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DOCTOR'S ADVICE - Is it safe to have sex during my menses?

Published:Saturday | January 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Is it safe to have sex during my menses?

Q. Doctor, I am an independent-thinking woman of 21. I have been to college and got a good education, but I do not know a lot about the workings of sex. So, I ask you to enlighten me about the subject of sexual intercourse and the menses. I have a steady boyfriend, but he is away a lot. Quite often, when he returns home to Clarendon, it so happens that I am still having my menses.

Naturally, we would both like to have sex then, but is it safe?  I cannot find an answer to this question in any textbook of biology or physiology, and my partner does not know the answer.  I do remember that my dear mother, who has now passed on, told me that a woman should not have sex during the period because that could cause a 'red child'. Is that true, Doctor?

A Well, that is quite a common myth in rural parts of Jamaica, but it is totally untrue.  The 'red child syndrome' is a genetically determined thing. It does not depend on which time of the month the baby was conceived. In fact, conception does not often occur during the menses, but if it does, there is no reason the child should be abnormal.

Sexual intercourse during the menses is messy. And it is certainly not everyone's cup of tea. However, young people do sometimes get carried away with desire at this time of the month and decide to go ahead regardless of whether the woman is bleeding. Indeed, there is some evidence that female sexual desire can be at its strongest during the menstrual period.

In certain countries such as France, women sometimes get around the problem of blood by inserting a contraceptive 'cap' before lovemaking. This holds the blood back for a few hours. Finally, I am aware that some young folks - particularly males - are afraid that sex during the menses will somehow hurt them or damage their, health, but that is not the case.

I get 'soft' when I use a condom

Q Doc, I am a guy of 19, and because I do not want to get my girlfriend pregnant, I am experimenting with the condom.  However, I have a question to ask. During an evening spent with her, I always put it on as soon as we get into bed. But after a while, I quite often 'get soft' for five minutes before becoming stiff again and resuming whatever we were doing. So, what am I supposed to do when I become soft for a little while? Should I go and get another condom, or what?

A That is a good question because this is something that concerns quite a few young couples. I have three things to say to you:

1. You do not have to put on the condom the moment you get into bed when you are just kissing and petting. You need not put it on until just before you enter the vagina.

2. It is normal to get 'soft' from time to time. If you are still erect enough for the condom to stay in place, then you don't have to change it.

3. If you get so 'floppy' that the condom starts coming off you, then you definitely should remove it altogether and then put on a new one when you are ready.

Hope this advice helps you and your partner.

Email questions to Doc at saturdaylife@gleanerjm.com and read more in the Outlook Magazine tomorrow.