Besides being a more eco-friendly and cost-effective menstrual-care option, one of the biggest draws of using menstrual discs is that they supposedly allow for mess-free period sex — meaning no bloodstains on your sheets and less of a need to lay down a towel. In fact, several makers of menstrual discs, including Cora, Flex, and Nixit, actually advertise this feature as an added bonus for making the switch.
Unlike cone-shaped menstrual cups and tube-shaped tampons, which both sit in the vaginal canal, menstrual discs are flat and situated at the base of the cervix. That means the vagina is essentially in the clear and has space for intercourse, while the disc collects the menstrual blood at the very same time.
But despite brand descriptions, you might be curious about a medical expert's thoughts on the matter of having sexual intercourse while wearing a menstrual disc.
"Medically, there's not anything necessarily wrong with it as long as it's comfortable," said Taraneh Shirazian, MD, a gynecologist at NYU Langone Health.
However, it's not OK if you feel like the device isn't sitting right, is hitting into you, or is scratching you while having intercourse, as Dr. Shirazian said all of those situations could potentially lead to problems and issues like abrasions, lesions, or bleeding.
Also, it's imperative to remember that a menstrual disc is not a contraceptive, and it is possible to get pregnant on your period. So if you are having sex while you have your period and also trying to avoid pregnancy, be sure to use a medically approved and reliable birth-control method, such as the pill or a condom.
When it comes time to remove the disc, Flex — a brand that creates menstrual discs — specifically recommends waiting 30 minutes or one hour after sex to allow for the vagina to return to its normal state.
But remember, menstrual discs should not be kept in for any longer than 12 hours and need to be properly cleaned in between uses to protect against infections and medical issues.
In general, menstrual discs aren't for everyone, either, as Dr. Shirazian said some might not feel comfortable while wearing the device. If you have any concerns about using one or using one while having period sex, be sure to reach out to your ob-gyn or healthcare provider for personalized advice.