Menstrual Cramps and Sex: A Brief Overview

If the idea of having sex while on your period makes you feel uncomfortable, you’re not alone.

Most people aren’t neutral about the subject; they usually land solidly in either the “big fan” or “absolutely not” column. But what if we told you that having sex during your period can actually help relieve menstrual cramps?

Before you shut the idea down completely, hear us out – we’ve got some interesting facts we want to share.

Create Greater Intimacy During Your Period

Let’s be honest – period sex probably isn’t something you’d want to do with just anyone. There is a particular vulnerability to getting this intimate with a partner, and it may also bring up feelings of hesitancy and tension.

If you’re ready to take the next step with your partner, start by having a conversation with them to understand how they feel about having sex during your period. After all – consent is vital for both parties.

Can Sex Help Get Rid of Menstrual Cramps?

Painful menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhea, occur in up to 91% of people of reproductive age. These cramps are a result of hormones like prostaglandins working the uterus hard to shed its lining – similar to the way it contracts during labor (which is why it can feel so painful!).

For some people, severe menstrual cramps can be painful enough to keep them from going to work or going about their daily routine. With so much pain happening during your period, can sex actually help with menstrual cramps? Yes, in fact, it can!

With a few tips, you can both enjoy a satisfying sexual intimacy during your period while also possibly getting some much-needed relief from those menstrual cramps.

Tips for Having Sex During Your Period

Before we dive into the benefits of period sex – and other ways you can help relieve menstrual cramps without relying on over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen – here are a few basic pointers to keep in mind:

  • Grab a towel to protect your mattress and sheets – or try having sex in the shower to avoid cleanup entirely.
  • Make sure to remove your tampon or menstrual cup before penetrative sex.
  • Don’t have sex if you’re not in the mood! Sex should be satisfying, enjoyable, and desired by both parties.
  • Don’t forget about contraception. The rules of birth control still apply — being on your period doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant!

What Are the Benefits of Period Sex?

Let’s talk about the benefits of having period sex. Is period sex all that it's hyped up to be?

Helps Alleviate Menstrual Cramps

Painful periods are often accepted as a normal part of life, but they don’t have to be! Period sex, specifically period sex leading to orgasms, can release dopamine that helps stop painful cramps in their tracks. If you’re not convinced, try a solo sesh and see for yourself!

Menstruation Acts as Extra Lubrication

Another advantage of having sex during your period is needing less lube! If you’re someone who struggles with vaginal dryness – even when you’re turned on – period sex can act as the extra lubrication you need to keep things wet and slippery.

For added lubrication, the Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD can enhance arousal, reduce potential friction and discomfort, and help keep things wetter for longer.

Can Take Advantage of Increased Sex Drive

If you feel hornier than usual while you’re on your menstrual cycle, you’re in good company!

Some people notice their libido is through the roof during this time of the month, while others say they achieve orgasm far more easily due to increased blood flow and sensitivity – in addition to using plenty of Awaken, our soothing and enlivening arousal oil.

Helps Reduce Stress

The hormones involved with having a period can make people who are already prone to stress and anxiety feel that much more out of control. Luckily, besides helping to relieve menstrual cramps, period sex can also release hormones that may help lower your stress level.

The endorphins released during orgasm are the same ones your body uses as natural pain relievers. The rush of blood to the entire pelvic area can help improve orgasms and provide relief.

Can Shorten the Length of Your Period

In addition to helping with menstrual cramps, period sex may also help shorten your cycle, too.

According to Dr. Alyssa Dweck, OB/GYN, author of V is for Vagina, having regular orgasms while on your period can cause the uterus to contract, which can help push the blood out faster, meaning your uterine lining can shed quicker.

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

We all have sexual routines that we fall into, especially in a monogamous relationship.

If you're a missionary-in-bed-only type of sex-haver, you may want to consider breaking out of your comfort zone during this time of the month because period sex may change that!

You can try having sex in the shower or while “spooning.” It may help to start with sexual activities that don’t include penetrative sex – such as foreplay or oral sex — and use those to comfortably work up to period sex.

More Ways To Help Relieve Menstrual Cramps

As effective as having sex can be for relieving menstrual cramps, it’s not the only way to help manage them.

Treat Yourself to a Massage

Massage is an excellent form of self-care, whether you’re on your period or not.

Some research has shown that a massage session can effectively relieve discomfort associated with endometriosis – a gynecological condition known for the severe menstrual pain it can cause.

When scheduling your next appointment, ask your massage therapist if they offer menstrual massage, which focuses on the abdominal muscles and back muscles to help relieve tension and discomfort caused by periods.

You can also try to do your own menstrual massage at home using our CBD Relief Salve, which can help encourage blood flow and muscle release.

To learn more about how CBD can help, check out our article on the science of cannabinoids & your period as well as our piece on cannabinoids for endometriosis.

Drink Plenty of Water

Period symptoms often include bloating, and some people may even notice that their skinny jeans feel a little more skinny during this time of the month.

But when you’re feeling bloated, the last thing you probably want to do is drink more water, right?

While we understand the logic, drinking more water can actually help reduce bloating. Less bloating can mean less pain, so make sure you’re keeping up with your water intake.

You may even want to consider drinking warm water, as it can help increase the blood flow in your body to help you (and your muscles) relax.

Lay Off the Caffeine

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends staying away from caffeine to help reduce symptoms of PMS, which can also lead to menstrual cramps.

Hit It With Heat

Heat is another great way to counteract period discomfort. Period cramps involve the muscles in and around the uterus, so you can help those muscles relax like you would any other sore muscle.

Try taking a warm bath (don’t forget our Relief Bath Salts) or using a heating pad to help soothe soreness.

Get Your Body Moving

Okay, we know what you’re going to say when we suggest this, but hear us out. Experts suggest that you can relieve menstrual cramps through exercise. Although no one wants to lace up their gym shoes and go for a run (or even a brisk walk) while in pain, exercise can release those pain-reducing hormones called endorphins that we mentioned earlier!


Acupressure is the needle-free cousin of acupuncture, and you can do it anywhere, any time. Some Eastern medicine practitioners believe the body has more than 2,000 acupressure points.

One of the points, known as “Spleen 8,” has been directly linked to relieving menstrual cramps.

To find Spleen 8, follow the tibia (the larger inner leg bone) down about six inches from the knee. When you find a tender spot, gently massage and put pressure on it for 60 to 90 seconds.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is beneficial for everyone, and can be extra beneficial when your body is working extra hard. Try to either sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees, or roll into the fetal position to get those much-needed zzzs.

Sleeping on your stomach tends to worsen lower back pain — if you absolutely can’t sleep in any other position, stick a pillow between your lower abdomen and hip bones to help relieve some pressure.


Period cramps are rough, but making time for a little rendezvous during your cycle may help kick those cramps to the curb.

Like everything in life, enjoying sex during your period takes a whole lot of communication and planning.

If you and your partner want to ease your way into it, you can always start with a little dry humping, spooning, or even oral sex — simply leave your tampon in while your partner gives your clitoris a little attention.

When you’re both ready for a little period sex and your partner is cool with earning their “red wings,” go for it! Aside from having a good time and a new experience to share together, you can get some much-deserved relief, too.

All this said, if your menstrual pain is severe, it’s worth it to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to make sure there aren’t any undiagnosed health conditions behind the pain.

Good luck, and enjoy!


The prevalence and risk factors of dysmenorrhea | PubMed

The effects of massage therapy on dysmenorrhea caused by endometriosis | PubMed

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) | ACOG

6 Ways Drinking Hot Water Helps Your Body | FEP Blue

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