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Menopause Basics for Men

As promised, a period-related post before I head off on my trip! This is a slightly unhappy moment for us flow-lovers, but very liberating in various ways for women and men. The process of menopause is an extremely complex transition in a woman’s life, so I’m just going to skim over some very basic information about menopause to hopefully help men understand it. I have mixed feelings of menopause and perhaps because my love of menstruation may affect may outlook on it – but perhaps “all good things must come to an end.” While I will surely miss the idea of my wife/significant other no longer having her period down the road, it may also be a very beneficial thing. I think it’d be very contradictory for me to say that I love the menstrual cycle but against menopause as it is all intertwined seamlessly in the progression of life.

Hopefully now that you know what menstruation is, we can start talking about the permanent end of menstruation, menopause. It needs to be understood that menopause is a natural transition as a result of aging in females and is not a disease, disorder or something that needs to be “treated”. Menopause, the cessation of monthly menstrual periods occur between the ages of 40-50 or as late as 60’s. Medically speaking, menopause is declared when a woman who has an intact uterus, is not pregnant and not lactating, when her period is absent (amenorrhea) for one full year. It is important to note that the date of menopause is back-dated one year when there is no sign of flow, as minuscule as it may be.

MENOPAUSE - It's nobody's fault, but somebody's going to pay

While most menopause occur naturally through the aging process, it can also be “forced” to occur – such as the case of surgical menopause where a woman’s ovaries are removed. It is possible to undergo a hysterectomy, the removal of uterus, and not be considered in a state of surgical menopause as long as the ovaries exist, regardless of the fact one will not menstruate. Menopause which occur through aging are often associated with many signs and effects leading up to her post-menopausal life which we will look at later.

The significance of menopause is that while marking the end of monthly menses, it also signifies the end of female fertility, where one is no longer capable of child-bearing. Menopause is an effect resulting in changes to hormonal levels, where estradiol and progesterone production by the ovaries decrease sharply with age. As a woman approaches menopause or perimenopause, the production of hormones become irregular, often leading to unpredictable periods or bleeding. In this time until menses completely ceases, she is still considered to be fertile.

Menopause may also occur at a young age, from puberty all the way to one’s 40’s which is considered premature menopause, as a result of Premature Ovarian Failure, or POF – and where this occurrence is not considered as part of the normal aging process. There is no definitive reason of why POF occurs, although some have been identified such as:

• Autoimmune disorder
• Genetics
• The end of a treatment for cancer with radiation or chemotherapy
• Hysterectomy with both ovaries removed
• Thyroid dysfunction
• Turner syndrome
• Viral infection
• Inadequate gondaotropin secretion or action
• Eating Disorders

Menopause is often seen as a “bad” thing as a result of large hormonal fluctuations, resulting in side-effects and other discomforts. These effects may happen as early as 30’s where a woman is reaching closer towards menopause, but does not usually become highly apparent until her 40’s. Symptoms of menopause may last from a few years or well into 10 years where one stops feeling the effects of menopause. The length and severity of menopausal discomforts cannot be predicted and just like the menstrual cycle, varies from one woman to another.

 

The following is a quote of some, but certainly not an exhaustive list of menopausal indicators:

1.  Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
2. Irregular heart beat
3. Irritability
4. Mood swings, sudden tears
5. Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
6. Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
7. Loss of libido
8. Dry vagina
9. Crashing fatigue
10. Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
11. Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
12. Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
13. Disturbing memory lapses
14. Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
15. Itchy, crawly skin
16. Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
17. Increased tension in muscles
18. Breast tenderness
19. Headache change: increase or decrease
20. Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
21. Sudden bouts of bloat
22. Depression
23. Exacerbation of existing conditions
24. Increase in allergies
25. Weight gain
26. Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
27. Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
28. Changes in body odor
29. Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
30. Tingling in the extremities
31. Gum problems, increased bleeding
32. Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
33. Osteoporosis (after several years)
34. Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier

While some of these effects are a result of decrease estrogen levels, the rapid fluctuations in hormones trigger the more well-known signs of menopause, hot flashes, where one’s body temperature soars upwards and peaking-out. It is a common misconception that the feeling of such a hot-flash is related to the spike in body temperature but in reality, is actually the result of the body not returning to normal-bodily temperatures. While this is a very uncomfortable feeling, hot flashes do not pose any physical harm. Hot flashes may however, make one feel sweaty or weak. Menopausal discomforts can be tackled by prescription medications such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) for anti-depressive uses or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to deal with discomfort associated with diminished circulating estrogen and progesterone hormones.

Some might have noted that menopause can be liberating for women and men and may wonder why. For women, it is quite obvious for those who have had to deal with years of having monthly menstrual cycles that they don’t have to worry about having plans interrupted by their period and having to keep feminine hygiene products handy around the house/purse. The liberating part for men is that post-menopausal, they no longer have to fear their wife’s PMS (if it existed). Furthermore, it is liberating for those who are still sexually active to no longer have to worry about the risk of pregnancy. For fear of unwanted pregnancies, many couples may choose to use birth control and/or condoms during their fertile year, and can now enjoy the feeling of internal ejaculation and an enhanced sex-life. Menopause might be the end of fertility, but is also the beginning of a new lifestyle.

It is important for both men and women to understand menopause, just as much as I believe everyone should understand menstruation and the menstrual cycle, particularly for women who will (without unfortunate premature death) go through it. Education about menopause will not change the reality and discomforts arising from it, but will help women feel comfortable and better-prepared for the process to occur. Menopause is often met with great fear and unknown as most women are not informed about the cessation of menses in a structured manner. Like menstruation, menopause is even a greater taboo subject where there is little discussion and open-dialogue to help women understand what to expect during their perimenopausal and post-menopausal years.

When periods are a long-forgotten past...

Once symptoms of menopause begin to appear more noticeably, it is always a good idea to see or suggest your significant other to see, a medical professional so that knowledge about what to expect can be acquired. Since menopause is a natural female reproductive occurrence, medical treatment for it is not required. However, menopause can result in many discomforts and psychological problems such as depression which should be treated with due care. There are many options available to mitigate severe symptoms, both through natural and medicinal methods. A medical professional would be your best resource for finding what is the most practical and comfortable method to transition through such a beautiful part of life.

Menopause can be both an exciting and an unexciting time in a woman’s or male-partner’s life as it closes a window, but opens a door. What you decide to make of it is what matters most.

When one has to worry about pregnancy NO MORE!

Men’s Guide On How To Be a Better Boyfriend/Husband During Her Period

I promised I’d write this for Poh Ching a long time ago and it’s finally time I live up to this! In this entry, I’d like to take some time to discuss ways to make your girlfriend or wife feel better shortly before or during her period. Let’s face it, most men rather avoid a woman while she is menstruating and that is too bad, because we should not ditch our second half just because she’s bleeding between her legs. Some men are opposed to my way of thinking, “being there for the girl” and rather, feel that they are more of a help if they just stay out of the way. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and every girl is different on how she wants to be treated or what makes her feel good. However, this entry will cover some things I feel might be ways you can help comfort your partner. There is no “definitive” way to make her feel good and I can’t say this will work for every girl, but these are things for guys (or girls) to consider. Remember that your commitment to your girlfriend or wife should be just-cause not to feel that you don’t need to be a part of her life every week of a month.

I recently typed up an answer for Yahoo! Answers to any inquiry from a male about what he can say/do for his girlfriend while she is on her period and here’s my reply. It was chosen as the “Best Answer” so I decided it’d be good enough to be reposted:

Best Answer – Chosen by Voters

Really, words mean nothing at a time like that. Also, saying sorry is like something you say at a funeral or something. You shouldn’t be sorry or feel sorry for her that she’s having her period, it is a normal bodily function. Sorry also implies negativity towards periods and it should be necessary that men and women do not view menstruation as some kind of “bad” thing. Take some time to understand her period from both an anecdotal (from her experience) and educational point of view, use books, magazines, articles, online, etc. to find information pertaining to her body and menstruation.

You can’t make the pain she’s going through better, since it is her body, but you can do things that will make her as comfortable as she can be. If she has cravings, let her have it, there’s nothing worse than resisting a craving because all that does is cause crankiness. If there’s something she asks you to do and it’s reasonable, try to accommodate her. A massage, warm bath and just being there for her will do more for her than anything you can say – because actions are what matters. If she’s still capable of going about, take her to do an activity which removes her attention away from her period/pain. While initially she might feel that the pain is disabling her from concentrating on the activity, show enthusiasm, get her into it so she’s not constantly thinking about the pain. I cannot say that this will remove the pain, but it makes no difference whether she’s crunched up and feeling the pain or whether she’s doing something and still feeling it.

Actively helping her out in things she would normally do would help take the stress of her “thinking about her responsibilities”.. if there’s things that need to be done around the house, do it. Your sole goal is to make her feel as relaxed as possible because stress will compound the pain she feels. Helping her feel at-ease will provide a form of stress-relief which will relax muscle tension and potentially reduce the pain (or at least not make it worse).

Let her fall asleep in your arms, skin-to-skin contact with someone she cares about is an excellent psychological relief. Just be remember that you have to be understanding and sometimes be willing to bite your tongue. It doesn’t mean you should AVOID her, but menstruation is very taxing on the body, mind and is triggered by flares of hormones. It is possible she might be more sensitive to things you say or do, especially things that would not normally trigger negative emotions.

If you two are ready to engage in sexual activities, I should suggest to you that one of the best natural pain-relievers for cramps or otherwise painful periods is an orgasm. You can either allow her to do that on her own, or do it for her. She might be resistant to it, but mind you she will be glad afterward because many girls report that an orgasm or sexual stimulation helps alleviate their cramps.

Lucky for you, part of the site I run is “menstruation basics for men” – something that you might be particularly interested in if you are not sure what you can do for your girlfriend while she is on her period. It is menstruation simplified for guys (without gory details) but gives you a good understanding of what menstruation is about. There are also helpful tips on what YOU can do as a boyfriend with contributions from myself, other authors and female posters.

Here’s the most important thing you can say to her, “How can I help you?” … only she will know what you can do to make her feel best!

Beyond that, here are some thoughts about what you can do to make the best of her period:

  • Be informed! You’re a much better boyfriend or husband when you understand what she’s going through
  • Participate in physical activities with her as exercise tends to reduce cramping or period-pains. Exercise is not something that’s important only when she’s on her period, but also regularly, as moderate exercise throughout the month will help regulate her menstrual cycle and side-effects.
  • Avoid expressing your discomfort, grossness or negativity towards menstruation and brush her off. You’re together because you’re supposed to be together for better or worse, not only when you see fit
  • Help her pick up her pads and tampons from the store, especially if she’s not capable of doing it herself (Read Feminine Hygiene Basics, Maxi Pad Basics for Men and Tampon Basics for Men)… please get the rights ones so you won’t piss her off even more
  • Don’t be greedy, if she needs a “girl’s night out” let her do so and encourage her to enjoy herself!
  • Don’t point out the fact that she’s being moody or irritated, you really think she doesn’t know that?
  • Steer away from causing more stress than she already has… avoid any “surprizes” or asking for her judgment for any large-scale questions or decisions (When her mind is more clear and her hormones aren’t speaking on her behalf, more rationale decisions can be made)
  • Let her indulge, she’s not going to gain 10lbs overnight just because she ate an extra chocolate bar… attempting to act against her cravings is like kicking yourself in the nuts. Even if she’s on a diet or the food is “not the greatest for her” – if it comforts her, you’ve won half the battle, LET HER HAVE IT
  • Keep your guy-friends away from her, guys tend to be a bit potty-mouthed when it comes to being sensitive to a girl’s time of the month, so unless you have well-behaved male friends, avoid exposure to social interaction between them and your girl
  • Make her a nice warm bath or give her a heating-pad for her pelvic-area as that’ll alleviate the effects of stomach cramps. I remember a not-so-smart guy decided to use a plastic water bottle with hot water poured in it as a replacement… not a good idea. Don’t stick around, let her enjoy the peace and quiet and not feel obligated to you
  • Do anything that’ll soften her heart… tell her she’s beautiful (because she is), tell her you love her (because you do) and anything that’ll melt them to little-itsy-pieces
  • Lots of girls are hornier during her period – set the mood for her and if she’s willing, you’re in luck
  • Although this is not necessarily related to comforting her, remember that it does not mean a girl can not get pregnant during her period
  • Give her a lower-back or lower-abdominal massage
  • If her conditions require pain-killers, make sure you have them available and offer it to her as necessary
  • Take part in her menstrual cycle, talk to her about concerns you may have if you see menstruation being unbearable for her to encourage her to consult a medical professional
  • Be aware that sometimes she will do things out of the ordinary because of hormonal fluctuations and don’t take it personally, resist the urge to fight back
  • Get her to open-up if you can about her period. It is embedded in most girls that periods should be a hidden thing and an often uncomfortable discussion with men. Getting her to open-up about her period will help you understand what you can do for her and perhaps make her feel more at-ease when she’s on her period around you
  • Help her keep track of her period, which might also be in your interest to know when she’s getting close and about to start. If you keep good track, your records might be even better than hers
  • In regards to the above point, her period is still her private matter if she talks to you about it. Don’t talk to her friends/family about it unless you know she is comfortable and willing. She trusts you with that information, therefore it is inadvisable to alert others of it
  • If she doesn’t want you near her during that time, buy her sex toys or something that allows her to enjoy herself, privately – orgasms relieve cramps, this is scientifically proven
  • Fulfill her daily tasks because she probably isn’t up to them… it isn’t going to kill you to do things around the house
  • Don’t be flirty, teasing or a pervert – unless she wants you to be – around her during her period, she’s not in the mood to listen to you talk about how hot one of her girlfriends look

I remember having a lot more points than this, but I always forget to jot them down as they come to mind. I’ll add to this as the opportunity presents itself! Here’s your chance to show your girlfriend or wife you really care about her, including menstruation. There’s no excuse to avoid her like the plague, 365 days a year, she’s your girlfriend or wife!

—————-

Just to finish it off, found an amusing FML today:

Today, I finally felt ready to take my bra off during sex. My breasts had “deflated” somewhat due to weight loss and I was really self-conscious about them, but my boyfriend insisted I was hot no matter what. When the bra came off, the dick got soft. FML

#8793926 (95) On 03/03/2010 at 4:24am

Sanitary Napkins Ruling Asia Over Tampons

Before I begin, I just wanted to mention this entry should not be viewed as being a “studied” or “researched” piece but more anecdotal or my own opinion on this matter. Please don’t expect authoritative statistics or anything :)

So I wanted to wander into the territory that in Asia, sanitary napkins (herein known as maxi pads or just pads) seem to still dominate the feminine hygiene market of Asia. With that said, I still think it dominates the market throughout the world, but more so in Asia due to the culture of the populace having misunderstandings or even anti-tampon sentiments. I understand that pads were of course available prior to tampons, therefore has a bigger influence, but there are certainly merits to using tampons, most notably, the ability to engage in water activities. Now I’m personally not a tampon lover, so I’m definitely not advocating them, but I believe they do have their value and when writing about them, I should of course give a neutral opinion of them! About 2 years ago, there was this amazing article written up (with actual statistics) by a news writer about pads still being the preferred (and by preferred, I mean highly-used) method of feminine hygiene products in China. Alas, the article is long gone and I can’t even find an archived copy of it. However, unless things have changed a lot over the past 2 years, this is probably still true. Having been back to both China and Hong Kong just last year, I can attest that there are definitely more choices of pads than there are tampons. Furthermore, tampons will also tend to be more expensive (the price gap is larger between pads/tampons) and only offered at your chain-stores. On that note, there are also fewer sales for tampons unless I was simply unlucky while I was there, because for the 5 weeks I was in HK, every week there would be a different brand of pads on sale, but not a single week of tampons being on sale. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind, lol.

I must gloat a bit about how great pads in Asia are so that might be a factor as to why not as many girls “convert” to using tampons. You don’t have to believe me, you can just look at the links on the side, choose the pads-brand from Asia and see how intricate the technology is used compared to the “big makers” here in North America. Mind you we also have fewer popular brands dominating the market, therefore, our manufacturers have no need to “make things better” when they have already hold the monopoly. On the other hand, there are so many brand name products in Asia that if you don’t stay on top of other competitors, you’ll lose market share. While Asian pads tend to focus on comfort, thinness, length and efficient absorbption, I think the makers here worry about making it silent, discrete, small and forget that when it comes to a menstrual product, the biggest factor is whether it can “do its job.”

I digress – sorry, bad habit. Many girls take cue from their mother when it comes to choice of menstrual protection. It is true that at some point, a girl will make her own decisions, but for the most part, I will say they follow-suit with their mother’s (or a female-relative/guardian) choice of products. Perhaps a really loose example, but a child who sees her mother smoking is more likely to smoke and likewise, a girl who sees her mom using pads will more likely choose pads over tampons (at start). I know that had I been a girl, my mom would likely never let me use tampons, I remember seeing her throw out a box before (not an empty one) and such is your typical Asian family. There is something repulsive about having to “stick something up there” when it comes to menstrual protection. I believe culture plays an important part of demystifying menstrual hygiene for girls of all backgrounds. In my opinion, your average white Canadian or American family is likely to be “accepting” of tampons than say your average “coloured” family. Out of my girls group, only 1 of them use tampons regularly, 1 uses them to masturbate (hehe) and 2 of them have tried. Of course my fellow flow-lovers will not mind this, but the point is that our upbringing really plays an important part in the choice of menstrual protection and whether that seems to really make a difference, I think it does. Case in point, my god-sister’s mom refuses to let her use tampons and in several instances has even taken them from her room and thrown it in the garbage and gave her a verbal warning (that’s a waste of money by the way, it isn’t cheap :P). I will often buy her tampons with her because she knows she cannot ask her mom to buy it and she doesn’t get let out of the house enough to do it herself. We were able to fool her mom a bit because I had her switch to a smaller sized brand, O.B, which she could easily hide. It worked for a few months until her mom noticed that the pads in the house weren’t being used up (they have a communal stash) and with some searching managed to find her tampons. Even her older sister says, “Those things are bad for you, you should not put anything up there!” and “You should not use them.” so clearly, tampons are still not accepted by your average Asian family. Now you might say this is one case, but this is just the most recent scenario I’ve seen, I’ve talked to quite a few girls who have had simlar experiences because their culture, background, upbringing affected their “right” to use tampons and heck, when your mother continually throws them up, you can’t do anything else but give up.

I have quite a few relatives who send their kids over to study in Canada and I offer (to the daughter) to help her with shopping and very I notice none of them ever buy tampons because it is just not something commonly used “back at home”. They will always stumble staring at the feminine hygiene aisle because it is so different than what they are used to seeing the entire shelf filled with pads and a little tampon section in a corner. Meanwhile in Canada, they stand there looking at a “half-and-half” shelf of pads/tampons and with the pretty designs on tampon boxes, they didn’t even know it wasn’t pads inside. Some had to even ask me about what the “other things” were because they weren’t knowledgeable tampons and a guy explaining it in FH aisle to a girl is always an awkward situation. I didn’t believe it the other day when I thought that everyone was over the whole “tampons causes you to lose your virginity” thing until I was reading a Singaporean forum the other day (in English, lol)  and realized there are still many girls who relate the usage of tampons to losing their virginity, ARG! Unless your tampon also has a live penis attached to it, you’re not going to lose your virginity! Tampons are also small, so it is not going to make you loose like a goose either. If they began proper education of tampons in China and Hong Kong, it might allow more girls to adopt usages accordingly rather than perpetuating mis-information regarding tampons.

I’ve been concentrating a lot on those two regions because I’m familiar with them, but this is prevalent in places like Korea and Taiwan as well (from my minor bits of research and talking to friends). One of the links in my widget is actually a girl in Taiwan who promotes the understanding of tampons and is trying to get more retailers to sell them. In Taiwan, pads are a definite market-ruler and she actually has to spend a lot of time importing tampons for herself or to sell because they are not widely available there. Availability certainly plays an important part on market dominance since if you don’t offer them, no one can buy. I have found however tampons have been hard to break into the culture and Chinese mentality. I remember growing up with one of my girls and when she was 12 and got her first period, she swore upon that she’d NEVER use tampons, but then just 3 years ago I started seeing boxes of tampons in her closet and I teased her about it because she was so anti-tampon back then. “Things change” was her reply and sure enough they do! I think that same change needs to take place in Asia with proper information being dispered about it. It is one thing if girls choose to stick with pads (which is really awesome anyways, lol) but it is another thing if girls aren’t being introduced to the existence/usage/information about tampons that they can make an informed decision on what to use, then that’s a problem.

Japan on the other hand is the only Asian country I know of who are really adapting to the usage of tampons and more and more girls are using them there. With that said though, tampon usage proportionally is still lagging behind North America. Again, this really comes down to Asian culture and how we influence the idea of “putting a wad of cotton up there” even if it is a practical form of menstrual protection. I can certainly understand the risk of TSS though, so I’m not downplaying the fact tampons do carry a risk-factor. Funny enough the other day I was talking to Poh Ching and asked her sheepishly whether they sell tampons in Malaysia, haha, and her reply was that whether I thought people lived in the forest there or something! I chuckled because my question was more geared towards whether girls in Malaysia are open to the idea of tampons or whether they are like the majority of Asia where tampons are accessible, but not widely used. On that note, many of the girls in Malaysia I’ve talked to (whether living there or moved away) are all pad users, I have yet to talk to one who uses tampons. Of course this comes down to whether it is just “luck of the draw” who I have talked to or whether or not those girls misrepresented the menstrual-protection stat by all happening to be pad users and not tampon users. However this could also be used to prove the fact there’s a larger populace who still use pads over tampons. For their sake, at least they do seem to know the existence of it, but given what I’ve read from forums, many are still misinformed about them.

Hopefully in time, tampons will become more notable in Asian countries. While being a pad lover I hope tampons will never “take over” but for water sports, it is almost a must. I love a girl who balances both tampons and pads, but hey, a guy can’t ask for too much right? I’m really blessed to have so many girl-friends willing to discuss this with me and take seriously my interest. From the last period my god-sister has, looks like she’s reverted back to using pads (she says on her own accord, but I doubt it, hah), but we went swimming last time when she was on her period so I’m pretty sure she didn’t have much of a choice. I sure as hell hope she wasn’t wearing a pad in the pool! I know a lot of my girls in China/HK just avoid swimming all together when they’re “on” rather than using tampons which is a shame, but I’m not sure the same can be done if they were professionally swimming rather than just casually. Also, it’d suck to miss out on a beach-day just on the account of that. Hopefully the Chinese government will spend some money on promoting proper information about tampons like they do with condoms, lol.

Maxi Pad/Sanitary Napkin Disposal

Hello again,

Trying to get back on-track with a periodtastic post! I recently received an email from a shy young man who writes:

Hi Prexus,

My name is [removed] and I have often been interested in periods just as yourself. Having grown up in a family which has gone through a divorce, I have had little female-contact as my sisters and mother have moved away. I rarely see them and I do not feel comfortable approaching any of my female friends to ask them questions about their periods. I have found many sites that talk about periods, but use references and language that only females would understand. Although I know bits and pieces about what periods are, I feel very stupid to be in my mid-teens and barely know anything about girls. Your blog has really allowed me to see what periods mean from a boy’s perspective. I understand little about sanitary napkins and tampons. I have heard from my friends that say girls can flush these things in the toilet. I also heard some people say that you throw them in the garbage. What is true? How do girls dispose of their hygiene products after they use it? I hear many different things I do not know what is right or if they are lying to me. I am curious to learn more but feel ashamed to bring this up in my health class or with another girl because I do not know if they will laugh at me.

Thank you.

Since this was always a topic I wanted to cover, I guess I’ll take the opportunity to address it now and hopefully answer the inquiry of this gentleman. I have found with this subject of menstruation or anything surrounding it are often shrouded by shyness. I never expect my readers to write to me using their names, so anyone who feels like writing to me can rest assured that your identity will be protected unless you say so otherwise. I will either use a fake name or you may use an alias for yourself and I do not mind. I am happy to hear feedback from ANY of my readers, positive or negative.

So, to proceed with this topic, I would like to first of all say that proper disposal of menstrual protection is of utmost importance. I have worked with people in any position/ranking and most notably, caretakers will attest that the women’s bathroom is usually more disgusting than the men’s washroom. With that said, I am totally understanding of the fact women have a lot more to “take care of” in the washroom than men do, but it is also imperative that basic sanitation standards be adhered to such as proper hand washing and disposal. Let’s face it, how many of you really (exception: the flow-lovers) want to see soiled tissue, dirty toilet water, dirty commode, used pad/tampon/alternative product or dirty floors/walls when you enter your stall? I’m betting most of you would find that very disgusting, therefore, it is common decency to ensure that when you leave the stall that it is in a condition that you would like to walk into!

Since this is again a male-oriented blog, there probably won’t be much of a need to “teach” girls how to dispose of their used products, so we’ll skip ahead for the guys. So, one of my readers wanted me to address about how sanitary products are disposed and to demystify the “science” behind it. In regards to maxi pads, they should (under most circumstances) be disposed of in the garbage or in a sanitary bin (usually behind the toilet/stall wall). There is a flushable pad on the market, but it is likely most women are using your conventional non-flushable pads. Pads are extremely bad for most toilets so unless you want to clog the toilet (which may be embarrassing and/or gross), I would advise against it – trust me, it isn’t pretty, I’ve seen it. In regards to tampons, most tampons are flushable, however, when I say tampon I mean ONLY the tampon portion as the applicator/wrapper should be disposed of via the garbage/sanitary bin. However, knowing plumber friends, some of them advise women to not flush tampons either, especially if their drainage system or toilet is older or not in a decent condition as it adds unnecessary stress to the system(s).

Proper disposal of used sanitary items also help reduce the odor that is dissipated. Dried menstrual fluid doesn’t exactly smell “pleasant” (again, exception to the flow-lovers), so through proper disposal, women can assist in keeping the air in the washroom relatively clean. Suffice to say, no matter how well proper disposal is followed, unfortunately when you have 20 used products in a garbage/sanitary bin, it is not really going to give off the smell of apples either way, so women generally have a practice (at home) of emptying the garbage more frequently than when they’re not menstruating to prevent “build up” of old products and allowing the accumulation of the smell. This is especially important to note to the guys that menstrual fluid being “smelly” is not because a woman’s vagina/blood is dirty (unless there are health implications). The odour that is emitted from a used menstrual product is a result of the bacteria that comes in contact with air, therefore it is imperative men understand that this is not fault of the female body as the menstrual fluid itself is clean!

Without further ado, I took the liberty of demonstrating a pad disposal (without the gore for easily-disgusted-male sake):

(Fig 1.) Pad in the original individually-wrapped form

(Fig 1.) This is the general package of a pad, obviously will be different for each brand/size. This the usually the state of a pad when it is taken from the package and unopened. In conventional pad packages, each pad is individually wrapped.

(Fig 2.)Package is opened revealing the pad inside

(Fig 2.) The wrapper is opened and within contains the pad. Generally, the wrapper of the pad is SAVED to wrap up the old pad that will be removed or saved to wrap the current pad that is going to be used for disposal later.

(Fig 3.) Pad opened up but with wings tab still intact

(Fig 3.) To fully utilize the pad, one must open it up usually by unfolding all the necessary parts to make it “whole”

(Fig 4.) This is the pad with the wing-tab peeled off

(Fig 4.) Since this is a “panty-less” demo, I’ve already removed the wing-tab. Most people would have placed the pad onto the panties and then removed the wing-tab to secure the wings around the crotch of the panties. This is to ensure that the wings do not stick to anything else and thus the reason why it is done last. You don’t ever want the adhesive to stick to anything else… it hurts!

(Fig 5.) This is the form the pad "ready to be used" - or well, if it wasn't stuck to a desk it would be

(Fig 5.) So here we have it guys, a pad ready-to-go in all its glory, LOL! Sorry that it is on a bit of an angle, but like I said, the sticky adhesive is a pain, it was actually stuck to my desk for a while and I had to fight with it to get it off! To continue onto Figure 6, let us assume that this is the pad AFTER it has been removed. Before initiating the “roll up” one may choose to either fold the wings in first or leave the wings out.

(Fig 6.) This is the beginning of the disposal procedure once removed

(Fig 6.) Here’s where the main point of this entry comes into play, the disposal! Once the pad is saturated, it is removed from the panties and generally, most people will roll it up. My ex dubbed it the “spring roll” (especially because she used the Always Regular which had the yellow wrapper – harhar!) as the most common method of disposal. As you can see, the the wings have been folded in before being rolled up but I personally prefer it left outside, but I will demo the results of that in the following figures. Since the pad itself is (normally) saturated, you have to be careful about how tightly you roll it up because it may “squeeze” some of the fluid out.

(Fig 7.) Rolled up with the wings inside

(Fig 7.) I find that the problem with rolling it up with the wings in is that it sometimes tends to “open up” which is not exactly aesthetically pleasing. However, having spoken to many of my girl-friends, this apparently is the “preferred” way of doing it.

(Fig 8.) My preferred way is to roll it up with the wings outside

(Fig 8.) This is personally my way of doing it, because what it allows you to do is to wrap the wings around the “holes” of each end which securely fastens the sticky parts all together, thus reducing the possibility of it “opening back up” or having fluid “come out the sides”. Also, this method, in my opinion, also compacts the pad itself, thus allowing for a smaller disposal profile.

(Fig 9.) My method of wrapping the wings after the roll-up to "seal" the pad

(Fig 9.) As a result of leaving the wings unwrapped during the roll-up sequence, you create a “tail” as per the previous figure and thus, you are able to grab each end and bring it to where the top of the pad and the bottom of the pad meet. This creates a 3-way sealing effect and again, can be used advantageously for disposal taking up less space in the trash/sanitary bin.

(Fig 10.) Place the pad onto the original/leftover wrapper

(Fig 10.) Regardless of which method you choose to “roll” it, you will end up with a “spring roll” of your used pad. It is also possible to include any wrappers/tabs if not previously disposed as part of the package. Roll or enclose the pad within the wrapper in a suitable fashion for disposal. I prefer wrappers that actually have a small “sticky tab” that you can use to seal the wrapper, but unfortunately this brand doesn’t have it. In North America, I can only think of the Always pads that come with the little sticker you can use to seal the package.

(Fig 11.) A pad sealed and ready for disposal!

(Fig 11.) And finally the disposal process is almost complete (next to placing it in the proper container). This isn’t my “best handiwork” and I can definitely do a much better wrap, but doing it one-hand while holding the camera is rather hard. And before you ask, no I don’t have a proper set-up for taking pictures/videos – lol.

So there you have it guys, a small demo of a pad from its original form to wrapped-for-disposal form! To my reader who wrote me the above letter, I hope that you find this tutorial of interest to you! I might not have covered every aspect, but have done what I can think of at the moment to answer your inquiry. If you do have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at all! Feel proud that you took the initiative to learn more about menstruation because it is men like you who will help women and allies such as ourselves break through the taboo of menstruation!

P.S. The demo’ed pad is a Kotex Regular with Wings

Women Connecting with Nature and their Own Bodies

Yesterday, I found a great article on a woman who blogged about her wonderful experiences with her body which she recently discovered. While my articles have tended to be aimed for men, this blog might be of interest to both males and females. For the males, this is useful information and for the females, something you might want to try if you often suffer from cramps or menstrual discomfort. I’ve touched briefly on this subject through one of my previous posts but given how inspired I was by one of the blog-authors of Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross in her article describing her experience. I’m always extremely grateful when I see big-time book/magazine writers or popular authors respond to me because it gives my blog a sense of worth and that my responses are valued by such prestigious individuals. Much to the resistance of the girl I am seeing (wish I could call her my girlfriend) who doesn’t particularly “like” the fact I enjoy the female body, including menstruation, I feel very attached to my blog and many of its readers. My blog has been around for less than a month yet has almost achieved a thousand hits and this is no less my hard work than all my visitors and all the great feedback I’ve been getting from popular individuals! Anyways… on to the rest of my blog.

This world is slowly (and I say SLOWLY) beginning to bring menstruation out of the shadows and into actual discussion. Compared to when I was a child, menstruation is definitely discussed more openly, but still, this discussion tends to only flow (pardon the pun) between females and males are still unfortunately sheltered from truthful, informative and realistic discussions about it. When a parent is watching T.V with a child, what does he/she do when something inappropriate comes on the screen? Most would try to cover their child’s eyes/ears from it or change the channel. Likewise, this same “shielding” action is applied to education about the female body to males. What do guys love about the female body? Vaginas, breasts, they are great – I don’t deny it… but is that ALL we should know? Doesn’t that make guys a bit dense that we (heterosexual males) love the vagina so much but that on the first sight of menstrual fluid we run away? When’s the last time you saw one of your male friends watch UFC or another “realistic combat match” where there’s blood pouring out every pore of the combatants face and not even cause a cringe but if you were to ever mention “period”, “menstrual” or another like-word, you get the dirtiest look ever? I used to be ashamed of my interest in the female body and menstruation and I might very well be labeled as “creepy” or “perverted” – but whatever label you want to give me, I can tell you there is nothing more that a mature woman wants from a guy is one who knows how her body works. From the start of this blog, I have conversed with other bloggers who have given me lots of positive feedback and praise that I’m reaching out to touch many males who truly should take some time to love the female body for ALL it is worth, not just the fact that there is some nice bouncy parts and a hole for us to feel good and whether they want to accept it or not, menstruation WILL exist.

Now, let’s talk about masturbation. On its own and between guys, this is one of the topics that we OFTEN talk about and you might not want to admit it, but we do. I have had countless conversations with my guy-friends about it, exchanging the techniques, our experiences, who/what we fantasize about and everything about it… for guys, this is something we gloat about to each other! Being part of many communities/forums now and in the past, men are more likely to be upfront about such habits both online and offline. Women on the other hand, are more open about it online but will rarely admit to it offline or if you know them in person. Why is this? Both males and females have a right to masturbate, in fact, I think BOTH genders (or everyone in between) should do this because there’s nothing more liberating than knowing your own body inside out. You know when you go through a tough day at school, at work or at home this is one of those things that you can forever do to make yourself feel good. Feel stressed? Why see a shrink, down pills or mull around – go to your room (or if you’re adventurous, ANYWHERE legal) and have fun! This is akin to the idea of “What do you call a girl who sleeps around? A slut” – bad bad – but “What do you call a guy who sleeps around? A player” – the role model for many guys. Why is it we set different standards for males and females? We are both entitled to love our own bodies and in order for you to find someone who loves you just as much, you have to love yourself.

Now that both menstruation and masturbation is out there… let’s try merging BOTH of these together… WOH, stop right there! I’m sure that’s the reaction of most, but why? Are both of these not natural body functions? Why do we see going pee to be such a “regular” thing, but not when you talk about either of those topics then mix them together? I know of very few girls (or at least ones who admit) that enjoying masturbating during their period. You can down all those pain-relieving pills you want, but a 10-minute play-time with yourself (or however long you take to orgasm) will probably relief those cramps faster/longer than those pills will and guess what? There are no negative side effects! (unless you’re opposed to feeling euphoric) I remember when my one of my ex’s used to complain about her bad period pains that I told her that I’d get her a sex toy to enjoy herself with and she loved it so much she bought it before I did, lol. I know there are girls who don’t feel “up to the mood” when they are already feeling pretty crappy, but that’s usually because they’re resistant to the idea of menstrual masturbation in the first place. Once they “try it, they never go back” – seriously.

Whether your flow is light, medium or heavy, you can enjoy yourself like your body intended it to be. All it takes to have a successful session is some preparation and a bit of clean-up (please wash your hands.. lol). The last thing that you want to do is worry about the mess you’re making because then you’re not concentrating at the task at hand and that is well… using your hands and fingers. Girls who are not afraid of doing a bit of laundry can always just lay down a retired towel or bed-spread and let her loose. For those who want a bit of “security” can always masturbate through your pad as both your secretion and menstrual flow will go onto the pad. Tampons, now here comes multiple options – you can either masturbate with your tampon IN, or use the tampon itself as it can be used for stimulation and will absorb flow on its way out. You’d be surprized at how many girls actually masturbate through their pad, nothing beats being able to use something 2-for-1! Most of the girls I know turn bright-red when they admitted it to me – but I never hold that against them or make them feel uncomfortable, because what’s wrong with what they’re doing? They aren’t committing a crime surely! The cleanest option for those who really don’t want to prep/clean up is just to do it in the shower and it’ll all just go down the drain. It might look like a scene from Carrie, but that’s not my problem :P

Masturbating during menstruation allows a woman to deeply tune into her body and connect with the natural side of herself. While I’m not female and cannot attest to this personally, I can recall many experiences where this proves true and I know there are many women who will attest to this. A woman’s body works wonders and often, menstruation (or lack thereof) is indicative of her overall health such as stress, internal aliments or even unknown happiness. All we guys get is a penis that doesn’t tell us much except for a heart condition when we can’t get it hard. Although women get “the curse” (and that’s not MY label for it) by having to go through this monthly, they are so much more knowledgeable about their bodies IF they are willing to listen to their own signals. By spending a time to discover her own body, there’s no one more that benefits from it than herself. Menstrual masturbation is more than just relieving the cramps and having an extraordinary orgasm, but is also allowing one to understand and accept the wonders of pleasuring oneself and that menstruation is nothing to be afraid, embarrassed or sheltered about. Once a girl can come to terms with doing such a thing, it opens her up to a whole new world and if you don’t believe me, you can try yourself or even talk to one of your female friends who DO masturbate during their period – you don’t have to trust MY word for it! Heck, you don’t even need lube!

This post suddenly sparked a lightbulb in my head to follow up with another topic on what “Guys can and SHOULD do for their girlfriend/wife to make her period comfortable” – because guys, you weren’t put on this planet just to reproduce, but to love, tend and care for your significant other!

Menstruation in a Positive Light

Today as I was doing some research on the usual topic, I ran into the above slogan. Rather than the crappy ones you see in the Canada/US which try to “mask” menstruation or try to pretend it is something horrible, embarrassing or to-be-ignored, it puts a positive light on the reality of a woman’s cycle. Yes, you can debate there are many ways in modern technology to “avoid” having one’s period, BUT let’s assume that most women between menarche and menopause still go through their regular (or sometimes irregular – harhar) cycles. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the slogan, because it is about time that feminine hygiene manufacturers begin to remove the taboo-ness of menstruation. From what I recall, this world is pretty darn accepting of pornography and I can’t see why people, especially men can’t begin to accept, understand and when possible, make a woman’s period a better thing. Now before I get my head cut off, I’m not saying periods aren’t painful or that they’re the great thing in the world, but it happens.

It wasn’t until today that when I stumbled upon this quote that I decided to also link to another blog which highlights the way in which North Americans still perceive menstruation or at least (to correct myself), North American feminine hygiene companies. I think we (‘we’ as in those who reside in countries who refuse to use menstrual terms properly) have a long way to go before we catch up to the openness of Asian manufacturers, those who do not bother “shielding” the language by using words such as “flow”, “liquid”, “discrete” or things that impact females (especially young ones) to believe that menstruation is a truly evil thing. I’m not promoting the following product but as you can see, Laurier realistically tackles things surrounding menstruation and also using real words such as “periods”, “menstruate”, “menstrual”, “blood”, “menstruation”, “discharge”… and oh my GOD, “panties”! Imagine that, all those words mentioned under a single page meant to describe VIVIDLY some experiences that women may have when using “regular” sanitary pads. Ok, so the page itself gives their product a nice little spin, but at the very least, they are using honest language!

I absolutely ADORE the Kao Laurier F site because the way in which they write their FAQ’s, describe their products and even testimonials do not “shelter” their words. Besides the odd-guy like me who bother reading these sites, only women would read these sites, so why the hell are these companies bothering to make menstruation such a “hidden” thing? What’s wrong with using proper wording if the target-readers are women? It is a very logical comparison to say… a doctor’s reports.. it was written by doctors/nurses FOR doctors/nurses, so they use terminology that THEY understand – so why can’t feminine hygiene companies do the same for their readers? I get tired of seeing stuff like “locks away wetness” or “traps fluid deeply in the core”.. .give me a break. We all know what it is, why don’t people just SAY it?

Sometimes I wonder whether the CEO’s or senior management of North American feminine hygiene products are all run by men who feel that menstruation is a humiliating thing that should avoid direct wording and everything should be “discrete” at all costs…. stop wasting money making crappy ads/slogans that causes negativity towards menstruation/products, making “silent” wrappers, making the product “small”, etc. and make a better end product that helps protect menstruators. Asian feminine hygiene products are beating the crap out of N.A ones all the way from their comfort/absorbency to even the advertisements. Shape up!

Tampon Basics for Men

The weird looks that guys get whenever they stand in this aisle

Hi again, thought I’d get back on track and wrap up the “basics” for the guys and today, I’d like to tackle the topic of tampons in a simplistic male-oriented fashion. Again used products won’t be displayed on here for your sanity and viewing pleasure, lol. The usual disclaimer applies to whatever pictures I may use here are completely by nature of “best fit” and I’m not recommending or suggesting the brand of product that may appear. A tampon is used to absorb menstrual flow right before it exits the body.  Since every manufacturer uses different materials, simply put it, a tampon usually contains an absorbent material intended to absorb the flow and keep it in until the time of disposal. If you haven’t gotten the picture already, unlike pads which are worn on the underwear, a tampon is inserted into the vagina until it is withdrawn and disposed. Each manufacturer shapes their tampons differently to achieve various degrees of comfort and efficient absorbency, however, they can be simply described in the fashion of a cylinder or long bullet as shown in Figure 1.

(Fig. 1) A typical shape/concept of a tampon

The tampon on its own is comprised only in 2 parts, 1) the absorbent portion, and 2) the string. There are two primary methods of insertion and it is also based on the brand/type of the tampon that is used. Tampons are firstly divided into two types, one being an applicator tampon and the other being an non-applicator tampon. An applicator (cardboard/plastic) is usually 2 small tubes which “deposit” the tampon within the vagina allowing for most, easier insertion. To insert an applicator tampon, the entire tampon unit itself (as shown in Figure 2) is inserted half-way (or a comfortable depth) into the vagina.

(Fig 2.) A tampon with an applicator

When the upper half of the applicator is in the vagina, the bottom half of the applicator is pushed upwards (towards in the upper half) causing the tampon inside the applicator tube to be pushed in and “deposited” into the vagina. The applicator is now in a compressed form (tube-in-tube) and can be withdrawn since the tampon has been inserted. If the tampon is inserted properly, there should be no apparent awareness that something is inserted and it should not feel uncomfortable. The applicator can then be thrown away.

In the case of a non-applicator tampon, the tampon is taken out of its wrapping and then carefully inserted into the vagina using a finger (or two). Non-applicator tampons often generate a squeamish factor since a woman’s finger may come in contact with her menstrual fluid due to the proximity of the tampon/finger during insertion. However, with enough practice, one can easily insert an applicator-less tampon without explicit contact. Applicator-less tampons are also considered more environmentally friendly due to the lack of plastic/cardboard required for the applicator portion. They are also easier to carry due to the size (only the tampon portion) and the retail package is small. Figure 3 is typical non-applicator tampon.

(Fig 3.) Compact box and non-applicator tampon

Once the tampon is saturated, it must be withdrawn from the vagina and that is where the string comes into play. When the tampon is properly inserted, the only thing that hangs out from the body is the string. When pulled, the string withdraws the tampon from within the vagina. Tampons can be disposed of by way of garbage/sanitary bin or flushed down the toilet (majority of the APPLICATORS are non-flushable, only the tampon).

Being an internal form of protection, tampons become a gift for those who want to engage in water sports during menstruation. However, tampons are also associated with TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). TSS is a rare, but potentially fatal illness which is caused by bacteria toxins. TSS does not only occur through tampon usage, however, is associated with tampon usage, especially when using higher absorbency than necessary. This is a key point for men purchasing tampons to ensure that the tampon absorbency is only what is necessary – unlike pads since you can use any absorbency without fatal-health risks. While tampons can be used overnight, many women tend often use tampons during the day and pads at night. Tampons should only be left in for a maximum of 8 hours to reduce the risk of TSS. Furthermore, tampons should only be used while menstruating, not for discharge and not for “just-in-case” scenarios. Personally, all of tampon-using female friends still keep a variety of tampons AND pads, because both forms of feminine hygiene products have their merits. For women with heavier flows or those who do not have the luxury of being able to change constantly, a tampon and pad can be worn at the same time to lengthen the amount of time required per change (since the saturated tampon will leak onto the pad).

Many tampons have special properties or features, brand dependent such as Tampax Compak’s where the applicator starts off in a collapsed form and can be extended into its full form and then inserted. The result is an applicator tampon in half the regular size, easy to carry in a purse/bag or even wallet. O.B. tampons come in a regular outer coating and also one that is made from silk, apparently to ease insertion issues. There are many variety of tampons, even within its own brands. The world of tampons is immensely large, who knew that just a simple menstrual product like this could have so many different properties and enhancements that draws girls with different needs to use them. The list goes on and since this is supposed to be “basics”, I’ll stop here. If there are any further questions or comments, feel free to email me or leave a comment here! If I can answer them, I will.. if not, I have plenty of girl-friends who I can ask for more information.

Toodles!

- K

Maxi Pad Basics for Men

That's not my shelf... seriously... LOL.

Hey again, I figured over the next few days I’ll try to cover some feminine hygiene product basics. Obviously this information may be a bit useless and simplistic for girls, but for the guys it will give you some ideas of how this stuff really works. Don’t worry, used products won’t be displayed on here for your sanity and viewing pleasure, lol. At some point I’ll probably get my lazy ass working and make a video demo of this, but for now, I suppose some pictures and text will have to suffice. Let me say upfront that whatever pictures I may use here are completely by nature of “best fit” and I’m not recommending or suggesting the brand of product that may appear. A maxi pad is a product intended to absorb the menstrual flow as it exits the body. Since every manufacturer uses different materials, simply put it, the pad usually contains an absorbent material intended to not only absorb the flow, but also to keep it in. The absorbent material is separated by a top cover (against the body) and is sealed with the lower cover which usually is the adhesive side (sticks to the underwear).

(Fig. 1) The package and contents of a Thin Maxi Pad

So today, let us cover the basics of Maxi Pads and the likes…

Thin pads seem to be the more popular type of pad since it is extremely comfortable.Suffice to say, thin pads generally do not have the absorbency power as that of its equivalent thick maxi pad counterpart. Some brands managed to get their pads extremely thin, quite impressive to say the least. For example, Laurier Super Slimguard 25cm  is only 1mm thin!

(Fig. 2) Wings secured to the panties

Since thin pads aren’t as thick and tend not to hug the body as much, girls I’ve spoken to will agree that they need to use better fitting panties to allow for a more snug fit and to ensure there’s no gap between the body and pad or else accidents are prone to occur. Anyways, to stay on track to keep this “basic” for the guys… a pad will usually consist of 1) a wrapper, and 2) the pad itself. Pads generally come in two flavours (or should I even use that word in this context?) with or without wings. Wings are the two flaps on each side of the pad which is wrapped on crotch of the underwear between each side of the leg. The purpose of the wings are two-fold, 1) to prevent the pad from shifting in the panties, and 2) helps absorb side leakage, as shown below in figure 2. To begin use of the pad, one must remove the pad from the wrapper and remove the necessary adhesive strips. It is hard for me to explain the strips simply because every pad is different, some have a singular strip and others, multiple. For pads that have an individual strip for the wings, it is preferable to place the pad on the panties first (after removing the primary strip) and then remove the strip for the wings and wrap it around the panties. This is purely a comfort thing and there is no “right way” of doing it since there are girls who simply remove all the strips and then place it on their panties. There are 3 options for the wrapper, 1) Insert a used pad for disposal, 2) save it for the disposal of the existing pad later, or 3) place it in the garbage.

(Fig. 3) The package and contents of a Thick Maxi Pad

Once the pad is securely in place, the girl can then finish the rest of her washroom necessities and leave. I’m going to highlight the fact that disposal of used products is also extremely important but I’ll leave that for another posting. With that said, if you refer to figure 3, note the difference of the size as compared to the thin maxi. Unfortunately, I wish I could’ve showed the depth a bit better. You’ll have to excuse the terrible resolution as well since I took the picture with my iPhone. Thick pads, while not loved by most, tends to be a very good solution for those experiencing heavy periods, want a closer fit to their body or security for night time. I did want to retake this picture using a thicker pad, only to realize I ran out… so… guess this will have to do. Anyways, you’ll also notice that this, not only being a thicker variant, is also a wingless pad. I’ve only know about 2-3 girls who prefer pads without wings, mostly because they say the wings bother them. I can agree with them that wings, brand dependent, tend to chaff against the legs, especially during rapid movement (such as sports). Regardless, looking at the shelves, I can say both winged and non-winged products still sell great, so either way, they provide a form of menstrual protection for girls. In terms of pricing, when comparing pads of the same brand and size, you will find that while they might be the same price, there will be higher quantities for those without wings (lower overhead to produce). Example being the Stayfree Super Maxi w/o Wings came in a pack of 24, yet the ones I bought on January 2nd WITH wings only contained 16.

The last part I want to highlight on for you guys is yes, brands do matter. You do really “get what you pay for”…. and dollar store pads definitely do not work well (great for creative arts… lol). Larger brands tend to use more proprietary technology, therefore the quality of the pad and the usage of the product tends to be better. Having looked at dollar store pads, they are usually a top layer with cotton stuffed underneath it. While this is essentially the “general idea of a pad”, poorly designed pads are accidents waiting to happen. The “stitching” and “pattern” of a pad make all the difference when it comes to how well it holds up when used. I have found with dollar store pads that after saturation, you will find that the cotton inside actually MOVES (separating, bunching together, shifting – all together yucky!). So before you go criticizing your female companion on why she has to buy the $5 pack instead of the $2 ones, that’s exactly why!

I’d like to hope that this guide will help some people, even if it’s ONE person, that’s a good enough reward! I tried to cover what came to my mind, so if there’s anything missing, please feel free to comment and I’ll try to integrate it into this post (or a future one)!

Men’s Guide to Feminine Hygiene

I think for a guy, the worst thing that could happen other than being told you’ve just been diagnosed with some dreaded disease, is being asked to buy feminine hygiene products. Regardless of which female companion might be asking this of you, your heart beats rapidly, hands begin to sweat and scenes of embarrassment pop up in your mind. Most would think what self-respecting or macho man would do something like this? Well, think about it this way… if you are really self-respecting and a macho man, then you should also be prepared to ensure the needs of your girlfriend’s, sister’s, wife’s, and/or daughter’s needs are satisfied – after all, that IS what a man of the household does. OK, I’m sure some feminists are going to be on my back asking “Why should a man need to take care of a woman?” – but sorry, that’s just the old-fashion, traditional household setting I’ve been raised with. Regardless, there should be no shame for a man to acquire feminine hygiene products whether regularly as part of the household shopping or whether as a “last minute resort.” I must say, women tend to be fairly good with keep their inventory fairly stocked up and do prepare, so it is unfortunate for them that they must ask you to do it. It hurts them, just as much as it hurts you – literally.

So how/where does a guy begin? First, you can choose to understand just the basics, enough to make the purchase and nothing more. Second, you can choose to understand the concepts and details surrounding your purchase. For starters, we’ll just tackle #1 as it is probably the preferred option for most guys, need-to-know-basis, buy it, get out, and give it to your female requester. For those who choose that option, one thing to note is that you want to do this quickly, but lest I remind you that accuracy is also the key. You don’t want to go back for a second run just because you got the wrong one, so exercise due diligence, otherwise, it would be contrary to getting the job done fast.

Option 1 – Buy it, Get Out:

The best idea before heading to your nearest supermarket is to know exactly what you’re getting. If you’re lucky enough to have an old package lying around, it’ll be pretty easy to determine what she’s going to need and remember it. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t rely so much on just knowing the brand and colour… sometimes colours don’t tell all. A few years ago, Always tried to make their pads “male-friendly” with symbols to help make purchases easy, but phased it out quickly. Here’s a few key things you want to walk out the door with. Please note this chart is very GENERAL and the naming convention/classifications may vary brand-by-brand:

Pads

Tampons

- What brand?
– Wings or no wings? (No, they don’t fly)
– What thickness? (Usually “thin” or “maxi”)
– What absorbency or size? (Slender, Regular, Heavy, Overnight)
– Special types? (Such as scented/unscented or ones with wipes)
- What brand?
– Applicator (Plastic/Cardboard) or no applicator?
– What absorbency or size? (Lite, Regular, Super, Super Plus)
– Special types? (Such as compact versions, silk/satin, scented/unscented)

Once you’ve established those key points and perhaps even a photographic memory of the package, you’re almost ready to go! If you’re extra keen, you might want to check with your female companion whether there are any available coupons/specials and then determine where you will be making the purchase. I assure you, pads and tampons are not cheap so you always want to get the best deal! For the extra-shy-guy, you might want to choose a larger supermarket/store that offer “self-checkout”, but for the sake of discussion, let’s assume we will be doing the good ol’ line-up-at-the-counter. While men in general tend not to be very knowledgeable on where the feminine hygiene aisle is located, it is best simply to refer to overhead signs. If you don’t feel like being a browser and feeling gutsy, you could always ask a sales associate. You might want to get a shopping basket if they have one, I think a cart is just a bit weird for a few small items.

Anyways, so here you are, standing in the aisle! Now’s the time to hopefully recall all that information you (should) know! From my experience, most shelves are usually split between pads and tampons, so that will already probably cut your choices by half. I should carefully warn you now that there are SOME stores that also sell (or if you happen down the wrong aisle) male/female incontinence supplies in the same aisle, so be careful you buy items intended for menstruation. Now look for in big letters, the brand that corresponds with your purchase. Now here’s where you might flinch because unless you have really good eyes, might need to close-in a bit and figure out the right type, absorbency and features (features… sounds like buying a T.V!) and then of course, finally decide if this is the one you’re looking for! When you’ve gotten the necessary items (hopefully the correct ones), simply put them in your basket and prepare for your exit.

If you’ve noticed, at no point did I mention the use of any “camouflage” such as buying items that you don’t need to “mask” your real purchase. Unless you actually need it, you are wasting money by doing so. Let’s be honest, I’ve talked to people who’ve worked as cashiers and they know exactly what you’re doing when they see you checking out with 3 huge packages of pads and then a bag of chips. While in the FH aisle, there might also be other people present. Unless otherwise spoken to, there’s no need to engage someone else in conversation because that’s just downright awkward and might cause you to make a scene of yourself. The most I’ve done is just given the girl next to me a smile politely, just to signify I’m not there to stalk her feminine hygiene needs and that’s already enough to make her comfortable. This strategy is similar to that of the cashier. It is a foolish mistake for a man to ever feel the need he needs to justify the purchase he is making. Guys make the mistake of feeling they need to tell the cashier, “I’m buying this for my sister (or fill in whoever)” when they truly do not care. They are there to checkout your items and nothing more. I normally exchange my usual pleasantries as I put the items prominently up on the counter (why bother hiding it?) and hand over any corresponding coupons. Once the items have been rung up, I simply pay for my purchase, have it bagged and leave.

And you’re off! Isn’t it relieving to be done this endeavour? Not only that, but I’m sure your female companion will be extremely grateful for your help! Part of the secret is to purchase feminine hygiene products just as you would of other items. Never in my years of buying these products have I once been questioned about them, in fact, it is likely they’d be more embarrassed to ask (or even risk being disciplined, it is no business of the cashier what your purchases are for from the standpoint of customer service). For those who are doing this for your girlfriend or wife, you are winning big points (probably)! I’ve had girlfriends who’ve made it a point to mention they feel very special when I involve myself with their menstrual needs, as small as knowing what they normally use or even buying it for them when I need to or happen to be in-stores. This might not be case for every female as some still feel it is “their own business” and prefer you not poke your nose in it, but I think most will say it is a very sweet act.

So there you have it guys, a little guide and things for you to consider when purchasing feminine hygiene products! I’ll tackle option #2 at a later time. Of course… here’s the fun part… many of you guys might be “You’ve probably never done this yourself” or “You wouldn’t have the guts”… so here you go… by the way, coupons rock, you can get these products for cheaper than you can buy milk… TWO packs! Look at the date, it is today =) :

My Proof of Purchase - Your Proof of Reality

Guys n’ Periods?! NO WAY!

Welcome and thanks for taking the time to read this.

I decided rather than putting this in the “About” section to actually make a post about it. For reasons unknown, I have no idea how you stumbled upon my page, whether by random or something caught your eye, but I certainly hope you enjoy your read. Perhaps this site is geared towards the open-minded, so if that’s not you, you might find this blog absolutely unbearable. Anyways, onto what this page will really be about.

As the blog implies, this site will be dedicated to the discussion of “men” in menstruation. Oddly enough, in a modern society where sex, violence, illegal activities, etc. are openly discussed and engaged, many still consider the discussion or so much as to the mention of menstruation or related-topics/items to be taboo. I am lucky, in the sense that many females I have approached about this topic has discussed with me frankly and openly, much to my surprise. Of course, this is not to say I suggest everyone go find your closest female friend and approach them about this topic, but what can I say, a guy like me is lucky to have female friends who are willing to satisfy my curiosity and willingness to learn. I urge you to take due caution in approaching such a topic with a girl unless you are sure they are comfortable with it since after all, it is a personal matter and you should respect the lines when she draws it.

Nevertheless, one must wonder why a male would ever be interested in menstruation? I really wish I could answer you that question. The day I am able to solve that mystery, I will likely be able to tell you the purpose of life. To condense the reason for this blog and intro, I am male and I truly appreciate the process of menstruation and things surrounding it. As a child, I remember sneaking off to the public library (before the internet was available to your average residences) and sheepishly looked up books/information on the female anatomy, specifically concerning menstruation. I may be a pervert, if that is truly how you’d like to label me, but I consider this is be an interest. Much like those who are interested in sports, your field-of-studies, your job, your hobbies – likewise, periods are part of what I consider to be an interest to me.

Throughout my years (ok, well I’m not that old), I have noticed that guys are often evasive towards the idea of periods. I remember in grade 9, during sex-ed class, a guy put up his hands and asked “What is a period?” and quite frankly, his facial expression did not appear he was joking or was trying to cause a scene, he had no idea what it really was. In grade 9, I had assumed that most guys would, even if not in-depth knowledge, know what menstruation was about. At that point, I realized perhaps it was because out of my own curious nature, researched the topic, that I knew quite a bit about it but your general high-school male did not. Honestly, I would dare say that many males might have just a very crude knowledge of it. I’m no doctor and no expert, but I would like to believe (bite-my-tongue) that I am a bit more knowledgeable than your average male about this matter.

I remember when I first realized my interest in menstruation that I was shamed and kept it to myself. Even to this day, there are very few people who know me personally who know of my interest. The number is probably countable using my own two hands and if they do know about it, are likely people who I’ve had a more intimate relationship with, such as ex’s or extremely close friends. This is of course contrary to me being a rather open-person since I’m the type to talk about anything, so the internet is a great place where I can express my thoughts and feelings without the repercussion of embarrassment. When I say embarrassment, perhaps I do not mean it personally, but rather, society has not been very inviting of men being involved in things related to menstruation which leads me to use that word. I am far from embarrassed when I buy feminine hygiene items or the likes.

So why should men be more involved with menstruation? Well, I consider knowledge to be power and I believe that it never hurts to know something. Whether men will ever need to ‘deal with’ menstruation is irrelevant. Sure, I will never get my period, but I do not feel I should be ignorant of such matters. I find it disturbing when guys are evasive about topics such as these and worse, when girls themselves do not seem to know the facts or proper wording. I remember once asking a friend to join me for a swim in which she replied, “Sorry, I can’t because I’m PMS’ing today…” I raised an eyebrow and asked, “You mean you have PMS or that you have your period?” From what I know, I consider PMS ≠Period. Girls, over guys, should definitely know more about their bodies and proper terminologies associated with them. There are many girls (or perhaps the ones I know) who think menstruation is called “PMS”… and really, I don’t think it should, since the medical definitions say otherwise.

I’m open-minded, I really am, in the sense that as male I’ve probably tried all I can within my powers to truly understand menstruation. Again, I’m no scientist, expert or medically-qualified personnel – simply a person with an interest an a goal to expand his knowledge concerning this. This blog at times might become graphic or provide more information than you really want to know, but reading this blog is completely at your discretion. I’m hoping this blog will pull in both male and female readers. On that note, I hope that we can keep comments civilized and that I will monitor/remove offensive posts. I am here to share my view of things in hopes to create a positive community and a place for me to express myself where it is no hindered by my worry that people will know who I am and use it against me.

In terms of how this interest affects my relationships, I’m not sure it would be fair to only ask me. I have had girlfriends who ranged from the “Ya, I can accept this about you” to “I really like the fact you are knowledgeable about it!” I guess I feel rather blessed I have not been with a girl who was completely opposed to my interests thus far and hope to avoid them at all costs, lol. I guess my interest is a part of who I am and to remove that away from me would be trying to change my individuality –  contrary to what a relationship should be about. I’m sure that my interest and perhaps even involvement in menstruation may cause some people to rear their heads in disgust, throw their heads up in laughter or nod their heads in approval. I personally believe periods are not one of the more favoured things in life, by males or females, but I choose to learn not only to “know” what it is, but appreciate what females have to go through from their menarche all the way to menopause. Just for laughs, if you can’t tell, I’m one of those guys who really hate menopause =] If you have anything to contribute, please feel free to post or if you’d like me to touch on a certain topic, feel free to pop me a message! I don’t have a definitive update schedule, so just drop in every once in a while to see what’s on my mind.

Cheers and happy reading/commenting!

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