The answer is yes. If you are comfortable doing so, having sex while menstruating is no different from having sex at any other time of the month.
Some women are put-off having sex on their period because it can be messy, particularly if you are experiencing a heavy bleed. Using a condom can make things less messy, and are essential if you are not using another form of contraception.
You might want to try putting down towels to soak up any blood and avoid staining your bedsheets. You can also try having sex in the bath or shower to avoid the clean-up altogether. If you are experiencing only a light bleed, having sex on your period can be very easy and involve little or no clean up.
If you are experiencing discomfort on your period, you may not feel like having sex at all. On the other hand, some women report that sex helps alleviate their period cramps. The endorphins and contractions involved in orgasm are believed to relax cramps and relieve the pain. Muscle contractions during orgasm may even result in shorter periods, as they encourage the expulsion of the uterus lining.
You may also experience a heightened sense of libido before and during your period due to the rush of oestrogen and testosterone your body receives. Some women report that sex during their period is very enjoyable.
Your period marks the break-down of your uterus lining and the expulsion of an unfertilised egg from your body. However, you can still get pregnant from having sex on your period.
Although you are less fertile at this time of the month, sperm can live inside the vagina for up to 7 days. The ovulation period can fluctuate month by month, so there is a risk that an egg will be fertilized if it meets a sperm.
It is therefore imperative that you use some form of contraception. In fact, STIs are passed on much more easily if a woman is on her period as the cervix is open wider than usual, so you may choose to use a condom.
If you are taking the combined contraceptive pill you can have unprotected sex at any point, including on your period. The combined pill prevents ovulation in the first place, so there is no egg to be fertilised. Bleeding between courses of the pill is a simulation of a normal period. However, if you miss a day of the pill after having sex, you should seek emergency contraception to ensure you do not get pregnant.
Remember, the pill does not prevent the spread of STIs. Unless you and your partner have recently tested negative for STIs, it is best to use a condom during sex.
More advice for having sex on your period
Being honest and open with your partner about how you both feel will make the experience much more enjoyable and help you relax. If you are hesitant about having sex on your period, it is best to discuss it first.
If you have a tampon in, remember to remove it before having sex.
If you find your normal sex positions uncomfortable at this time of the month, try something different. Some women report that lying on their side with their partner behind them is more comfortable.
Remember to think about whether you need to use protection!