Re­gard­ing peo­ple who don’t have pe­riod sex

Writer Alanna Lau­ren Greco is de­ter­mined to stop the shame.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Contents -

One re­cent Sun­day morn­ing I was leav­ing the apart­ment of a guy I’d been ca­su­ally see­ing. Putting on my shoes, I no­ticed a brown­ish spot on his bed, no doubt the re­sult of our hav­ing sex the night be­fore while I was on my pe­riod.

“Want me to wash your sheets?” I oered. “No,” he replied. “I’ll take care of it.” Hon­estly, that’s prob­a­bly the hottest thing a guy has ever said to me.

Pe­riod sex isn’t ex­actly main­stream. I don’t know any TV show or movie where both par­ties are into it, and I’ve never dis­cussed it with friends un­til I told them about the sheet in­ci­dent. Many of them ad­mit­ted they only have sex while bleed­ing if they’re in ‘se­ri­ous’ re­la­tion­ships, most said they opt out al­to­gether be­cause of the mess, and one had been trau­ma­tised dur­ing a hookup af­ter a guy no­ticed her tam­pon and made a com­ment about chunky tomato sauce. An­other summed it this way: “Get­ting blood all over is o-putting.” I was stunned. How much blood are we talk­ing about? Is it ac­tu­ally so much a towel won’t prevent mat­tress stains? How nice are your sheets? Are they re­ally more im­por­tant than hav­ing an or­gasm? It’s not like you’re paint­ing each other with men­strual blood; usu­ally it’ll only coat his shaft. Throw down a towel or – if the flow is too heavy and you aren’t about the cleanup – head to the shower in­stead.

This isn’t the dark ages, when women on their pe­ri­ods were thought to be dam­aged and sent into iso­la­tion, for­bid­den from even touch­ing the same cut­lery as men. And while we’ve made it from those sad times to tam­pon ads with women in white clothes tri­umphantly play­ing sports, the stigma per­sists. We spend our men­stru­at­ing lives try­ing to hide our pe­riod’s ex­is­tence (just think of those spy-like tac­tics you use to con­ceal a san­i­tary pad en route to the bath­room). But if I’m now sup­posed to be able to climb a moun­tain while my uter­ine walls are shed­ding, why can’t I re­ver­sec­ow­girl (or at least mis­sion­ary)?

My the­ory: most pe­riod-sex aver­sion re­lates to pe­riod shame. It’s one thing to rule it out when you have ter­ri­ble cramps – to­tally get it, see you in a week – but it’s an­other to avoid sex al­to­gether be­cause you think men­stru­at­ing makes you un­de­sir­able or is em­bar­rass­ing. I sus­pect mess ob­jec­tions are about women want­ing to be a ‘per­fect’ and un­com­pli­cated part­ner. Pe­riod sex forces a guy to see you as more than just a hookup; you turn into a real per­son with real bod­ily func­tions. But if a guy thinks those func­tions make you too much trou­ble, maybe don’t sleep with him. Imag­ine if you got preg­nant or sick, some­one who gets grossed out by pe­ri­ods prob­a­bly can’t help you through that.

Speak­ing of guys, I asked their feel­ings on the sub­ject, too. Pe­ri­od­sex re­sis­tance gen­er­ally boiled down to “Ew” and “Pe­ri­ods are scary/not my prob­lem.” To all of them I say: not see­ing vagi­nas as hav­ing any pur­pose be­sides your plea­sure is de­hu­man­is­ing and rude. Do you think it’s OK to be grossed out by fe­male body fluid while we’re sup­posed to be OK with your body fluid on our chests, butts and, for the dar­ing, faces? Side note: se­men also stains, and I’ve never heard of a guy lay­ing down a towel to spare the sheets.

I’ll only con­cede if a guy is a ger­mo­phobe or faints at the sight of blood, he can get a pe­riod-sex pass. Ob­vi­ously sex should be en­joy­able for all those in­volved. But to the oth­ers: get with the pro­gram. Also, don’t you dare think of pe­ri­ods as an ex­cuse to ex­pect a blow job.

And to pe­riod-sex-re­luc­tant ladies: some woke men are will­ing but as­sume we aren’t. “I just think she’ll say no,” one guy told me. So the first step to do­ing the deed with a cou­ple of Lil-lets in your bag: ap­proach with con­fi­dence. Sec­ond: dis­close some­time be­fore ev­ery­thing starts.

So if you aren’t cur­rently a pe­riod-sex haver, ask your­self why. In­ter­nalised shame? Close-minded part­ner? Ex­pen­sive sheets? Make some changes. You de­serve to have sex when­ever you please.

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