Why Men Should be Cool with Period Sex
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"It's a timing issue, if you know what I mean..." I told him, gesturing toward my pelvis.
"Is that code for you're on your period?"
I nodded. We were in bed. It was the wee hours of New Year's Day. The countdown was three hours and a long, cold, Chicago walk behind us. We had finally made it back to my apartment, but my cheeks were still pink from the chill.
"I mean...,” he said, "I don't care if you don't care..."
I grabbed an old towel, and we were off, thoughts of timing and mess and hesitation safely behind us.
An average woman will have about 500 periods in her lifetime. At five days a pop, she will spend 2,500 days (or 350 weeks, seven years) of her life menstruating. So let me ask you this: Do you really want to spend seven years of your life not having sex just because your body happens to be exercising it's extremely important right to cleanse your uterus? Is your partner looking forward to seven sexless years?
But it makes a mess! Yes, yes, sometimes it does. You may have noticed, however, that sex is often messy, with all manner of bodily fluids dripping, leaking, seeping, and staining. We deal with those messes, though, in the pursuit of pleasure, and period sex is just one degree toward complete carnal chaos. Let's all learn to roll with it.
I find that men, especially younger men, often display a certain wariness, even fear or disgust, toward periods. They have yet to grow out of the fourth-grade instinct to throw a wrapped tampon on the floor rather than pass it between two girls. It's icky, it's weird, it's scary, it's that mysterious “time of the month." I am not interested in these men.
My period is nothing to be afraid of. It should go without saying, though obviously it doesn't, that menstruation is a totally natural, healthy biological process, as normal as burping, sweating, peeing, shivering, or regrowing a toenail you slammed in that car door.
But periods, unlike those other bodily functions, are the unique province of the ladies, and that’s where it gets tricky. Historically, female bodies have been hidden, shamed, and ostracized for any capabilities they possess that male bodies do not. She’s bleeding! Quick, let’s put her in a tent until she stops! Only recently did feminine hygiene company Always release the first pad advertising campaign that featured blood instead of mysterious blue liquid. Breastfeeding in public is deemed controversial and in some cases, penalized. The word “vagina” was labeled indecorous on the Michigan congressional floor. Carefree recently caused an uproar when they used the word “discharge” to discuss discharge in their commercial. What objectively are amazing feats of evolution are routinely and repetitively construed as abnormal and unfit for delicate sensibilities.
In light of the constant “othering” of my body and its processes, I’m protective of my period. It is not something I ever want to be embarrassed about. It is not something I will ever apologize for, or make excuses for, or hide. It is simply my biology at its coolest, doing exactly what it is supposed to do, exactly when it’s supposed to do it.
The best sex I’ve ever had has invariably been with partners who treated my menstrual cycle with complete nonchalance. Men like that are more common than I thought when I was 19, but I’m still pleasantly surprised every time I stumble upon one. If you don’t care about the fact that I bleed once a month, it’s a signifier to me that our values, at least some of them, are lining up.