Aunt Vadge: can fingering bring on my period?

Hi Aunt Vadge,

I am 24 years old and I am not a virgin. I let a guy finger me and at first it was enjoyable, but afterwards it started to hurt. I told my guy it hurt, and to do it more gently, and he did. After about 4-6 times of fingering me it began to hurt.

After the fun was done I felt a little sore down there, and the next day I felt sore too. I was also supposed to get my period the day I let him finger me.

The soreness should go away right? I am feeling cramps in my legs and thighs and I feel like my period should be coming soon, but him fingering me on the day I was supposed to get my period wouldn’t delay my period would it?

Please help,
Worried

_______

Dear Worried,
Thank you for your letter, Worried. Your question is very valid – can sex play, fingering or otherwise – affect your period, or any other part of your menstrual cycle?

The short and simple answer is no.

The reason for this is that sexual activity, like fingering, is a physical action, just like running, clapping, or singing. The short-term chemical and hormonal response your body has to those actions can’t do much to your other, long-acting hormones. The long-acting hormones support your fertility, i.e. oestrogen and progesterone production. So no, fingering can’t delay or bring on your period. Your period comes when it comes, as part of your normal cycle – every month will be a bit different usually, and it isn’t ‘late’ as such, just different to last time.

That is not to say, however, that sexual activity can’t influence your cycle, but if it did, the action would probably be far slower. Say for example you may ovulate later or at a different time than ‘usual’ (everyone’s cycles vary from month to month) when you are stressed, and if you ovulate late, you get your period late – the number of days between ovulation and your period are always the same. Your body may delay ovulation if you are stressed. You should use a period tracking app or calendar so you know precisely how many days every one of your cycles is, and know when your period is due.

The act of orgasming causes contractions of your vaginal, and sometimes cervical, tissues which can easily cause the expulsion of some uterine lining (menstrual blood or period) if it was ready to come out anyway. This isn’t bringing on your period, as your period is driven by hormonal signals, but merely helping it to come out, which certainly is not harmful and can be very relaxing for inflamed, period-ready tissue.

Worried, you also mention the pain you are having during and/or after fingering. As with almost all of the letters I receive regarding pain after fingering, you seem to be experiencing a lack of proper sexual arousal and an overabundance of unsophisticated male groping. It seems that many of you need to either school your gentlemen friends in how to first, actually turn your body and brain on, then on how to touch your vagina with pleasure, not pain. You should both read this article on fingering for guys, which covers all the basics.

Fingering is a very specialised activity that far too many of us enter into lightly as some kind of rite of passage. Boys like to finger girls so girls let them do it, despite the amount of injury, pain, swelling and bleeding endured. Wrong! Save the fingering and learn how to go slow, be gentle and actually figure out what your body likes before you let a guy insert anything into it. This means masturbating, so get on it Worried. The world needs more young women who can teach young men what to do, because your men friends have less idea what to do than you do. You are supposed to be the expert! Pain on or after fingering means you’re doing it all wrong.

Thanks for your great question, and may all your periods come on time. If you need any more help, ask away.

Warmest wishes,
Aunt Vadge

 

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.