Busting Some Period Myths

There's a whole bunch of misconceptions about menstruation out there. Here's how to tackle some

Feature by Rachel Munford | 05 Nov 2014

We don’t talk about periods, or rather menstruation, in many circles I’m part of. However, when we do, I hear the most inaccurate myths about the female reproduction cycle as well as the actual workings of the female vagina. I can do nothing but laugh.

The first myth I encountered was that somehow my period would be like scenes in Carrie or another horror film. Once a month, every woman’s period is just a sea of blood mixed in with horrific mood swings like those of a werewolf. Men and women should beware: stay away from your girlfriends, wives, sisters, mothers and friends! Blood will spew out of their pants without the proper precautions. Right. My period is not a horror film. Nor do I go crazy and want to maul anyone who looks at me when I’m menstruating.

The second myth is that I can’t have sex on my period. There’s such a thing as period sex, just many people don’t want to talk about it, probably due to the connotations that the very natural process of menstruation is seen as disgusting – apparently period sex is icky and disgusting, therefore, due to the blood. Bet you didn’t know that having an orgasm on your period can actually decrease cramps and other pains.

Then, of course, there's the infamous 'I can’t swim or bathe on my period'; the idea that I can’t do any sort of exercise on my period seemingly because women are too fragile to bleed and soldier on. The reason is, supposedly, cold water can increase your cramps – but at the same time there’s the tip that you should exercise throughout your period to ease general aches and pains.

Fourth, suddenly the male cis-gender population think it’s okay to give me advice about my period or think it’s okay to use my ability to have periods as an insult or joke. Right, okay, whenever giving advice, what should everyone remember, irrespective of the situation? Two questions: 'Am I a doctor or academic expert on this situation?' 'Have I experienced this myself?' If your answer is 'no' to both, then do not give me tips on how to deal with my period. No, jogging it off won’t help (sometimes). No, I’m not lazy (sort of). No, I’m not addicted to painkillers – I am actually in pain. Therefore shut up!

Lastly: I’m a hormonal bitch on my period. I could be and I may well be. Yet it really shouldn’t be assumed that when I’m an emotional wreck it’s because I’m a woman. Seemingly my period is the only reason I would be upset or stressed at any point of time because why would I, as a woman, have any stress? It’s not like I work, attend university, write for publications, socialise or have arguments. No, not at all. When I’m not on my period, I am a saint. I have no qualms with anyone, I always say please and thank you, and I never, ever lose my temper. Right.