mind blood but get freaked by period blood keep reading.
Why your period can be great for your sex life…
Sex during your period should not be any shock to anyone. People with periods can spend up to 7 days a month on their period. It should hardly shock any of us that we might want to have sex during that time. It is odd to assume that for a week every month people with periods lose all interest in sex and should just accept that. Secondly, sex can be fab on your period. Your hormone changes can actually make you more likely to want to have sex than at other points on your cycle.
My view is that if someone wants to have sex on their period they should be able to and if they do not want to then there should be no pressure to do so. It is as simple as that. However, if you are not having period sex because of external pressures then that is something we can question together. A great way to start, can be spending time reflecting and asking yourself, is this my feelings and decisions or someone else’s. What is it about period sex that is freaking me out? Am I worried about my partners reaction? Is it feeling self-conscious about myself? Is it that I find periods icky?
How can you address these misconceptions or fears?
There is not enough time in this blog to dive into all of this but I hope to plant some seeds of thought that you can explore yourself.
A key and to me a really important way of understanding more about your attitudes to sex is communication. Either with yourself or your partner. If you are worried of your partners reaction, express that to them. It does not have to happen right away or as bluntly as you might think. Ask about their thoughts on periods in general to get an initial insight. Write them a letter. Send them a text. Communication can be tricky, especially when it comes to sex. It is important to remember that communication (although clear for both) can be in whatever form works best for you so do not feel like you have to set an agenda style meeting. Do what works. Mhairi and Alison dive into period sex in their latest episode of the Time of the Week Podcast- listen here.
Tips for coping with the mess of period sex….
If your fear or barrier is the mess then lets chat blood. I am not going to deny that there is a chance period sex will be slightly messy. But it probably will not be as bad as you think. Here are some tips for containing the mess if this is one of your barriers to trying it out.
Shower sex (Caution advised): Sex in the shower can be an easy way of avoiding mess. Please be careful for slips and maybe give the shower a clean after to avoid any flat mate or house member conflict.
Towel: The towel on the bed can be an easy way to try and avoid any bedsheet stains. Although the chances of it moving are pretty high it might provide you with a little reassurance. For lazy people like me who are thinking well now I have to wash a towel, just leave the towel and wash your sheets after (cold water to remove blood stains!)
Menstrual discs: So we chat a lot about menstrual cups but have you heard of the disc? The disc is similar to the cup but is placed higher up your vagina at the base of the cervix. Rather than using suction it just uses gravity and pretty much blocks the blood from moving down the vagina canal. It collects blood like the cup and is emptied and reused. A selling point of the disc is that because it sits high up in the vagina near the cervix, the vagina canal is empty. This can mean you can wear it during sex- make sure to chat this through before you try and decide if it will work for you and your partner. More info here.
Who cares attitude: The easiest way to enjoy period sex is chat, be open about your worries and the fact it could get messy and just go for it.
Lilypads disclaimer: Period sex is great, remember to still wear contraception to avoid STIs or unwanted pregnancy. Although your chance of getting pregnant is small during your period there is still a chance.
No one should be made to feel ashamed during sex on during your period and yes you guessed it during both. Too often women and people with periods are made to feel gross and our feelings are neglected. By reflecting on why we have strong feelings against period sex we can better understand the forces at play which want to control or shame our bodies. Being open, honest and clear with your sexual partners about those feelings can be great way to learn and feel more confident, whether you want period or sex or not.
Why are we scared of period blood? People with periods will experience around 450 periods in their lifetime. They will use around 11000 disposable period products (less if you try reusables). And will leak through many many pairs of underwear (As someone who has done this many times in many different locations I understand how much of a pain it can be). Period blood remains the main image of periods. But what are our attitudes to period blood?
Let’s start with Period Leaks
Period leaks are normal. We have all experienced them. We all have our ‘nightmare leak’ stories. My most memorable is leaking when travelling abroad. I had walked the length of the plane to get to the bathroom before my mum chased after me letting me know I had leaked. Looking at my trousers in the bathroom mirror felt like a scene from Carrie. Now, I know leaks are a pain and I am not even going to try to deny that. Leaks can feel embarrassing. Yes, I was super embarrassed on that plane journey. Even more recently I have felt the stress of thinking I have leaked in public. It is tricky to get out of the mindset that leaks are something we should be ashamed of and that does not make me a strong confident woman.
Our attitudes to leaks are changing however. I know for me, although I do not want to leak in public (personal choice), I would not be as horrified if it happened. Leaks are talked about more, they are depicted in the media, we even laugh at them sometimes. Our attitudes are definitely less polarised than previously, however I think period blood remains icky to many.
Is it just all blood?
To start I thought I would discuss the fact that as humans, many of us are freaked out by any bodily liquid. We are not the best at coping with blood in general so perhaps that is the root of the problem?
Although this is likely to be tied in, there is a whole other layer to the stigma surrounding period blood. For one, periods themselves are not the most openly discussed topic. Our journey to become more open minded about periods is a recent history and we still have steps to go.
It still blows my mind that period product advertisements were banned on TV and radio until 1972. However, it was not until 1985 that none other than Courtney Cox (Monica from Friends) faced the newest Tampax advertisement where she braved the word ‘PERIOD’ for the first time. The FIRST TIME.
No wonder we have an issue with period blood. Periods are only now becoming more visible and accepted within popular culture.
Advertisements for period products have famously avoided any mention or image of period blood. Using the classic ‘blue liquid’ animation instead. Thankfully, steps are being taken to stop the blue washing of period blood. Bodyform launched its campaign ‘Blood Normal’ in 2017, showing not only real blood on a pad but also lots of other references to period blood. The video ends with a call to make showing period blood more normal. Campaigns such as this that we are clearly taking steps in the right direction but there is not enough of them. Periods remain a silent topic surrounded by secrecy and misconceptions.
The rise of reusable period products
The rise of reusable period products has shown that we are becoming more comfortable with our own period blood. Menstrual cups require emptying and washing and reusable pads or underwear require washing. Now most people who try reusables will explain that they are less bloody than you might think but it still demonstrates a step towards less embarrassment surrounding reusable products.
How do we keep improving our attitudes to period blood and periods?
Education is key to this debate. To feel more comfortable around periods, we all need to be given accurate information surrounding periods no matter of your gender. We need to take away the embarrassment and we need to talk about the social side of periods not just the biological. In 10 years time I hope to be writing that period stigma has almost entirely gone. Learn more about Lilypads own education programme.
Emms Choice believes we can put sustainability in all we do, working towards better choices that are healthier for us and our environment.
As the season of gifting approaches, it’s a great time to talk about sustainable gifting. After a year that’s been full of surprises and unexpected extremes. It’s about time we look forward to the winter season. Part of this is the excitement of receiving or giving gifts.
Buying with a conscious is so important. Spending time with people we care about often involves gifts, whether you are buying for religious celebrations, winter gifts or just because!
Lockdown has certainly given us time to reflect, to think about our impact in all we do. Travel restrictions and working from home have meant changes we’re not used to. Humans all over the globe slowed down. With this came more focus on nature, walks and we witnessed freedom for wildlife.
It’s time to re-focus our energy and thoughts and ensure we make conscious decisions in ALL we do. After all, these are our lockdown lessons and moving on in our life to a more sustainable future is much needed.
What small changes could we make?
When choosing a present for someone, moving towards sustainable gifting, refusing to go conventional and switching to more eco-friendly solutions:
Plastic Sellotape – swap to Kraft tape.
How about NOT sending greeting cards and not just for Christmas but for all special occasions – gift trees instead.
Saying no to nonrecyclable wrapping paper and going for Kraft paper with jute string or a beautiful fabric gift wrap – Furoshiki style.
Make your own gift tags with upcycled materials – get the kids involved.
Supporting plastic free gift options – wherever possible.
Buying gifts with an intention and purpose – not for the sake of giving something that might be wasted.
Sustainable gifting needs to go deeper – into the product, chemicals/ingredients, ethically sourced, non-toxic and then the packaging too – is it plastic free, is it reusable, can it be repurposed?
There’s never been a better Time to make SMALL changes
There are so many choices we already make and ones we control – whether intentional or because of habit. If we look to make small changes that are beneficial for us, we also move towards a non-toxic lifestyle which is healthier for us and our beautiful planet.
Isn’t it time to make OUR choices count?
We could change our habits so we’re looking after ourselves with non-toxic ingredients, reducing both waste and the negative effects on the environment AND having a positive impact on people we love and care for. These actions will reduce our carbon footprint, help us on a sustainable living journey and the act of gifting could also inspire someone else to do the same… AMAZING!
Buying gifts that are sourced ethically, support small UK businesses and aligning our buying choices with our own values is most important. This is why Emms Choice have launched a new gift collection. We also realise it’s been a tough year for so many who are far apart and want to make it easy to send someone a thoughtful, handpicked gift… send direct to them so they get a surprise plastic free package – all while supporting many small businesses and planting trees along the way!
It’s time to do what we can, how we can, whenever we can…
Emms Choice is committed to tree planting and reducing the impact of climate change while supporting independent UK businesses. We have a Limited Edition gift collection because we wanted to support even more small businesses.
Lilypads pads have launched and we need your help!
We cannot believe that it is November already! This month we want to give you an overview of what Lilypads have been up to. But first, we are here to ask for you help.
Lilypads are a small early startup. Therefore, we are looking for lots of feedback.
So our question is can you help us do that? Our first customers are super important to help us learn and develop our pads and processes. Your feedback is invaluable.
Option 1 (Bronze medal)
Leave a review here. It will take less than 2 minutes and we will love you forever.
Option 2 (Silver medal)
Fill out this form about your experience of trying the pads. If you loved your experience you will receive 10% off your next order and if you did not we will send you a chocolate bar as an apology.
Option 3 (Gold medal)
Sign up for a chat with one of our team here to chat through your thoughts and answer some questions. It will take no more than 30 minutes, will be over the phone and completely anonymous.
Be a Lilypads social media babe
Lilypads are continuing to grow our social media presence but we need your help. We pride ourselves on our pads being for real people and we love to hear real stories from our customers. We would be so grateful if you could share your pictures of your pads arriving on social media and your thoughts or stories on our pads. Make sure to tag us @lilypads.uk and we will pic our favourite each month. The winner will receive some lovely Lilypads stickers and 10% of their next order. So get tagging!
Jealous and want to get your hands on your own pack of pads? Hate emptying the toilet rubbish bin? Hate the crinkly noise of plastic disposable pads? Do not fear our pads are now live on our website so click here to purchase your own set.
Lilypads October Happenings
October is over already, the nights and mornings are getting darker, the leaves are falling off the trees and Lilypads have been working hard. We are 2 weeks into November already and so I wanted to share with you our October Review.
What we have been up to…
Our pads have been sent and we have been loving the photos you are sharing with us. It means so much to us to see our pads out there in the world making a real difference.
Our new partners have received their pads. We are excited to announce new partnerships. We are so excited to keep working with them to ensure no one will be limited by their period.
Feedback is key to us at the moment. If you want to get 10% of your next order then please sign up for short, informal phone interview here.
We are a team who love to chat. Our Lilypads weekly Book Club is providing us with great joy. Every Wednesday, our team, including volunteers and advisors (both past and present) meet (on Zoom) for book club. Our book club is focused on social causes and is a great way for us to chat outside of work, get to know each other and spark great conversations about the social causes we each care about. This month I have been reading Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power an amazing book about intersectional feminism. Alison has been sharing her learnings from her environmental Leith community group and Tom has been making some very insightful connections between Sci-Fi fiction and current political and social trends. If you would be interested in joining a Lilypads community where you could share your thoughts and start discussions then click here.
Lilypads Time of the week Podcast News
Our ‘Time of the Week’ podcast has reached its 10th episode already! Mhairi and Alison have been loving sitting down each week to chat about the things we care about and answer some of your questions. If you have a topic you want discussed or you want to feature on our podcast then send us an email. Our latest podcast was on the subject of gender equality have a listen here.
Period products used to be limited and restrictive. Luckily for us, there are so many new options available. The product we each prefer is unique to us and should not be a source of judgement. We often also change what products we prefer as we get older. Today, I thought I would share my thoughts on trying reusable period pads for the first time.
My product journey
So first, let me fill you in on my product history. I started my period at the age of 12 (ish) and initially used disposable pads. This is pretty common for most people to start with. However, I absolutely hated pads. My periods were so heavy and wearing a pad just made me feel like I was wearing a wet nappy. Not ideal.
So I started trying tampons, the only other product I was aware of at the time. After a few failed attempts getting it in, I succeeded at using non-applicator tampons. So that was me for the next 8 years. One thing which still bugged me was I tended to use a pad on my heaviest days along with a tampon just in case I leaked, or if I knew I was not going to be able to change it.
In my third year of University, I was introduced to cups. At a time when there was so much more information about the waste caused by disposable period products, I gave the cup and shot. It provides me the same discreet internal product I like without the waste.
Enter reusable period pads…
Reusable period pads had not entered by world until I started making them for the Lilypads student project. They seemed a little unusual to me and still gave me the fear that disposable pads did. However, it was my task to try some of the designs. So I gave them a go. Surprisingly, I did not mind them. I used them as back up pads for heavy days or nights.
A huge benefit for me is I am an insanely lazy person. I tend to forget to buy products each month and so knowing I always had a reusable pad was such a stress relief. I also felt less bad when wearing it on those days you have a feeling your period might start but doesn’t. Rather than thinking I’d wasted a disposable pad I thought protected.
Reusable pad designs
The first reusable pads I tried did the job but were still petty bulky. Trying Lilypads newest pads has been another new experience. The Lilypad is super comfy and soft- it literally feels just like underwear. Also the bulkiness of other reusable pads I have tried has been taken away. I like the little liner pads, as well as the back up pads. I tend to wear them alongside tampons or cups as extra protection or on the days before or your very final spotting days.
Am I becoming a convert to reusable period pads?
One thing which has really shocked me with trying reusable pads is they have taken away my hatred of pads. They have even made me consider wearing pads by themselves on certain days. Crazy I know. I now tend to wear them alone on my lighter days and overnight, or if I just can’t be bothered inserting the cup.
Although I hated disposable pads with a passion, reusable period pads have really opened my eyes. Not only do they save so much plastic waste, they are super comfy, they save you money, they are always in your drawer and they mean you do not need to empty the bathroom bin as much!
If you want to find out more about reusable pads read our blog on answering your questions or read more about our pads here.
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