Do you need a condom during period?

Perhaps most would like to use a condom when having sex during periods to avoid the mess. But, not everyone likes using a condom. Some avoid condoms entirely. Further, the chances of getting pregnant by having sex during menstruation are pretty low. Thus, it is natural to ask if there is any need for a condom at this time.

Here there is no straightforward answer, as it is also a matter of personal preferences. There are both pros and cons to using a condom. Nevertheless, there are more pros than cons, as condoms have numerous roles and are not just used for preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Is it good to have sex during the period?

Most people, despite the desire, may avoid having sex during periods. However, from a medical point of view or physiological point of view, there is nothing wrong with having sex during a menstrual cycle. Moreover, there are no medical contraindications for such sex in healthy adults [1].

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Most people do not have sex during period as they consider it a time to have a break, which is correct, to a degree. Further, others might not have sex due to some beliefs.

The cons of having sex during a cycle are all too apparent. It may be unpleasant to have sex during times of heavy bleeding.

Nonetheless, heavy bleeding is just for few days, and for most of the time, bleeding is not much to avoid having sex.

Further, some women have increased sexual desire during period. Having sex may also help overcome mood swings during a cycle and relieve menstrual cramps. Having sex may even help get rid of headaches during menstruation.

So, as one can see, having sex during menstruation is more a matter of personal preferences and beliefs. Else, there is nothing wrong with having sex during this time.

Things to consider when having sex during periods:

  • Both partners should be honest with each other and share their feeling about having sex during a cycle.
  • During period, sensations may differ, and thus foreplay or methods or arousal might vary.
  • For females using tampons, it is essential to remove them before having sex.
  • It is a good idea to keep lots of alcohol-free wet wipes or wet cloth nearby.
  • Wearing condoms would generally be a good idea.
  • Certain sexual positions may not be comfortable for having sex during menstruation.

Pros of using condoms during periods

The number one reason to use a condom during sex is not to prevent unplanned pregnancy but rather to prevent infections. Unfortunately, this risk of transmission of diseases is not low during period. In fact, for some blood-borne infections, there may be a greater risk of contracting infections by having unprotected sex. HIV, Hepatitis B, C are some of the examples of severe and blood-borne diseases [2].

Another reason to use a condom during this time is hygienic. Even if the bleeding is minimal, it will still occur during prolonged sexual acts. Bleeding during sex may be unpleasant for many. However, wearing a condom may help reduce some mess, though it does not make much difference for females.

Further, these days condoms come in numerous forms, flavors, and textures. If used properly, they may add to the pleasure. For example, one may use an ultrathin condom for better sensation, ribbed condom for giving greater pleasure.

In addition, some might be turned on by the scent of a condom. Thus, except few individuals, most may find using a condom as something that makes sex more pleasurable.

But, perhaps, the most commonly asked question is, can pregnancy happen when having sex during period?

The risk of pregnancy is lowest during period, but it is not nil. In most women, ovulation would occur in the middle of the cycle after about 14 days from the beginning of a cycle. It means that ovulation occurs 7 to 10 days after the end of period [3].

In most cases, sperms would not survive for more than 72 hours in the female body. Even if they survive, they would be in small numbers and weakened. Thus, chances of sperms meeting female eggs are pretty low. But, then, there is no hard and fast rule. In some cases, sperms may survive as long as a week.

Further, in many women, the menstruation cycle may be irregular and much shorter. It means that ovulation may happen even after few days of period [4].

Thus, as one can guess, having sex in the last days of period, greater survivability of sperms in some cases, and a shorter menstrual cycle in some instances, may ultimately result in a pregnancy.

The chances of such pregnancy are indeed extremely small. Nonetheless, there are reports of such cases. However, there is no data to say how much the chances are.

Cons of using a condom during periods

Theoretically, there are no cons to using a condom. But, in practice, things differ. The number one reason is that many sexual partners avoid using condoms. In addition, some do not enjoy sex with condoms.

Additionally, in a small number of cases, their belief systems may not allow the use of a condom. Sometimes, the reason could be as simple as the unavailability of condoms or having spontaneous sex.


The period is not a reason to deprive oneself of fun. Thus, having sex during period is acceptable. Condoms have multiple uses like preventing sexually transmitted diseases, providing lubrication, and may even enhance sensation. Thus, it is a good idea to use a condom when having sex.

However, if having sex with a regular partner and pregnancy is not an issue, one may not necessarily use a condom.


  1. Allen KR, Goldberg AE. Sexual activity during menstruation: a qualitative study. J Sex Res. 2009;46(6):535-545. doi:10.1080/00224490902878977
  2. Tanfer K, Aral SO. Sexual intercourse during menstruation and self-reported sexually transmitted disease history among women. Sex Transm Dis. 1996;23(5):395-401. doi:10.1097/00007435-199609000-00009
  3. Stirnemann JJ, Samson A, Bernard J-P, Thalabard J-C. Day-specific probabilities of conception in fertile cycles resulting in spontaneous pregnancies. Hum Reprod. 2013;28(4):1110-1116. doi:10.1093/humrep/des449
  4. Bull JR, Rowland SP, Scherwitzl EB, Scherwitzl R, Danielsson KG, Harper J. Real-world menstrual cycle characteristics of more than 600,000 menstrual cycles. NPJ Digit Med. 2019;2:83. doi:10.1038/s41746-019-0152-7

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