In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, there’s an ongoing joke about doing a period-sex musical number. Brief clips of the song get aired before other events cut off the tune since the topic is deemed too dirty to run on TV. (Don’t worry, the whole thing was gloriously released online.)
And it’s frustrating, considering sex sans period is totally okay to reference on TV, meaning periods—a bodily function half of humans experience—are the issue here. Sure, we’re making progress; a film centered upon menstruation just won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. But still, menstruation and period sex and everything adjacent to it should be on the table for acceptable conversation (and song material!), and no one should feel dirty or embarrassed about it. Because it isn’t embarrassing at all; it’s natural and normal. But while comfort is one thing, being all-knowing is another. And when events transpire unexpectedly, you may need to enlist some pros to answer the toughies.
To that point, while there are some real-deal biological benefits behind period sex, those surely don’t preclude the act from sometimes getting pretty messy. And depending on what kinds of intimate acts you’re engaging in, even techy products designed specifically to streamline period-sex spills can’t keep stray blood from ending up in unintended places…like your mouth. Whether the period blood got in your gullet from the direct source or from a secondary source, like a finger or another mouth or another body part, it can happen—especially if the person menstruating was unaware that her cycle had even started. So, whether unintentional or not, if you find yourself in a “vampire-lingus” sich, is there any health reason to be worried?
“We all may carry stealth infections we are unaware of…. If menstrual blood gets into your mouth, just rinse thoroughly and spit out.” —Felice Gersh, MD.
According to a gynecologist, the main potential issue when it comes to ingesting period blood is bloodborne pathogens. “There is less to be concerned with if you ingest your own menstrual blood and tissues, as any infectious agents are already in your body,” says Felice Gersh, MD, author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness. Still, she says it’s best to keep it out of both your mouth and your partner’s. “By transferring [infectious agents] to your oral cavity, it’s possible you could get an infection there. For example, transference of HPV from the genitals to your mouth and pharynx.”
And when it comes to oral sex, during menstruation, Dr. Gersh is firmly in the camp of “just say no.” You can lessen your risk of transferring bloodborne pathogens (like HIV) to your partner by using a dental dam or other protection, she explains, but you can’t totally mitigate the risk. “We all may carry stealth infections we are unaware of, so do not do this.”
But still, things happen. In the event that you find yourself with a mouthful of period blood, simply rinse—and don’t repeat the sexual act. “If your menstrual blood gets into your mouth, just rinse thoroughly and spit out,” she says. Same goes for your partner. And of course, make sure to talk with your doctor about staying up to date with screenings for STDs and other infections. Keeping communications lines open with your medical professional can help you stay safe and satisfied—sexually and otherwise.
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