A company recently came out with a period tracker where people can check off a variety of things they might experience throughout their periods. And every single one of these things is negative. There’s no way to indicate when you’re feeling energetic, happy, or horny. You can only say when you’re having cramps or mood swings. This negativity doesn’t match how I experience my period, or how many people do.
"Your period is your monthly hormone test — like free monthly blood work — letting you know how healthy and balanced your hormones are in real time," Alisa Vitti, functional nutritionist, author of WomanCode, and creator of the MyFLO period app and FLOliving.com, tells Bustle. "Beyond being a great barometer of your overall health, your cycle as a whole allows you to tap into your optimal creativity, productivity, and a blueprint for optimal self care. It's the code to your best life!" For example, according to Vitti, there are times in your cycle where you're more persuasive and more productive, and during the menstrual phase itself, your two brain hemispheres communicate better, helping you synthesize ideas. We lose out on these advantages if we only see periods as negative.
Here are some reasons I personally see my period as a positive and you might be able to, too.
1. It's An Indicator Of Health
There has been almost no time in my life when I've had regular periods. During my teen years, soon after my period started, I went a year and a half without my period due to an eating disorder, and even now, it usually comes every two or three months, especially if my eating or sleep schedules are off.
It’s only recently that it even became that frequent, thanks to Vitti's counseling program. Last summer, for the first time since I was a young teen, I had two periods that were just a month and a half apart. In that moment, I knew my efforts to get to bed before 3 a.m. and eat three meals a day had paid off. I was so excited that my body seemed to be functioning better. It gave me a sense of well-being.
Every time I get my period, it feels like validation that I'm doing something right when it comes to taking care of my body. And when I go a long time without it, that's valuable, too, because it means my lifestyle needs adjusting.
2. It Builds Intimacy With My Partner
There are certain things my partner gets to see that nobody else does. In fact, now that a group of women in a masturbation workshop have seen my O face, really the only thing left just for him is my period. With all the period shaming that happens in our culture, it feels vulnerable and radical for him to go down there during my time of month. Each time we have sex on my period, I shed a bit of shame along with the blood.
3. It Tells Me I’m Not Pregnant
I’m not on hormonal birth control, and I’m aware that condoms aren’t perfect, so there’s always some anxiety about pregnancy in the back of my head. Every time I get my period, I can rest assured that at least I’m not pregnant yet!
4. It Makes Me Really Horny
Contrary to the popular wisdom that says our sex drives are highest during ovulation, mine surges on my period. Like, really surges. It gets distracting to a point. But I also like how excited and alive I feel. According to Vitti, this happens because the uterus expands during your period, stimulating various parts of your pelvic region including the genitals. It’s almost like built-in foreplay!
5. The Sex Is Better, Too
Maybe it's just better because I want it even more than usual, but I also think I get a boost in sensitivity during my period. I experience more intense sensations and more orgasms — definitely worth the few seconds it takes to put a towel down!
6. It’s An Excuse To Practice Self-Care
I don’t actually feel under the weather or in need of special care during my period — though some women definitely do experience pain. But I feel like I deserve it nonetheless. It feels like a special designated time to take baths, rest, and eat my favorite foods. Even if it is purely psychological, it’s nice to have a few days set aside every month for self-care.
7. It’s An Opportunity To Stick It To The Patriarchy
When I’m buying pads or tampons, I make a point not to look ashamed at the store. If my period comes up in conversation, I make a point to talk about it. Every time I’m open about my period, it feels like rebellion against a culture that says it’s not a polite topic of conversation. If we want to work toward improving women's health and well-being, we need to make it one.
8. I Get To Prove Misogynists Wrong Every Month
Our culture says I should be irrational, emotional, and incompetent for a fourth of my life. Yet here I am, keeping it together and kicking ass every week of the month. Every time I write a kickass article or complete a rigorous run during my period, I feel like I’m proving misogynists everywhere wrong.
I realize not everyone has such positive associations with their periods, and that’s fine. But I also hope people don’t think of their periods as a time they have to suffer through. With the right care and the right attitude, your period can be a positive (or at least neutral) experience.