Talking to Men About Menstruation: Guide to Break the Silence

Team Ujaas

Talking to men about menstruation is essential to break the associated taboos and successfully promote personal hygiene. Mentioned below are some points on how you engage in period talks with the male members in your life.

Ujaas, a menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative, was founded to eliminate the stigma and taboo surrounding periods by educating both young women as well as men about the facts of menstruation.

For several centuries, menstruation has been taboo in India. Many youngsters have begun talking about it openly; however, there is still a vast majority of the population that continues to hide this natural biological process from telling it to the male population. There continues to be considerable hesitation in rural areas as well as among individuals of earlier generations.

Menstruation is a natural phenomenon that women eventually experience for the majority period of their life. That said, a considerable percentage of men in India are not willing to acknowledge it.

Cross-gender shyness and hesitation have caused a tremendous backlog in offering women appropriate sanitary care and a suitable environment.

Menstrual pain is real, and men of all ages must understand this.

Ujaas, a menstrual health and menstrual hygiene initiative by Aditya Birla Education Trust (ABET), aims to eliminate period shame and period taboo by spreading awareness to both women and men.

Mentioned below is about breaking the silence by talking to men about menstruation.

1. Father

Engaging in period talks with your father is by far the most awkward of it all, but it must not be so. Given his age as well as experience, your father surely knows more about periods than you may possibly think. There are plenty of girls who ask their dads to fetch them sanitary pads as well as to talk about menstruation with absolutely no embarrassment. Although you need not go out of your way to successfully discuss periods with your father, you must not overly hide it. If you are headed home early because of menstrual cramps, tell him precisely that.

2. Brother

Your brother is likely to be on the same page that you are when it comes to periods. Never hide your sanitary pads or napkins from him and let him fetch them from the store for you if the need arises. Speak about periods openly and halt him in his tracks if there arises any joke about periods. Through this conversation, someday some girl that he will eventually be involved with will surely thank you.

3. Boyfriend/Husband

Talking to your life partner about your periods is surely the easiest. They must be informed about your period cycle, the intensity of the flow, and how you manage it all. Given the intimacy you share with your partner, it will surely be not too much to expect them to know the days you menstruate.

4. Son

If the goal is to sensitise men about periods, you must start young. Educate your son about the human body and how the male and female bodies are different. You may extend the lessons about the function of each part of your body, including the ovaries and uterus. While talking to your son, make it a point to keep the info age appropriate.

5. Boss/Colleagues

How do you carry your sanitary pad when the need arises to visit the washroom? In a pouch? In a pocket? Folded and wrapped in your hand? In a bag? How many times have you seen women hold sanitary pads like they would hold lipstick or comb on their way to the washroom? Why is there a need to hide the fact of the necessity to use a female hygiene product? Never hide the fact that you are in the midst of your menstrual cycle. If your menstrual cramps are severe and do not let you sit in the office, tell your boss, regardless of gender.

6. Male Friends

Being in a society where men and women mingle with each other either at the workplace or at school, it is obvious that girls will have male friends. While hanging out with a group of friends, you may get your period at the odd hour. In such a situation, it is ideal for your male friends to be aware of this biological process. Moreover, you can inform them about what you are physically and mentally going through without any hesitation. This will help in combatting the stigma and in providing help when you need it the most. Inform your friends about your actual experience, problems, and other issues related to your period cycle. Thus, period talks with men are essential.

Mentioned below are certain tips on how to efficiently discuss periods with men:

  • Make use of scientific language and provide accurate info. Using the right terminology demonstrates that there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, the result being men join discussions actively. There could be a few giggles at the initial stage of the conversation; however, with persistence, men will soon be normalised about the subject.
  • Initiate the discussion by posing questions to men. How will they eventually learn if they do not ask questions? While it may feel a tad strange initially to answer questions about menstruation, the spread of misinformation will be stopped in the long run.
  • Men must be taught to be considerate during a woman’s menstrual cycle. They may just assume that women are “being moody,” without having any knowledge of all the hormonal changes that take place within a woman’s body. Through active discussion of the symptoms that occur during a menstrual cycle, there can be a complete eradication of insensitive comments, the result being that your period time becomes easier.
  • Encourage men to ask women what they can eventually do to help them during their days of menstruation. Some women may want to do it all by themselves, whereas others may express gratitude to those who purchase sanitary pads for them or those who just want to converse. Men must be encouraged to engage in meaningful conversations with women about their experience during periods, including pain (which can lead to isolation). Moreover, this pain can be lessened in intensity if women have someone to talk to.

The Bottomline

By engaging in period talks with men, the stigma and shame will surely be erased. Women must take things at their own pace and remember that there is nothing to be embarrassed about a simple, biological process. Periods cannot be put an end to; however, the misinformation surrounding them can surely be brought to an end.