Compromising Positions

A sex ed blog with more

Periods & Hormones

Anyone who interacts with any woman or female-identified person should read this. And yes, those are dementors in that there picture of a uterus. I’m including it here just to be sure you get the full picture, cause I think this is hilarious. funny-menstrual-cycle

Women will know what I’m talking about. It’s the men who are completely confused all the time because suddenly their girlfriends or sisters or mothers go bananas, so I’m just going to break it down for you.First, I’m not talking about pregnancy, because that shit is a whole other ballgame. The monthly hormonal period is much shorter than 9 months, mostly because we don’t have a tiny human growing inside of us aka a parasite eating everything we ingest. And I say parasite in the most loving way, but let’s be serious: if you are not getting enough calcium, the foetus will literally leech it from your nails and teeth. No joke.  And that’s why it’s so important to actually take care of yourself when pregnant.
Women, you’re gonna understand this, and guys, I hope that I’m able to explain some of the things our bodies go through when we are dealing with extra hormones. It’s approximately one week/month when we go a little bit bonkers; For example: you are totally fine until you are not and suddenly you are super annoyed or super frustrated. And then, you’re annoyed that you’re annoyed, which is so annoying. Your body is also super uncomfortable because your ovaries are squeezing and trying to get all kinds of crap out of your uterus saying, “Hey, there isn’t a baby in here. I need to build up the uterine lining again so that when there is a baby, everything is good to go.”
Some of us get cramps, which basically feels like the ovaries and/or uterus each have a fist wrapped around them and are being squeezed hard repeatedly. Imagine that a fist is around your balls, and for days, it slowly squeezes and then releases, squeezes and releases. The sensitivity is not quite the same, but you get the picture. Some of us get lower back pain, and some of us find bowel movements to be very difficult (which as you can imagine can be very uncomfortable).
Along with being uncomfortable and/or in pain, we recognize that our brains are doing funny things. Sometimes, we get these cravings for food or drink and we’re super impatient about it: if you don’t get it now, you’re about to flip your shit; and everything seems like a big deal. When your brain is in a state of hormonal imbalance, everything is a big deal.
The worst question to be asked, particularly by a male is: is it that time of the month? Some of the time, it’s right, but if not the response that will probably meet that question is: FUCK YOU. Shut up, and don’t ever ask that question.
Another crazy thing that happens is that many of us get super horny right before we’re about to bleed for a few days, which is also kind of awkward. If you don’t know that it’s coming, it can ruin your clothes. Even if you do know that it’s coming, it can ruin your clothes or your sheets, and that just sucks.
Another issue women worry about is hygiene products. If you use a different hygiene product than the women around you, it can be super awkward and just plain awful if you need another one but can’t get the kind that you typically use. For example, many women choose to employ tampons. If no one has the kind of tampon that you usually use, or a tampon at all, you have to opt for a different kind of feminine hygiene product, which will probably be pretty uncomfortable for you. One guy in India was so confounded by the current methods (sawdust, ash, cloths that are reused without proper washing or drying, etc.), he decided to create his own machine to manufacture pads. Check out the BBC article here!
To recap: we crave weird things, we get frustrated or angry at the drop of a hat, we’re sometimes extra horny but then as soon as we start bleeding we’re closed for business or we really want sex even still and hopefully we can find a partner who is alright with having sex that feels a little different and is a little messier. This is a link entitled Shit Girls Say: 23 Things That Every Woman Has Said While On Her Period.
Not wanting to hear about what our bodies are going through, that’s like a guy wanting to talk about something that he’s into and our immediate response is “I don’t give a shit. I don’t care about anything that you’re interested in so you just need to lock that down.” Most of us are super interested in our bodies, and we should be, because the more we know about ourselves the more we can help our partners and stay safe and healthy.
If we recognize that we are a little extra hormonal or frustrated or tired or whatever, if we’re comfortable we will let the people around us know by saying something like “Oy, my ovaries are angry today.” Or “I just want you to know that I’m grimacing because I’m in pain so I might snap.” I’m going to share a story about the best possible way to respond to a woman saying something like what is written above. This happened with a good friend of mine when I was crashing at his place in Halifax:
Me: Oh my goodness, my back hurts and my ovaries are super mad.
Phil: Can I get you a hot water bottle, some Advil, or some chocolate?
Me: YES, PLEASE!!
The fact that he had all 3 readily available was incredible. I asked, “Phil, why do you have all these things?” ‘My mother groomed me well.’ And honestly, that just made all the difference: he wasn’t embarrassed or grossed out or uncomfortable; he was saying: this is a natural part of life, you are a woman and have to deal with this so if I can help in any way to ease your discomfort, I will do so. I felt so comforted and loved, and because I was extra hormonal it meant SO much. And Phil wasn’t trying to get into my pants, he was simply being a decent human being.
So gents, if a woman is complaining about cramps or ovaries or back pain, rather than being grossed out, the best thing you can do is to offer to help. Even if she says no, the fact that you understand that painkillers and heat and food are helpful is a huge thing. She might ask for something you haven’t offered, so you’ve just opened the door for communication and understanding. Offering to help and showing some awareness creates a safe space. It makes it okay to be a woman and that is SO incredibly huge in the misogynistic patriarchal bullshit culture that we always have to deal with.
Women understand that bodies have certain functions, like pooping and farting and burping. We understand that semen is smelly and sticky and very visible. These are all things that men do that are natural but we’re not super grossed out unless you fart directly on us. Chances are, unless you ask us to, we’re probably not going to bleed directly on you. And, news flash: it’s not just blood that’s coming out of us. There’s all kinds of other funky stuff in the uterine lining. So when people say “I don’t trust someone who can bleed for days and not die”…. Try doing a little research as to what uterine lining consists of.
Hormones are nuts! Do some research. The best thing to do is to ask a female what you can do to help. If you have other suggestions for things to say or not say, do or not do, tell us in the comments!

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3 comments on “Periods & Hormones

  1. kathycisv
    March 6, 2014

    Yes! yay for compassion being the normal response!! Thank you for this, you are dead on! (as always).

  2. Pingback: Frustrations about Menstruating | Out There

  3. RavenHarte
    March 20, 2014

    OMG this is fucking hilarious!!! Even more so because I am on day 2 and all I want is chocolate ice cream, Midol my pillow and like 2 days of Netflix. Alas I settled for 3 bites of Butter Pecan, a couple of Oreos and Word Press… which is a good thing, but this so cracked me the hell up, I just read it aloud all Vagina Monologues style to my hubby. Kudos!!!

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