Sex is great for many things. Not only is it fun and pleasurable — it can also act as exercise, boost your immune system, and improve your sleep. So it’s no wonder why people are curious about the other positive effects of sex. For instance, can having sex on your period make your period end faster?
To find out if period sex can really make your menstrual flow end faster, we reached out to healthcare providers to discuss the connection between periods and sex. We specifically discussed the benefits of period sex and other factors that might make your period end faster (or at least make your period more tolerable).
Does having sex on your period make it end faster?
Unfortunately, having sex on your period doesn’t make it end faster, according to Dr. Ashley Margeson, a board-certified naturopathic doctor.
“If only having sex on your period could make it end earlier!” Dr. Margeson tells O.school. She explains that the length of one’s period is determined by how thick the uterine lining becomes during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. This phase occurs right after ovulation and involves preparing the uterus for a fertilized egg. “This is before your period starts,” adds Dr. Margeson. “Once your period begins, that uterine lining has to fully slough off before the bleeding will end.”
What other effects can period sex have on the body?
While period sex doesn’t expedite your period cycle, it can have other benefits.
Dr. Margeson explains that period sex can help menstrual pain like cramps. “Period sex can increase endorphin release, which reduces something known as prostaglandins,” says Dr. Margeson. These prostaglandins have been linked to more pain during your period.” Prostaglandins are specifically tissue-based lipid compounds that make the uterus muscles contract during menstruation. So, fewer prostaglandins equals less cramp-related pains.
Gynecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck agrees. She tells O.school, “Menstrual cramps often improve with sex [and] many experience heightened enjoyment due to organs being more engorged with blood.” She adds that period sex can also make it less likely for one to get pregnant, which can be a relief to many. Note that you can still contract STDs on your period, however. In fact, OB/GYN Dr. Mary Jane Minkin tells O.school, “STDs are actually more readily transmitted with a period going on.” That is why you should always use protection like condoms.
What can cause one’s period to end faster?
Despite the fact that period sex can’t make your period end faster, Dr. Dweck explains there are other factors that can make your period end earlier than what might be normal for you:
- Oral contraception
- Hormonal IUDs
- Lysteda (a medication used for heavy menses)
Exercise and movement can speed up your period because such physical activity can help more uterine blood exit the body. This phenomenon varies from person to person, since everyone’s body is different. If you’re looking for a new exercise plan, make sure to consult a physician to find the right one for you.
If you’re specifically looking for herbs to help lessen your menstrual flow and the pain that accompanies it, Dr. Margeson recommends ginger and fennel. “These herbs have been shown to reduce your menstrual flow in a number of different research papers [see the two previous links],” she says. “To top it off, they may also help reduce bloating and digestive changes that tend to come with the start of your period. Ginger capsules can also help stave off any nausea that may accompany period pain." Even though these herbs may not help your period end faster, they can provide you with necessary, natural relief.
Ultimately, while sex is great for many things, it will not make your period end faster. It can, however, make it more bearable, which is definitely a silver lining. Note that if you are dealing with irregular periods, consult a healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms.