7 Things A Good Boyfriend Needs To Know About The Menstrual Cycle

I don’t want to be the guy who writes a self-canonization piece related to womens’ bodies because he’s soooo knowledgeable about period blood and is suuuuch a good boyfriend because of it — and that’s not what this is. Just completely guesstimating here: About 35% of the world’s population has a menstrual cycle, and as an American Apparel-wearing 20-something straight urbanite male reading Thought Catalog, your chances of dating a vagina-haver with a menstrual cycle go way up. And the key to being not only a decent boyfriend but also a decent person lies somewhere between feigned paranoid indifference and keeping a copy of Our Bodies, Our Selves on your coffee table. If you ever wonder what a considerate lover might do when his partner sheds spent cells, however, these thoughts and useful suggestions will pay dividends in your relationship. Apologies to gay men and those dating pre-pubescent, post-menopausal, or trans women; the following will not apply to you.

1. This is a good thing. It means your girlfriend isn’t pregnant or so overworked and/or undernourished that she can’t go through a very normal bodily process. These scenarios probably require a little follow-up on your part, and both are thankfully above my pay grade.

2. This isn’t really going to impact you for a significant percentage of your intimate life. Usually, there’s going to be five to nine days per 28 day cycle where your girlfriend will be directly impacted by cramps, her flow, and bodily discomfort.

3. This isn’t a big deal. As in, if you don’t live together or haven’t been dating for longer than a couple months, don’t panic if you have or haven’t been updated on the progress of her cycle. If she seems otherwise excited to get to know you and you’ve started to have sex or are planning to start imminently and says that she can’t hang out on a particular day, don’t push it. Just offer to go out later.

4. Leave tampons in your bathroom if she stays at your place often enough to leave a toothbrush. This is also a generally thoughtful thing to do for that 35% of the population that might come visit your apartment. If she’s already brought some over, keep a mental note on the brand and type, or just ask what she prefers.

5. If your girlfriend says she’s sore, hurts, or just asks for Advil, offer her Advil. You would do this if she had a headache, wouldn’t you?

6. Period sex. Seriously, if she’s complaining that cramps are killing her, offer to have sex and suggest it might help her cramps go away. Cramps result from pelvic muscles pushing ova and uterine linings out; sex and the correlated thrusting, penetration, and orgasm(?) stretch those muscles out the other way and clear out debris. It’s like a warm-down. If height allows, have sex in the shower. Otherwise, put a towel down, have her on top, and shower after. If this squicks you out, think of it as extra lubricant.

7. Chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Women on their periods craving chocolate aren’t hysterical; they’re trying to replace a lot of nutrients and energy regularly flushed out. Framed positively, learning how to bake things with chocolate and doing so on a regular, semi-frequent occasion is a really easy way to do something nice for your girlfriend and get credit and praise very disproportionate from the effort you put in. TC mark

image – Craighton Miller


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  • Nicole

    You forgot: Don’t dismiss all feelings with “Oh, you’re just on your period.” Even if you’re right, you hell hath no fury like a woman being told she is menstural.

    • Nicole

      *delete “you”

    • Lexy

      Nicole you are so right, that is the most frustrating thing a person can say when you’re on your period! It’s as if they just think you’re making no sense because it’s “that time of the month.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/cbartnik Caitlin Bartnik

    People should start teaching this in public schools. It would prevent a lot of future drama.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=532223255 Nicolle Fieldsend

    Just as an afterthought – a period doesn’t guarentee a woman isn’t pregnant, some women still get them whilst carrying a child. Not something that happens often but still just thought I would let you know

    • Lexy

      I’m glad someone mentioned this. Out of a rather accurate article came this one hugely misunderstood falsity. Your period does not mean you are not pregnant. You can have your period for months into your pregnancy. Also (although this was not mentioned in the article I think it is worth stating) you can also still get pregnant while you’re on your period, despite common beliefes.

  • Guest

    this is sweet



  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WQXSSKAMOU4WCHKCWYMUKKKNU Aladin Sane

    Period sex is the SHIT. Just sayin’. 

  • Melia

    You are a wonderful guy. 

  • Cassandra

    This is so great, I know a few people who should know this.

    You even taught me a few things! lol

  • Lisa

    Awwww this its so sweet!

  • Lisa

    We also get slightly anemic. So, in addition to chocolate, get us steak.

    • rose georgia

      and fresh orange juice, please, for vitamin c to soak up the iron!
      also guinness. 

  • Kirsten G.

    Will you marry me…no seriously?

  • Guest

    All of the above makes you a great boyfriend but do keep in mind, period sex may make her feel better and she will be craving sex more than usual during her period, but what she really needs to shed all that and sex during her period might create infections. You should offer to do yoga with her in the future. The stretching helps with the pain. 

  • Anonymous

    My boyfriend even learned how to count my “safe” days based on my period (I’m regular).

  • http://twitter.com/robin_schmobin Robin West

    Never had a guy stock his bathroom with tampons for me. I’d probably just assume some other chick left them there. 

    • http://summerslowrunner.wordpress.com/ Summer

       Exactly. I would be uncomfortable with a guy going out and buying me tampons. Nice thought in theory, but I can handle that one on my own.

  • http://twitter.com/catedeleon Cate de Leon

    Now this is what I would call a boyfriend.  Thank God for real men.  And thank you for this piece :)

  • http://twitter.com/geology_rocks Haley F

    That was really nice and I’m glad you didn’t put any jokes in.

  • Anonymous

    i’m sorry but if a guy noticed what brand tampon I used and started stocking them in his bathroom, I would be severely creeped out

    • messyjessy

      Really? I’d be touched. 

    • http://twitter.com/gioiaous Katie M. Gioia

      Really? Even your boyfriend? I don’t think he was referring to a guy you slept with twice casually…

    • http://twitter.com/iamthe0nly Jordana Bevan

      yeah! people who care are seriously creepy! f-ck that noise

  • http://www.about.me/tanyasalyers Tanya Salyers


  • messyjessy

    Great piece by the way, the lack of jokes about PMS etc is refreshing :)

  • http://devilgreen.deviantart.com/ Priyanka Sharma

    Period sex? I’d be grossed out by that. 
    Other than that, oh spot on!

  • Lak

    Allow us to be a bit more irritable and cranky than usual. And do not under any circumstance ever joke about us PMSing when we are PMSing. 

  • Meghan Cline

    Good man!

  • Juliaetlamer

    Chocolate aint smth girls shud have during pms or periods, just like cafeine it only makes things worse. She might get insomnia and the cramps will be even more painful. :/

    • Anonymous

      Really? but then why do I always want it so bad?

    • Pamela Ousley

      actually if the chocolate is pretty dark and not full of sugar, chocolate can be really great. sugar makes things worse, but dark chocolate has a lot of iron in it, which is nourishing and may prevent fainting/feeling lightheaded in some individuals.  good, clean, dark chocolate bars. we’re talking 88% or at least 70% dark. of course, it’s not for everyone, but if done right it actually can really help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506498512 Leah Cox

    Awesome piece. Bravo.

  • Copper

    Love it.  I’ve always experienced a lot of pain when I’ve tried period sex, though.  Sounds like I’m missing out on something magical.

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