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When is it Permissible to Have Sex After Menstruation?

Sexual relations and menstruation have been intertwined with cultural and religious beliefs throughout history, resulting in varying practices and taboos around the world. One common question that arises is when it is permissible to have sex after menstruation. While this topic is influenced by cultural, religious, and individual beliefs, it is essential to explore general guidelines and medical perspectives to understand the broader context.

Menstruation and Fertility

Menstruation is a normal physiological process in women of reproductive age, lasting approximately 3 to 7 days. During this time, the uterine lining sheds, and the body expels blood and other materials from the vagina. Menstruation occurs when an egg released during the previous menstrual cycle was not fertilized, leading to the shedding of the uterine lining.

Following menstruation, a woman's body prepares for the possibility of conception once again. Ovulation, the release of an egg from the ovary, typically occurs about 12 to 14 days before the next expected period. During this fertile window, if sexual intercourse occurs and sperm fertilizes the egg, pregnancy can result.

Cultural and Religious Perspectives

The question of when it is permissible to have sex after menstruation is often influenced by cultural and religious beliefs. In some cultures and religions, sexual relations during menstruation are considered taboo, and couples may choose to abstain from intercourse during this time. The reasons behind these beliefs can vary, ranging from notions of ritual impurity to cultural practices handed down through generations.

For example, in some Hindu traditions, women are considered ritually unclean during menstruation, and sexual relations during this time are avoided. In certain Islamic practices, sexual intercourse is also discouraged during menstruation due to the belief that it is a time of impurity.

It is essential to respect and understand diverse cultural and religious beliefs surrounding menstruation and sexual practices. Different communities may have unique perspectives on the subject, and couples should communicate openly about their beliefs and preferences to ensure mutual understanding and respect.

Medical Perspective

From a medical standpoint, there are no specific restrictions on engaging in sexual activity after menstruation, as long as both partners are comfortable and consenting. Menstruation itself does not pose any medical reasons for abstaining from sex. The decision to have sex should be based on individual preferences and considerations, including physical comfort, emotional well-being, and the use of appropriate contraception.

Fertility Awareness and Family Planning

For couples who are trying to conceive, understanding the menstrual cycle and fertility awareness can be beneficial. By tracking the woman's menstrual cycle, including the timing of ovulation, couples can increase their chances of conceiving during the most fertile days of the cycle. There are various methods for tracking fertility, such as the calendar method, basal body temperature method, and cervical mucus method. These methods can help predict the fertile window and aid in family planning.

It is crucial to note that the menstrual cycle can vary from woman to woman and even from cycle to cycle for the same woman. Factors such as stress, illness, travel, and hormonal changes can influence the timing of ovulation and menstruation. Therefore, couples should not rely solely on calendar-based predictions but use other fertility tracking methods for increased accuracy.

Safe Sexual Practices

Regardless of the cultural, religious, or medical perspectives, it is essential to prioritize sexual health and practice safe sex. Consistent and correct use of condoms and other barrier methods can help prevent unintended pregnancies and protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Consulting a healthcare provider can provide couples with valuable information about contraceptive options and family planning. It is crucial to choose a contraceptive method that aligns with individual preferences and lifestyle. In conclusion, the timing of sexual relations after menstruation varies based on cultural, religious, and individual beliefs. From a medical standpoint, there are no specific medical reasons to abstain from sex after menstruation.

However, fertility awareness and family planning can be useful for couples trying to conceive. The most crucial aspect of this issue is open and respectful communication between partners, mutual respect for each other's beliefs, and responsible sexual practices to ensure sexual health and well-being.


  • Smith KB, Pukall CF. (2011). An evidence-based review of sexual satisfaction and its correlates in women. Clin Psychol Rev. 31(6), 931-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.003. PMID: 21664292.
  • World Health Organization. (2010). Family planning/Contraception.

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