WH Logo

Sign up and stay up-to-date with us!

    The Problem With Men & Menstruation

    The Problem With Men & Menstruation

    Half the population have a period.

    Yet it’s still a topic that men struggle with or understand, according to new research from intimate wellbeing brand INTIMINA UK, which is calling for everyone to start talking about periods properly.




    The study reveals that there is still an alarming education gap with men that are fuelling period stigma and misinformation in the UK, staggeringly, one in ten men (14%) have never had a conversation with a woman about periods.

    Men were also asked a number of statements regarding misconceptions around menstruation to see which they believed. The results were eye-opening:

    They think what?!

    11% of men still believe it’s impossible for a woman to get pregnant on her period.
    A quarter of men (25%) believe you have to remove tampons to urinate.
    14% believe that tampons and periods can get lost in the vagina.
    Nearly one in ten men (8%) believe periods attract sharks in the sea.

    Gynaecologist Dr Shree Datta comments: “These figures are deeply concerning – the fact that 11% of men believe it’s impossible for women to get pregnant if having sex during her period underlines the work we still have to do.

    ………….There’s no doubt that we still need to destigmatise the talk around periods – for everyone – people should not be bullied or teased for having periods, which are as natural as men growing hair.

    ……….It’s time to open up and be upfront and frank about what periods mean, in school, university and the workplace so that we tackle period myths and everyone can appreciate the health concerns they can bring.”

    The Painters Are In

    There are 5,000** slang terms for periods, but we still can’t talk about them. Here’s some examples from around the world:

    UK: ‘Aunt Flo,’ ‘the painters are in,’ ‘Bloody Mary.’
    USA: ‘Uncle Tom,’ ‘Japan is attacking, ‘on the rag.’
    France: ‘The English are coming.’
    Canada: ‘Napoleonic war.’
    Japan: ‘The red panda.’
    Australia: ‘Shark week.’
    Portugal: ‘My ketchup.’
    Sweden: ‘Lingonberry week.’
    Germany: ‘Strawberry week.’
    Norway: ‘How’s the volcano?’

    This continuing culture where we don’t normalise the discussion on periods is why one in five young women*** in the UK are teased or bullied about their periods.

    An open and honest conversation with partners and proper menstrual education for everyone in schools will be key to changing the period stigma culture.

    It’s useful to bear in mind that periods are a part of our health and lifestyle.

    There’s no shame in speaking about period pains, in the same way as we discuss headaches or abdominal pain. Using the word “period” means that everyone knows what you are talking about rather than awkward phrases such as “Code Red”.

    Perhaps sound out the other person to make sure they are comfortable discussing periods before launching into a detailed conversation about them but do remember they are a normal part of our lives and can signify a lot about our health.

    Maybe we should all start using the correct terminology sympathetically and avoiding phrases like ‘on the blob’.

    The top three reasons men gave for not talking about periods were:

    I don’t think it’s right for men to talk to women about periods (30%)
    I’d feel too uncomfortable to talk about periods (30%)
    I don’t understand enough about periods (25%)

    Mind blowing!


    ** In 2016 International Women’s Health Coalition discovered that there are over 5,000 different slang terms and euphemisms for the word period.

    *** One in five girls and young women in the UK are teased or bullied about their periods, with many suffering in silence, according to research by Plan International UK in 2019\

    Enjoyed reading this? Join the HER Community for free to receive our weekly issue email!