Dear Mistress Maeve,
I've been away from my boyfriend all summer, doing an internship abroad. I'm getting ready to return home, and then both of us will go back to college in different cities. I have a week to spend with him before we're apart again for another month, and I'm realizing that I'll be on my period for the time we're spending together! Needless to say, having my period when we could be having sex sucks. Being in a long-distance relationship has been difficult on us, and I'm worried what will happen if we can't be intimate. I'm wondering if there's any way to safely skip a cycle by messing with my birth control pills?
Dear Seeing Red,
You should never go "messing with" your birth control pills without consulting your doctor. Give your health care provider a call and explain your situation. Nowadays, your doc can prescribe birth control pills such as Seasonale and Seasonique that allow you to have only four periods per year. You can even get Lybrel - a pill that gives you just one annual period.
The side effects of these extended-cycle pills are basically the same as those of regular oral contraceptives. Still, some women and their health care providers are uncomfortable with radically altering the natural flow of things. If you're reluctant to say goodbye to your monthly visitor, you can ask your doc about pills that shorten the length of your period by up to three days.
Chances are, your health care provider will be able to help you in time to make your homecoming a memorable one. However, if you end up menstruating, don't fret. Just tell your boyfriend you're ready for a threesome - with you, him and Aunt Flo.