Q: Is there anything dangerous or bad for their health if someone goes down on you on your period? It doesn't seem to bother my boyfriend at all but I think it's a bit icky and I worry that all that blood and gunk is not very good for him. Am I right?
We've talked about period sex before and I think it's really, really important to acknowledge that you think it's a bit icky and to let you know that that's okay. Periods and blood, while a natural part of life, aren't necessarily the most pleasant, let alone sexy, of things for a lot of people and so being a bit uncomfortable about it is completely normal. Forgetting the whole "blood" factor for a minute, just being on your period can be a bloaty, painful, tiring, unsexy thing and the idea of any sort of sex in that time can be the last thing on a lot of minds. Then there's the idea of the actual blood itself. The associations humans have with blood and violence, and of the very real biohazards it can manifest, are also common and, while not necessarily always the case, are completely normal thoughts.
If the whole idea of it totally icks you out and it's a hard limit no, then you don't need to make any more excuses and justifications. No is a complete sentence and you do not have to give consent to anyone, even your boyfriend, even if he really, really wants you to.
If, however the "ick" is more flexible and something you're not absolutely sure is an absolute "ick" and is just more of an "unknown" coming from all the preconceived ideas of taboo that surround periods etc, then there is some good news.
With a few caveats, period blood, like any fresh blood, is perfectly safe. The caveats, of course, are if you have any sort of bloodborne infection like HIV or syphilis then yes they can be transmitted to your partner, but if you are (as you should be) regularly tested, and/or in a fluid-bonded monogamous relationship, then the risk is about the same as any sort of sexual contact where fluids are shared.
When it comes to any sort of period sex, probably the biggest risk you will come across is the staining of sheets or mattress and in those cases towels and (unscented unflavoured) wet wipes can be your best friend, and there are even ways to have sex on your period that can minimise, and even eliminate the release of blood altogether.
If, like millions of people, you get incredibly horny and aroused during your period, and really, really want to play but just cannot handle the idea of blood, then dams, tampons or sponges, and menstrual cups are the solution. A dam is a large-ish square of (usually but not always) latex, like a condom, that you lay across the vulva as a barrier between the mouth and the genitals. Sponges are basically a stringless, spongey tampon that sits against your cervix and stops the flow of blood, and menstrual cups are soft silicone cups inserted to catch period blood. All of the above can help stop or minimise the transferral of blood from vag to face and are an excellent solution to the "blood problem".
While not all cups or tampons are conducive to penetrative sex, they are almost all okay for oral sex (tampon strings can get in the way but are otherwise fine) and you can always get a few different sorts to experiment and play around with. You can buy menstrual cups at most chemists and, while they're still not super available everywhere, sex specific sponges can often be found at adult shops or you can find them online.
It should also be mentioned, because often oral sex can turn into penetrative sex, that just because the risks are minimal, they still exist like in all sex, and just because you're on your period it doesn't mean you are risk free from pregnancy. So always remember to be aware of safe sex and take the same sort of preventative measures as you would with any sort of sex.
Good luck and don't forget the towels!