I was 24 and just a few weeks into a new relationship. When my blood started, he rented some videos for us to watch. He went to pick up supplies and comfort foods. And he held my hurting belly and rubbed my aching back as we curled up and watched the kind of rom-com movies I only enjoy at this time.
It was like a dream come true. His loving gestures made for the most exquisite experience of a period I’d ever had up until that time. It was probably that day I really fell in love with him…
A few months in, it got even better. He wanted to make love to me on my period and get as intimate as he could with my blood. I was reluctant, squeamish, concerned, self-conscious.
Not him. It was a level of intimacy that he craved. And I did too but maybe never dreamed believe it was possible.
See, the guy I had been seeing right before was the polar opposite. He was squeamish, ignorant, judgmental about blood. He would comment on it being that time of the month if I was standing my ground. The one time he dared experiment with sex, he ended it about after a minute when he saw my blood on his belly. I knew from the start it was doomed…
But I stayed longer than I should have. I didn’t have a lot of experience with more enlightened males. I had no brothers so very few male figures in my life save my father. And that man was a relic from an older time. One time I got into SERIOUS trouble when I forgot to toss out a pad and my father went into the bathroom after me to discover it there. Lying there. Exposed and offending his eyes and his maleness. As if I did it deliberately. As if it did personal harm to him. Like, no kidding.
So it’s how I grew up. These things were not to be mentioned! And if and when they were, there would be scorn, mockery, derision. No wonder my periods growing up and for much of my adult life were so excruciating and painful.
So it was such a gift to encounter this man in my adult life. He allowed me to see that there could be beauty and joy during my bleeding. I felt loved. I felt that this blood was sacred, beautiful. This gift changed the course and experience of my life and I am so very grateful.
It’s the manner in which men have impacted my experience with menstruation. How has it been for you?
Art: by Alain Bonnefoit