Does sex help with cramps?

Aunt Flo can be difficult, but can period sex help ease the pain?

period pains period cramps woman on couch clutching her pelvic area
(Image credit: Charday Penn/Getty Images)

At times, Aunt Flo shows no mercy. 

When those dreaded abdominal aches strike, we are willing to do whatever it takes to deal with period pains and symptoms. However, some relief methods are more favorable than others...which leads us to period sex. 

Since sex is a workout—yes, a new study confirms this to be true—and we should work out while on our period, we've concluded that a little frisky fun is in order when that time of the month strikes. However, will this help us get rid of those horrible cramps, or should we just stick to the ibuprofen? (We have a feeling you'll be pleased with the findings.)

Does sex help with cramps? 

Ladies, the answer you were hoping for: yes, sex does help with cramps. According to the medical professionals at Planned Parenthood (opens in new tab), when you orgasm, the sensation helps to ease your cramps, and we're willing to bet many find sex more fun than sitting on the couch with a heating pad. (Though it's tolerable if there's something good on Netflix.) 

(Psst: the Planned Parenthood experts also add that it is possible to get pregnant while having sex on your period, so do have a birth control method in place, should you need it.)

Per Healthline (opens in new tab), cramps occur when your uterus contracts to release its lining. When you experience the Big O, the muscles of the uterus also contract and offer a little relief from the pain when endorphins are released, should you have Q's about the science behind it all.

On another note, WebMD (opens in new tab) even suggests that some women might feel heightened sensations during this time, making sex more pleasurable while menstruating—an added bonus to getting rid of the cramps. 

What next?

So, you've been doubled over in pain and are willing to try some steamy fun to get rid of the feeling. The best sex positions for menstrual cramps—yoga missionary and doggy style to name a few—are options worth exploring, or you can try going solo. 

Menstrubation, masturbating while on your period, allows you to take matters into your own hands, quite literally. (And perhaps with the help of the best sex toys in your collection.) 

“Masturbation can have positive effects on health and general well-being for several reasons," Dr. Naomi Sutton, NHS Sexual Health consultant and Womanizer spokesperson said in a press release (opens in new tab). "Following orgasm, the hormone dopamine is released, which activates an inner bliss. This, combined with the increase in blood flow resulting from climax, are both ways orgasm may alleviate period pains."

Additionally, the 2021 study also had a few positive tidbits worth noting: 

  • After three months menstrubating, the percentage of women who experienced cramps on the first day of their period decreased from 37% to 25%
  • Irritability after three months of menstrubating decreased from 27% to 14%
  • 70% of participants reported that regular masturbation reduced the intensity of their period pains

So the next time you feel Aunt Flo is up to her dirty tricks, there is a satisfying way to get rid of those cramps, without the Midol. Just food for thought, folks!

However, should your period pain feel unusually uncomfortable or get in the way of your everyday activities, do seek medical attention.

Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 

The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.  

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 

When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)