Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene management and ensuring that women can menstruate with dignity and privacy. And while I’m all for privacy, I also believe strongly in the need to talk about culturally “yucky” topics, like periods. For most American girls, initial conversations about menstruation are shrouded in hushed tones and sprinkled with phrases like “the curse” and “Aunt Flow.” At least that’s how it was with me. My mom warned me about dreadful cramps and my fifth grade teacher demonstrated how a tampon expands when placed in a cup of water — my first exposure to sex ed. It’s no wonder I dreaded getting my period.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that not everything about menstruating is horrific. There are some cool and interesting things about it, too. So before you write off the Crimson Tide as a mere nuisance, check out this list of things you won’t likely learn in school.
1. Your period makes you frisky.
Sure, you might have cramps and feel bloated. But because levels of the hormone progesterone – which is often blamed for dampening your libido – are at their lowest during your period, you may also be feeling like a horny 18-year-old guy. Which brings me to my second point…
2. Sex on your period is awesome.
Whether it’s with a partner or your vibrator, sex on your period isn’t gross — it’s great. Orgasming can help relieve cramps, back pain and other physical discomforts that accompany your flow. Concerned you’ll bleed everywhere? Chances are you won’t, but if you’re worried, just do what my best friend says — lay a towel down and get over it. And if your Rabbit Habit ends up looking like a roadkill rabbit, just wash it off. No biggie.
3. You can get away with indulging cravings the week before your period.
Consider it nature’s karma for cramps and crankies. The week before your period drops, your body burns an extra 100-300 calories, so don’t feel guilty about that chocolate bar. In fact, if you’re like me and crave chocolate, it could be because it has magnesium, which you lose as estrogen levels start to dip.
4. Your periods can synch with your friends’.
OK, so this isn’t a concrete scientific fact — the theory is still debated — but if you’ve ever lived in a dorm or had female roommates, it doesn’t feel like a coincidence that you’re all reaching for tampons at the same time. It’s like your period wants its own period friends.
5. Not all tampons are created equal.
Speaking of tampons, don’t just settle for any tampon. Conventional, non-organic tampons may contain pesticide residue, not to mention bleach and dioxins, a carcinogen. Your vaginas deserve better than that, ladies. Even if your local store doesn’t carry organic tampons, a quick search on Amazon.com gives you plenty of options to choose from.