We were surprised.

Blake Bakkila
April 13, 2018

When you have you period, do you hit pause on your usual sexual habits? If you answered yes, you're not alone. A new survey found that just 15% of menstruating women keep the same sex routine during their period days that they enjoy the rest of the month. 

What are they doing in bed instead? According to the survey, 48% avoid all genital sexual activity, while 41% said they focus on stimulating their partner.

RELATED: The Best Sex Positions for Having Sex on Your Period

The  was conducted by , a period tracking phone app, and the Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team. The researchers asked 95,000 people from 200 countries about period sex and condom use. 

The condom use results are kind of concerning. When people who rely on condoms for birth control and/or STD protection do get it on during menstruation, they're more likely to forgo the condom. Condom use declined 15% during period week, results showed.

Skipping condoms during shark week may have to do with myths surrounding pregnancy and STD risk: 30% of people polled said they were less worried about pregnancy during their period. (Those individuals could be among the 50% of all respondents who said they use other forms of contraception.)

And one in three respondents who didn't use a condom during period sex said that they were "unconcerned about catching a sexually transmitted infection" at this time of the month.

If you typically use condoms for STD and/or pregnancy protection, not using it during period sex is risky, experts say. "Some periods last more than a week and sometimes a woman's ovulation can overlap with menstruation," Tara Ford, a physician assistant at the in Purchase, New York, told Health in a previous interview.

As for STD risk, the survey stat could reflect the fact that respondents weren't worried about their partner's status. But it’s important to remember that your cervix is more open during that time of the month, so you have slightly higher odds of infection during unprotected sex, Dr. Ford said.

RELATED: The Most Effective Birth Control Methods, Ranked

When it comes to deciding to use a condom or not, 20% of women said they are the sole decision maker, and three out of four women said they and their partner decide together. With the risks of pregnancy and STDs in mind, take charge of your health and keep using condoms, if they're your usual method all month long. 

And while it's totally fine to change your usual sex habits when you have your flow, there's absolutely no reason not to go for it—in fact, period sex can have major benefits.

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