Some people prefer to say no to sex when they are having period pains.

You would probably masturbate or have partner sex when you have a bad period.

Feel-good hormones released during sexy time have pain-relieving effects that can help with cramps and other period pain, like headaches.

Still not convinced? We’ve got the best sex positions for menstrual cramps and other pesky period probs that’ll make you say yes, yes, oh yessss to sex even when you’re having the period from hell.

rider on top penetrative sex position
Illustrations by Alyssa Kiefer

If you are having bad period pains, these positions can help you get sexual healing.

Penetrative sex

“Consider being on top of your partner — in this position you can control the depth of penetration and prevent further discomfort in your pelvis,” says Dr. Kate White, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine and author of “Your Sexual Health: A Guide to Understanding, Loving, and Caring for Your Body.”

This position works for vaginal and anal penetration with a penis or strap-on. Just climb on, lower yourself onto their penis or toy, and use your hands to control the depth while your hips dictate the tempo.


Masturbation is the way to go if you need a quick release. The key to enjoying self-esteem when you feel achy is to avoid the abdominal and pelvis areas.

You can either choose to be in the fetal position on your side or on your back with a pillow under your knees.

Both provide easy access to the clitoris and all the usual hot spots so you can stroke to your heart’s content or use a toy for external or internal pleasure.

Hand sex

Being on your back or side can help relieve the pressure on your Pelvis.

Here’s how to receive pleasure in both positions:

  • On your back: Have your partner kneel at your side so each of you is able to reach your genitals with ease.
  • On your side: Lie facing each other for manual genital play or spoon with the pleasure giver behind you for anal stimulation.

Oral sex

Sideways 69 is the ideal position for giving or getting oral because it lets you be in the position that most of us curl into when having bad period cramps anyway.

If you are giving oral, place a pillow between your knees or lift your top leg.

A heavy flow can make for a slippery good time, but if you or your partner is squeamish about the blood, using a menstrual disc and opting for positions with gravity on their side can help.

Penetrative sex

White says you may prefer to be on your back. If you like the feel of deeper penetration, try pulling your legs back toward your chest.

To improve the position for anal—and give gravity a helping hand—prop your bottom up with a pillow or two. Don’t forget to use lots of lube!


If you are not wearing a disc, cup, or tampon, lying on your back with your 2 or 3 pillows under your knees can help keep blood out of the bed.

Use your hands or a toy for clit stim, or take it inside for some V play. Just be sure to take out your cup or tampon to avoid pushing it too high up in there!

If it so moves you, feel free to reach around back for some solo butt play.

Hand sex

A face-down, butt-up position allows you to be pleasured while putting gravity on your side.

If you are doing pleasuring or simultaneous hand sex, have your partner sit or lie back and then assume this position over top of their genitals, facing toward or away from them.

Oral sex

Oral sex on a heavy flow day is doable. Lying on your back with your knees pulled up can help reduce leakage while receiving oral or rimming.

A dental dam plays double duty during oral sex on your period to reduce STI risk while also providing a barrier between mouth and blood.

Comfy’s the name of the game when bloating is in full swing.

Penetrative sex

White says to lie on your side with your partner curled around you, there is less pressure on your abdomen.

It is easy and comfortable to have vaginal or anal penetration with a penis or strap-on on a bloated belly.


Any comfortable position goes for a rendezvous for one, but you might find that lying on your side feels best for your bloated belly.

Place a pillow between your knees to keep your legs apart so that you can reach your clit and vagina.

Hand sex

It is best to assume that you are on your side when giving or receiving hand sex with a bloated tummy.

You can both lie on your sides facing each other for manual genital stim, or spoon for anal fingering.

Oral sex

Lying on your side is the best way to keep your tummy from getting bloated.

If you want to enjoy it both ways, raise your upper leg to receive or assume the sideways 69 position.

If you are feeling nauseated, you should not move around, but there are other ways to get around.

Penetrative sex

White recommends the lotus position while dealing with period nausea.

White says that the rocking motions in this position may upset your tummy.

To do it, have your partner sit crossed-legged and sit in their lap with your legs around them. Adjust as needed for vaginal or anal entry with a penis, strap-on, or double-ended dildo.


If you are going to masturbate while nauseated, keep your upper body elevated to avoid smooshing or crinkling your belly, which could make it worse.

You can reach your pleasure parts from a relaxed position on your bed or couch.

Hand sex

Sitting side-by-side with your partner while leaning against a pillow lets you get handsy without being too active. Place one leg over theirs to make it easier to get to their genitals.

If you are giving the hand action, have them kneel over your legs, facing you or away, so their genitals are easy to reach.

Oral sex

You can give oral if you assume a propped lying position and let them go down on you or bring their genitals or anus to you for a good licking.

If your partner has a penis or is wearing a strap-on, they can stand over you or next to you for a beej. If they have a vulva, they can do the same or get on all fours over your lap, maneuvering their backside towards your mouth for oral or rimming.

If your chest hurts, a hands-off approach above the waist is the best option, but you can show all your other bits love with these positions.

Penetrative sex

If your breasts need support, consider being on your stomach with your bum in the air so you can rest your breasts on or over a pillow,” says White.

Your partner can access your vas or butt if you arch your back. Keeping your arms close to the sides of your breasts will keep the bounce and jiggle to a minimum.


Soft pillows are your best friend for a solo sesh.

If you like to lie on your back, you can put a pillow under each arm to support your ta-tas.

If you want to masturbate face down, a soft cushion under your breasts will make you feel better.

Hand sex

It is ta-tas on top for the win when giving or receiving hand sex because you can adjust as needed for your comfort.

“Have your partner lie down. Each party’s genitals are within easy reach if they get on all fours over their lap.”

Oral sex

A good face sitting will allow your hands to be free to support your breasts.

If you are in a giving mood, just swap positions and lie back or propped up against a couple of pillows, and they will lower their parts over your face.

If you’re not feeling it and would rather skip sex, that’s fine. You do you, Boo. But if you’ve got a hankering for hanky panky, there’s no need to let your period cramps keep you from satisfying your craving.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Take Ibuprofen 30 minutes before sex to relieve pains like headaches and low backache.
  • To camouflage blood, lay a dark towel or blanket on your sheets.
  • Consider taking a hot bath or shower before sex or even during. The heat increases blood flow to all the right places, like your genitals to get you primed for lovin’ and your pelvis to relieve cramping. It also helps relax muscles.
  • Don’t forget about all the non-penetrative sex you can have! Mutual masturbation or even a hot, touchy-feely, makeout or hump fest can get you to O-town and help with cramps.
  • Say yes to solo pleasure on your period, which can be just as beneficial for your mood and cramps as partnered play, without having to worry about how a partner feels about blood.
  • If you’d rather not free bleed while you play, you can put in a menstrual cup or tampon for outercourse or use a menstrual disc, which is penetration-friendly.
  • Try not to let the worry of a mess interfere with your pleasure. It’s just blood and it can be cleaned up, NBD.

There are a lot of myths around period sex, so let’s bust ’em so you get can down to business already:

  • Period blood is not dirty. It is just another bodily fluid. It is made up of more vaginal and uterine cells than blood.
  • Sex on your period isn’t bad for you. It can actually help soothe cramps and other pain thanks to relaxation-inducing, pain-relieving hormones.
  • Think people don’t want to have sex while PMS-ing? Think again! A lot of people actually report feeling horny before their period.
  • You can get pregnant on your period, so use birth control if that’s a concern.
  • Period blood can transmit STIs just like any other infected bodily fluid, so use barrier protection if that’s a concern.

“They don’t have to interfere with your sex life. A little extra preparation, housekeeping and the right position can make a difference.”

“A Canadian writer and author named Arida Santos- Longhurst has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. She can be found frolicking around her beach town with her husband and dogs in tow or trying to master the stand-up paddle board when she isn’t holed up in her writing shed.”