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Pleasure

Masturbating during your period

by Clár McWeeney, Former Content Manager at Clue
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Masturbation—touching yourself for sexual pleasure—is normal, enjoyable behavior and can lead to orgasm.

Masturbation often leads to one’s first orgasm, so it can be a great way to understand your body and explore your sexual desires. Masturbation can also help you become comfortable in communicating your sexual needs to your partner.

Unfortunately, taboos about masturbation can condition people to feel shameful about doing it. To set the record straight, masturbation is completely safe and normal (as long as you’re not harming yourself or others in the process). There is no scientific evidence to support the belief that sexual behavior must be avoided while menstruating. There is nothing “dirty” about menstrual blood, nor is it any more dangerous than blood emerging from any other body part.

Contrary to taboo perceptions, there are actually some upsides to masturbating during your period. Some women even notice increased arousal during their period (1, 2) so it can actually be a good time to engage in sexual activity. Research has shown that the feel good chemicals known as endorphins which are released when you orgasm may help relieve stress, menstrual pain, and cramps (3, 4).

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Every one of us is unique. Not everyone wants to engage in sexual activity during menstruation—or ever—and that’s also totally fine. But if you do want to masturbate during your period, here are some tips:

Lubricant helps

During masturbation, touching, pressing, or massaging your genitals with your fingers, or with an object such as a sex toy, can be sexually satisfying and can lead to orgasm.

Arousal fluid and personal lubricant (also known as ‘lube’) can help make masturbation a smoother and more pleasurable experience. So can menstrual blood, by acting as a lubricant. But before you start, be sure to wash your hands and/or the objects, to prevent possible infections.

Masturbation when using a tampon or menstrual cup

You can masturbate even if you’re using a tampon or menstrual cup. Using lubrication can be helpful if you’re experiencing skin chafing or irritation, as the tampon or menstrual cup might be absorbing the fluids that smooth the process along.

Target the best spots for stimulation

Try directly stimulating the clitoris, nipples, and/or the other parts of the vulva. The clitoris is the primary source of female sexual pleasure and is located above the vaginal canal and urethra (5–7).

Anal stimulation can feel good too, but it’s important to note that the bacteria in your rectum can cause vaginal or urethral infections. So if you want something that’s been in your butt to go into your vagina, wash it first or put a condom on it. Washing and using condoms on sex toys are good practices to prevent infections (and STIs if you’re sharing toys with an untested or new sexual partner) (8).

If you’re not using a tampon or menstrual cup, you can try including stimulation to the vagina (remember: the vulva is all of your external genital organs, while the vagina is specifically the canal between the uterus and vulva). Find out what feels good for you. If you’re inserting fingers into your vagina, you can keep tissues nearby in case you need to clean up any menstrual blood.

Preventing stains

If you’re bleeding heavily and worried about stains, you can try putting a towel beneath you or masturbate while in the shower. Showerhead or water stream stimulation can also be sexually satisfying, but don’t ever spray water into the vagina.

Washing the inside of the vagina with water or soap — also known as “douching”—shouldn’t be practiced. Douching can disrupt vaginal pH levels and healthy bacteria populations, which can lead to infections (9–11). The vagina automatically cleans itself by having its resident population of healthy bacteria and creating discharge.

Consider any risks

If you’re masturbating with a partner (mutual masturbation) and touching each others’ genitals, there’s a possible risk of pregnancy. This can happen if ejaculate enters the vagina and you’re in your fertile window. However, research has found the probability of being in your fertile window on the first couple of days of your period is close to zero, and may rise to about 2% on day four (12). There is also a possibility of contracting an STI, especially if you are with an untested or new sexual partner. Using a condom reduces the risk of pregnancy and STIs.

Conclusion

Masturbation is normal, enjoyable behavior that can lead to orgasm. You should feel pleased to please yourself at any time of your cycle—even or especially during your period.

Do you notice increased arousal during your period? Track your sex drive and bleeding in Clue.

Article was originally published Jan. 30, 2018.

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