...are rarely discussed and i think that's sad!
I get it that menstruation can be inconvenient and, for some, debilitatingly painful (I used to miss school or work at least once a month before i went on BC). I absolutely wouldn't dream of denying a woman (or differently gendered uterus haver) the right to complain about it. But for the same feminist reasons that I think we should be allowed to be open about the bad stuff, I also think we should be allowed to openly celebrate it.
Menstruation (and other female-bodied health issues) should be looked at, talked about, and understood as plainly as any other bodily experience. For my generation, gym teachers hammered it into our heads that there was no reason to need a pass on gym class due to a period. "We know better now. You can do anything you usually do on your period." Oh, cool, thanks for that pseudo empowering language that 100% dismisses the feelings of discomfort every single woman in the room, including you, has experienced. Not to mention that studies have shown women actually have a much harder time engaging their abdominal muscles during menstruation. But "we know better now". Thanks. Glad to know that for the rest of my life I get to feel like a lazy failure for wanting to take it easy.
OK, that was a negative aspect that i apparently needed to get off my chest. Equally taboo and poorly understood though, are the following perks of menstruation.
1. Sex is flat out awesome just before, and during the first day or two of menstruation. That's if, of course, you have a nonshitty partner who cares about your pleasure and doesn't treat you/your desire as something gross or shameful at this time. Sometimes we have to be that partner to ourselves.
2. I'm more sensitive during this time as well and this is a benefit, not a liability.Apart from making me more easily moved to laughter or happy tears, it forces me to deal with negative stuff that I may have been trying to put aside. Additionally, it opens me to more nuance in interactions with myself and others. I am more in tune with both my own needs and desires and those of others.
3. Coffee and chocolate taste SO FUCKING GOOD and it would be a shame to live without that immense pleasure.
4. I'm a cheap date when I'm menstruating. Obviously it's wise to consider this ahead of time but, getting giggly and silly over half a glass of wine? Sounds good to me.
5. My insides feel mushy and strange, which can be upsetting in the wrong situation but cozy in the right one.
6. I'm more likely to feel loopy, goofy, and sleepy. Again, benefit not liability. I am a workaholic. My body encouraging me to take a break in this way is beneficial to my physical and mental health. If i listen.
At the end of the day i think every single problem and misunderstanding around menstruation comes down to this: learn about and pay attention to women's bodies better, and act accordingly. Menstruation is a complex experience, not a curse and not an embarrassment. We could all benefit from pushing ourselves to speak and listen more openly about it.