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Intimacy that time of the month

By Lou Lou

Yes, yes, I know we don't normally speak about "That time of the month" but Mother Nature dealth us that card and I feel the best way to deal with difficult things is to talk about them...

One of the more practical and physical problems that two women in a sexual relationship are more than likely to encounter (unless there are specific health problems) is that of having periods.

Day to day, it is something that women have to varying degrees of inconvenience. However, they can and do have an impact on relationships, particularly when it comes to sex. There’s not a lesbian couple around that hasn’t bemoaned the problems of the period – particularly as sometimes it can cause two weeks of the month to be a no-go zone when it comes to sex, which really can cause problems for any type of relationship.

There are clear and obvious practical implications to do with the amount of blood that is produced, the pain it causes and the emotional implications in terms of feeling confident when having sex with your period. There are some women who are not affected by their periods during sex – but these are few and far between.

The bizarrely natural phenomenon of women synchronising the time of their periods can either be a blessing or a curse. There is double the PMT, most importantly and moreover, double the amount of hormones flying about the place – causing all manner of ructions, or if you are lucky, a period of frenetic sexual activity!

It’s important to remember that some women may feel more horny than at any other time of their cycle, yet their partner may not be able to bring themselves to have penetrative sex with them – or vice versa. It is a personal choice and can put pressure on a relationship if one is desperate for sex at any time and the other finds the thought of all that blood a real turn off.

However, on the flip side, there are women who suffer great pain during their period and cannot stand to be touched in any way – even though they might be desperate for human contact. It takes a strong person to understand that this can be purely just a physical reaction to the change in hormones in the body and not let it affect their self-esteem. This is where great communication comes in, and any strong relationship should be able to overcome this point.

Timing is important. As most women know their bodies well, you can tell when you are likely to be lighter than on another day, or indeed at what time of the day. It may take the spontaneity out of sex, but at least if you both still really want to do it, if you have an idea on when it will be less messy, you can certainly overcome five or six days of frustration!

If you are both comfortable having penetrative sex, be sure to take it easy – both of you. You may feel as though there is no pain, but you are more sensitive and any injury, however small, could cause a lot more pain than you realise. Make sure your nails are short and hands are clean – with all that blood around anyway, you’re not going to be able to see so easily if you have been a bit heavy handed.

One way around the problem of coping with blood during sex is to use a dildo.

This keeps mess down to a minimum, and if it isn’t too big and is handled carefully can have the desired affect.

Orgasms are actually proven to relieve pain, so even if either of you can’t handle penetration, try to obtain an orgasm through clitoral stimulation. Either do this using fingers, the tip of a vibrator or your tongue – although you may not be so keen to go down on each other if you are bloody. However, you can still achieve this if you have a tampon in, as it is well away from the clitoris.

If you really can’t handle having sex while either of you has your period, why not try it in the shower? That way you will both be keeping clean and the impact of the period won’t be as immediate. You can also gently explore anal sex, feel more comfortable about oral sex and not feel so self-conscious – and it’s great for building confidence if it’s your first time with a new partner and either of you has your period.

IMPORTANT: Please remember that under no circumstances should you have unprotected sex on your period if either of you are HIV+ or have an STI. Use dental dams, condoms over toys and latex gloves, which will stop the transmission of infections through blood.

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