Quite possibly the cause of most men’s grief in relationships, something nearly all men ignore, is menstruation. This is because society has been taught women should hide it and men should not talk or ask about it.
This ingrained way of teaching has created a knowledge gap—the Men’s Wall of Menstruation—and is also the origin of ignorance and stigma.
Women: have you ever told your significant other (S.O.) anything more than “my cramps are really bad’? Have you told him what type of care you’d like from him if you needed it? Men: when’s the last time you asked a woman about her period and if or where you can help? It can be a random stranger, your SO or your Mother. How’d it go?
Unfortunately, it’s set to stay this way. Here’s proof:
- My father and every single man I’ve asked in the last 18 years said they were taught the same thing ‘here’s the mechanics of it, don’t ask, it’s easier that way’.
- Two months ago I asked my 16-year-old son what his high-school taught about the menstrual cycle, he replied “It resets every 28 days and has three phases, names of body parts and hormones, that’s all.” I asked other high school kids too, no males or females said they were taught anything else.
It appears the coming male generation will again know nothing more than previous generations. Further grief will occur because most men don’t understand there’s a large difference between how her cycle makes her feel and how he makes her feel, and that gap is exaggerated when the woman can’t find a way to tell her man. Then the couple repeats this cycle without knowing it’s caused by another cycle.
This can easily be changed.
The change is made once you realise the focus of previous generations was wrong. These days, it’s not about bleeding or PMS, it’s about understanding the physical impact the cycle has on the human body. It’s about the feelings for the whole cycle, which is easier to focus on and understand.
Interestingly, because the answers are in the questions, we have a lot to build with. Here’s where focusing on feelings makes things easier.
- Women talk to women about feelings because there’s no need to talk about body parts, each understands the others feelings and can sympathise and offer useful help. It’s all about the feelings and how to help these feelings become better.
- Men have no idea and don’t know what to actually sympathise with, or even if they should. If it’s all about the feelings, now men know and we can choose our response. Our S.O. can also choose if she wants to receive it or not.
- Women don’t want to tell all men, they only want to tell their man but at the same time, they can’t tell him. They want him to know this already, while at the same time not knowing what to actually tell. If it’s all about the feelings, it’s easier to talk about.
- However, if he doesn’t know and asks her, then his ignorance is showing. If it’s all about the feelings, there’s no ignorance, it’s now about showing care.
- If she’s not in a serious relationship with the man who wants to ask her, then it broaches a personal barrier. This First Law of Menstruation can still stand, men must know this.
- The knowledge gap is a result of the decisions of ancestors. This means that today, this decision can be changed for the world we want to live in, not one that existed 300+ years ago, it’s a different world now.
- This antiquated knowledge gap can be addressed using modern mechanisms and modern thinking, inclusive of all groups.
Let’s see what it takes.
What’s the desired result? Men like to solve problems in the easiest way. The thing men want to know about the cycle is how to help their wife or girlfriend if something is wrong, and easy baby-making time. That’s it, and basically, that’s all. We don’t want to know the things women talk to other women about; we only want to know what to do if our help is needed.
Women who talk about the feelings will help her man learn how the cycle makes the body physically feel. This validates the feelings for both sexes because both sexes are influenced by the hormonal changes.
I’ve found that women want their man to know and to understand their feelings, and that’s a key part of bringing down this wall. Men want it to be no issue when a woman tells her husband ‘I’ve got really painful cramps, I want to rest here on the sofa for a while,’ and he knows it has nothing to do with her capabilities as a person, same as when his own body hurts.
Given what’s really wanted, there are solid reasons for this to be more socially accepted and understood. The consequences of not doing so are seen individually in higher self-doubt and lack of self-confidence, in stigma, unintended pregnancies, and emotionally in poor relationships and broken marriages. I’ve lived the painful experience and lifelong impact of divorce, of not knowing my father, so this wall of menstruation is something I want to eliminate.
Financially, the cost of divorce is more than $33 billion annually in the US . Removing this wall and filling the gap will create different and new opportunities, in a way similar to when the Berlin Wall came down. There was a great increase in communication between parties, the sides united and they created a stronger society with a better economy. People felt better and they also felt free.
How can the wall be removed?
The wall is an illusion created by the knowledge gap. Filling in the gap dissolves the illusion because a different view is provided. Having it all about the feelings and normalising it removes related stigma.
The answer of how to give this info is huge because there’s change at the individual and social levels, where two things are needed to fill the knowledge gap.
- That it’s ok to know this.
- That the focus has changed.
The first part has its own levels of resistance but the easiest way forward is ‘We are here now. Let’s use what we know right now and design a better future’.
The second part is the focus and has been my own aim. It’s much larger because it also relies on creating the right info for this focus and the right methods and means to provide it.
Using Jerry McGuire to get the right focus
I’ve been studying the menstrual cycle for 18 years since my wife fell ill after a birth control injection. Her body reacted badly against it, I wanted to help her and researched the elements within the injection, discovering many things about the cycle that I didn’t know, however, key info was missing. Because I was researching the hormonal injection, I wanted to know ‘how does her cycle hormones make her feel each day, and if she needs my help, what type of things would she like best?’ so I wrote a small system to help me to help her. Yeah, Jerry McGuire, like this:
- Days 1 and 2: make breakfast, cook dinner, give her the TV control, hot water bottle and let her rest. Early night.
- Day 12 to 16: easy pregnancy time, take her out, but also get ready to stay home.
- Day 22: expect ups and downs, take her out.
- Day 27, 28: she’s tired, give her some space and get things done first before she needs to ask about them. Prepare dinner or know what I want to have.
My wife got better and we got on with life, then two years later and in the week following our son’s birth, my wife was diagnosed with cancer. This focus became important during her harsh treatments and brought us closer together. I knew when she needed space and I knew when she wanted me there more, or when she wanted private time. She was relieved that I understood her at a much deeper level and took care of things without having to be told or having to ask.
Sadly, two and a half years later, she passed away. I made a promise to somehow make what has happened to her into something that can help others. I began to put all the info together, found supporting works and released my thoughts. I failed spectacularly and was widely ridiculed so I went back to soaking up info.
A decade later a world expert picked it up and gave direction, a dozen unhappy women critiqued it, ripping it apart but also rewriting it and making it better; this year, many female friends again rewrote it to refine the focus.
Now for day 1 of her cycle, instead of shark week, we men learn ‘It’s better for her body to relax, rest and restore with rest, a hot water bottle, sofa time and the TV control, while you take care of things (meals, cleaning, kids, washing, and other things). She can eat chocolate and it’s better to not have cold foods or drinks on these days, try warm water instead. Go walking after dinner, learn to give tummy and back massages. She will be more susceptible to getting colds. Don’t keep asking ‘are you ok’ because she is ok and just handling things in her own way’.. and continues in areas of feelings, body, diet & medical, and intimacy.
For every day of her cycle, the right info now exists: how she feels and what to do about it.
This type of info is easier for men to accept. I know it’s acceptable to women because women wrote it. They also wrote info for women. There is nothing about period sex nor unsuitable imagery, it’s all about how the cycle makes the body feel, how to interpret it and things to do about it. This info is what men want to know, what women feel is ok for men to know, and what women want to know.
Dissolving the Wall
To dissolve the illusion of the wall by filling the knowledge gap needs your own personal permission to yourself ‘it’s ok that I know this’. Yes, you. Having this understanding will normalise the period because it’s in an everyday form and shows different things are happening at different times.
I’ve found this makes other things become apparent.
- There’s nothing to hide because the old paradigm is gone. We only want to know the answer to two questions ‘how are you feeling’ and ‘how can I help’; we don’t need to know anything more.
- Education on this topic can remain the same.
- Women don’t have to hide their feelings, men can ask and talk about it easier.
- A man would rather know the difference between how he makes her feel and how her cycle makes her feel, than leave for a while or walk on eggshells until things seem better.
- When it’s about feelings, women can easier say ‘hey my body hurts, it’s making me feel X, I’m going to work from home.’ It should be like when I tell my boss I’m sick, can’t breathe properly, hurt my leg, got diarrhea, or have a bad flu. This is for all body ailments and is easier to adopt.
- This is a body function that nobody has control over. So give everyone 6 more sick days per year. Why not twelve you ask? Well, men don’t menstruate so this is the start of a compromise.
- Know that men hormonally fluctuate daily and women are more evenly spread throughout the month. Each time you remember, track your own body feelings and learn how your body copes. I always get hangry or high stress when I have low blood sugar. The same happens for women before their cycle starts, and for men every 90~120 minutes.
- Keep the topic about feelings. This removes any creepiness or discomfort, makes it clinical in a personal way, and also preserves the femininity of women.
- No discussion about body parts or things of a very personal nature is fine with us men, we hope that’s fine with you women too.
- This is not perfect, it’s just the start because every woman is different. We can only use the similarities to help.
The right method and means to provide the right info is through an app to make it personal and protected. This combines modern mechanisms with modern thinking.
The follow-on effects will be similar to when the Berlin Wall came down: a greater increase in communication, a stronger relationship, and a stronger society with a better economy because we can address issues as a combined force: divorce rates, unintended pregnancies and abortion, stigma, men’s and women’s mental health, reproductive choices, individual biological and social forces, romance and non-sexual intimacy in marriage, self-improvement, self-worth, inner beauty, and more.
By focusing on feelings, the Men’s Wall of Menstruation can be dissolved. Only your own permission to accept this focus stands in the way.
Related, here on GMP:
You’re a dad with a daughter. Periods happen. You’ll survive, and so will she.
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