An easy way to weed out the wee guys from the hunky legends is their opinion on period sex.
For a number of reasons – but mostly because cis men don’t menstruate – periods are still often seen as a taboo subject, with “period sex” very much an issue for a lot of men. So if a boy is down to bang when you’re on the blob, it’s an immediate turn on – not just because shagging during jam week feels incredible, but because it shows a maturity (or an ambivalent attitude, at least) towards menstruation that’s often absent among straight men.
This isn’t about fucking someone with a period fetish, though. It’s about not losing out on getting pounded one week of every four.
There’s a common sentiment among those who menstruate that, often, period sex feels better than non-period sex. Could it be a primal want to shag when you’re less likely to get impregnated? The sheer thrill of smashing down patriarchal values while getting your back blown out? Or both?
Some people say their bodies feel more alert and aroused during this time of the month. Lani, 25, tells me her sex drive only arrives when the period fairy does. Eden, 26, has a similar story: “I feel more in the mood to have sex when I’m on my period. Every single time I’ve had period sex I’ve had an orgasm – it just feels better.”
Under certain conditions, sex can also kickstart a period, or make your period shorter. The official medical explanation for this is that uterine contractions during an orgasm “facilitate or expedite the initial light flow” and “push out the uterine contents faster”, which is also why masturbation comes as a highly recommended method to alleviate PMS.
But most of us put it like this:
While everyone and their nan (who doesn’t menstruate anymore, but remembers it well) says period sex is the best sex, Dr Rashid Bani – Medical Director for Your Sexual Health, and a practising GP – takes the opposite stance.
“It’s obviously not impossible to enjoy sex whilst menstruating, but physiologically it doesn’t improve it on its own,” he explains. “Hormone levels would generally be at their lowest during menstruation, which in theory would have the effect of decreasing sexual sensations, response and sex drive from what they would normally be. This can also cause the vagina to be more sensitive to friction or rubbing, creating less of the usual natural lubricant you’d usually have when having sex.”
While it would be remiss of me to argue with a medical professional, Bani’s input doesn’t quite account for the fact that period blood is the greatest lubricant a body can provide. Louise, 33, says the slip and slide effect of menstrual blood definitely helps matters: “The blood makes you more lubricated, which is hot! Like, regardless of the juice, the feeling of being super wet just adds to the excited and turned on feeling.”
“The taboo nature of having sex while menstruating could be a reason people find it pleasurable, as some people may consider engaging in activity which would be off limits for most as exciting,” Bani suggests.
That does make sense – we all love sneaking a peek at our bogies after blowing our noses, so why wouldn’t we want to ride a cock with a chance of seeing blood smeared on it?
Eden agrees with the sentiment, but feels it isn’t the breaking of the taboo that turns her on – it’s that her partners are so overcome with lust that they don’t care about the blood. “The fact that it’s seen as gross, but then to have a man who is unbothered, is sexy,” she explains. “It means they’re purely interested in fucking you, and frivolous things like periods don’t bother them. Women are socialised to feel ashamed of being on their period – of accidentally bleeding on someone’s bed, or whatever – so it’s a huge turn on when a man couldn’t care less about it.”
If you reached the scene in I May Destroy You where Michaela Coel’s one night stand is rolling her period blood clot around in his hand, you might understand more about Eden’s point of view.
Science says that being on your period shouldn’t make sex any more enjoyable, but in this case, science doesn’t matter. Being with someone who not just accepts you, but actively wants to fuck you when you’re apparently at your grossest? That’s the real turn on.