By: Jax Gonzalez
“How do you feel about menstrual sex?” Caryn asked, taking a sip from a beer and holding her gaze intently. I feel my body get hot, my palms get sweaty, turned on at the opportunity to discuss my three favorite topics: menstruation, politics, and gender. I live for moments like this, where my political agenda intersects with my other passions: queers & gender theory. You see, I am somewhat of a menstrual sex connoisseur. For me, everything we enact can be an opportunity to strive for liberation -- the personal is so very political.
In gauging my interest in a potential partner, I place a good amount of weight on the degree to which they reply with enthusiastic consent to the proposition of having sex while I am bleeding. Menstrual sex is a topic typically forced to the periphery. This is due to the social meaning ascribed to it - at worst taboo and disgusting, and at best private and impolite to discuss on the first date. Some of my best sex has been while I am menstruating. The abundance of lubrication and the intentionality of refusing sterility appeals to my queer sexuality.
Unlearning the gendered rules and expectations made of individuals by the social world is key in the project of liberation. Embracing the messy, the visceral, the reality of bodies who experience a menstrual cycle - is a queer project.
Besides the benefits an orgasm affords when you are bleeding (they reduce cramps), truly liberating myself from the idea that my body should be contained has significantly improved my relationship to pleasure. Queer sexuality, as defined by Jane Ward, is seeking alliance and gratification in anything outside normativity. Menstrual sex fulfils this definition as it is dejected and left out of essential conversations about our own bodies and pleasures. Furthermore, engaging in a high level of communication about desires, wants and needs is not only critical to queer sexuality, but central to the feminist agenda in the wake of #metoo. Menstruators report actively avoiding sex with their cisgender male partners, and sometimes agree to receive anal intercourse in lieu of vaginal sex (even if they typically do not enjoy the back door). This does not have to be our reality.
As for Caryn, our conversation played out this desire of mine in real time when I bit my bottom lip and replied, “Yes, please.” My queer agenda requires that I embody queerness in every corner of my life. Thanks to the gender anarchists, queer babes, boi’s & faggots who I woke up next to for grounding my theory in the physical and lived experience of gender play.
I’m here to suggest that this Pride month, we refuse to accept the idea that sex while bleeding should be avoided. That we live through the queer politic of finding pleasure in the messy reality that bodies present. That we celebrate bodies, of all shapes, sizes and identities as a queer rejection of the norm. Menstrual sex is delectable. Menstrual sex is messy. Menstrual sex is queer.