I couldn’t believe the timing. While discussing menstruation on Girl Boner® Radio last week, my dear aunt Flo decided to join me. Rather than blush or grumble, as I might have in the past, I welcomed her with open arms: What a glorious friend you are!
Some might think me
obnoxious overly giddy for wanting to sing about my period from the rooftops. But embracing menstruation has been a vital part of my self- and body- embracement journey; I can’t help but feel celebratory.
Whether you wish to party along with me or simply learn a bit more about your cycle, read on for some groovy facts. If you’re up for more, listen to my latest episode as well. (See listening options below). The stories in the episode are pretty LOL-funny.
5 Little Known Facts About Your Period
1. Periods aren’t “gross.” Periods have been around since the dawn of womankind, yet they’re often considered embarrassing, shameful happenings. How amazing is it that once a month, our bodies shed the uterine lining (along with the unfertilized egg)? I happen to dig the whole darn cycle. I get that not everyone—okay few folks—get as excited about all of this, and that’s okay. You don’t have to become a period cheerleader (GIVE ME A ‘P’!), but I’d love for you to take steps to minimize shame.
2. Neither is having sex during your period. While some gals would prefer most anything to a threesome with Aunt Flo, plenty others adore it. Hormonal shifts can send our Girl Boners reeling, according to Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor at Yale. Sex during your period can help minimize pain and inflammation while easing emotional distress. And as Dr. Megan pointed out in the below interview, the blood can function as a natural lube for women otherwise prone to dryness.
3. Your mindset matters. When my mindset shifted from period shame to viewing menstruation as natural and beautiful, my symptoms reduced significantly. Judging from chats with other women, I’m not a unique case. For me, the increased emotional sensitivity works like a magnifying glass, bringing needed clarity. It sheds light on what I care about, my priorities and what I wish to change. Are all-things-menstrual fun and pleasurable? Of course not—and trust me, I know the challenging parts well. But I’ve learned to manage and even learn from them. If we shun our periods, we’re likely to suffer more, physically and emotionally.
4. Menstrual conditions are care-worthy and manageable. I’ve heard from many women who experience severe PMS or menstrual symptoms, yet have never received any sort of help or guidance. Just as there is no shame in menstruating, there should be no shame in related conditions. If you’re prone to debilitating cramps, heavy bleeding, depression or other irregularities, seek support. Contact your doctor, therapist or Planned Parenthood. Many of these issues can be managed through lifestyle shifts, home remedies or medical care. Left untreated, they can lead to complications.
5. If you have access to feminine hygiene products, you’re extremely lucky. Menstruation countless girls and women to miss or even drop out of school in developing countries. Homeless women often resort to using garbage or soiled clothing as pads or tampons, with little means of managing pain. If your period gets you down, do your best to count your blessings. Then consider ways you might lend a hand—or a pad—to less privileged women.
Listen to the related Girl Boner® Radio episode on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or below. You’ll hear funny period stories from me, Dr. Megan and three friends/fans, a Q&A on period sex and the scoop on talking to young girls about menstruation. It’s a quickie episode — just over 20 minutes.
Which fact struck you most? If you listened to the episode, what did you think of the stories? Care to share your own period memory? I’d love to hear from you!