Sex on your period: Fact or Fiction?

Image of "period" with a bright red period at the end of it.

Sex during periods. As a sexual health educator, I am asked about this subject a lot.

“Do other couples do it?” “How does it work?” “Will I get pregnant?”

There are some myths and half-truths floating around about sex during a period, so we are going to try to set the record straight…

Can you have sex on your period?

Yes. But like all issues surrounding sex, communication is critical. This means checking in with your partner. Depending on whether you’re the one menstruating or not, questions might include: “How do you feel during your period? Would you ever want to have sex while you’re menstruating?” or “I’m on my period right now. How do you feel about having sex while I’m menstruating?” For many folks who menstruate, sexual desire changes during different times of the menstrual cycle. For example, a person might experience increased desire during menstruation or ovulation – it all depends on the person. Be sure to talk about desires and feelings to ensure everyone is on the same page from the beginning.

Is having sex on your period bad for you?

No. Having sex while one or more partners are on their period is not harmful. In fact, there are a few ways in which it might be helpful! First, the contractions of orgasm might help relieve menstrual cramping. Second, sex might feel particularly great because the vagina can become super lubricated from menstrual secretions. If you or your partner worry about a mess from the blood, consider spreading out a towel or having sex in the shower to minimize post-coital cleaning.

Can you get pregnant if you have sex while on your period?

The simple answer is yes.

We get a lot of questions about specific situations on this.

If a person whose body ejaculates sperm has sex with a person whose body houses ovaries, then yes, it’s possible to get pregnant at any time during a menstrual cycle. To put that in writing again – if you have unprotected vaginal/penile intercourse during a menstrual period, it IS possible to get pregnant. Pregnancy can happen if you have sex before, during or after your period.

You are most likely to get pregnant if you have penile/vaginal sex around the time of ovulation. Ovulation is when an egg is released from the ovary. Ovulation usually occurs about 14 days after the start of someone’s last period.

Why do some people think that having sex on their period means they can’t get pregnant?

If someone has a perfectly regular, 28 day menstrual cycle where they ovulate every month on day 14 and their monthly bleed begins at day 23 and lasts for 5 days – having penile/vaginal sex during day 23-28, when they are menstruating, has a very small chance of growing a human. However…

  • MOST PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE PERFECTLY REGULAR 28 DAY CYCLES. Many people who menstruate have unpredictable periods, or at least slight variations each month, meaning it can be difficult to know when they ovulate. In fact, folks who use the rhythm method / Fertility Awareness where they track their cycles and only have penile/vaginal sex during days they believe are not a risk for pregnancy have a 25% chance of creating a human. That’s a 1 in 4 chance. There are much more reliable ways to avoid pregnancy.
  • Some people may experience spotting at the time of ovulation, which could be confused with a period. So if that person thinks that when they bleed is a safe time to not get pregnant but happens to be someone who spots during their ovulation that particular month (or regularly), they have a very high chance of getting pregnant from penile/vaginal intercourse.
  • Sperm can live in a vagina for up to five days. Yup, five days. If an egg comes around at any point during that time, pregnancy could happen.
  • Some people have sex more regularly than every five days. Each instance of penile/vaginal intercourse extends the timeframe for live sperm to exist in the vagina.
  • Many people who have sperm release a small amount of semen prior to ejaculation. While this helps with lubrication and comfort, it makes “pulling out” a less effective method of contraception since sperm can be present prior to ejacuation. Even foreplay with someone with ovaries has a chance of conception due to this pre-ejaculate fluid.

So how do I make it less likely to have a baby?

I already had sex on my period. Now I’m worried I might be pregnant.

If you already had penile-vaginal sex without contraception and you don’t want to get pregnant, consider Emergency Contraception (such as ella, Plan B One Step or a Copper IUD). Many of these are available at most pharmacies over the counter and are pretty darn effective for up to 5 days after unprotected sex. There are more reliable methods of contraception than Emergency Contraception. We encourage you to speak with your pharmacist or medical provider about contraception options that might work for you.

Are other people having sex on their period?

Based on the number of folks who are reading this blog article – yup. But really, it doesn’t matter if other folks are doing it or not. Having sex during menstruation is a personal decision, so we again emphasize that you should talk with your partner to see how they feel. If nothing else it can be another opportunity to get to know your partner and their likes, dislikes and comfort level.

This article has been edited for clarity and updated formatting since it’s original publishing date.

Most recent edit: November 5, 2019

474 thoughts on “Sex on your period: Fact or Fiction?

  1. Ahuja December 4, 2015 / 4:10 am

    I and my girlfriend had protected sex(condom) on the 1st day of her cycle i.e 4th Nov. She is expecting her periods on 2nd of Dec (as per 28 days) . But it’s already late by 3 days. When can she expect her periods. Help.


    • HealthyHeels December 9, 2015 / 2:33 pm

      Sorry it took us so long to respond, but hopefully by now, she’s had her period and you’re feeling relieved. But to ensure you don’t have this stress in the future, consider using a more reliable form of contraception in addition to condoms. There are lots of options, and most of them are well worth it for the reassurance that pregnancy is less likely. Condoms are pretty reliable, but there’s also a high chance for user error – such as not putting them on soon enough, not leaving room at the tip, using an expired condom, and more. So keep using those condoms, but think about a backup method to help keep your mind at ease if her period is late again. Good luck!


  2. jeey December 4, 2015 / 12:35 am

    I always have unprotected sex wit my boyfriend….n I don’t get pregnant what may be the problem??¿?¿m sooo worried


    • HealthyHeels December 9, 2015 / 2:29 pm

      There are many factors that impact fertility. If you want to get pregnant and are having trouble, you should visit your medical provider to talk more about ways to increase your chances of becoming a parent. Good luck!


  3. Concerned person December 3, 2015 / 6:58 pm

    If you become pregnant during your period will your period stop or continue as normal for that cycle?


    • HealthyHeels December 9, 2015 / 2:28 pm

      Great question. Let’s start with how a menstrual / reproductive cycle works. The uterus’ lining builds up to create a safe place for an egg to be fertilized, implant into the uterine wall and grow. When an egg isn’t fertilized or doesn’t implant, pregnancy doesn’t occur resulting that uterine lining leaving the body in the form of a monthly period. After that period, the lining usually needs a bit of time to build up again before it is in a place to support fertilization of an egg, implantation and growth again. So, one could assume that in most cases where a pregnancy happens due to unprotected sex while one partner is on their period, fertilization and implantation happens after the bleeding has ended. Meaning that after sex (at least from a pregnancy perspective) the period has a good chance of continuing as normal and pregnancy could still occur. That being said, women do report shorter periods after having intercourse (protected or unprotected). The theory is that any muscle spasms that occur during intercourse in the uterus, cervix or vagina (via orgasm or otherwise) can help expel blood and uterine tissue more quickly, resulting in a shorter period. In other words, it seems like it’s the intercourse that has the most impact on length of a period, not a pregnancy. So you won’t be able to tell if someone is pregnant based on whether their period stops or keeps flowing after having sex.


  4. Courtney November 26, 2015 / 9:05 pm

    So I have a question me and my bf have had unprotected sex during my period and it automatically stopted right after is it normal and is there a possibility that I became pregnant?


    • HealthyHeels November 30, 2015 / 4:34 pm

      Hi Courtney. Good question – periods are strange and unpredictable, just like ovulation and cycles. That’s why if you’re a person with ovaries and you have sex with a person with a penis, you are always at risk of becoming pregnant. If that’s your situation and you want to avoid pregnancy, consider contraceptive options by visiting your medical provider or pharmacist.


  5. Phaisha November 23, 2015 / 5:29 pm

    I use to have my period towards the end of the months but this month is different because I had sex with my husband on 09/11 and I saw my period on 11/11…..Hope there is no chances of getting pregnant


    • HealthyHeels November 30, 2015 / 4:32 pm

      There are lots of reasons why your period may skip or come late – stress, nutrition, and yes, pregnancy being a few of those reasons. If you are a person with ovaries and you are or might have sex with a person with a penis, you might want to consider contraception to be more certain that pregnancy won’t occur. Talk with a medical provider for more details. Good luck!


  6. may November 22, 2015 / 11:13 am

    I had sex with my boyfriend and i had sex the fourth day of my period . We had sex 3 times in that day and he cam inside me 2 times maybe 3.. my period is almost done now. But could i end up pregnant ??
    I started my period on a Monday and had sex on a thursday and today is Sunday and my period is stopping .

    Idk how to use this website i cant see my post .


    • HealthyHeels November 30, 2015 / 4:30 pm

      Sorry for the confusion – we have it set to approve posts, but obviously don’t get to the computer 24/7 (especially around holidays!). We hope our response to your original post was helpful.


  7. may November 22, 2015 / 11:11 am

    I had sex with my boyfriend and i had sex the fourth day of my period . We had sex 3 times in that day and he cam inside me 2 times maybe 3.. my period is almost done now. But could i end up pregnant ??
    I started my period on a Monday and had sex on a thursday and today is Sunday and my period is stopping .


    • HealthyHeels November 30, 2015 / 4:29 pm

      Hi May. Thanks for your question. If you’ve noticed any themes in our responses, it’s that the answer is almost always, “Yes, you could be pregnant.” The same is true for you. Remember that everyone’s cycle is different and that sperm can survive for up to 5 days – so pretty much anytime someone with ovaries has sex with someone with a penis without using contraception, there is a chance of pregnancy.


  8. akku November 19, 2015 / 9:43 am

    hello mam, plz clear my doubt, i had sex with my husband at night and i suddenly got my periods after sex.. and i am undergoing a 2 day miss of periods.. am i pregnant?


    • HealthyHeels November 30, 2015 / 4:27 pm

      Hi Akku, it’s possible, yes. Take a pregnancy test to find out for sure.


  9. Grace November 13, 2015 / 7:33 am

    helIo,ihad sex on d last day of my period in which I normally av lil or no flow at all…but he made use of a condom but after having sex blood started coming
    out for a while but later stopped….can I get pregnant with dat?


    • HealthyHeels November 13, 2015 / 2:15 pm

      Using a condom is a great way to minimize your risk of getting pregnant. There is still a chance of pregnancy with typical condom use (for example if the condom broke or wasn’t used or put on correctly – and even when folks report they did everything “right,” sometimes pregnancy still happens with condoms). We wouldn’t recommend using your blood flow as a way to gauge likelihood of pregnancy. You can always take Plan B to provide another way to minimize your likelihood of pregnancy (if you had sex within the last 5 days), or a pregnancy test to determine if you are actually pregnant (if it’s been over 2 weeks…ish). If you don’t want to have this kind anxiety in the future, consider a visit to a medical provider for a more reliable form of birth control.


  10. Meg November 11, 2015 / 5:09 am

    I had my period on Oct 3rd, it was heavy or 3 days then I spotted for 2, I’ve been with my boyfriend for 9 months now we haven’t used any protection In probably 8 months!!! We haven’t been getting alone for a few weeks on Friday Oct 16th I took the plan b pill.. Had no symptoms at all. On Oct 22nd I started bleeding for 15 days straight till Nov 4th, we had intercourse Oct 26th, and 28th, And Again on Nov 4th, and 6th!! When we had intercourse on Nov 4th he ejaculated Twice unprotected and I stopped bleeding!! A few different thing’s say I was ovulating Nov 4th, 5th and the 6th, I’m wondering if it was the pill that made me bleed 15 days straight or was it just a long period, I have 3 kids already and I do not take any birth control so I’m guessing there is a chance I could be right now, right?


    • HealthyHeels November 11, 2015 / 2:12 pm

      Wow, Meg! We need to get our calendar to follow this, which clearly tells us that this issue is pretty specific to your situation. We don’t offer individual medical information on our blog and encourage you to call or visit your medical provider to ask your question or get a pregnancy test (because in a nutshell, yes you might be pregnant).


      • Meg November 11, 2015 / 9:36 pm

        Could you explain to my why the Ovia app tells me that I’m fertile on the 4th 5th and the 6th, then again on 28th 29th and the 30th, I thought you were fertile 6 days straight how 3 days the beginning of the month then 3 days at the end of the month?!!


  11. Sam November 7, 2015 / 5:36 am

    Hi there, I’m a little concern… My husband and I are trying for a baby and ha ve been having sex a lot. I came on my period on 29/10/15 and on the 1/11/15 we had sex. My period after having the implant taken out was extremly heavy, but after having sex it all stop straight away.

    Now, when we had sex my husband’s sperm bank went inside me and no sign of any mess. Since that day (1/11/15) my husband’s sperm bank doesn’t seem to want to stay in me. Could this mean I could be pregnant and that’s why I’m rejecting his mess or could it mean something else….?


    • HealthyHeels November 9, 2015 / 4:49 pm

      Hi Sam – it sounds like an exciting time for y’all! We would not suggest basing your perception of whether or not you’re pregnant on his ejaculate staying inside or coming out of your body. A pregnancy test and/or a visit or call to your medical provider to talk about preconception planning (like folic acid supplements!) are better options. Good luck!


  12. Ayesha Khatoon November 4, 2015 / 8:14 am

    There is any chances of getting pregnant if do sex during periods, on 3rd day of period i do sex but bleesing is contineu after doing sex for 2 days?
    Can i know pregnancy result using pregnency kit after 12 days of doing sex.


    • HealthyHeels November 5, 2015 / 11:24 am

      Hi Ayesha, Good questions. You could be pregnant regardless of whether your bleeding continues in the days after sex. Remember that women’s ovulation patterns vary, so if you ovulate within 5 days of penile-vaginal sex, sperm could still be present. As for pregnancy tests, every brand varies. Most providers recommend you wait until you miss a period, which in your case could be almost a month later. If you’re concerned about your chance of pregnancy, we recommend you connect with a medical provider to discuss birth control options that might result in less anxiety about become pregnant. If you’re a UNC student or post-doc, you can request an appointment online at


  13. Stephanie c October 29, 2015 / 6:07 pm

    I had sex with my boyfriend during my period , I was barley bleeding I just wanted to know if I’m pregnant will my period stop or will it continue ?


    • HealthyHeels November 3, 2015 / 1:37 pm

      Hi Stephanie – that’s a great question. Remember that you could become pregnant up to 5 days after having sex. AND since you said you were barely bleeding, this may have been spotting, and not your regularly monthly bleed. Both of those are reasons why the bleeding could continue or stop – and neither would tell you a thing about being pregnant. Hope that helps. If you have more questions, visit or call your medical provider.


  14. Bianca October 29, 2015 / 8:04 am

    I had sex during my period then it stopped so the next day I took plan b after 3 days I got brownish blood what does that mean


    • HealthyHeels October 29, 2015 / 2:28 pm

      Spotting after taking Plan B is totally normal. If you have any further specific questions, see your medical provider or pharmacist.


      • Tiara November 1, 2020 / 8:51 am

        Good day ma/sir !
        Feel concern with this i had unprotected sex on 9th of October and saw my period on 1st of November,does that mean am not pregnant?Please feel confused…


        • HealthyHeels November 2, 2020 / 10:24 am

          Correct – having your period means you did not get pregnant during the month prior.


  15. Zaridra October 16, 2015 / 12:29 am

    I had a question. When I had sex with my partner today, I was on my period (I was on the fourth day) We had sex, and use protection, and pulled out. I should be fine, right? I didn’t want to get any disease or get pregnant.


    • HealthyHeels October 16, 2015 / 9:49 am

      Zaridra, it seems like y’all took some helpful precautions to avoid pregnancy and STIs. You can talk to your medical provider or pharmacist if you have more questions about specifics around what you did or didn’t do (i.e. what “protection” did you use) or if you’re interested in learning about contraceptive options that are more effective than pulling out and condoms (assuming that’s what you mean by “protection”). Good luck and thanks for your question.


  16. Shraddha October 9, 2015 / 4:45 am

    hi ,


    my name is Shraddha and i 17 years old and my period date is 29, but in last month September my period came on 14 September after that i had my 1st sex with my boyfriend on 3rd October with sefty and after sex he gave i pill also, but after having an i pill i vomet in 15 min . and we both are in tens but my date is coming and i really felling like a period , so i just want to confirm that my period will come na or it i,ll get miss ? please help me with this i am really tens plz plz plz need ur tips and am giving ma boyfriend’s mail id Please help me 😦


    • HealthyHeels October 9, 2015 / 11:20 am

      Hi Shraddha,
      It sounds like you’re feeling pretty anxious about this. From what you wrote, it seems like you and your boyfriend did what you could to minimize your risks while having sex. I’m assuming “with sefty” means with a condom and “after sex he gave i pill” means you took emergency contraception after having sex, but then threw up. Using a condom is a fantastic way to minimize risk of pregnancy and STI transmission. Taking emergency contraception after intercourse is another way to minimize chances of pregnancy, although with the vomit soon after, it sounds like your body may not have had enough time to absorbed the pill. In any case, based on your feeling of being “tens” (tense?), you might want to set an appointment with a medical provider or talk with a pharmacist. There are contraceptive methods that are more effective than condoms and more effective than emergency contraception. If you and your boyfriend had sex once, there’s a chance you might have sex again, and finding a reliable contraceptive method would help minimize your anxiety after future intercourse. For now, you can also consider purchasing and taking a pregnancy test if waiting for your period to arrive is making you crazy. Take good care.


      • Shraddha October 12, 2015 / 12:44 am

        Hey hi,

        Thank u so.. much for ur helpful tips nd i got ma period its start now and i really happy now coz its start . and one more thing i would like to ask u that if i want to do sex again with my boyfriend so, what would u suggest for me for that ? please tell me i want to know clear picture about that plzz plzz tell me i waiting ..


        • HealthyHeels October 16, 2015 / 9:53 am

          Taking the iPill after you had sex communicates to us that you weren’t comfortable with the condom being your only form of pregnancy protection. So we’d suggest you visit your medical provider and discuss contraceptive options that might make you feel more confident in their effectiveness. If you’re a student or post-doc (or partner of a post-doc) at UNC, make an appointment by calling 919-966-2281 or visiting and logging in with your ONYEN.


  17. sino September 20, 2015 / 6:04 pm

    I need help am lost.its been 10days since.I had a baby and am on my period I slept with my man without using a condom but I am on contaceptive injection of 3 months so can I be pregnant?


    • HealthyHeels September 22, 2015 / 11:48 am

      Hi Sino – thanks for your question. We really can’t offer personal advice, but the shot is pretty effective for three months. If it’s been three months or longer since your shot, you do have a chance of being pregnant. Consider calling or visiting your medical provider.


  18. Tatty September 14, 2015 / 2:03 am

    Hi, I know it may be a high possibility but I wanted your opinion…

    I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years back so my periods were always erratic and only ever last 3-4 days, but so far this year my periods have been every month, some 28 days others 31 or 36 so I can never tell when I am actually due on…

    Well about 32 days ago I started my period which was heavy and painful but I had unprotected sex with a mate about 11hrs in (which relieved the Cramps) but within an hour my period stopped and never restarted…

    Basically I guess I’m asking if there’s that chance I could be pregnant xx


    • HealthyHeels September 18, 2015 / 11:21 am

      Hi Tatty, Thanks for your question. I don’t know if you’ve noticed a theme in our responses to folks’ questions, but in general, the answer is usually, yes there’s a chance. The same is true for you. You can look into emergency contraception up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse or take a pregnancy test to find out for sure. Good luck!


  19. Ruby September 13, 2015 / 10:11 am

    yea. thanks


  20. Ruby September 11, 2015 / 1:59 pm

    when u don’t want 2 get pregnant and u had a sex with your Husband during your flow how possible is it that you will get pregnant


    • HealthyHeels September 11, 2015 / 3:56 pm

      Ruby that is a great question and difficult to answer. In our research, we haven’t seen any data to give you an answer on this. The main takeaway is that that it is possible to become pregnant at any point in your cycle. Some women do practice fertility awareness as their method of contraception. That means they track their cycle and don’t have sex on the days where they could get pregnant. There are an average of 13 days per cycle where a woman cannot have sex, and there are varying levels of tracking one’s cycle. With typical use of fertility awareness, 1 in 4 women become pregnant in a year. That’s all to say that a person could plan to only have intercourse during menstruation with the hopes of not becoming pregnant, and at least based on the only data we could find, 75% of those women would not become pregnant for at least a year. In other words, there are loads of better (read: more effective, less calendar-intensive) contraceptive methods one could use – methods where over 99% of women would not become pregnant in a year. Hope that helps!


  21. mirapal September 11, 2015 / 8:36 am

    Hi,i had sex with my husband on my 2nd day of period.i.e 4th sep evening i got period and on 5th sep moring i had sex.he said he didnt ejaculate .sex was only for 3 mins.On 6th sep 7.30am i took i-pill.Usually i got bleeding on my period for 3days.But this time its 7 days but still i got bleeding.Is it a side effect of i-pill?
    In 2014 i took i-pill 1st time but i didnt get any side effect.But this time i am scaring bcz of this bleeding and i took this i-pill in my period time?M i pregnant???


    • HealthyHeels September 11, 2015 / 3:43 pm

      Hi Mirapal – that’s a lot to keep track of in there. I’m having a hard time following – but in general, when women take emergency contraception, it can result in fluxuations in a typical menstrual cycle including what I think you’re describing above. Most of the time, extra bleeding would not be an indication that you are pregnant. We hope that helps, and don’t be afraid to call your provider, pharmacist or a nurse line to ask about your specific situation. Good luck!


      • mirapal September 11, 2015 / 9:24 pm

        Hi,Thanks for your early reply.I have doubt thet its my 9th day of period.Now also i m lit bit bleeding after taking that i-pill.Is it normal ?Will i get my next period in time or it will be late.Is it the chance of pregnancy.


  22. Celia September 8, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    I just had sex with my boyfriend whilst on my period and I’m feeling major pain in my stomach, vaginal area and partially my butt. Did I do something wrong or what?


    • HealthyHeels September 11, 2015 / 3:31 pm

      Hi Celia. Thanks for your comment – we can’t offer individual medical advice on this blog. It sounds like you might benefit from visiting with a medical provider to talk about what’s happening with your body. Or you could call a nurse line to ask for advice on your specific situation. Best of luck and hope you’re feeling better.


  23. Charlie September 2, 2015 / 4:47 am

    Will my girlfriend be pregnant if we had sex on her 1st day period and we only had sex for 5 min without me cumming?


    • HealthyHeels September 11, 2015 / 3:30 pm

      Well, the short answer is maybe. There is a small amount of ejaculate that occurs prior to orgasm that does contain sperm. But you have a lot of odds in your favor. We realize you asked this 9 days ago now, so hopefully you have resolved whether or not your girlfriend is pregnant at this point. Consider finding a method of contraception that you can use consistently regardless of the time of the month.


  24. ramesh August 29, 2015 / 8:29 am

    I sex with a married women when she is on her periods…,is there any risk of stds or hiv plzz reply me..


    • HealthyHeels August 30, 2015 / 7:57 pm

      Yes – STDs (including HIV) are a risk with sexual intercourse – whether the person is married or on her period or not. Consider speaking with your sex partners to discuss STD and HIV status prior to sexual intercourse. At this point, you’ll want to connect with your medical provider to learn more about which STDs might be a risk for you, methods to prevent transmission during future intercourse and to be tested.


      • Michael March 1, 2021 / 3:19 am

        I had unprotected sex with my girlfriend on the first day of her period. The folliwing day, I gave her postinor-2. Going to a month now, she hadn’t seen her period. I hope she’s not pregnant?


        • HealthyHeels March 1, 2021 / 12:16 pm

          It sounds quite unlikely that she got pregnant – both sex on Day 1 of her period and taking emergency contraception means chances are very small. You can always consult with a pharmacist or medical provider to ask about your specific situation.


  25. roxana August 29, 2015 / 5:03 am

    Hi i had sex with my bf today i thought i was not in my period anymore because it stop but then when he cum in me i was bleeding ???could i get pregnant like that??? Plz answer me i need 2 know ?


    • HealthyHeels August 30, 2015 / 7:53 pm

      A woman can get pregnant anytime her eggs come into contact with sperm which is more likely during unprotected sex (meaning without a hormonal or barrier contraception like condoms or the pill). YES – you could be pregnant. Please speak with your provider or a pharmacist to talk about emergency contraception. You’ll also want to learn more about how pregnancy occurs and seek a method of contraception that you can use regularly. If you’re a UNC student, call CHS at 919-966-2281 to set up an appointment.


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