Happy National Orgasm Day! If you have a period, you might experience cramps or an increased sex drive while on your period. Did you know that listening to that drive might actually help relieve your cramps? What does an orgasm have to do with my period?
An orgasm can be a very helpful tool for someone experiencing period cramps. Here at Saalt we embrace education in all its forms including understanding the reproductive system, how it fully works, and natural tools to help alleviate period cramping and pain.
What is an orgasm?
An orgasm is the height or peak of sexual arousal when the body releases sexual tension. It involves very powerful feelings of enjoyment in the genitals and throughout the body as a whole. An orgasm happens after the genitals or erogenous zones have been stimulated. It causes intense feelings of pleasure and is the height of sexual arousal.
Orgasms can have several positive effects on overall health. People experience sexual arousal and climax differently, which is completely natural and beneficial. Orgasm length varies from person to person, but usually last only a few seconds and can feel exhilarating.
Orgasms occur during sexual stimulation of the genitals and sexual or erogenous zones of the body. These zones typically include but are not limited to the following areas:
While an orgasm can occur during masturbation it can also happen during sex with a partner. Many people participate in various forms of sex including genital or erogenous zone massage, oral sex, penetrative vaginal sex, and penetrative anal sex. If engaging in sex with a partner, it’s important to remember to have open conversations with your partner regarding protection from STIs and what forms of birth control you both choose to use or not use.
Clitoral and Vaginal Stimulation
For many people, an orgasm can occur through the stimulation of the clitoris and/or vaginal penetration.
Where is the clitoris? The external part of the clitoris is located between the labia, above the top of the vaginal opening, in an area called the clitoral hood. The clitoris is a sensitive area of the genitals that can be stimulated to reach orgasm. (Fun fact: The clitoris has the most nerve endings per square inch of any part of the human body!)
Some people may experience an orgasm from vaginal penetration alone, though a 2017 study found that fewer than 1 in 5 women reported being able to reach orgasm this way, without clitoral stimulation as well.
When an orgasm results from both the clitoris and vagina being stimulated simultaneously, the resulting orgasm is typically considered to be more intense.
Why Period Sex?
While some people experience increased libido during their period, others find no change in libido or even a reduction in libido. Many partners choose to participate in period sex for various reasons including the benefit of relieving period cramps. During an orgasm the body releases oxytocin and dopamine. Both of these hormones increase feelings of happiness, euphoria, and other positive feelings. These hormones have been known to counteract cortisol or the “stress hormone.” Additionally, during an orgasm, the muscles in the genitals and anus contract repeatedly. The release of oxytocin and dopamine along with the contractions of the uterus have been known to help relieve period cramps and offer pleasant relief for those who suffer with period pain and discomfort.
Some partners are comfortable participating in period sex without the use of a menstrual disc, while others prefer “mess-free” period sex with a menstrual disc. A menstrual disc is a reusable period disc made of soft silicone that is worn internally like a tampon, but collects—rather than absorbs—your menstrual flow. Naturally odorless and biocompatible, menstrual discs are a healthy and sustainable alternative to pads and tampons. Because they have a capacity 3–6 times that of a regular tampon, they can be worn for up to 12 hours before emptying. That means you only have to change it twice a day, and can sleep with it in. Unlike period cups, a disc does not require suction to stay in place. Rather, it is held in place by its rim in the vaginal fornix (aka the wider space around the cervix) so you can comfortably have sex with your disc inserted.
Whether you choose to particpate in period sex with or without a menstrual disc is totally up to you and your partner and both of your comfort levels. Ongoing conversations are key! If you are looking to try a menstrual disc, the Saalt Disc
However you plan on celebrating National Orgasm Day, we hope you feel comfortable in your own skin. We hope we’ve given you some tools on how to understand your own anatomy and how to approach your period on this day. Happy orgasming!