Have you ever wondered if penetrative sex or non-penetrative sex can start your period earlier than normal? Well, it can, but only if you’re already close to your expected menstruation start date and have an orgasm.
During orgasm, the pelvic muscles contract rhythmically. This can make the uterus slough off the lining more quickly than it normally would, resulting in your period starting sooner than usual.
Having sex often changes certain hormone-based characteristics of your menstrual cycle. For example, it may make your cycle more regular and predictable if you have it regularly. It can also reduce stress, which can affect your period. In addition, women who have sex with their partners have shorter menstrual cycles than those who don’t, and they tend to be more ovulatory — which means that they can become pregnant more easily (1).
Another reason your period might come earlier is due to sex causing you to be aroused. Even if you don’t have an orgasm, the arousal can trigger certain hormones that can speed up your menstrual cycle by a day or two (2).
This is because these hormones encourage ovulation and uterine contractions that cause the lining of your womb to break down and shed (3). If you don’t have a pregnancy, these hormones are the same ones that egg on your period to start in order to prepare your body for possible implantation (4). While this might explain why some people say that sex makes their periods come early, there’s not much scientific evidence to support the claim. And it’s important to remember that other things can also cause your period to come early, including using hormonal birth control and getting a hernia or an infection (5).
Most women experience a variety of physical sensations before and during their periods, including bloating, breast tenderness, cramping, fatigue, mood swings, and sexual arousal. These hormonal fluctuations are not necessarily a bad thing, but they can be uncomfortable and even painful. Luckily, some methods can help decrease the severity of menstrual cramps and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms. For instance, prescription-strength ibuprofen or other types of NSAIDs can reduce severe menstrual pain. Also, a warm shower or exercise can ease cramps by loosening the uterine muscles. Besides medication, practicing yoga and breathing exercises can also reduce cramping by decreasing stress levels and improving flexibility.
Physical sexual stimulation can include anything that makes you feel sexually arousal, whether it’s touching yourself in sensitive areas or masturbating alone or with someone else. It can also include using sex toys, such as vibrators, dildos, and anal toys, as well as kissing, touching, and sending photos or videos. It’s important to note that it’s never wrong or “dirty” to self-stimulate during your period, as long as you’re doing it safely and consensually.
During sex and masturbation, chemicals such as oxytocin, adrenaline, and dopamine are released. These can increase the likelihood of a period coming early, but they’re not the only factors that influence the timing of your period. That’s why it’s so important to use condoms and other forms of birth control to avoid pregnancy, unintended pregnancies, or STIs.
A day or two before your period starts, oestrogen and testosterone levels plummet to their lowest point of the cycle. These are the hormones that spark your libido, so it makes sense that you’d feel less horny at this time of the month.
However, when oestrogen levels start to rise again at the midpoint of your cycle (again this varies between women), it can boost sex drive and orgasms, even if you’re not thinking about baby-making. A surge of this hormone also dilates the cervix, making it more sensitive and lubricated by your own menstrual blood, which can increase sensation.
If you want to try sex during your period, use plenty of lube. And be sure both you and your partner are comfortable with the idea. Research shows that women who have sex during their periods feel better and report more orgasms than those who don’t.
Having penile-vaginal sex in the days just before your period can reduce your chances of pregnancy, but it’s important to always use protection, because sperm from unprotected sex can live in your reproductive system for up to five days. Plus, if you have an orgasm during your period, it can help relieve cramps. A study found that women who had orgasms during their period reported less pain than those who didn’t.
If you’re thinking about getting a little frisky in the bedroom but are worried that doing so might jump-start your period, know this: it’s very unlikely. Your menstrual cycle is a complex process, and it’s designed to prepare your body for pregnancy each month. Unless there’s fertilization, your body will typically shed the uterine lining once a month, and this may cause some light bleeding.
But as Dr. Leah Millheiser explains to INSIDER, “The act of having an orgasm can actually kind of force some of that blood out because it’s causing uterine contractions.” But even then, this will only cause your period to start if you’re already within the window where it would usually begin.
However, it’s important to note that if you do have heavy bleeding after sex and it’s not your period, this could be a sign of an infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea. Bleeding in the vagina, pain in your pelvic area, and fever are all signs of these types of infections. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to see your gynecologist or an OB/GYN as soon as possible. Then, your doctor can determine the source of your bleeding and prescribe a course of treatment accordingly. The good news? This type of bleeding is rare and generally won’t affect your menstrual cycle.