None of us likes to talk about this stuff, but we know you’re thinking about it. Why is she so whiny once a month? Does she think of her period as an excuse to complain? Maybe it’s all in her head?
Pardon my bluntness, but that’s some pretty asinine thinking. Her period is a natural process that she has to go through every month. If we could stop our periods without causing serious physiological damage, we absolutely would! It’s the one part of menopause we’re all looking forward to.
Speaking as a woman, men frequently misunderstand what’s happening during a menstrual cycle. This is the body’s natural method of preparing women for child bearing and birthing, which will also, by the way, totally suck. Once a month something is forced out of our vaginas, and we have cramps similar to contractions and endure flu-like symptoms.
We’d like you to better understand where we’re coming from. Men are so fortunate to not have a biological process like this that they must regularly endure. We’ve learned to live with it, but that doesn’t mean you should expect us to pretend that nothing is wrong. We’re physically unwell and a little understanding would go a long way.
We’re just asking you to try to empathize with what we’re going through. But, to do that, you need to know a little bit more about what we’re going through. Read up, boys. Here’s 10 things about periods men will never understand.
10. The Uterus Swells To Ridiculous Sizes
An average, healthy, empty (meaning, not pregnant) uterus looks fine any normal day of the month. While a woman is on her period, you ask? It’s two times bigger and two times heavier.
Yuck is right. No wonder we’re in pain, that’s enormous! The uterus actually doubles in both size and weight while a woman is on her period! Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and feeling like there’s a weight inside of your lower stomach. When she’s on her period, she’s not whining; she’s actually incredibly uncomfortable. Her anatomy is playing “Honey, I Blew Up The Kid” with her uterus. Try to be a little understanding of how painful it must be for her to go through this once a month, every month.
9. We Will Undoubtedly Ruin At Least One Article of Clothing A Month
Even if we take every precaution to control our periods and the mess that comes with them, something will happen that will ruin our clothes. Sometimes we don’t bring enough tampons with us when we’re stuck out of the house all day; sometimes our period strikes when we least expect it; sometimes we’re so busy that we can’t tell our hygiene products need to be changed until they’ve failed us; and sometimes the red sea just flows out of us and there is no stopping it.
This is why, if you look in your girlfriend’s underwear drawer, she’s got a few pairs stuffed in the back that are permanently stained, or maybe she’s got a pack of ugly Walmart undies she only pulls out for these occasions. It sucks, but we have to be prepared to ruin clothes – they may as well be articles that we all hate anyways.
8. Periods Are Totally Unpredictable
Well, maybe not totally. Without medication, we can still usually tell when our periods will come within a range of a few days. We can generally predict when our period will come (and if we’re on birth control, we know exactly when things will get messy).
But that’s not what I’m talking about: periods vary in intensity month to month. It may be light and painless one month, and then like a scene from The Shining the next month.Yeah, it’s kind of disgusting! And we’re the ones that have to deal with it every month.
It’s hard to plan ahead when our bodies shake things up on us on a monthly basis. This is why we don’t have enough tampons in our purse and our clothes get ruined; we planned for the intensity of last month and we got a horror movie instead. When she goes to the bathroom a lot while on her period, cut her a break – she’s just trying to make sure she’s on top of her period.
7. She’s Not PMS-ing While She’s On Her Period
Guys tend to blame intense emotional reactions and hormonal outbreaks on a period. Newsflash: our hormones break out before our periods. Do you guys even know what PMS stands for? Premenstrual syndrome. “Pre” means before.
There’s a wide variety of symptoms that come with PMS: tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, migraines, and depression, to name a few. Just like the intensity of a period, intensity of PMS varies. It may not even be noticeable one month, and the next it may feel like your brain is exploding and nobody loves you. PMS affects three in four women; therefore, it is possible that she’s emotional because of her period. However, don’t jump to assumptions. It’s also very likely that she has a good reason to be upset or angry and you should take her seriously. If you dismiss her feelings because of her vagina, you’re in for a rough time.
6. The Lining Of Her Uterus Is Being Shed. AND. IT. HURTS.
Let’s dig into some of the biological details. You should have a good idea of what’s happening in there if you’re going to understand why we’re in such pain.
Before and during ovulation (when women are most likely to become pregnant), estrogen and progesterone build up in the lining of a woman’s uterus. If a woman were to become pregnant, the fertilized egg would attach to this lining and it would nourish the egg. If a woman isn’t impregnated, then the levels of these hormones decrease and the lining of the uterus and the unfertilized egg are shed because they are no longer needed.
How do you think the lining is shed: it just detaches and falls out of us? If only we were so lucky. This is the painful part. Our bodies release a mix of natural chemicals that strip the lining from the walls of our uteri. It’s like stripping varnish from piece of wood. It comes off gradually, with time and scrubbing. Now imagine the same process inside our uteri. It. Hurts.
5. Carrying Around Unlimited Supply of Tampons, Liners, and Pads Is Expensive And Annoying
Do you think we like carrying purses? We don’t! We hate our purses! If we could fit everything we need in our coat pockets or jeans, we would, but we need too much stuff! If we’re on our periods, we’ve got to carry around at least three tampons or pads (plus extras, depending on how intense our period is that day), a couple of liners, and whatever else we need to control the pain that comes with a period (pill bottles or containers filled with Midol or Advil).
Not to mention how expensive it is to hemorrhage from your vagina every month. One box of tampons costs at least $5. Pads are more expensive, at $10 a package. We have to wear at least one product (sometimes both) at all times while on our periods. People have been pushing for subsidized feminine hygiene products for a while, but the big guys high on their horses on Capitol Hill don’t see the need. In fact, they want to place a luxury tax on tampons. WHAT ABOUT THIS IS LUXURIOUS?
4. Our Energy Is Zapped Away
Before our period came, we felt like Beyonce at the half-time show: we could take over the world, NOTHING WAS GOING TO STOP US! Except the uterus.
When our period comes, our energy is zapped out of us for the foreseeable future. Before we had medications to control the pain of menstrual cramps or hygiene products to keep ourselves clean, women on their periods were laid up on bed rest for the duration. Even today in impoverished countries, women on their periods stay home from school and work until the bleeding stops. Remember the biological process described earlier? Our bodies are going through a lot and need rest.
Any plans we had made to workout or explore the city or even take on a new project at work seem infinitely more difficult for the first couple days of our periods. But don’t worry – in a couple of days, we’ll be back on our feet and kicking ass again.
3. We Want To Eat Everything, But Everything Makes Us Sick
Our periods make us insatiably hungry. It’s part of our bodies feeling like they’re in a state of recuperation. We want sleep and we want food. The hormones rising while on our periods balance out with serotonin and cortisol; therefore we crave foods high in these chemicals, like fried and sugary foods (there goes our diet). Unfortunately after we eat anything, we feel incurably nauseous.
The nausea accompanying our periods can be caused by several factors. Our hormones are in flux and can thus be out of balance, causing nausea, or the hormone changes can cause more acid to be produced in our stomachs, which would do the trick, too. Or our super-sized uterus is just taking up all the room in our abdomen and there’s pressure on everything, making us feel sick. These factors can all come together in an inconvenient, sickening way. You’d be pretty frustrated too if you were constantly starving and sick, and had no way to fix either of these problems.
2. We Want To Have Intercourse With Everything…But Don’t Touch Us
When we’re on our periods, we feel ill. Imagine having the flu and a significant other that wanted to have sex with you regardless. It’s frustrating and our bodies actually hurt.
That doesn’t mean we don’t want to have sex. There’s a common urban myth that women can’t have sex while on their periods: NOT TRUE. We can have sex, and a lot of us want to! Our fluctuating hormones make us crazy horny. It’s just… messy.
If you have sex with someone on their period, it’s almost guaranteed to be different from any other time you’d have sex. She feels sick, her body aches, and she flat out does not feel sexy. If you two want to get it on anyway, do it. When she orgasms, it’ll make her feel a million times better (all that dopamine and serotonin can’t hurt)!
1. Our Cycles Don’t Sync Up
Here’s another urban myth: when women spend time together, their cycles sync. False. Although there are theories, there is absolutely no clinical proof that this happens. What did you think, we have Bluetooth in our vaginas?
If it is true, it’s due to pheromones that women pick up on after living with each other for extended periods of time. However, there is really no proof. Most of these theories come from women who lived together and told stories about having periods at the same time. Sounds super exciting, right?
Truth be told: there’s only so many weeks in a month. The likelihood that periods will overlap is pretty high. Don’t get your panties in a twist if your girlfriend and your mom are PMS-ing at the same time. Suck it up, don’t complain, and get them some chocolate – at least you don’t have to hemorrhage out of your penis every month.