Your period and sex are both opportunities to take some time to connect with yourself, appreciate your body, and stretch deeply. Movement can help with menstrual cramps (period sex is also a great way to relax those cramping muscles!) and limbering up ahead of time can make sex easier and more enjoyable. Plus, regular stretching can help improve flexibility, making it even easier to get creative with your positions.
Restorative yoga where there is an emphasis on support, relaxation, and deeper stretches is a great place to start when looking to stretch during these times. With the help of Kara Rubens, a certified yoga instructor, I’ve compiled a list of some of my personal favorite yoga poses that are especially beneficial for menstruation and sex.
1. Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is a wonderful option for both menstruation and sex because it stretches your spine, thighs, hips, and ankles all at once. This makes it especially suited to helping with the back pain or tightness some menstruators experience. The hips, thighs, and ankles are all areas that work hard during sex, making this a great pose for a variety of sex positions. I especially recommend it in preparation for doggy style where your back and ankles are under more stress than in other reclined positions like missionary.
2. Supported Reclining Bound Angle Pose
This pose opens your hips, stretches your knees, groin, and inner thighs while stimulating a variety of your abdominal organs, including your ovaries! This pose is known for being especially great at relieving symptoms of menstruation. I especially love this position for preparing for masturbation or missionary since lying back with your hips splayed open for either activity can cause some strain if your inner thighs and hips are too tight.
Tip: Place supports of equal height under either knee and the outer edge of your thighs to help facilitate a deeper stretch or add similar supports under your head, neck, or back to open your chest as well or just to help yourself get comfortable! Some supports you can use include: blocks, blankets, pillows, or bolsters
3. Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose aids in digestion while stretching your lower back and hip flexors, making it another pose well suited to relieving the lower back pain that can accompany menstruation and an important stretch for sex. Hip flexors can get really tight from many sex positions, including missionary and masturbation depending on the length of time, your body, and how you’ve positioned or supported yourself. By taking time to stretch in this pose before and after solo sex or sex with a partner you can keep your hips and lower back relaxed and limber.
4. Cat-Cow Pose
Cat-Cow pose is a universally advantageous pose that is perfect for including in pretty much any practice. It’s especially soothing during pregnancy, menstruation, or before/after sex since it is highly effective at stretching your back muscles. This pose is an especially suited for participation in doggie-style sex where you often are using your back muscles more than you realize! This pose also can help improve posture and balance long term, making it easier to hold certain sexual positions longer.
5. Deep Squat Pose
This pose can be challenging but feels amazing. Add some supports like a block under your bum to help you get more comfortable and sink deeply into the pose. This squat helps open and lengthen numerous areas of your body and it helps with pain in the pelvic region, abdomen, hips, back and groin. Some people even find that this pose can help some conditions associated with pelvic floor. This makes it a great pose for menstrual symptom relief and limbering up for solo or partnered sex in any position!
While these poses offer a variety of incredible physical benefits, the experience of stretching deeply can be even further improved by moving with intention and taking the time to connect with your body, determine what feels good, and what you and your body need today. Going into solo or partnered sex with some idea of what feels and sounds good today makes it even easier to tailor the experience, making it even more enjoyable! Taking this time to appreciate all your body can do is also an amazing confidence booster and can help you feel sexy, especially during your period when feeling sexy might be a challenge.
Looking for some more poses to try? Try to find restorative or supported poses that focus on any areas of the body you hold tension during menstruation or sex. It’s also traditionally recommended that you avoid inversions during your period, although there is some debate over the topic. As always, listen to your body and do what feels best for you and don’t forget that any pose can be modified to better suit your body’s current needs.
Blog post by Briana Ryan:
Briana is a Master’s of Human Rights student who fills her spare time with writing, reading, yoga, and family time (including, of course, lots of cuddles and playtime with her surprisingly spritely senior dog). In the past, Briana has put her skills to work volunteering with and working for Days for Girls International--an organization devoted to advancing menstrual equity. Although it has taken some time to unpack her own shame around menstruation, Briana now loves chatting about all things menstrual and reproductive health and jumps at any opportunity to get involved with organizations and businesses that empower menstruators.