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Queering Period Sex: Navigating Gender, Power, and Heteronormativity in Sex During Menstruation

Juniper  ◆  August 5, 2022  ◆  2:45 pm – 4:15 pm

While sex during menstruation has generally been understudied, the experiences of period sex for queer women and genderqueer Assigned-Female-At-Birth (AFAB) individuals has remained relatively invisible. This study drew from qualitative data collected in 2019-2020 from 30 women and AFAB individuals (mean age= 30.8, SD= 6.63) throughout the U.S. Midwest to explore how women and AFAB individuals talked about their experiences with having sex during their periods. In this study we identified six themes for how participants discussed period sex: 1) Period sex as enjoyable or no big deal; 2) Not minding period sex but not having enthusiasm for it; 3) Efforts to minimize shame and discomfort with it; 4) Disliking period sex; 5) Embracing vaginal sex but not cunnilingus while menstruating; 6) Looking for partner cues to determine feelings about period sex. Implications for understanding intrapsychic, relational, and social/cultural aspects of menstrual sex were explored, as were patterns of accommodating stigma compared to resisting stigma when reflecting on meanings of menstruation, sexuality, eroticism, queer identity, and relationships.

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