Common Period Myths
By Kaitlyn Luckow
You might remember that day in school where the boys and the girls were separated and your recess time was infringed upon because you needed to have “that talk”. I’m going to go out on a limb here and probably guess that you don’t have fond memories about that day.
I would be surprised if you did. If you were in the girl group, you were told that you were going to bleed out every month forever and that you would have to do all of these things to keep yourself clean and you were probably going to be in pain. Joy.
And if you were a boy, well...chances are you didn’t hear about menstruation at all. Just whispers on the playground about something horrifying that women do every month.
This lack of education, almost solely relied on by rumors, has led to a detrimental misguidance when it comes to menstruation. There are many myths revolving around menstruation and these myths are exactly that—they’re not true.
Regardless, many people go into adolescence holding these myths as true, and many of these myths are held well-on into adulthood.
I talked to many individuals of all genders and asked them about period myths that they have believed in the past. Here are the most common answers and why these myths are in fact just that:
Myth: Periods are embarrassing
Fact: Periods are not shameful
If you grew up with a period, then you probably remember trying to hide your tampon up your sleeve if you needed to change it in the bathroom at school.
Whenever people have an emergency and need a feminine hygiene product, they always ask for it in hushed whispers. Even saying the word “period” can make people blush. We even have different names for menstruation because we can’t actually say it: “time-of-the-month; Aunt Flo, Shark Week, etc.”
This is all due to the centuries of shame put on by society in regards to menstruation. Every culture has a different history involving menstruation, but very few have a history of glorifying it or accepting it for the natural occurrence that is. Many cultures today still even pack on a negative connotation when talking about menstruation.
We are so embarrassed by a bodily function that everyone in their lives will either personally experience in their bodies or know someone that is experiencing it.
When I talked to individuals about misconceptions regarding periods, almost everyone mentioned that they thought for the majority of their lives that their period was something to be ashamed of.
This is the biggest myth involving menstruation today.
Due to this shame, many people aren’t educated or aware of what is happening to their bodies because it’s embarrassing to admit that and even more ‘embarrassing’ to have a conversation about it.
This needs to change.
Myth: Period Sex is Gross
This is a continuation of the fact that people are shamed or caused to feel embarrassed about having their periods (in fact, a lot of these myths are built on shame). Periods are seen as “gross”, “disgusting”, and “messy”.
Due to this, many people think that their partner would not want to have sex with them or be intimate with them if they are on their period.
Real talk: if your partner doesn’t have to be intimate with you when you’re on your period, they don’t deserve to be intimate with you at all.
Period sex involves blood, which is just another bodily fluid involved in sex. Put down a towel or have sex in the shower. If you’re worried about a “mess”, there are ways to make it “clean.”
There are also health benefits to having sex while on your period. It can help ease cramps, shorten your period, and studies show that the actual sex is more enjoyable for both partners.
Myth: Getting your period for the first time is your passage into womanhood
Fact: Some women don’t even get their periods and some individuals who do don’t consider themselves women.
Not every woman will get a period and some females that do don’t identify themselves as female. This isn’t just a woman’s issue. Menstruation involves all populations.
On top of this fact, your passage into “womanhood” doesn’t depend on you getting your period. A number of the individuals I talked to discussed this idea being put onto them once they got their period.
If it was even discussed at all, other women (mainly mother figures), would tell them, “well, now you’re finally a woman.”
One young woman that I talked to, Jennifer Guzman, pointed out how messed up this notion was.
“I always thought that once you got your period, that you needed to be more mature and act older than you were because of the saying, ‘you’re a woman now,’” Guzman said. “Later on, I realized how gross that saying is because of how men viewed a girl getting her period as becoming a woman because she is now capable of having children.”
An individualist worth or maturity doesn’t depend on their ability to reproduce.
Myth: Your emotions aren’t valid, you’re just PMSing
Fact: Your emotions are valid regardless of if you’re PMSing or not
Sadly, periods tend to be the punch line of many jokes, especially when it comes to PMSing (or experiencing premenstrual syndrome). PMSing is usually associated with someone being in a bad mood or being overly emotional.
When I talked about period myths to different people, a common misconception that came up was that people were emotional on their periods. And because of these crazy emotions, you should try to avoid them.
There are a few things to tackle here. The first is that, PMSing doesn’t necessarily affect mood at all. In 2012, a team from the University of Otago in New Zealand looked at 47 different studies that looked at the link between PMS and women’s moods. Only a little more than half of the studies (53%) found a link between menstruation and “moodiness.”
Regardless of if you’re experience a difference in mood due to PMS or other causes, it doesn’t mean that those emotions that you’re experiencing aren’t valid.
People’s emotions can be waived off easily by others for a variety of reasons, including PMS, but you shouldn’t let other people’s excuses and judgements cloud the validity of the emotions you’re feeling: you’re still feeling them; therefore, they are real and should be respected.
Myth: Debilitating cramps are something you have to deal with
Fact: No one deserves to or should have to deal with cramps
Dysmenorrhea, or period cramps, are a common occurrence. 80% of individuals that have their period report having pain associated with it. According to the National Library of Medicine, 10% of people are so debilitated by their cramps that they are unable to continue on with their daily activities.
This pain is caused by contractions in the womb that help the movement of the tissue lining every month. This pain can also cause other symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and pain in other regions of the body.
The Nannogenic technology in Nannocare’s NannoPad helps release energy to help with microcirculation. As a result, pain caused by cramps can be decreased.
Having your period shouldn’t be something that you are embarrassed about and it should be something that everyone should be educated about. Being educated about periods helps with understanding and helps alleviate some of the pain associated with menstruation in the form of new technology, such as the Nannogenic technology used here at Nannocare.