How can we be a better ally to support our sisters, our wives, our friends, and our roommates?
If men understand the menstrual cycle,it really becomes an advantage for them. It's like giving them superman's powers! Here are some important points to better understand the great feminine mystery.
Special guest: Stéphane Crête,
A multidisciplinary artist, Stéphane Crête, has been teaching ritual work for nearly 10 years, in parallel to his acting career. In his artistic practice as in his workshops, he is interested in transcending taboos, inviting us to look at things differently in order to broaden our perceptions of the known.
The Red Table is a space for educational, safe and inclusive discussion to gather and address topics that are still often taboo. The floor is entirely left to the invited experts, as well as to the community present. These discussions reflect opinions and in no case should they be considered as medical recommendations.
Menstrual cycle 101
It's good to know that the menstrual cycle affects our hormones so our mood, our libido, our degree of sociability and even the way we perceive ourselves and others. It can also change the appearance of our skin (pimples), as well as breast swelling and tenderness. Hormones also have an influence on the glow of our skin, the frequency and texture of our vaginal secretions, etc.
Phase 1: Winter. This is the period of menstruation which is experienced differently for each woman, but for general periods: time of introspection, the body manages and releases many things so it is a time to let go, we are more sensitive to pain and noises, our 5 senses are more open, our body cleanses, frees and lets go. We often want to slow down and cocoon. Our uterus doubles in volume and weight, we feel heavy, but this is also the period when our intuitive abilities are at their maximum. Emotionally, our body mourns the death of the egg and the cozy nest it had made to welcome a baby.
Phase 2: Spring. This is the pre-ovulatory phase. It embodies renewal, simplicity and clarity. It's like a renaissance after menstruation. We feel a boost of energy, a desire for productivity and to accomplish tasks. We feel independent, fearless, and dare to take risks. In short, we are the Queens of the world!
Phase 3: Summer. This is the period of ovulation. We generally feel more beautiful, emotionally more turned towards our neighbour (outgoing), more attentive, we want to take care, our communication is more open, we have more patience, we are more generous, we feel sexier.
Phase 4: Fall. This is the premenstrual phase or what is also called PMS. Estrogen decreases and progesterone takes over. We are in waiting mode, our energy level drops, we become more nervous, more irritable, edgy, and often we want to do housework!
How long does the female cycle last?
28 to 35 days, but it really varies for each woman.
How much does your cycle cost every year?
Between $150 and $400 per year to manage menstruation. It depends on whether we use disposable products or not (much more economical in the long term to use washable products!) but we also consider stained panties, sheets, pants, etc.
Preferred terms for menstruation?
Do's or don'ts as a man
- Use condescending or degrading words to talk about menstruation because the emotions experienced are very strong.
- Take the emotions experienced personally by pre-menstruating women.
- Do not take the emotions and needs expressed seriously.
- Small things to support the cycle, such as buy chocolate, fruit, etc . (we often want to eat sugar!).
- At the work level, try to adapt the workloads according to the cycle.
- Physically support our partner or friend. Such as, "I'm here if you want me to help you; if you need me to make you food, run a bath, etc."
- Talk about menstruation in positive ways to continue educating people.
- There are mobile applications to track the menstrual cycle: we can ask our partner to share access with us to keep track of the cycle.
- Ask the women around us how they experience this, take an interest.
Sex during menstruation: yes or no?
First, it's good to know that there is no risk associated with sex during menstruation, except for maybe getting pregnant. And yes, it is possible!
The benefits of making love during menstruation
Blood acts as a lubricant, sex relieves pain and shortens our cycle, it increases the intimacy and depth of the relationship and our sensitivity is increased: intense and deep excitement/emotion.
Little tips to make it go smoothly:
- Put a dark towel underneath
- Keep wet washcloths handy
- Make love in the bath or shower if you prefer
- Sex without penetration
If you want to see the recording of our online Red Table event, it's here (and free)! In French only.
Knowledge of the menstrual cycle is not only the responsibility of women. Men have their place in this process as an ally not to mention that the more men know about the subject, the fewer taboos there will be related to the menstrual cycle.
Last tip: use the expression "menstrual protection" instead of "sanitary napkin". The latter refers rather to something dirty, or messy.
Jonathan G., father of 3 daughters
How do you experience this as a dad?
What is your relationship with the menstrual cycle?
I have thoughtfullness with part ignorance. In many ways, I can be attentive, but sometimes I forget about it completely. I am fascinated and intrigued by this phenomenon.