De laatste paar maanden ben ik geïntrigeerd geraakt door het onderwerp menstruatie. Deze keer specifiek, menstruatie en seks. Het feit dat er letterlijk iets ongecontroleerd uit je vagina druipt leek me een grotere invloed op seks te hebben dan hoe het in het algemeen wordt tentoongesteld. Naast een rommelige boel heeft seks tijdens de menstruatie ook een emotionele component.
Hoewel een aanzienlijke hoeveelheid personen menstrueert (of op een bepaald moment in hun leven heeft gemenstrueerd), lijkt er toch weinig bekend over persoonlijke ervaringen in relatie tot seks. Ik las en bekeek veel over ‘mass reduction’, taboe en communicatie, maar was eigenlijk vooral benieuwd wat personen zelf denken of voelen voor of tijdens deze periode en hoe dat zijn weerslag kan hebben op hoe ze seks ervaren. Ik interviewde verschillende personen en verzamelde verhalen om zo een meer intieme blik te krijgen op de combinatie seks en menstruatie. Deze eerste blog bevat de verhalen, voor de interviews kun je bij mijn volgende blogs terecht.
The last few months I’ve become intrigued with the subject menstruation. And this time specifically, menstruation and sex. To me, the fact that something literally drips out of your vagina uncontrollably would seem to have more impact on having sex than the way that I’ve seen it portrayed in pop culture or media. Alongside a messy affair, I believe it is also an emotional affair.
A great deal of people menstruate (or have menstruated at some point in their lives). Still to me it seems little is known about the personal experiences in relation to sexy time. I read and looked at content on mess reduction, taboo and communication but was actually more interested in what menstruees think or feel during (and before) their period and how this can have its effect on how they experience sex. I interviewed a variety of people and collected personal stories, through this I hoped to get a more intimate view on the matter. This blog contains the stories, for some bloody interviews check my other entries.
‘I think I was always a bit hesitant to have period sex because a lot of questions represent themselves that normally aren’t there…like who’s responsibility is it to clean that shit up? What colour towels are at our disposal? How can I dispose of whatever is currently stopping blood being everywhere in a discrete & very sensual way? The solution I found to most (actually all) of these worries is a forcing a sense of humour. And actually when it eventually happened, the first time ended up being a pretty profound moment, much more than I expected it would be.
In honor of the man who took my period sex virginity…
“You’ve caught me at a really bad time” I told him, as we had half undressed eachother, his body pinning me down. I remember feeling too ashamed to make it explicit…anenthusiastic “btw I’m bleeding!” Could’ve also worked but how unsexy is that? Who wants to think about blood mid-hump?
And why did I even need to warn him as it was some STD he could catch? Something that could endanger him?
“I don’t care. Do you care?” He asked. I told him no but shortly after wriggled out from underneath him as I scurried tot he bathroom to “prepare myself”, removing my tampon, washing any sign of blood away in a hurried messy ordeal and returning with a pile of neatly folded towels.
So I clearly did care, and quite a lot by the look of things. Someone who didn’t care would let their partner rip out the tampon with their teeth or apply war paint with their warm fresh menstruation or some other bold move right?
At this point I remember him chuckling at my precautionary measures. It must have seemed as though I was an hypochondriacal doula preparing the room for birth. Any of my attempts to come across as an empowered nymph seemed diminished. His serenity and acceptance was almost overwhelming and I remember thinking “oh my god he just doesn’t understand what he’s getting into, he’s going to be COVERED in my blood!!!”
You wanna shower afterwards as well or what? He asked with a smirk. I took these worlds as a confession of his fear and reassured him “absolutely”
And so we made love for a long time til the sun rose, and it was the best sex I had ever had in my life, until then. I remember watching him as he laid next to me with his eyes closed, my red signature all over his naked body and my white sheets. “Oh… the shower” I whispered as he came back down to planet earth
“But we’re not dirty” he said.
A true sailor isn’t afraid of the Red Sea…
Sex. Period. I was brought up in a culture in which both of those words represented the greatest taboos and obsessions. Mixing the two together meant committing an almost cardinal sin. It was already bad enough to have the first one, the second one meant becoming a pariah, a second-class citizen, an almost human.
Disgust. That’s what I got in high-school from discussing my periods with friends, especially men. That “Ew don’t talk about this, it’s dirty” look. When I confessed to a girl that I masturbated, also when I was on my period, she couldn’t help but warn each one of my peers, making me the class’s anomaly. I reassured everybody by losing my virginity with a complete stranger, thus creating a “slut persona” that followed me until I left my home country. It was okay for me to think that sex at every moment of my cycle was okay because I had loose morals.
To my greatest surprise, my first years in Europe were stained (no pun intended) with the same spirit. People didn’t do it. Maybe couples, after years together, and even then it was a bit weird. Masturbating while on my period caused a lot of questions from friends. “What about the blood?” “I hate having my period, it’s disgusting”.
Eventually, I grew self-conscious of it, listening more to my brother’s disgusted looks the first day I had them, than to my mother’s voice “You are a woman now.”. Men couldn’t deal with it, men couldn’t even listen to me talk about it. Discussing it was tacky, uncomfortable. It was something that hippies and feminists did and real women couldn’t possibly even approach the subject.
The first day I had my period, I was about to take a bath. I saw my blood-stained underwear and sighed. I emptied the bathtub and called my mother. Sex and periods became just like baths and periods (my mother excluded). For a long time, I only had sex with strangers. I couldn’t see them when I was wearing a pad or a blood-soaked tampon (that was before the Cup revolution).
I met someone. We talk about my periods, my cramps, my swelled up body and my bloody secretions. We discuss it all, without taboos, and he doesn’t care. Well, so far as his tongue is not involved. And here, my bottled shamed poured out of its recipient. He couldn’t give me head. It smelled bad, tasted bad. I had read a couple of years ago a story about a man that was giving head to a woman, halfway through she started bleeding. But I wasn’t that woman in the book. For a while, we didn’t even try. And then the CUP arrived, and he was okay with it because it contained most of the blood and didn’t create that acre, rancid smell.
I managed to tackle my fear of penetration while on my period, but not the rest. There is no complete freedom, no unconditional acceptance of my body. I shower, and put on my cup and maybe then it’s okay. And in some ways, while the cup is an incredibly freeing instrument, it also removes a lot of the realities of the blood to me. There are no soaked sanitary products anymore. No feeling of the blood leaving my body. And I see it drip down into the white porcelain sink with an amazed stare. Period doesn’t feel like period anymore, period feels like red and rosy paint.
It was dark in the basement room and I think we both must have been a little tipsy. Everything felt goeyey, slippery. It felt smooth and good and I was having fun. And… apparantly by the state of my wetness and my mind, I was super into it. At some point during our session, I decided to get on top and continued for some time. The room didn’t have any windows, it was the kind of dark where your eyes never adjust. Every move and every decision was made by search and touch. I don’t remember if we finished or whether we both wanted a break but one of us flicked on the small reading lamp placed next to the bed.
My partner started squealing like a pig.
They covered their eyes as if they had just walked in on an unexpected crime scene. Their entire torso covered in thick, red film. The kind you get on your heaviest days and that drip out of you like molten chocolate. Bigger clots of blood decorated the pelvic area.
I don’t remember the shower, just my excitement, laughing and the screaming in front of me. I remember being pretty proud of my creation.