What You Need To Know About a Rainbow Kiss
What is a Rainbow Kiss?
For those new to this trend, a rainbow kiss involves mutual oral sex between a menstruating person and a person who ejaculates, and then kissing with the other person's fluid in your mouth. “This normally happens in the 69 position,” says Tatyana Dyachenko, relationship expert and sex therapist for Peaches and Screams.
Who Invented the Rainbow Kiss?
It’s not exactly a new trend either. “Rainbow kisses actually emerged as a phenomenon in the 17th-century, when an erotic obsession with blood become a cultural phenomenon within Europe,” says author and doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne, Esme James. “Blood was linked to virginity, and that became an evident fascination with bleeding during one's first interaction with sex. As such, it became a fetish, which spread into fascination with women's menstruation.”
Fast forward to 2003, when the term “rainbow kiss” first appeared in the Urban Dictionary.
So, eating out and making out while menstruating isn’t exactly a revolutionary concept. And I’m not sure how mixing blood and semen makes a beautiful rainbow mess – the name is misleading. “I feel like this is something that kinda just happens,” says Jenn Rahner of GeekySexyLove.com. “Not that I’m kink-shaming – I’m not opposed to the idea. But do we need cutesy names for healthy acceptance of sexual things?”
Before folks go boldly where few fluid-swapping mouths have gone before, let’s talk about rainbow kisses. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with engaging in this act if all participants enthusiastically consent. Personally, when it comes semen play and period sex, I’m all in.
There’s still a lot of stigma attached to period sex, but it’s more common than you might think. Women’s health brand INTIMINA spoke to 500 people between the ages of 18 and 50 and found that 82% of menstruating persons have sex during their period. 26% of people who spoke to INTIMINA said they feel horny all the time during their period. 10% said they find it disgusting (insert long sigh here). It is unclear what percentage of people receive oral sex while bleeding.
Is a Rainbow Kiss Safe?
If you want to partake in the rainbow kiss trend, there are a few things to consider. For one, the sex act hinges on the timing of the menstruating person’s cycle. Consent and communication are key. Also, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a legit risk with unbarriered fluid play. Half of the human population will get an STI at some point. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that more than 1 million new STIs happen every single day.
“Performing a rainbow kiss does come with its risks as both menstrual blood and semen can potentially carry infectious particles including syphilis, hepatitis, and HIV,” says Dyachenko. “If you're not fully aware of your partner’s sexual history and whether or not they have any STIs, I'd advise against participating in rainbow kisses.” STIs are incredibly common and talking about safer sex should be NBD. So please, for the love of all things sexy, get tested and have the STI talk.
Let’s say all the stars, talks, and safety align. There are a lot of positives that could come from a rainbow kiss. If you are menstruating, research suggests that sex alleviates some symptoms of PMS. Also, there’s increased blood flow to the genitals, thus the potential for increased sensitivity. Orgasms release a rush of feel-good brain chemicals, including dopamine and oxytocin, which can ease cramps. Think of it as an all-natural period pain reliever.
And as much as I evangelize the liberal use of lube, menstrual blood acts as a mighty fine natural lubrication. (Some vulva-owners may still experience vagina dryness even while menstruating, though.)
There’s more good news. Having sex during your period can be a pleasurable source of stress relief and a way to bond with your partner. Signal the period sex anthem sung by “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s” writer, star, and co-creator, Rachel Bloom. The catchy anthem includes gems like, “Put down a towel and party ‘till it’s dry with some period sex,” and, “Think of it as Mother Nature’s juice cleanse.”
The Bottom Line
Oral sex is a highly intimate act, and swapping fluids orally can increase sexual connectedness. Rainbow kisses may not be for everyone, and that’s OK. When it comes to sex acts, it tilts to the high-risk end of the spectrum. Whether you fantasize about the idea of blood play or make it a menstrual reality, consider the rainbow kiss simply one more source of pleasure in your sex play toolkit.
Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. Over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Thrillist.
She adopted a pseudonym and was AVN’s (Adult Video Network) first female porn reviewer – while penning children’s books at the same time. More recently, she is the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle with her rescue dog, Mimi. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says