Background Today, options for bleeding-free lifestyle are actively promoted by the media, the pharmaceutical industry and health specialists. With regard to contraceptive counselling it is important to find out what women really want. Methods In the present study we collected information on women's attitudes towards monthly bleeding and preferences, if they could have the option to modify their individual bleeding pattern. Furthermore we evaluated the preferences with use of combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs). Switzerland has never been surveyed before with regard to these issues. Questionnaires were distributed in our family planning clinic and two outdoor offices to clients aged 15 to 19 years, 25 to 34 years, and 45 to 49 years. Results Of 530 questionnaires, 292 were eligible for analysis. Around 50 of the participants would appreciate having fewer menstrual period-related symptoms. Some 37% preferred experiencing a monthly bleeding; 32% opted for every 2 to 6 months; and 29%, for no bleeding at all. This heterogeneous distribution did not differ between clients with and without menstrual symptoms. With regard to CHC use, predictable bleeding was rated as very positive and breakthrough bleeding as negative. Conclusion Contraceptive counsellors should be aware that women's wishes differ widely. Predictability of bleeding seems to be more important to them than postponing it.