The Sacred Nature of Periods and Menstrual Blood
In the woo-woo circles I run in, I keep hearing about sexual partners doing weird shit with period blood. Counter to what many religious texts say about period blood being unclean and something to avoid making contact with by non-menstruating parties at all costs, new-age hippies are embracing period blood as a sacred fluid that can be used in various rituals and serve as a bonding exercise for lovers.
While I have yet to dive deep into what is referred to as period play (aka menstrual play aka red play), I’m intrigued and would definitely be interested in exploring this kink more in-depth with the right partner. I’m already on board with the notion that a woman’s menstruation period is the time when she is most in touch with her intuitive, healing powers. I’ve also partaken in making period blood art — an activity that has almost become cliché in Brooklyn these days, as women pay homage to the creative, Kundalini life force energy that flows especially strong through their bodies during their time of the month.
From a purely logistical standpoint, having sex while menstruating is a highly lubricated affair that takes intimacy to a whole new level. After all, it takes a certain level of trust and comfort to be vulnerable enough to create a bloody mess in front of another human being.
Before we delve more into period play, I’ll zoom out a bit to give an overview of blood play — the kink under which period play is a subset. Blood play is a sexual fetish in which individuals derive pleasure from incorporating blood into their intimate experiences. It can involve a range of activities, such as cutting, bloodletting, or simply using the presence of blood as an erotic element.
Consent, communication, and establishing clear boundaries beforehand are crucial to ensuring blood play remains an enjoyable experience for all involved. While some people into blood play derive pleasure from the primal, animalistic experience of tapping into the raw, powerful nature of blood, others become aroused due to the taboo.
Period play is a type of blood play that involves engaging in sexual activities during menstruation as a means of embracing the body’s natural processes — societal norms be damned. Considering all the women I know around my age whom I talk to about sex have had sex while on their periods, it’s never really struck me as a kink. But I often forget that I live in a progressive bubble of sex positivity and that millions of women around the world are effectively exiled when on their periods and forbidden from engaging in any kind of sexual activity whatsoever.
How tragic it is that so many women out there are shamed for the beautiful process of shedding their uterine linings each month. Thankfully, the patriarchy hasn’t brainwashed all men into being scared of period blood. My kink-loving friend, Johnny, recently started exploring period play with his partner, Lola. He treats her time of the month as a holy event and opportunity to worship her feminine divine extra hard — giving her all the cuddles, massaging her achy lower back, and preparing nourishing food for her, while she takes things easy and allows her body to rest.
The sexual aspect of their relationship during her period entails lots of steamy sex. Like many women I know, Lola’s menstrual cramps are alleviated when she has sex because having an orgasm releases endorphins, lessening pain as a result. This all seems pretty par for the course in modern heterosexual relationships.
What strikes me as being the most “out there” aspect of Johnny and Lola’s period play is the part where Lola pours her blood out of her menstrual cup into a bowl and then proceeds to give herself and Johnny a menstrual blood facial, massaging the blood deep into the pores and letting it dry. Then, they meditate together for half an hour before taking a shower to wash the blood off.
Period blood is full of nutrients, including sodium, calcium, phosphate, iron, magnesium, and chloride, leading period facial enthusiasts to tout this unconventional skincare treatment as a powerful elixir for cleansing skin and reducing blemishes. Beyond its purported health benefits, Johnny and Lola find period facials to be a deeply spiritual experience that brings them closer to one another and Mother Earth.
“Period facials have been a really empowering experience for me. As a teenager, I felt so ashamed of my period. It made me feel dirty. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to view it as something sacred. Using my period blood to make art, cleanse my face, and cast spells, makes me feel deeply connected to my female ancestors and with nature,” says Lola. She goes on to say that, “Being able to share my period blood facial ritual with Johnny is really special and intimate, and brings us closer together.”
Johnny adds: “I notice how refreshed my face feels and looks after I do the period facial, and I love being able to share this ritual with Lola. It’s a new experience for me — one that makes me feel more connected to Lola than I ever have with any other partner.”
Precautions and Concluding Thoughts
While the scientific community doesn’t outright advise against period facials, it does question whether or not there are any actual health benefits. Moreover, it urges people to get tested for STIs and vaginal infections before partaking, as playing around with period blood can be a means of transmission. For instance, a woman with a vaginal yeast infection could give herself a fungal infection on her face, if she were to rub her period blood all over it.
As long as your vaginal health is good and you have an enthusiastic partner interested in sharing this unusual ritual with you, my thinking is, “Why the hell not?” The more we do to honor our feminine divinity and destigmatize female sexuality, the better.