Assoc. Arts and Culture Editor
Let’s face it… sex is a complicated thing. Even with all the knowledge that doctors and OB/GYNs have to offer and share with their confused clients, people still have questions about sex. Sometimes, people are too embarrassed to ask these questions even though doctors are trained to know the answers and help. Most of the time, the reason for not asking these questions goes back to sex being such a private matter, sometimes making people afraid to ask a question because they’re afraid of what the answer might be, or because they think the answer might be blatantly obvious.
Here are some common (and awkward) questions people might have about sex, and the answers:
Q: Is it safe to have sex during a girl’s period?
There are no unique risks for women who have sex during their time of the month. In fact, according to several medical sites, many women have stated that they experience increased sensation if they have sex during their periods. In the days after their period, women are typically at their least fertile. However, women should still use contraception such as birth control, encourage their partners to use protection even when they are on their periods, and pay attention to their cycles and know when they are ovulating to better prevent pregnancy.
If a woman has a 28-day cycle, which is considered a regular cycle, she ovulates 14 days before the onset of her next cycle, which means that she is at a lower risk of getting pregnant during her period. However, if a woman has a 21-day cycle and she has sex during or shortly after period, then she has a higher chance of getting pregnant because her period overlaps with her ovulation. While there are no risks for women to have sex during their period, they should still take the same precautions as they would during any other time of the month. According to Shape.com, “No time is ever perfectly safe, but many women who understand their ovulatory pattern can tell when they have more or less risk of becoming pregnant.”
Q: When is and isn’t it normal for a girl to bleed after sex?
Bleeding after sex can either be normal or a sign of something serious. If a girl was a virgin before having sex and her blood is bright red in color, then it was most likely caused by the hymen stretching until it tore. If it wasn’t the woman’s first sexual encounter and she experiences bleeding, then it could’ve been anything from irritation, dryness, or inadequate lubrication before penetration. However, if the bleeding is significant (heavier than her period), lasts for a few days, or if the woman experiences pain that doesn’t go away, she should consult her doctor, as she could have an infection or tear in her genital area.
She should especially get medical help if the bleeding starts out as dark, rather than bright red in color, because this could be bleeding from her cervix and a sign of cervical cancer. In any case, a woman is encouraged to consult her doctor about any bleeding that was a result of sex just to get some peace of mind. “Bleeding after sex—or postcoital bleeding, as it’s called in the medical world—can be a sign of something abnormal, most commonly an infection or cervical polyp, but sometimes something more concerning, like cervical cancer,” says Lisa Stern, an RN and MSN who blogs at ClincialAdvisor.com.
Q: Is it normal to experience pain during or after intercourse?
Many women experience at least mild pain either during or after sex. In fact, they usually experience pain during sex only in certain positions, with certain partners, or at certain times of their menstrual cycles. According to WomansDay.com, “This is often normal, though severe or persistent pain should be evaluated. If you do have pain during intercourse, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like discharge, severe menstrual cramps or discomfort with urination, you should see your health care provider to rule out a cervical infection, endometriosis or interstitial cystitis.”
Q: Can yeast infections be passed from partner to partner?
Yes. Yeast infections can be passed on from partner to partner during unprotected sex. Yeast infections are most common in women and symptoms include thick discharge, burning and irritation, while symptoms in men includes irritation, itching and redness, although many men won’t have any symptoms at all. Although they can easily be treated with antifungal creams and tablets that don’t require a prescription, couples should still be aware that they can pass an infection between each other. Given that, GoAskAlice.Columbia.Edu advises that in order to “To minimize this possibility, consider avoiding sex, or using a condom or dam, until both of you complete treatment.”
Q: Is it normal to laugh or cry uncontrollably during sex?
Sex is an intensely emotional, personal experience, so it’s not unlikely to have some sort of emotional reaction to sex. Any type of emotional reaction could also be due to hormones, where a woman is at in their menstrual cycles, and even feelings or fears that they may have about their relationship. Don’t keep those emotions or fears bottled up; if you need to, share them. According to an article in the Huffington Post, “You know yourself best: If you feel something’s not right, consider bringing it up with your partner or with a therapist.”
To answer any concerns about sexual health, consult with your doctor or Millersville University’s Health Services.