The official party line on period sex nowadays is that a menstruating woman’s partner should be cool and chill with this natural human occurrence, and that people who refuse to have sex with period-having humans are immature and ignorant.

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But for those who prefer mess-free sex, what you need is a makeup sponge. (A former escort told me that the porn and sex work industry run on them.) If you would like to have bloodless oral, digital, and penetrative sex during your period, cosmetic wedges might just change your life.

You’ve seen them. They look like this:

Just insert one (or two, if you’re attempting day-one period sex) up to your cervix and you should be good for a couple of hours. They warm up quickly and feel just like the inside of a vagina, especially when they’re slick with….well, the various fluids that might render them slick. Fingers may be able to feel them, but most penises—even condomless ones—will be none the wiser, and tongues won’t get anywhere near them.

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After sex, simply bear down and fish the sponge(s) out ASAP. This operation is not for the faint of heart, and if this is after vigorous sex and/or sex with a very large penis or dildo, it might take a few minutes to hook your finger onto it. I’ve heard that the oversized ones are easier to extract, but I’ve never seen those at the drugstore. (Obviously, cosmetic wedges aren’t going to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases or do anything to prevent pregnancy—but it’s worth saying anyway.)

If you’re squeamish about chemicals: Some people use a sea sponge for a more “organic” approach. But the former sex worker who turned me onto this method said these sponges are far more temperamental and tend to leak. They’re good for reducing a gush to a trickle, but if you’re trying to avoid alerting a sex partner about your period altogether, this is not a great method. From what I can tell, the chemical factor of the white makeup sponge is about as bad as a regular non-organic tampon, though some people will tell you those are pretty bad. 

If you insist on something custom-made for the vagina: You can order Softcup tampons (the website claims you can find them at Walgreens and CVS, but in my experience they’re pretty elusive). These cost more money, however, and the one time I tried them my partner complained that they felt scratchy on the tip of his penis.

I recommend keeping it simple and just buying the OG makeup sponges. I’ve been using these for a year and only once or twice have I discovered errant drops of blood. And this was only when I got lazy and left them in for more than one round of sex. Besides being able to have varied, relaxed sex during an especially horny time, this trick spares me that “Er, just a heads up…” moment with a super-new partner. Frankly, it’s none of their business!