Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hooray for periods!

by Jordan Bubin

Periods are awesome. Now, maybe I think that because I never have to deal with them internally, along with related aches and cramps, but it’d be false to tell me I never have to deal with them. After all I’ve got five sisters—“Could you pick up blueberry-scented tampons?”—and as a heterosexual male, they pop up in life with, well, regularity.

People, I feel, usually dismiss periods as that gross, nasty time of the month—but I feel the redhead from Texas ought to get a little more love. A female friend of mine claims that she appreciates her period—not the cramps, but the period itself—as an affirmation of herself as a woman, as a feminine being. For my part, I vote periods as awesome because they’re like a high-five from the gods: “Guess who’s not a daddy this month?”

Through completely unscientific polling and anecdotes gathered through years of being interested in the fairer sex, it seems to me like the period is a time when, sex typically ceases, and if there’s any naked fun to be had, the guy’s the only beneficiary. This seems to me a tad unfair. After all, I know girls who are of the opinion that “It’s funky anyway,” but I feel it’s more often guys who get squeamish at the thought of a southern nosebleed.

If that’s true, it surprises me that, as it seems, women are pretty much okay with this. After all, I’m betting that sex drives don’t end when the flow begins. (Or at least, not for everyone.) Why should women have to give up sex a couple days a month, if they don’t want to? It’s not as if guys who are looking for someone to play with have a regular obstacle to rocking out on the weekend.

I know at least one of my friends who agrees with the point of the “Hair” vagina monologue—she’s against trimming, because “you can’t love a vagina if you don’t love hair.” Now, I beg to differ, and see that as a matter of common courtesy; perhaps you can’t demand your significant other bust out the razor, but it is a favor to whoever happens to wander into the region. (And seriously, I feel like it is a common joke that us guys can’t find the clit—do you really want to make it that much harder to find?) Regardless of your opinion there, though, I’m surprised that I never hear my female friends say that “You can’t appreciate a vagina if you can’t handle a little menstruation.” It seems similarly a matter of courtesy—perhaps, as a woman, you may not expect to get some head that week; yet if you engage in the courtesy of forewarning, I don’t see why it isn’t a slap in the face if the response to that warning is “no thanks.” If there are grounds for feminist irritation at the idea of men demanding women shave, it seems there are at least equal grounds at the fact that guys tend to be incapable of laying down a towel, if they’re so worried about messing the sheets.

So, I think the period ought to have a little more respect than it now gets—being ignored when it’s around, and being terrified of having it not come on time. Celebrate those things—and guys, be willing to hit the store and pick up some feminine products. Although, I have to admit—I do not know why there is a market for blueberry tampons. Who wants to smell like fresh-baked muffins?

8 Comments:

At March 10, 2009 at 4:28 PM , Blogger Courtny said...

*insert vagina/muffin pun here*

That's all.

 
At March 10, 2009 at 7:52 PM , Blogger Roscoe said...

oh, and don't sex drives actually decrease, at least relatively speaking, during periods? At least, generally? Something to do with procreation perhaps. I read somewhere that sex drives can actually increase before the period because that is the most fertile period (pun!) of the woman's cycle, the pre-menstruation period in time. Ya, you can usually rely on your body chemistry to make you want to survive and pass on your genes, good ol' evolution.

Though, believing in rational decisions, of course women can still desire to have sex while on their period...obviously...

I will say it again tho...

vagina taste > blood taste

 
At March 11, 2009 at 3:12 AM , Anonymous Miss Andrist said...

Roscoe:

Sex drive varies from person to person, day to day - hour to hour. Furthermore, contrary to the prevailing opinion of male entitlists, female bodies are not simply smaller versions of male bodies, inverted wherever it seems convenient.

Pregnancy and its likelihood have a lot less to do with males than most males seem capable of realizing. A woman's hormones rotate in a continual cycle: spiking as her body cycle begins ripening an egg, peak around the release of that egg and remain high as long as there is a possibility the egg might "catch." As the egg drifts out of optimal range and out of her body, her hormones slope back down. Usually, this means her sex drive lowers, but not always - some people's hormones shift, rather than "lower," some people's body cycle happens differently - just because she's shedding that lining doesn't make ovulation remotely predictable, or render her body incapable of producing plenty more lining should she catch pregnant while on her period.

The point is, women are individuals. How amazing is that? Say it with me: women are individuals. Our bodies are not photocopies, and thanks to the presence of a major organ group lacking in males, are far more complex.

Sex is biology; gender is society. My arm hair and my period makes me feel equally "feminine" - that is to say, I don't feel "feminine" at all. I don't feel unfeminine, either. I just feel like me. My arm hair, my period, my body - they are me, they are only about me. "Femininity" is entirely about you.

If I'm in the mood for sex, it might be because of my period. If I'm not in the mood for sex, it might be because of my period. If that mad uterine action is increasing the blood flow to all my nether regions, thereby making me constantly ultra aware of them, I might want to get down. If my lower back feels like somebody hit me with a hammer or if I develop a migraine in my lower abdomen, I probably just want ibuprofen. If I have a tummyache, a headache, a toothache, an earache - they're all related to my period because they're all mine, and my period is mine too. They're all connected and affected by the existance of the greater phenomenon that ties them all together: me. And they're all totally unrelated: do I have a toothache because I have a cavity or because I'm a woman and my body sheds calcium at a higher rate than men... through the monthly bleeding of my period?

Guess what? Men who fail to wash properly are the most repulsive entities known to man; I'd rather give head to a cockroach. Subjective evaluation of taste and consistency aside, at least blood can come from any part of both of us.

Women are most likely to become pregnant at the peak of their cycle. That point determines when the body decides to chuck uterine lining - not the other way around. That's why women who are actively trying to get pregnant don't rely on their period as a marker - they test their hormone levels. Her ovaries are calling all the shots, not her uterus.

But the only part MEN see is The Woman Time. Furthermore, males mark their sexual cycle with a more-or-less isolated act of ejection. Under the flawed assumption that females are just inverted males, it makes sense to him that her cycle must hinge on some type of ejection, too. Periods are both obvious and the only remotely cyclical ejection, so males assume it's all about that. Ejection in man equates to his sex drive bottoming out, so the further faulty conclusion is that periods in women equate to the low point of the female sex drive.

Women can desire to have sex when our bodies tell us to; we can desire to NOT have sex despite our bodies telling us to. We can desire to have sex regardless of our bodies' immediate physical arousal. Any man who's ever leapt at the chance to get into bed despite a current limpy realizes that if mental desire to have sex is present, physical desire will "rise to the occaision."

I personally have a rule against having sex while I'm on my period simply because it's messy and stains stuff. I don't care if it's coming from my vagina or my nose - blood stains deeply and it's hard to get out of everything. But it's still just blood. Of course, I get to make exceptions to the rule whenever I don't mind planning ahead - shower, towel, whatever.

What I wonder is:

Why do males talk about stuff that is obviously nothing more than a vague abstraction to them?

 
At March 11, 2009 at 1:12 PM , Anonymous Meghan said...

My sex drive goes nuts during my period, and I'd be homicidal if a SO expected me to give without receiving just 'cause I was on the rag. Every woman's different, but to me, that'd be like dangling a steak in front of a hungry dog.

I found this pretty ridiculous, though:

"I feel like it is a common joke that us guys can’t find the clit—do you really want to make it that much harder to find?"

If men can't find the clitoris, it's probably because they haven't put much effort into it. It's hardly *hiding* from you; in fact, it's right front and center. The implication that unshaven women are somehow to blame for a man's unwillingness to even try is just offensive. I shave, but that's my own personal choice, and has nothing to do with the popular vote of entitled males. Instead of implying that women should shave if they expect to enjoy themselves during sex (something men generally expect regardless), maybe you could suggest that men having difficulty finding the clitoris could just *ask*. Those men not grown-up enough to ask are not grown-up enough to be having sex anyway.

 
At March 11, 2009 at 1:30 PM , Blogger Jessica said...

I get more horny during my period. I don't expect oral during that time, but I do get mad that my boyfriend is freaked out by it. Just put a towel down and it should be ok!

And as far as the pubic hair thing, I can't speak for anyone else, but anytime I have shaved down there, when it grows back it itches and hurts. And as I have learned that most men won't shave down there, I am not going to worry about it. Trimming is great, but I refuse to shave anymore.

Blueberry-scented tampons? The concept of a scented tampon sounds really irritating.

 
At March 11, 2009 at 2:00 PM , Blogger Jordan Bubin '09 said...

Miss Andrist, I'm not sure who you're invective is directed at--myself, Roscoe, or the imaginary other male in the room? (1) None of us were talking about women as inverted men. (2) I rather resent the fact that men mark their sexual cycle as little more than an act of ejection. Sure, some men perhaps do that, but I would guess that leads to a rather unfulfilling time for both parties; I like to think that most men--including myself--see sexuality a little less simplistically. (3) Put one and two together--you placed both of them, it seems, into mine or Roscoe's mouth; which leads to your idea that males assume periods are some sort of sexual ejection.

Give us a little more credit, or in fact, give us less (though it seems, given your comment, it would be hard for you to give guys less credit)-- I don't think that men have some grand explanation, like you've put forth, for why women don't want to have sex when they're on their periods. In my experience, more often than not, they have found the idea sort of disgusting; perhaps the same holds true for Roscoe. My point was that we (men) shouldn't be squeamish about it, as Meghan points out; if the woman doesn't want to, then that's that. But she shouldn't have a guy turn her down because it's too weird to deal with some blood.

And as for your last point, about males talking about something that's an abstraction to them? Three things. First of all, I don't think it's quite an abstraction; it's something I deal with in my life, have had end up on my face in odd situations, and is generally, in my opinion, something that is actually *real.* It's not a physiological process I personally experience, but it is most definitely real. Second, if you don't think it can be more than an abstraction to me, since I can't experience it myself, I'm confused about where you get your opinion of the male view of sexuality. Third, despite either of these things, when did it stop being okay for men or women to talk about abstract things?

 
At March 11, 2009 at 2:07 PM , Blogger Jordan Bubin '09 said...

Meghan, maybe it wasn't obvious enough, being in parentheses, but that line was in fact a joke.

If you want to point out the matter, however, I had not even implied that if women want to enjoy themselves during sex, that the should shave. Nor did I imply that it was anything other than a woman's personal choice.

What I said was "it's a favor" to whoever wanders into the area. And that's exactly the point--I don't think that I, as a male, am required to shave (or trim), just as I don't think females must shave (or trim). But to do either is something nice for your significant other. And not in the sense of something required. Yet I'm well aware that my SO appreciates it if I have trimmed downstairs; therefore, I do so. Similarly, she can do what she wants with her hair, but I do appreciate it when it's short.

Like Jessica points out, shaving might hurt, and I agree--so perhaps my error was in saying "shaving." By razor, I was thinking trimming anyway, which is equally considerate--and again, neither are *required*. They're a favor to anyone who's doing you a favor.

 
At July 29, 2009 at 10:48 AM , Blogger brie said...

I would never give a hooray for periods! I can't stand the fact that they're necessary and to me, they only mean a week of messiness and feeling awkward. I'm hoping that with time that should change though! lol just blogged on this recently, do check it out>>>http://justyougirl.blogspot.com/2009/07/heres-to-your-uterus.html?zx=cdd485dacbf694b6

 

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