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not tonight, headache
December 13, 2010 10:04 PM   Subscribe

Gay guy here. I'm wondering how a woman on a date with a new romantic interest might convey the following message: "I don't want to discourage you because I find you attractive, but we're not having sex tonight because I'm on my period."

I realize that plenty of women have sex during menstruation. I assume they're less likely to do so early in a relationship. School me if I'm wrong.
posted by roger ackroyd to Human Relations (46 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
"not tonight; next time."
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 10:08 PM on December 13, 2010


Two ways:

1) Indirect/Coy dissuasion. Kiss here or there, then a "thanks for a good night. I hope to see you/see more of you next time"

or

2) "I don't want to discourage you because I find you attractive, but we're not having sex tonight because I'm on my period."
posted by greta simone at 10:10 PM on December 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


"I find you very attractive, but you're only getting a BHUTAN tonight because I'm on my period." It's the twenty-first century. Feel free to substitute a euphemism for "on my period" (although educated women with self-respect will not tend to use one), but there's no reason to lie.
posted by halogen at 10:14 PM on December 13, 2010 [36 favorites]


Oh holy shit autocorrect on Android. Bhutan = blowjob. Not sure what happened there.
posted by halogen at 10:16 PM on December 13, 2010 [391 favorites]


Hmm. This question strikes me as odd because I'd like to think that this lady doesn't need to explain why she doesn't wish to shag her beau -- all she needs say, after a sultry kiss (or several) is, "I had a fabulous time tonight; it's hard to rip myself away, but I really should go; I hope we'll see each other again very soon."

Or, more trickily, if the guy is spending the night, perhaps in the same bed: "I'm having a fabulous time; I can't tell you how hot you are; but tonight isn't the best night of the month to explore it further, if you know what I mean."

If the guy is puzzled, he'll ask what's up, and lady can reply: "I've got my period, it's a bit of a drag. You want to snuggle?"

If the guy is worth another date, he's not going to be upset or press or pout, so the case, as they say, shall close.
posted by artemisia at 10:31 PM on December 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


As it was said to me recently (early on in the date): "Just to warn you, tonight I'm both cursed and blessed, so it'll just be about you."

had to think for a moment about the 'blessed' part, but I realise it meant I hadn't knocked her up .. though that wouldn't apply on a first date
posted by mannequito at 10:33 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Things start getting frisky, they reach for the pants, girl goes "nuh uh"--usually no more explanation necessary, but sometimes makes allusions to monthly visitor and whatnot--and redirects attention to another area.
posted by schroedinger at 10:35 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I concur with schroedinger and artemisia's comments.
posted by desuetude at 10:41 PM on December 13, 2010


It all depends on the woman. Not everyone feels the same way about period sex. Same goes for the dude. I mean are they gonna fool around until it gets to the point where she says something? Or is she shutting it down early on? What if the dude says he doesn't care? What's her motivation for saying it? Are we presupposing she would get it on were it not for her period?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:43 PM on December 13, 2010


"I don't want to discourage you because I find you attractive, but we're not having sex tonight because I'm on my period."

Yup, that about covers it.

Seeing as I only have sex with adults who are seemingly attracted to women, I typically assume that they know that periods exist. I refuse to be all coy and shit. My period is not some deep dark secret that can never be spoken of.
posted by Sara C. at 10:46 PM on December 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


It's funny I have a friend that would always use this as an excuse when guys were moving a little too fast. She would just go, "sorry it's that time of the month," and then she'd spare herself the guy trying to debate her into sex. She used this excuse so often she figured half the guys she knew must think she's having her period 28 out of 30 days of the month, which we all found pretty amusing.
posted by whoaali at 10:55 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised 23 people favorited the blowjob alternative. That's not a part of my "sorry attractive guy I barely know but we're not having sex because I have my period" line.

I agree that straightforward is the norm. It's something that comes up all the time (once a month!) so it's not awkward for anyone pas the age of about 18. All parties concerned know the score.
posted by fshgrl at 10:57 PM on December 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm surprised 23 people favorited the blowjob alternative. That's not a part of my "sorry attractive guy I barely know but we're not having sex because I have my period" line.

I'd not mistake hilarity at the BHUTAN for endorsement of of the BJ.

I'm pretty sure I've never been in this situation, but I think just a "no, sorry, I've got my period and don't favor intercourse during that week" would work.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:03 PM on December 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think those people were favoriting the autocorrection/newly-minted euphemism.
posted by pineappleheart at 11:03 PM on December 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


OK, that makes a lot more sense. For the OP, if the relationship is at the point you think you might sleep with the guy after a particular date there is often (usually?) some scheduling considerations to avoid this very scenario.
posted by fshgrl at 11:12 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would generally be straightforward about it or use some variety of euphemism that is easily understood by my partner. I may also be a little less gung-ho about the pre-sex activities, to try not to get it to that point.

But let me also mention that I dislike when guys ask me about it using some variety of cutesy euphemism (especially "Aunt Flo", I despise that with the rage of a thousand Conan the Barbarians) that I have not previously set forth as an acceptable euphemism. "Period" is a generally acceptable term, also "Time of the month".
posted by that girl at 11:24 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think this scenario is sort of flawed to begin with. If he's a new romantic interest, say first, second, or third date, you simply don't have sex. Even if you would have otherwise had sex on the first date, there's enough cultural wiggle room that a guy will not think it is weird that you don't, and will just assume you don't want to sleep with him/any date that early. If you're suggesting that by not having sex you won't "snare" him, or he'll lose interest...oh well. If a woman was looking to have NSA sex, or wanted to date the kind of guy who would be upset/leave her/get bored if she didn't have sex right away...she would wait until she wasn't on her period to go on a date, you know what I mean? So the whole thing presupposes that the guy is interested enough in her actual personality to stick around for another date. Periods only last a week. Dates typically happen on weekends. It wouldn't be that long to wait. Also, avoiding the subject of her period eventually becomes pointless in a LTR with any guy anyway, so if they're close enough to be feelin' LTR potential already, bringing it up wouldn't be that weird.

If that makes sense.
posted by Nixy at 11:25 PM on December 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


I can think of situations where this might arise.

For instance I've had a few dates that have been sort of frantically scheduled. Especially if one or both of us is busy and it's early enough that a thwarted date might mean simply never going out again. I'd happily see someone for a second or third date and then end the night with, "Look, I'm sorry the timing is bad, but I have my period." And then just have sex next time, having cemented by showing up for the date that there will be a next time.

It's also entirely possible that you might start your period the day of the date. Canceling on someone because you have your period is silly.

By the way, yes, some of us do have sex on the first date, sometimes. And since I don't keep that any big secret, I see no reason to just say, "I'd have sex with you, but I have my period." Why should I deliberately make myself out to be some sort of chaste virgin, out of a fear of admitting that I *gasp* bleed once a month?
posted by Sara C. at 11:34 PM on December 13, 2010


Sorry, that should say "I see no reason not to say..."
posted by Sara C. at 11:35 PM on December 13, 2010


Sara C, it's less about being ashamed of your period than it is about just there being no need to mention it. "I'd have sex with you, but..." is sort of a bait and switch, no? It's just...to bring up not having sex, you first have to bring up having sex. It's a sort of structuralist conundrum!

Also, perhaps my perspective is a bit different on this because I am aware ahead of time which week in a month my period will be. That's something to take into account- women on birth control or who keep track of it on a calender will know in advance.
posted by Nixy at 11:45 PM on December 13, 2010


I wish I'd worded my original question differently — I'm not so much interested in what a woman would say to her suitor as how she would proceed in the situation. But many of you have answered that for me.

Thanks for all your comments. I really appreciate them.

And halogen, the Bhutan Tourism Council owes you big time.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:17 AM on December 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yes, so to sum up, we have heard these suggestions:

- avoid going on a date that weekend
- go home after the event without making out, just leave it as a nice date
- make out but don't have sex without really giving an explanation (use the "cultural wiggle room," "be a little less gung-ho about the pre-sex activities, to try not to get it to that point")
- get to third base and then say "nuh-huh" "visitor" "time of month"
- get to third base and then say "sorry I'm on my period"
- at any point say "I think you're hot but I don't want to have sex because I'm on my period"
- counterpropose some Bhutan instead

I think that covers everything I could think of. I'd probably be in one of the first three on that list.

The only other question is whether your assumption holds up, that people are less ok with menstrual sex with new partners. Maybe on average, but I'm sure there are also people who are just all "does that work for you? works for me. let's do it" and then get it on.

Not to get too chatty/off the subject, but I don't have sex with people who can't handle complicated ideas like "I'd love to, but..."
My issue with "I'd love to, but..." is that it could reinforce the idea that one should make excuses or explain oneself. You don't want to? Don't. No need to explain. To me, it'd likely feel more empowering to not explain myself.

posted by salvia at 12:27 AM on December 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Not to derail- it is sort of relevant to the OP- but I think I understand the confusion. There's a difference if the guy asks directly, verus the woman bringing it up apropros of nothing. I was thinking more along the lines of the second scenario because of the way the OP was phrased. But I think if the guy is asking pretty directly, it makes sense to answer directly.
posted by Nixy at 12:47 AM on December 14, 2010


There's a difference if the guy asks directly, verus the woman bringing it up apropros of nothing.

I've brought it up apropos of not very much when it's become clear we're leaving a venue and walking to where one of us lives - the third base point can kind of die off in a disheartening way when you mention it then, so I'd rather either they accepted it, accepted it and disregarded it, or had their freak-out while we're still dressed.

For me, it's easier to say something that doesn't make it a big deal and then move on than have a negotiation through body language that might communicate something different. Culturally, maybe I've gone out with too many people whose first dates may often go from making out to sex for the method of "thanks, let's do this again!" to get the right message across.
posted by carbide at 3:46 AM on December 14, 2010


I wish I'd worded my original question differently — I'm not so much interested in what a woman would say to her suitor as how she would proceed in the situation.

In which case it's worth mentioning that plenty of women sometimes do have early relationship sex—or even one night stands—while menstruating. In such a situation, she might let her partner know that although she's menstruating, her ardour is unaffected. So advised, he then has the opportunity to proceed or defer, as he feels comfortable.

While there's certainly a platonic ideal for First Sex, in reality people tend to work with what they've got.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:49 AM on December 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Early in on my first date with my now-husband I mentioned that I had my period and he assumed that meant no sex. Actually, it just a way for me to find out if he was okay with dating real women or if he had unrealistic expectations.
posted by saucysault at 3:56 AM on December 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Actually, I am more likely to have period sex early in a relationship - when you're so uncontrollably into each other that you don't stop to think about it. Also, period sex can be really hot for some women. Ahem. However, if it's so early that I haven't slept with him yet, then probably I would avoid the first time being on my period. If we had already had a few dates and it was clear where things were headed, I would just be straightforward when things started heading towards clothes-off: "I just got my period." If it was date one or two, I might not say anything and just keep it a little less hot-n-heavy. Point being, if my behavior is going to change at all, then I would explain to him why rather than letting him think I wasn't into it.

And no, I would not give any consolatory Bhutan. I find that kind of one-sidedness is not always really fun early on and can be a little weird.
posted by mrs. sock at 5:26 AM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I had an ex girlfriend who, when we were getting hot and heavy told me that she was having "technical issues" and pointed down. I told her that it didn't bother me, but she made it clear that the playground was closed for routine maintenance.
posted by plinth at 5:42 AM on December 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


You don't NEED to offer a blowjob but that's probably what I'd do,while expecting an attempt at reciprocation which I'd fend off. I don't like the implication that there's something wrong with that decision. Some find blowjobs inherently fun, some don't, no one is obligated.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:42 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


While there's certainly a platonic ideal for First Sex, in reality people tend to work with what they've got.

This has been my experience. As an adult, I've found that people are pretty direct about it -- "Hey, wanna come back to my place?" "Sure, but I need to tell you..." -- and then sometimes things happen and sometimes things don't happen. But I've never been big on dating people who were super coy or uncomfortable with these things, so I'm aware that my experience might be somewhat of an outlier.

The "consolatory blow job" has never really had a place in my world, but from talking to friends it does seem to be a common thing for a lot of people. There's a lot of variation out there in how people deal with sex.

Also, although menstruation might be one week in four, I think that a lot of first date sex happens around ovulation:

Fertile women may even be better at getting the men they want. Adding to findings that men prefer the smell of women who are more fertile, a study published last year in the journal Psychological Science found that testosterone levels were higher in men after they smelled T-shirts worn by ovulating women than after smelling T-shirts worn by women who weren't ovulating. Higher testosterone levels imply a higher likelihood of striking out in romantic pursuit....

Fertile women also show more skin, and they are more interested in going to social gatherings.

posted by Forktine at 5:49 AM on December 14, 2010


I met my husband online and he lived 6 hours away, so although we'd "known" each other for months through a message board, emails and many phone calls, our first in-person date was meeting halfway for a weekend at a hotel. I was madly in love with him so I was pretty sure there would be sex if we turned out to have physical chemistry. But then my period started early, a couple of days before the date.

I let him know at our next phone call and asked if he were squeamish about period sex and if so we could reschedule. He said it was fine so we went through with the date and had a great time, in bed and out. I had been nervous about meeting him in general but it never even occurred to me not to be straightforward with him about menstruating.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:55 AM on December 14, 2010


[A few comments removed. BHUTAN autocorrect is funny but a bunch of jokes about it aren't answers; and if you're starting a comment with "not to derail...", don't post the comment, send a mefimail if you want to have a side-conversation with someone.]
posted by cortex at 6:16 AM on December 14, 2010


"I don't want to discourage you because I find you attractive, but we're not having sex tonight because I'm on my period."

If this was an issue for me (it's not, but I know it is for some men, and fair warning is fair) and I didn't know them well to the point where I had to explain that not having sex wasn;'t about their attractiveness....then I'd probably not mention it, because I don't really want to discuss periods with someone who doesn't know me well. I mean, if I had thrush I wouldn't say 'Sorry, but I'm full of thrush', y'know?
posted by mippy at 6:40 AM on December 14, 2010


mippy -- There's a difference between periods and thrush. Most adult pre-menopausal women menstruate. It's a routine biological event, not a medical condition, and I don't think "period" and "contagious yeast infection" are really comparable. Personally, I would reschedule a first date if I was recovering from a contagious illness, but I wouldn't bother rescheduling if my period showed up unexpectedly. (As a matter of fact, it kind of serves as a form of bullshit detector -- if someone's going to freak out about a period, it's a good sign that they lack maturity and the ability to talk rationally about matters relating to sex, both of which are must-haves for me.)
posted by kataclysm at 7:27 AM on December 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


"I'm super worked up, but...right now is really bad timing. (eyelash flutter, glance downward). I don't mind, but if it bothers you, there's plenty of other things we can do."

I'm pretty sure I've used the "bad timing" line about a million times. There's also a variant to get out of anal sex with dudes who do not understand the preparation and advance notice that goes into that activity (for me, just my preference), which is something like "Tonight is not a good night for that, OK? But there's plenty of other things we can do."
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:38 AM on December 14, 2010


> I wish I'd worded my original question differently — I'm not so much interested in what a woman would say to her suitor as how she would proceed in the situation. But many of you have answered that for me.

Wait, so, you're really more interested in knowing the smalltext part, whether women are likely to demur from having sex on their period early on in a relationship? Depends on both the woman and the man's attitudes about it.

Some women would prefer not to because it is messy, or because they're uncomfortable with the different odor of menstrual blood, or because of cramps/tenderness. Some men (especially when younger/less experienced) are SERIOUSLY squicked out by the blood. And some are just a little embarrassed by the blood.

On the other hand, many women report totally rockin' orgasms during period sex.

When I was single, if things were getting heated and I was on my period, I'd give the guy the heads-up, but it wasn't necessarily a dismissal. I was awfully pleasantly surprised the few times that the response was "uh-huh, dark towel on bed, is this okay with you, no worries here" without much pause in the action.
posted by desuetude at 7:45 AM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Depends who the romantic interest is. My sex-positive dyke pals and I are undeterred by our monthly euphemisms. I think you'd get very different answers from ladies who date ladies (or bois, or transmen, and so on and so on).
posted by Lieber Frau at 8:12 AM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Having your period doesn't have to entail any mess at all. I've had lovely, comfortable, clean (well, as clean as you'd want sex to be) sex with new partners who had no idea I had my period. Instead Softcup. It doesn't interfere at all, and the only time anyone noticed it, it was assumed to be a diaphragm. Just be sure to put in a fresh one right before sex.
posted by decathecting at 8:33 AM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I let things progress naturally and wait 'til we've been making out a while and it's clear he's probably wondering what's next. Then I just say something about having my period which is a pain, since I really want to, and that's that. I guess maybe I'd be less tease-y if I brought it up sooner, but I dunno, maybe 'cause I've only dated shy people like myself or something, it'd feel presumptuous and like putting the cart in front of the horse or something.

And yeah, it's nice when your date doesn't care, though I don't know how comfortable I'd be with it being period sex the very first time I was with someone to be honest. But later...
posted by ifjuly at 10:11 AM on December 14, 2010


It's interesting the number of women who think guys will be grossed out by the thought of period sex. "Nope, doesn't bother me at all. Throw down a towel, go for it, shower afterwards." (after the usual "Wow, looks like a murder scene" jokes).

If you can't be easygoing, accepting, and willing to find workarounds, be patient, and laugh, whatever the case may be, you probably shouldn't be in bed naked together.
posted by mrbill at 10:55 AM on December 14, 2010


Period sex gives me awful cramps. In the early stages of a relationship I'd just say sex wasn't an option. Same thing later on. It's not a big deal.
posted by nerdfish at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2010


i've found far more women that won't have sex on their periods, than men who won't knock boots with a bleeding lady (after the age of about 22 or so). i disagree that only uneducated women who lack self respect use euphemisms. my current favorite is shark week.

it really just depends on the woman, the man, the time of cycle (day one or two, you'd be crazy to think i'd fuck on those days - days 5 or 6, if i'm super horny and don't find myself disgusting, absolutely), familiarity, and a host of other things.

i assume this is for a book? if so - telling us about the characters could help us help you flesh it all out.
posted by nadawi at 1:24 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I didn't feel like having sex at all, I'd try to set things up so the situation didn't arise in the first place. As Nixy points out, that's not hard to manage.

I've said things like "Just so you know, I'm bit of a gorefest right now," so the other person could back out if that were going to be a problem.

In any case, I have zero interest in ever having sex with anyone with whom I'd have to be all coy and vague.
posted by tangerine at 3:49 PM on December 14, 2010


This exact thing happened to me on a date a couple months ago. We were having a great time with each other and started kissing and she came right out with it.. "I want to fuck you so badly but I'm on my period." So we had the nastiest, funkiest, dirtiest non-sex you could think of. Definitely good enough for me. Plus I didn't have to worry about the possibility of "drunk dick." ;) I'd say that's a win-win.
posted by ReeMonster at 6:17 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It depends mostly on what sex I feel like because it's my period. If I didn't want to have sex because it was my period, I'd say basically: "I don't want to discourage you because I find you attractive, but we're not having sex tonight because I'm on my period." But if I did want sex, but not intercourse in my period, then I'd continue forward until it was very clear that sex was moving forward and I'd say something along the lines of "it's my period, just outside, not inside", and move forward. If period intercourse was fine with me, but I wasn't sure about him, I'd say something like "it's my period. I'm good with anything, or there's lots of other way we can play. It's your call".
posted by sockraticpielogue at 7:13 PM on December 14, 2010


If I'm with someone who I want to have sex with, I tell him "You know, I really want you to spend the night but I've got my period... " If the guy doesn't mind, he'll say so, and if he's not into it, he'll be like "Ah ok, oh well." I let the guy decide, in my experience, most guys don't care.

If I'm don't want to have sex, then of course, there is no explanation necessary.
posted by Locochona at 5:47 PM on December 28, 2010


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