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

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

  1. Healtrick April 14, 2019 / 1:31 am

    Thanks for Writing a wonderful and full of informational guide. Yes, It has a lot of questions and answers about can you get pregnant on your period and the answer is id depends right after your periods or before a day chances are most than the other conditions like before periods almost no chance.


  2. Sammy Harris January 4, 2019 / 11:12 pm

    Hello, So my boyfriend and I been having sex for the past 4 days now and each time he nutted in me. Today Jan.4th, I’ve been having slight cramps and light bleeding. Really don’t feel like I’m on my period until I wipe and see the light blood. Usually I have heavy periods and intense cramping but not this time. Am I pregnant? What’s going on? Please help


    • HealthyHeels April 8, 2019 / 8:51 pm

      Typically even light blood would be an indication that you are not pregnant.


  3. Priya malla April 22, 2018 / 2:58 am

    Hey ! I wanted to ask question .
    On my 3rd day of mensturation with less amount of bleeding,i had sex with my partner and he cummed inside me.I sat down and little amount of sperm came outside .Is it possible to get pregnant ?


  4. Jeevithan roshanthi April 20, 2018 / 2:53 am

    Hi I want to know 4th day of my period me and my boyfriend had a sex and he ejaculated his sperm in to my viagna on that day we had a sex 2 times and he did the same things and i just want to know its possible to get pregnant? when i can go and check the result?


    • HealthyHeels May 7, 2018 / 11:26 am

      It is possible, yes. Most pregnancy tests work at about the time you would have your next period.


  5. Shantel April 6, 2018 / 3:17 am

    My period stopped on 2nd April n ,3rd I had sex n he ejaculated. Can I get pregnant??


    • HealthyHeels April 17, 2018 / 10:28 am

      Hi Shantel – in short, it’s possible, yes. It’s basically always possible to get pregnant. But if you’re diligent about tracking your cycles, you can find days to have sex that have a lower or higher likelihood of pregnancy than others. Hormonal or barrier birth control, however, is a much more reliable option if you don’t want to become pregnant right now.


  6. Muneeba March 26, 2018 / 5:47 am

    I have period after 82 days and during this 82 days, i was examined by doctor and i was not pregnant. I used pills for periods for last 30 days and it happened after 82 days… After 6 days of last period, i did sex with my partner and next day period again started for only one day and then stopped…. What do you think that am i now chances to pregnant…while i have period for one day….


    • HealthyHeels April 17, 2018 / 10:25 am

      Hey Muneeba – it sounds like you’re saying you used a birth control pill for a month, got a period and at the end of that period had sex. If that’s the case, you are not likely to be pregnant due to your use of the pill. But if you don’t want to become pregnant, we encourage you to keep using the pill at the same time each day so that your chances remain low.


  7. Yvette March 24, 2018 / 6:22 am

    If I had a five day period and had unprotected sex the next day could I get pregnant?


  8. wumy February 23, 2018 / 10:53 am

    I had my last period on the 28th of January an had sex on the 10th and 11th of February, I was expecting my next period 23rd of February 2018 , am i pregnant because i felt pain on the lower abdomen for like 2 days but it gone now and still haven’t seen my period


    • HealthyHeels March 5, 2018 / 12:06 pm

      Hi wumy, We hope this has resolved by now and you know one way or another what’s happening.


  9. Michelle February 2, 2018 / 9:58 pm

    Me and my boyfriend had sex on my second day of my period he came in me 30 minuets later we bought plan b. The next day my period stopped? I don’t know what it means I really need help


    • HealthyHeels March 5, 2018 / 12:08 pm

      Hi Michelle,
      Plan B can change your cycle, yes. So what you noticed is a typical response to Plan B. Hopefully you’ve started your next cycle at this point. However, if you are sexually active, please consider a more regular form of contraception than Plan B. There are lots of options that exist. Learn more at


  10. Kent June 22, 2017 / 8:09 am

    Me and my girlfriend had unprotected sex on the 20th of june and shes on the 1st day of her period. I used the pull out method and im not sure if i putted it in. And the next day she told me that her period is only a spots. Its 22nd she told me that her period looks like finishing up. She didnt use any pills yet. Is there any chance of pregnancy? What will i do?
    Thank you for answering.


    • HealthyHeels June 22, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      Hi Kent – thanks for your question. You sound worried about the potential for pregnancy, so you might want to talk to your girlfriend and a medical provider about contraceptive options that are more reliable than the pull-out method. That being said – pulling out and having sex during her period both minimize your chances for pregnancy. Since it’s so close to the experience, you could also talk to your partner about emergency contraception, available over the counter at pharmacies. Hope that helps.


  11. jojit May 23, 2017 / 7:16 am

    Hi! I’m 20 years old I had sex during my 3rd night of my period and my BF is always cum inside. But my period is continue as spotting 2 days before, can I get pregnant?


    • HealthyHeels June 22, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      Hi Jojit – there is no time of the month where a person with a uterus can have sex with a person with sperm and be 100% certain they won’t get pregnant. Again, this is because sperm can live for up to 5 days inside of a woman and ovulation (when an egg is released) varies. But – the least likely time to get pregnant is during a period of a person with regular menstrual cycles. So – most likely you’re not pregnant but yes, there is a chance. Hope that helps.


  12. Tanya May 21, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Hey my boyfriend and I had unprotected vaginal and anal sex on the last day of my period. He came inside of me anally. Is Plan B necessary?


    • HealthyHeels June 22, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      Hi Tanya, anal sex cannot result in pregnancy. But the vaginal sex could due to pre-ejaculate which contains sperm. Pre-ejaculate has fewer sperm and having sex during a period reduces the chances of pregnancy. So your likelihood of pregnancy is small, but there is a chance. Since we are so slow in responding to you – it’s way too late for Plan B. Hopefully you spoke with your medical provider to find out more. Best of luck.


  13. Suzaena April 11, 2017 / 12:15 am

    I had sex with my bf on the 3rd day of my period and his sprem comes out but not inside my vagina its been only 3 days since we have sex and I do feel normal inspite of some tiredness. I can get pregnant???? Pls ans me


    • HealthyHeels April 24, 2017 / 2:35 pm

      Hi Suzaena,
      There is a chance of pregnancy due to something call pre-ejaculate. It’s a drop or two of semen that comes out prior to ejaculation and it does carry sperm.
      Three days after unprotected sex, it is unlikely to notice pregnancy related symptoms, but your anxiety around it (enough to write us a note with a “Pls ans me” at the end) indicates to us that finding a method of contraception might be worth it for your mental wellbeing. If you’re a UNC student, you can make an appointment at no charge to you to discuss options. You can also learn more at Good luck!


  14. Angel March 29, 2017 / 12:42 am

    hi.. my Question is I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend on the 18 and 19 and he cum inside and on the 21 I saw my period that only lasted for two days not heavy though I can’t really describe the color because ma blood was not normal it was brownish blood and now its 29 and feeling nausea and back pains but no vomiting is this normal or am I pregnant plssss help


    • HealthyHeels April 24, 2017 / 2:33 pm

      Hi Angel – it can definitely be stressful to notice changes in your cycle after unprotected sex – which is why using protection and/or birth control and be such a gift to everyone involved. Having any sort of bleeding after unprotected sex is usually an indication that you’re not pregnant. If you’re a UNC student, you can come speak to a provider at no charge to talk about contraceptive options and your specific situation. Hope that helps!


  15. egooyibo March 15, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    my period normally comes out only two days, pls when is the chance of getting pregnant


  16. Jackie January 21, 2017 / 5:29 am

    I had sex on my period and took a plan b. I started bleeding about a week later, heavy like a period. Now a week before my period im spotting again. I hadnt had sex since my last period. What does this mean?


    • HealthyHeels January 26, 2017 / 2:58 pm

      Hi Jackie,
      Plan B is known for exactly this! Many women report sporadic bleeding for several weeks after taking Plan B. It’s likely nothing to worry about as long as you’re not having any pain – and the bleeding likely indicates that you’re not pregnant. Hope that helps!


  17. sakshi January 19, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    Hi man.i have done sex with bf on 7 day of my there is any possibilty to get pregnant.


    • HealthyHeels January 26, 2017 / 2:57 pm

      Hi Sakshi, The theme to all of our answers is the same with yours – yes, there’s a chance. But it’s small. If sex is between people who have eggs and a uterus (like you, it sounds like) and sperm in their bodies (like your bf, we’re assumign) and have the kind of sex where the sperm gets near where the eggs hang out (like penile / vaginal intercourse, for example), there is no time of the month where pregnancy absolutely cannot happen. But – from a timing perspective, if a woman has regular cycles, having sex while on her period is the least likely time of the month to conceive a child. But it’s not failsafe and each day from the beginning of the period most likely increases the chances of pregnancy, as the woman is likely getting closer to ovulation with each day. If you’re looking to reduce your chances, consider contraception options.


  18. Wayne January 19, 2017 / 7:24 am

    Hello . I’m just wondering if I will get pregnant if we have intercourse on the last day of my period, I was surprised to see that I still have it the other day. Is it normal ? Am I still going to be pregnant and lastly is it okay to take a pill if I’m only 16 year’s old. I hope you answered it because I’m freaking out I don’t even know what to do. Thank you.


    • HealthyHeels January 19, 2017 / 11:45 am

      Hi Wayne,
      If you have regular cycles (the same number of bleed days per month and the same number of days between bleeds), then most likely, having sex while on your period will not result in a pregnancy. But there IS still a chance.
      Yes, you can take the “morning after pill” to avoid pregnancy if you’d like. You should be able to pick it up at your local pharmacy without ID, and if you don’t want it to show on your parent’s insurance, you can pay for it yourself. The sooner you take the morning after pill, the less likely you will get pregnant.
      You might also want to speak to a medical provider about more effective birth control methods – like condoms, the pill, the patch, the ring, or an IUD.
      Hope that helps. Good luck!


  19. Margarita January 3, 2017 / 7:01 pm

    Me & My Boyfriend Had Sex On The Second Day Of My Period Buhh I Had Dranked Coke Before & I Wasn’t Bleeding While Me & My Boyfriend Were Having Sex Buhh We Did Not Use A Condom…. Can I Possibly Get Pregnant Or Get An Sti??


    • HealthyHeels January 17, 2017 / 10:37 am

      Pregnancy or STI transmission is possible, yes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s