According to a survey by Flex, a menstrual disc company, nearly 47 percent of 1,000 women are less likely to go on a date while on their period. Which, yeah, tracks considering your period can also mean the onslaught of fun symptoms like headaches, bloating, cramps, and period poops.
Not to sound regressive, but it’s totally fine if you want to cancel a date or postpone after-work drinks when you’re menstruating. Not only are there physical symptoms that suck, but being anxious about having to dip out in case your cramps become too much to bear or the discomfort of your favorite go-to date jeans suddenly bursting at the seams because of bloating doesn’t always put you in a good mental state to be your most charming self either. Totally fair! After all, you should always be comfortable to be your best, shiniest self on a date, and how can you do that if you feel like shit, yunno?
Below, 11 women get real about whether they have canceled (or would cancel) a date because of their period and how they go about it—in case you need “let’s rain check” scripting help.
1. “For me, it depends on how long I’ve been seeing a person, because that dictates my willingness to leave my home and how I can personalize the date to cater to my needs. I’m currently in a long-term relationship and also really value quality time, so I likely would not cancel a date unless I actually couldn’t get out of bed (which has happened!). Rather, I’d pack my heating pad and truck it over to his house for a less active date. If this were at the start of our relationship, however, I definitely would cancel since I’d need to be more active and involved in terms of conversation, going out to eat, etc.” —Kamara, 25
2. “I make a conscious effort to not schedule or go on dates with my fiancé on my period or during the week leading up to it. Instead, I use this time to rest and reflect. I try to plan dates and social outings for the two weeks after my period ends. This is when I have the most energy and interest in socializing. I’m at my best when I’m aware of the shifts in energy and mood that take place during the phases of the menstrual cycle and align my life to it.” —Bailey, 30
3. “I will avoid scheduling a date when I know I’m going to be on my period. I track my cycle using my phone. Before I schedule a date, I will check to make sure I won’t be on my period at that time. If it comes unexpectedly and the date is already scheduled, I won’t cancel the date. I will let him know, however, after the date and before the intimacy begins.” —LaChon, 32
4. “I have found that right before my period, my skin flares up and gets pretty bad. So I don’t tend to even think about hanging out with anyone or going on a date then. But the day before and during my period, my skin tends to completely clear up and I feel much more confident about spending time with people or going on a date.” —Stacy, 28
5. “I would cancel a date if I had my period. Not only do I feel bloated, tired, drained, and have horrible cramps, but I also am personally not a fan of period sex. I feel like I would just spend the whole date feeling uncomfortable and would much rather just snuggle with my dogs in sweats watching Netflix and reschedule the date for another time when I feel better and more confident that I’ll have good sex. I usually say I’m really not feeling well. If I say I’m canceling because I’m on my period, some guys make it all about themselves and are like, ‘Oh, I don’t care’ or ‘Oh, I wasn’t even considering that.’ But it’s not about them or me pleasing them, it’s just about me feeling confident and comfortable.” —Morgan*, 26
6. “I would probably say that I’m not feeling well and ask to reschedule (obviously, I would rather be alone in my yoga pants). But I’m all for people who would be more honest. Men shouldn’t get to be scared of periods. Personally, I’m a nonconfrontational person, so I’d just say I’m sick, but in an ideal world, I would say, ‘My bed, alone, sounds way better than you right now.’” —Rachel*, 29
7. “I cancel Bumble meetups on the reg, but I always use work as an excuse. Like, ‘OMG, don’t hate me, but can we rain check? I just got this huge assignment at work/was invited to a work event last minute.’ It’s usually because I just want to go home and drink wine in pajamas watching Netflix. But yeah, I’d totally use it if my period was being a drag. It’s just not something that makes going on a date desirable.” —Ashlee*, 31
8. “It depends on how I’m feeling. If I do cancel, I normally just say I’m having a bad day or not in a good mood. It’s too much trouble to say I have my period, because guys are weird about it and then either try to convince you they don’t care or get really awkward about it. I’ve hooked up with guys on my period a lot, so that’s not the issue, but it’s just when I feel really shitty and have bad cramps and feel bloated. If I feel okay, I’ll still go on the date.” —Ashley, 25
9. “If it’s the first date with a person, I would a hundred percent cancel. If it’s, like, the second or third date, I’ll go. But if I don’t, I’ll make something up, like my dog is having diarrhea, or just ghost. If the dude’s hot and I’m super attracted to him, I’m never above sucking dick…plus, that way, they won’t ask me for sex because I’m not about period sex.” —Toni*, 26
10. “I’m really anal about keeping tabs on when my period comes, and it’s very consistent, so I wouldn’t schedule a date on my period. But I see no problem with canceling—it’s like a bodily condition and it takes a real physical toll to get through it. I’ve tried period sex and it’s horrible—especially with white sheets, oh my god.” —Natalie*, 37
11. “I track my period and absolutely schedule business meetings, girls’ nights, and life in general around my period. I get excruciating cramps on day one of my period and am hunched over like a 90-year-old woman with agony written all over my face. I’m almost immobile and all I want is my bed. The pain is so immense that I’m in this brain fog and all I can think about is grinning and bearing the pain, hoping it will go away ASAP. So instead of trying to function like a normal person in public, I simply stay home. Once I get past day one, I’m back to normal.” —Cindy, 31
Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
*Name has been changed.
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