Period.

Clear blue liquid doesn’t come out of my vagina. Menstrual blood does.

Pads don’t “move with me.” They scrunch up and the adhesive weakens enough to come off my panties, but not so much that it doesn’t also stick to my skin.

Tampons will leak, no matter if it’s accordion shapes or conical, because it’s still cotton, and every woman is shaped differently.

The period itself doesn’t make me cranky. The cramps, jokes, misconceptions, myths, and lack of understanding about periods do.

Cramps are not some vague little side effect of a period. It is pain, and it is different for every woman. My cramps are a strong throb that reaches from my lower rib cage to my knees. You wouldn’t roll your eyes if I called that pain something other than “cramps.”

Stained panties are a reality of periods. Stained pants sometimes are, too.

“Period sex” is actually a lot of fun. Kind of like “sex.” Only you know your partner isn’t one of those who are one of those irritating jerks who makes you feel dirty for your biological process.

My vagina, along with all my other lady parts, are actually 3D. And are not blue, contrary to the directions in the tampon box.

My period doesn’t make me horny; I’m actually horny the other three weeks of the month, too. It just gives me a couple extra reasons to want sex: cramp relief, and a partner performing cunnilingus during that time is super sexy.

My period isn’t a disease. It’s a natural process my body does every month. You won’t get it by talking about it, I promise.

Yeah, you can still pee while wearing a tampon.

You cannot, however, have sex with one in. You could, but it’s not very pleasant.

No matter how thin you make the pad, it still feels like a diaper.

The first morning bathroom trip is a rush to make sure yet another pair of panties aren’t stained.

For all its faults, there’s something relieving about wearing a pad after wearing tampons all day, in that you’re finally just letting it all come out, and the whole not having something wedged inside you all day thing.

The creators of those toilet paper commercials that brag about its absorbency have obviously never had to use it in lieu of a pad.

There are actually more options that tampons and disposable pads. Too bad they’re not widely available like said pads and tampons are.

No matter how many cutesy names squeamish people give to it, menstrual blood is still coming out of my vagina.

Where am I going with this? Let me tell you. I’m sick of the commercials dancing around reality because some ignorant people think talking about my period is “obscene.” I’m sick of people shuddering and silencing any conversation women have about their periods because it’s “gross.” I’m sick of periods being shrouded in mystery and misconception because people won’t just come out and be plain old honest about it. So here it is.

Any other realities I’m missing?

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About Brittany-Ann
Brittany-Ann is a proud, self-identified feminist with fictional tendencies. She currently writes for LouisvilleKY.com and moderates at My Fault I'm Female. She smokes camels, reads Dumas, and navigates a conservative state as "one of them darn liberals."

12 Responses to Period.

  1. Absolutely, there is one reality you are missing! The reality that men need to be knowledgeable about menstruation as well! I’m also tired of (some) women who act all secretive about periods and then turn around and yell at a guy when he’s ignorant about the subject. Well of course! Unless we have anecdotal information about periods (in-class is just not the same) from our female counterparts, there is no way we will ever learn. I love being able to carry out both casual and serious dialogue about menstruation with almost all of my close girl-friends. It expands my mind and I also get to know the “real deal” behind menstruation, not simply what I’ve learned in school (or lack thereof).

    The media portrays menstruation as a very negative thing and men often propagate misinformation they learn from such sources. When I initially made my blog, it was all about targeting men who have little to no knowledge of menstruation. Simply knowing of its existence and the monthly occurrence isn’t enough! Cheers to the girls who are open about menstruation, who allow us males, to know both “reality” side of menstruation and also the “textbook” side.

    There are still many men and women who consider menstruation as an absolutely no-go topic and while I would not consider it a “dinner table conversation” – it is integral knowledge and menstruation is something to be admired and considered beautiful, because it IS! As long as men/women spread negativity about menstruation, we will all feel that one. As long as misinformation exists, it will propagate. However, when men and women begin to understand the beauty of it, then we will truly learn to love it!

  2. Lisa says:

    Tell it! I happened upon your blog and really enjoy it. I whole-heartedly agree that people need to get over the “taboo” of menstruation. It happens to 52 percent of the population during most of their lives.

  3. Brittany-Ann says:

    Prexus: That’s the point of my post. Women already know these things. We live them 5-7 days of every month of every year between puberty and menopause. Men won’t necessarily know these things, so here they are.

    Women are affected by the same media we are, as are our parents, teachers, and other authority figures. Many of us, thanks to the shaming of female bodies, female sexuality, and female biological processes, are just as squeamish about talking about these things in public or in front of the opposite sex. This shaming starts young, and every attempt to circumvent it, or resist, results in punishment. So I’m not surprised some, if not many wouldn’t discuss it with a man.

    There aren’t many men who would be interested–most would continue that shaming that women received growing up regarding menstruation. Kudos to you for being so, and for using your blog to reach out to other men.

    Lisa: Thank you! I hope you’ll find my other posts interesting as well.

  4. bananacat says:

    I refuse to hide my period or treat it as a taboo topic (and I try to do the same with all other bodily functions). I’m sort of forgetful, so I came up with this clever plan to time all monthly things around my period, so that way I never forget or wait too long. I change my monthly contacts then, do a breast self-exam, and check the air pressure in my car’s tires, among other things. Now, I think this is a pretty clever idea and I’m proud of it, so I like to brag about it occasionally if the topic of forgetfulness comes up in conversation.

    I also have a desk drawer at work that is basically a drugstore. So if someone needs a painkiller or Tums, they just might happen to see pads in that drawer along with all the other stuff. There was a time when I would have hidden the pads in the back of the drawer, but I don’t do that anymore. And if I’m headed to the bathroom and don’t have any pockets, people just might see me walking around with a pad in my hand! I realize that it’s just not that easy for all women to be open about it, but I always feel so liberated when I can do these little things without shame.

    However, my period is nothing like what you describe. I rarely have cramps, I haven’t had a leak since high school, it only lasts 3-4 days, and it’s rarely heavy enough to warrant a tampon. In fact, I usually forget all about it until I go to the bathroom and remember that I need to change my pad. Does anyone else have periods like this, or am I just some kind of ridiculously lucky freak?

  5. Brittany-Ann says:

    Whoops! Every period is different, for sure. I tried to make that clear, while still talking about all the different aspects (cramps, the flow). I used 5-7 days as the length because I remember reading that’s the average, but of course they can be longer or shorter. (I feel for the women who have to deal with a longer period!)

    Mine is fairly heavy for the first few days, with heavy cramps. But the the last half, it slows down, no cramps, more similar to yours, it looks like. I don’t think you’re a freak! But definitely fortunate. I’ve asked people to punch me in the stomach to relieve the pain in the past, when I was unable to take medication.

    Timing things around your period is a fantastic idea! I’ve never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “biological clock.” Wow. I can’t believe that never occurred to me.

  6. Quercki says:

    I think most men actually have a pretty good idea of what menstrual cramps feel like.

    I was walking with a male friend who was pushing a bicycle, when he accidentally ran the bike into something and caught himself in the balls. Fascinated, I asked him what it felt like. His description was exactly what I feel when I have cramps, except that it was over quicker.

  7. Quercki says:

    I’d like to recommend cotton menstrual pads. Usually they are made of flannel. You can support a woman-owned small business or make your own. I preferred the kind with wings and snaps and extra liners.

    Also, see the Museum of Menstruation
    http://www.mum.org/
    The farther down you go, the better the site gets.

  8. Brittany-Ann says:

    Interesting link! Thanks!

    I’ve never thought of comparing a crotch shot (sorry, can’t think of a less crude way of saying it) to cramps. I’m not sure how many guys would think to ask what cramps feel like, since, well, a lot of guys wouldn’t talk about periods anyway. But maybe we can break down that barrier, and men and women can identify with one another in that.

  9. Anna says:

    Haha! Awesome post.

    Argh, I hate the awkward constant WORRY you have that you’re going to leak or whatever. And the pads are so uncomfortable. Especially if you have cheapass ones that start coming apart or that destick and then stick to you instead.

    … I have a cup now, it’s so much less stressfull. Also, I can take it out in the shower so I can play with the blood and see what it looks like. I never realised it had all globules and stuff in it.

  10. Brittany-Ann says:

    Thanks, for the compliment and for commenting, Anna!

    I hate pads. I hadn’t used them for years, until recently, tampons started to hurt. 😦 No matter how “soft” they claim the lining is, it’s still plastic, and it’s still uncomfortable. Ditto to the stickiness!

    I’ve never used a cup, does it not overflow and leak like tampons do?

    Hehe, and that’s awesome that you examine it, and you’re not ashamed to admit it! I didn’t know that about globules, either. Who knew menstrual blood could be so interesting!

  11. Anna says:

    😮 It doesn’t leak for me, I think it creates like a seal with the vaginal wall – and they can hold like 12mL or something. Although that may just be me. I notice them way less than tampons too (it took me a few days of fiddling around with it to get used to it and get it in the right place though) because they don’t irritate the tissue the way tampons do and I’m comfortable enough with them now that I never use pads. Also, yeah, you can see exactly what blood you’re producing which is both interesting and for some people medically useful. I got mine from mooncup.co.uk, I think another common brand is called divacup.

    By globules I mean small clots, I guess 😀 I think they’re supposed to be there. >_> I should look that up actually.

  12. Loved this post!
    I have some period factoids to add:
    -sometimes the pads with wings should be called pads with wicks, because they wick the blood out of the pad and down your legs
    -unneutered male cats really like menstrual blood and will dive into the toilet while you’re still sitting on it to investigate.

    Also, I ❤ my menstrual cup. It has never leaked, though when I've pulled it out too quickly it's looked like the bathroom was a crime scene. I imagine it could overflow if you bled hard enough, but I've never managed to fill mine more than a third.

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