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Klit Bill

     Here, we talk about menstrual blood and the received ideas it conveys, through expressions that we often hear when we have a vulva*. But before tackling this, we must answer this question: what are the rules?

During puberty (at 12-13 years old on average), most people with a vulva see their period appear: blood that flows from the uterus for several days, and which stains your panties every month. This phenomenon corresponds to the first stage of what is called the menstrual cycle . This cycle is fixed by scientists at 28 days (like the cycle of the moon) but it can vary from one person to another (between 23 and 36 days). It can also change over the course of a person's life, or be irregular, especially when you are young or under stress. After a while (around 50 years), this cycle stops. This is called menopause.

Where does period blood come from? In fact, in the middle of the cycle (around the 13th and 14th day), under the impulse of hormones, oocytes (equivalent to sperm) are created in the ovaries and wait to be fertilized. When they are not fertilized (meeting no sperm), they disintegrate. The uterus then produces blood, which will allow the disintegrated oocytes to come out and force you to wear sanitary protection so as not to stain you (menstrual panties and cups, pads, tampons).

Periods are therefore a sign that you are not pregnant! (at least most of the time, because it happens that pregnant people still have their periods).

Now that we've clarified all that, let's look through common expressions, the prejudices that accompany this completely normal process.


"You just had your period, that's it, you're a woman!"

Does having your period define you as a woman? No, because we have seen that the  biology does not determine gender (gender is social). Even if we wanted to keep gender as a criterion, there are women who do not have periods. This is the case of women who use a contraceptive that suspends their periods (eg hormonal implant, continuous pills), who are sterile or who are in menopause. If rules define us as women, then what do we call those women who don't?

The appearance of menstruation (or menstruation) is only the sign that a person with a vulva is able to give birth and that she must protect herself during sexual intercourse that initiates ejaculation if she does not wish to become pregnant. (and of course protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases).

"What's wrong? are you on your period?" .

Do periods, and therefore the hormonal cycle, affect mood? This idea is socially shared but currently, no scientific study can confirm it.

We know that people react differently to their periods (or their arrival). Some feel more or less intense uterine pain, more or less strong emotional activity, greater or lesser libido, discomfort. Others do not observe a noticeable change. If all these scenarios exist because they are experienced by people, why for some and not others? If there is no link with the hormonal cycle, then would it be the pain that makes you grumpy, or the idea of knowing that your period is approaching? We don't really know. On the other hand, we know the consequences of the taboo of periods: that it induces violence and impacts self-esteem and one's body, or that it develops resistance to pain. Regarding pain, scientists have recently proven the existence of endometriosis. This chronic disease causes pain in the uterus and sometimes in the rest of the body, during menstruation and outside (eg sexual intercourse, in the toilet, etc.) which is not relieved with paracetamol. What to be very grumpy! If you feel like you're one of those people, talk about it and ask to see a doctor.

"You have your period, we can't make love".

And sex in all this? Is it compatible with the rules? Yes, but this duo is a very old taboo that still persists in many places. While sodomy towards people with vulva is almost omnipresent in mainstream porn, sex during menstruation remains non-existent, including in lesbian porn. As much as we know  that mainstream porn responds to existing desires at the same time as it manufactures them, so we can say that it maintains and transmits the idea that poo is less taboo than blood. Amazing isn't it? Yet menstrual blood is much cleaner! Only, it differs a little from the blood that flows through our veins because it is enriched with other things, such as the bacterial flora that protects the vagina or stem cells.

Let's break the taboo around periods right away: it is possible to have sexual activity during, and this, in many different ways! It's all about feelings and consent. There are people who have pain and who cannot experience desire or pleasure, others who have the feeling of having a lot of libido, people who find that blood is a perfect lubricant, still others who prefer oral practices on the external part of the clitoris (tampons and cups are very practical for that!) or sodomy. The question is then to know: you, depending on the moment, what do you prefer? and never force yourself to please your partner.  

For further :

  • The Hide That Blood Episode in Libre, by Ovidie.

  • Periods are no longer taboo! in the show La Maison des maternal , with Élise Thiebaut (author of Ceci est mon sang ) and Anna Roy (midwife).

  • The Podcast Series: Red as the Rules , from LSD the documentary series.

  • The Heavy Periods site to help you identify your menstrual flow and notice a problem.

  • The Health Observatory's prevention article on the risks of using certain hygienic protections (toxic shock).

  • A YouTube video by Clemity Jane about different birth control methods.

* With the exception of intersex people who may have a vulva without the reproductive system that is most often associated with it.

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