That Time of the Month. A woman’s moon cycle. Menses. Menstruation. Period. She’s on her rag. Red Flag. Our culture has many terms, distorted views, & beliefs on the monthly ritual of a woman’s womb shedding. Some folks are knowledgeable, empowered & progressive while others are not.
A recurring conversation for just about everyone in a new relationship is how to communicate your needs, wants, and love during a woman’s monthly cycle. Below are the basics to empower both women and men (or however you identify).
TIPS FOR THE GALS:
1. Our moon cycle is a sacred time. Like the moon dictates the tides and ocean, so it dictates the shedding of our womb and blood. I know society doesn’t tell you this. We are told to “take a pill,” use “sanitary” napkins and buy bleached white tampons and pads from the “feminine hygiene” aisle, when, truly, there is nothing cleaner or more sanitary than the lining of the womb, which if the woman’s ovulated egg is fertilized, forms the placenta that is perfectly designed to nurture the future of the human race. It’s time to educate yourself! A good start is with Inga Muscio’s Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. I also recommend reading Simone du Beauvoir’s The Second Sex as well as searching out the feminist, progressive writing on our Moon Cycles, including any Bloodsisters, Goddess Moon or Red Tent groups and websites. Get to know your body, your blood, and your cycles. Get connected with other women on this topic. Go to a workshop. Go to your local progressive bookstore or women’s centred pleasure/sex store and read up on the topic Include getting to know your feelings & emotions as they ebb and change depending on your hormone levels. Get to know your rhythms. Then get responsible for them, powerful with your choices, and maybe even playful! Do you need to eat differently? Exercise differently? Receive more hugs and tenderness? Rest more? DO THAT! Fuck taking a pill to keep up being Wonder Woman! You get to discover and say what works for you and what doesn’t. You get to choose how you are best supported prior to your cycle and how to spend those 4 – 5 days of your cycle.
2. Communicate. When you know what works for you and what you like – and/or you are open to discovering this with a lover / partner – it’s time to create some time to open up the floodgates of communication. It’s your job to start the communications around your cycle. And it’s your job to keep the communications timely and updated. Guys know that each woman they have been with is different so it’s up to you to responsibly and intelligently, with feeling and ownership, communicate your wants and needs: both as a receiver and a giver.
3. Ask for what you want and need. And ask without entitlement! Do you want to make out or do you need to be held? Do you want to experience and share intimacy or do you want your alone time? Do you want your lover to be gentle and tender with you prior to and during your moon cycle? Do you want your lover to stimulate and please you with clitoral stimulation? Bonus: this takes away your cramps in ten to twenty seconds. Do you want to have penetrative sex? Do you want to please your partner during this time, and if so, how, when, and what works for you? Ask yourself: what do I want? What do I need? And then … communicate your desires with your partner (yes, each month!).
4. Ask what works for your lover. And ask without judgement! Accept what they say and if you have a need outside of what they think works for them …
5. Educate, educate, educate … and be patient, loving, and caring when doing so. I’m wonderfully surprised by the number of people who don’t have any issue with a woman’s monthly cycle and are up for having sex. I am equally surprised by the number of folks over 30, who have lived with women and/or had continuous sex with more than 10 girlfriends, and are still “grossed out” and have never gotten to know a woman’s body during her moon time. Why? Well, some of them might be closed minded. Others may never have taken a Women’s Studies course, had an empowered, feminist girlfriend, and/or be informed by what mainstream culture tells us about women’s periods & blood: it’s SOOOO scary, they could die, get AIDS, it’s to be avoided to survive, it robs men of their power, that kind of nonsense. More than likely, it’s due to a couple of factors: our blood is foreign to us, something medical, especially to guys who don’t have cycles! Further, no woman that the person has been with has 1) educated herself, 2) embraced her moon cycles, and 3) taken the time to educate her new lover/partner. Guess what lady? This person is with you now so IT’S YOUR JOB!!
6. Give your partner time to get to know your monthly, changing cycles. Go slow with introducing them to new-to-them practices. Be patient and be kind. Partnership is about supporting each other so give your lover a lot of space to get to know this mysterious & wondrous female body of yours. Your partner wants to support you so give him the opportunity to show up and win with you!
TIPS FOR THE GUYS/person not menstruating:
1. Ask your lover what she likes and what she wants. Ask: how can I support you during your moon time? What do you like? What would you like me to do? Not do? What’s ok? How do you need me to do?
2. Be open to what works for her during her moon time. If either she or you want to try something new or different, do so with more tenderness, love, and patience than normal.
3. Know we may change in our needs & wants. Be accepting to the fact that what she may want and need will change from month to month, day to day. Trust that the well worn cliche “it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind” applies to every woman in the 1 1/2 weeks before her moon cycle through to the end of her cycle.
4. Know that our bodies are in a heightened, feeling, and tender state just prior to and during our menses. Her breasts may be tender. Her thighs and ass that we love you to grab, slap, and play with may not want to be manhandled. If that’s the case, we need you to be gentle and soft during this time. Watch your partner closely, check in, and ask!
5. Know that our feelings and emotions are in a changing state. Women have ever changing hormones, they just don’t stay constant or the same. They can really fluctuate in the week or two before our cycle and we are not always spot on, in tune with them. We are emotional, ocean and moon connected Goddesses: our feelings and emotions can influence and dictate much of how we think, feel, and act. This is part of the river-like flow of women. We alter and change course & direction. Most of you men, however, are like mountains. Your hormones are relatively stable, your strength doesn’t vacillate every month, and you generally like to intentionally focus on one thing at a time. Let us flow like a river and try not to be surprised by our change-ups and altering our course. Even more, be patient and generous with us, supporting these changes. You can get to intuitively know the ebbs and flows of our moods and cycles and … you can handle it! Trade secret tip: we look for men/partners who can.
6. Know that some of us give up being the Wonder Women we are during our moon cycles. This means it’s a good time for you to take the reigns and make decisions. It’s also a good time to do things for us. Like really. Let us rest. We are bleeding litters of blood, loosing a lot of iron and nutrients, and may be hormone and resource depleted. Do the grocery shopping & cooking, take us out for food, do the laundry, make the bed, draw us a bath, do the things we might normally do for ourselves (and maybe you!). You’ll be rewarded in about a week or two when we hit our ovulation high, trust me!
7. Be willing. Be willing to experience something new. Be willing to smell something different, feel something different. Be wiling to love your gal how she would like. Be willing to educate yourself and rethink your point of view on blood and a woman’s menses.
8. Powerfully and kindly communicate your needs. You do not need to be a yes to anything you don’t want to do. Partnership is sometimes about compromise.
9. Know that you can please and love your gal in MANY ways. Some of the “service” type things I’ve noted above really tell us you love us. Like many women, my body loves the medicinal benefits of dark chocolate prior to my moon cycle. I once had an in-tune lover who made a monthly calendar event to remind him it was time to buy and bring me dark chocolate. What a sweetheart! So experiment and don’t be afraid to surprise her or try something new. It’s also a good time for non-sexual intimacy. You could offer to massage any part of her body prior to or during her cycle. With both non-sexual and sexual intimacy: take time to put her overly thinking mind to rest. Put a dark coloured towel down so she’s not concerned with leaking on the sheets. Stroke and relax her body. Kiss her everywhere (except her yoni, kiss around the yoni unless you’ve discussed this prior). Love her. Love her without expecting anything back. And then, if she’s open to it, let your hands move to her clitoris. Clitoral stimulation and orgasm relieve women of cramps and are often very welcome. Love her, honour her, and treat her as the Goddess she is. In the process, you will discover and know yourself as the loving partner and God/Goddess you can be … and are.