When Flo comes to town, the idea of popping a couple of Midol, throwing on sweats, and binge watching Netflix might be the only thing that really gets you going. But for others, the perfect night is spent spooning—and more—with baes other than Ben and Jerry.
And since every romp sesh doesn't go down like that 50 Shades of Grey scene (read: your man doesn't volunteer to pull out your tampon for you), we called on real women to reveal the details of their bleeding love...making.
Here, they share what period sex is really like outside a raunchy chapter in an E.L. James book—and why a towel is actually a girl’s best friend.
“I'm usually much hornier on my period than any other time. I'm on the pill, so if I do have sex on my period it's at the end when the blood is almost done. Sometimes my husband wants to have sex when there is more blood, but I know he'll get grossed out. So we usually refrain.” —Jane S., 28
"My fiancé and I don't mind period sex. We just don't talk about it. But it's very enjoyable. As gross as it may seem, you're already lubricated and the orgasms help with the cramps and discomfort of the entire situation. We just put a towel down and jump in the shower after or even during!" —Jennifer C., 32
“My periods are very light, so sex on my period isn't really different than regular sex. Though we don't have sex on those days as often as I'd like. My boyfriend is very generous with oral sex normally, so I usually use those two days to go down on him without expecting anything in return.” —Beth S., 25
“I do not feel as confident when I’m on my period. But period sex does not bother my boyfriend at all. I just feel lazier and more lethargic, so I'm almost never the one who initiates sex during that time of the month. Sometimes we do it in the shower or standing up so we don't stain the sheets. One bonus is that we do not need to use lube when I am on my period.” —Allison M., 25
"Period sex happens for me only when my fiancé is following me around like a horny puppy dog and won't leave me alone. I only agree to it if it's the last few days of my cycle. I hate the thought of both of us being covered in vagina blood and laying a towel down like we are preparing for surgery. And then there's the cleanup." —Tessa B., 33
“The sex is the only awesome thing about having my period (besides not being pregnant, obviously). I'm in the mood 24/7, I'm wetter than usual, and my boobs stay perky the entire time. Our period sex is more random and spontaneous and hot. Besides putting a towel under me (if I'm on my back), I don't do anything different. The clean-up is never anything we worry about and, usually, my husband is too relaxed to say anything.” —Alex B., 26
“We don't have as much sex when I'm on my period because it's messy and also I get super dry (thanks, tampons and weird bodily fluctuations). I'm on my period 25 percent of the time, which sucks. If I'm bleeding heavily, we definitely use towels, lean more toward shower sex, and experience tedious clean-up on both ends. I think I'm hornier, but my husband is less interested because sex isn't as fun for him, which makes us both less interested and engaged.” —Tara B., 25
“I tend to be more aroused at this time. It can be messy, but for some reason my body is more relaxed and lubricated, so it just feels better. I have also found it’s easier to orgasm. I wouldn't say it is always my favourite time to have sex, but my period never stops me from having sex.” —Liz L., 32
“Period sex is amazing! I love period sex. I never actually participated in it until dating my current boyfriend because, quite frankly, I thought it was gross and it felt the same. Well, let me tell you, the times have changed. I feel like I'm more sensitive during that time of the month, which makes everyone happier. Then almost every single time afterwards, my period gets lighter or practically nonexistent. I take it as a way of my body thanking me. Great sex + a light period = one happy girl.” —Nicole A., 25
"Periods suck in general. And having sex while I'm on mine isn't much better. I hate running the risk of staining my comforter (it's expensive!) and having to deal with guys who, generally, run away after hearing that I'm on my period." —Rachael T., 27
“Until very recently, I was thoroughly creeped out by the idea of period sex. It just seemed gross for everyone involved. I truly think it's a mental thing. There's a lot of love and trust between my current partner and myself, so I am no longer hesitant. In fact, he suggested it the first time. Now I have period sex all of the time! Honestly, it’s really empowering! We tend to have sex in missionary when it’s my time of the month, but that’s about the only ‘precaution’ we take. I think if you’re open and honest with one another, period sex is not a big deal and can be just as exciting and pleasurable as any other days of the month.” —Whitney J., 25
“I wouldn't say that I like period sex more than regular sex, but my boyfriend and I love that I’m so much wetter than I usually am. That extra lubrication makes me more open to other positions that I don't normally prefer. I don't really feel my sexiest on my period, mostly because of bloating (and all the chocolate I eat), but my boobs are definitely bigger and I'll take that any way that I can. I put down a towel, mostly because I'm lazy and don't want to do more laundry than I have to. But at the end of the day, it's sex with the guy I love. So, regardless, I'm always team period sex. If only for the laughs!” —Kate C., 23
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.