We can’t believe we have to explain this…
Men seem to have no problem talking about poo, pimples, or explicitly describing a very bloody and violent movie scene they loved, but mention the words ‘period’ or ‘menstruation’ around them, and they run away before you can even finish your sentence.
It’s a topic most guys don’t want to hear about, and, consequently, don’t know enough about. For some reason, talking about this completely natural bodily function all women go through once a month makes some men very uncomfortable.
The stigma around periods is real – even when there’s no men around, women don’t talk about menstruation enough. No one had ever even uttered the word ‘period’ on TV, until a Tampax ad in 1985 broke the silence. But that didn’t make the topic small-talk friendly; instead, it’s still something women whisper about – quite literally.
We’ve all had a colleague come up to our desks and discreetly ask if we could spare a pad or tampon, hoping nobody else would hear them. It’s an act society taught us, when honestly, we should all have a box of tampons or pads on our desks – not hidden inside a drawer or handbag like a dirty secret – after all, bleeding out of our vaginas is nothing to be ashamed of.
Seeing that hardly anyone ever talks about it, it’s no surprise then, most guys don’t know a thing about menstruation, and instead make up some seriously weird theories about how periods work.
I guess we can’t blame men. How are they supposed to know if society never taught them? However, guys, you need to listen whenever we try to explain our menstrual cycle to you instead of running away like ignorant, sexist idiots.
So here it goes; 11 things we wish men knew about our so superfluously nicknamed ‘monthly visitor’…
1. It’s not like peeing
Guys, seriously, these are the very basics you should know if you don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of a woman. The blood comes out of our vaginas, which is NOT the same hole as the one urine comes out of (FYI, that’s our urethra) and also not the one poo comes out of. Just saying.
2. It doesn’t all come out at once
It’s not like a dam that just suddenly opens with litres of blood pouring out. It starts slow and gets heavier on the first two days before it slows down again; it’s more like a sporadically leaking tap than a waterfall.
3. It can last for up to a week
Stop asking us if it’s “over yet”. It’s most likely not, as our periods can last anywhere between three to seven days. Yes, we have to put up with this for an entire week sometimes.
4. Our uterus is not our stomach
Stop rubbing our tummies unless we specifically ask you to do that. The area that hurts is our uterus, which is located in our lower abdomen, or, in simpler terms, below our belly button. And unless you have a hot water bottle to gently lay on top, better stay away from it.
5. It’s not just blood coming out
The reason women menstruate every month is because our bodies get rid of the lining of the uterus wall that was so carefully prepared by our body for the arrival of a baby. It’s basically our bodies saying “You’re not pregnant? Fuck you, then!” The uterus lining is mainly broken down and comes out as blood, but most women also find small bits of clot-like tissue on their pads, especially during the heavier flow days. Yeah, it’s not exactly pleasant for us either.
6. It’s not gross
Just like bleeding when you cut your finger on a piece of paper isn’t gross, our periods aren’t either. The blood isn’t smelly, and the sanitary products out there usually do a good job of preventing leaks – which doesn’t mean leaks never happen. Our periods can be extremely unpredictable, so when you wake up and see a blood stain on your sheets, don’t freak out, you’re not going to catch anything.
7. We don’t all use tampons
Tampons and pads are great, but they’re also really expensive, and not the most environmentally-friendly products, which is why a lot of women choose to use reusable sanitary products, such as menstrual cups or non-disposable cloth pads. So if you’re one of the #boyfriendgoals men offering to run to the store to help us out, check what product we prefer first.
8. Yes, it f*cking hurts
Our level of discomfort changes every month, but many women experience at least one day of (often excruciating) pain during their cycle. Imagine someone punching you from the inside all day long. It’s many times more painful than just sore abs after a heavy workout, so please don’t say you understand, because until you grow a uterus and it tries to kill you, you really don’t.
9. Even our boobs hurt sometimes
Unfortunately, our uterus isn’t the only thing that hurts. We feel bloated, achey, and our boobs tend to be swollen just before our periods, which makes them quite sore and tender. This has to do with an increased production of the hormone progesterone during week four of the menstrual cycle, which can lead to expanded milk ducts. So if we don’t want you to touch us on some days, now you know why.
10. It can make us very horny
On the other hand, some women feel their horniest during their periods. Biologically this doesn’t make much sense, as we are are supposed to feel horny when we’re at our most fertile, which is usually around 14 days after our periods start, however, many women experience a heightened sex drive during menstruation. Some people say it’s because all our body parts are more sensitive, making every move and touch feel more arousing. Whatever it is, it’s up to you and your partner to decide if you want to have period sex – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Just be prepared with a towel to protect the bedsheets from potential stains.
11. When we’re annoyed with you, it’s not always because of PMS
Here’s a tip: when we’re agitated with you, asking if we have our period will only make things worse. While the hormonal chaos inside of us may make us more sensitive during our periods, it doesn’t mean we can’t be legitimately upset about something. So instead of mentioning PMS, think of a way to make us feel better. Period. (No pun intended.)
Images via giphy.com.
Liked this? Stay up to date with everything SHESAID and score a chance to win tickets for you and four friends to the Caribbean by signing up to our newsletter right here!