Written by Sophie Lord.
After relentlessly checking your period tracker app for the past week, in the hope that your period does not clash with your date, the inevitable has happened. Of course, your period decides to pay you a visit on that specific Friday that’s been in your diary for who knows how long. Whether your Friday evening is reserved for a long-term partner or the mutual friend who asked you for drinks at the party last week, the clashing of this with your period really is not ideal.
Comfort, in this sense, requires a redefinition of what we usually associate with date night. These associations come with expectations. The expectation to look and feel your best, for the evening to be entirely free from the distractions of the outside world, and the night to (usually) end with sex are not always going to apply. With your period being one of several reasons as to why these expectations may not always be fulfilled, this seems all the more reason for the conventional date night narrative to be undone. Practically speaking, then, I will give five top tips to help you enjoy date night on your period.
Tip One: Pre-date Preparation.
Being able to feel comfortable mentally on your date can begin a few hours before. Putting a little more time and care into getting ready can help with this. If you struggle with period cramps, think about taking painkillers like paracetamol an hour before your date begins so you aren’t in physical pain. Maybe have a bath, do a face-mask – take it slow. Plan your outfit, set out your make-up if you’re wearing it, to avoid any last-minute rush.
Tip Two: Comfort is cute.
As I mentioned in the previous tip, planning an outfit for your date can definitely help. A lot of people with periods choose to avoid certain clothes whilst on their period. You can still look cute whilst feeling comfortable. Think flowy skirts and dresses, trousers with elasticated waists, and soft jumpers – you may want to dress in darker colors, particularly on your lower half, just in case. I personally don’t like wearing tight jeans whilst on my period as they make any cramps or bloating feel much worse. Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in.
Tip Three: Location, Location, Location.
Another common worry relates to where your date takes place. From a favorite restaurant, to a bar, the cinema, the bowling alley, to your date’s house – whether there will be toilets, and adequate sanitary bins in these toilets, is a common source for anxiety. WaterAid’s 2018 survey concluded that 1 in 5 women worry about a lack of availability of correct bins in which they can dispose their period products. Being on your period should in no way influence your choice of date location. If you want to go to your date’s house, go! To easy this worry, though, you can put a few FabLittleBags in your handbag, alongside your tampons or pads. Made of plants and recycled plastics, FabLittleBags securely hold your used sanitary product until you can find a place to securely throw it away – immediately easing any date-night anxiety, regardless of where you are.
Tip Four: Talking Power.
To go back to my original point: about the need to redefine, to rewrite, the date-night narrative. I have very written these tips with solely the person having the period in mind. But the reality is – depending, of course, on the nature of your relationship with your date – you can tell them you are on your period. If you feel more upset, on-edge, or less chatty than usual, this is probably the result of fluctuations in hormones and mood caused by your period. You are under no obligation to explain yourself to your date, but remember that it is always an option, particularly if you trust the person you’re with.
Tip Five: Move at your own pace.
Conversation around dating is undeniably linked to a conversation around sex. Maybe date night is a regular way for you to reconnect with your partner amongst a busy schedule, and the night ending with sex is part of this. Date nights looks different for everyone and occur in different forms for all kinds of relationship; be that serious, casual, serious sometimes, or the vague patch in between. In a similar way, whether you will want to have sex on your period after date night is completely up to you. Some people view period sex as no different to sex any time of the month – others struggle to feel comfortable with the idea because the physical symptoms caused by their period put them off. It is completely up to you – it is your body, and therefore your choice.
I hope these tips have offered some clarity or eased any worries you may have about a date night on your period. Dating looks different for everyone - there isn’t a ‘correct’ way to do it, and this is all the more true when you are on your period. Remember to look after yourself and make sure you ultimately feel comfortable, so you can enjoy yourself as best you can.