Let’s Get Naked

The time has come, sexy readers, to discuss some bloody serious business. Not the fact that your beloved Slutty Health Expert is graduating and leaving you sex-column-less. It’s been a fun year, but SHE gets the feeling that the dearth of questions indicates that all you sexy readers have grown into confident sex deities, ready to tackle your sex problems (and one another) with the open, honest excitement you deserve. And if you’re ever struck with a bout of sexual confusion, an archive of past columns now exists on the Scripps Voice website, for easy reference if you ever start to miss your dear SHE.

No, the serious business we need to discuss is menstruation. Period sex. (I wanted to end my column with a bang, but I think the more appropriate punctuation is a period, don’t you?)

I know I’ve alluded to how sex can be messy, but I’ve never gotten explicit about how bloody messy it can be. (Get it? Because there can be blood.)

Don’t want to think about menstruating vaginas? Then you’re probably not the type of person who should consider a relationship with a pre-menopausal female-bodied individual. If you are sexually attracted to people with vaginas, you better not get all squeamish when those vaginas start spouting their monthly celebrations of the fact that their respective people are not pregnant. Join the celebration. Pamper that vagina-haver. Respect the bloated individual’s request to be left alone, or the achy individual’s request for a massage, or the horny individual’s request for some good ol’ period sex. (I’m not saying you have to indulge all these requests.

I’m just saying respect them.) Keep in mind that every individual deals with menstruation in a different way. We don’t all crave chocolate. We don’t all turn into crying wrecks, subconsciously mourning the loss of our wasted ova.

A menstruating vagina is not an unlovable vagina. Don’t rule out the possibility of some menstrual lovin’ just because the prospect of getting a little bloody daunts you. That’s what showers are for, right? And laundry soap, if you don’t feel like taking your sexy period adventures to that slightly-public venue that is your dorm’s showers.

Tampons (or Diva Cups, handily sold at the Motley if you fancy the investment) need not be removed for non-penetrative pleasure to be shared, so there’s no need to even make the bloody mess you may be worrying about. Just respect that string (or the Diva Cup stem) and don’t go pulling on the flow-stauncher unless you want to open the floodgates.

Not that you even have to open the floodgates. Perhaps the most exciting innovation I’ve heard of in the past year (definitely the most exciting one I’ve heard of in the past week) is the Instead Softcup. It’s like the Diva Cup, in that it’s a little cup that catches menstrual flow. But, unlike a low-riding Diva Cup, the cervix-hugging Soft-cup can be left in during sex. And sleep. And other strenuous physical activities. For up to 12 hours. It takes up less space in the loving and lovable orifice that is the vagina, and it doesn’t have that nubbin of a stem should you penetrate all the way to the cervix where it’s nestled.

The eco-friendly tampon alternative that is the Softcup lets you avoid the potential awkwardness of pausing mid-hookup to remind your partner that sex can get bloody messy. (And will, if penetration occurs, do just that.) The Softcup also lets you avoid awkwardness with non-sexual partners: boiling that Diva Cup in your dorm kitchen, having to tell hungry and curious passers-by that you’re not making din- ner, you’re just sanitizing your menstruation- catching container between cycles.

I vote Softcup.

The only drawback I can think of is you have to buy a new reusable Softcup for every cycle. Or buy non-reusable Softcups with even greater frequency. Either way, buying more Softcups rather than making the year-long investment in a slightly-less-wasteful Diva Cup strikes me as a fair trade. Because, you guys: period sex.

So, everyone who menstruates: Buy a Softcup. Have sex with it. (Well, not with it, but while it’s inside your vagina. You know what I mean.)

See? Nothing scary about the menstruating vagina. That said, a menstruating vagina is also not a vagina that prevents pregnancy. Or STIs. The menstruating individual is actually at higher risk for the spread of STIs than her non-bloody compatriots. Even with the miraculous Softcup in place. Remember how I debunked those condom-based myths last column? I am still pro-condom. And pro-sex. Period.