I am a straight man with a straight man’s problems. My girlfriend hates period sex, and she gets upset when I come on to her when she’s on her period. She gets horrible cramps and sometimes migraines, and is just not in the mind space for sexy-times. Her period is pretty regular and I try to remember when it’s coming, but sometimes I forget. The last few times I’ve forgotten, she’s gotten upset and said it felt like I was pressuring her, since I obviously knew she wasn’t feeling well. I did, of course, notice she wasn’t feeling well but thought it was just a mood and that maybe fooling around would made her feel better. My question is: Several of my friends love their period tracking apps; would it be super weird to get one on my phone for my girlfriend’s period? If I’m doing it in the name of not making her upset about sex at that time?
Oh poor sweet bone-headed straight man, bless your poor sweet bone-headed straight man heart. You are trying your best to do the right thing and I appreciate that. I really do. But don’t get a period tracking app on your phone for your lady’s period. This is not a good plan. Can you imagine how she would feel if she found it? If she was borrowing your phone and a notification about HER PERIOD came up on it? It would be that episode of Community where Abed is giving Britta and Annie chocolate times a billion.
And listen, I totally get that you’re in a pickle here. I have often, the few days before my period, wondered why I suddenly hate myself, all my clothes, and everyone around me, only to be like, ah yes, it’s you, old friend, when the blood starts flowing. And yet, I would be furious if I was feeling down and anyone—but most especially, a man—was like “Oh sweetie, could it be your period?”
You see, period-having humans are in the same pickle, only worse: Many of us do experience unpleasant stuff around our menses, but thanks to centuries of shitbags being like HAW HAW MAYBE YOU’RE ON THE RAG, admitting this often feels humiliating.
Most people of all genders are controlled by their hormones, this is literally what hormones are for. And arguably it’s penis-bearing individuals who are the most likely to make stupid decisions based solely on their reproductive systems. Yet actual human adults have expressed concern about a female president because: What if she has PMS and nukes Russia?
Which is all to say that PMS is real, but because of the patriarchy, lots of times we have to pretend it isn’t, and ask that right-hearted non-menstruators join us in this delusion. Plus, even if a feeling is being caused or heightened by an oncoming period, it doesn’t mean it’s not a real feeling and valid. Hearing “you’re just PMSing” when I’m upset makes me feel like a toddler being told she’s just tired. You don’t want to get in the habit of assuming it’s her period every time your girlfriend is cranky or feeling unwell, that’s bad too.
So what to do? In a world where a period was a biological function like any other, the app would be perfectly fine. Instead, I would suggest a much subtler solution, like a recurring calendar reminder with a euphemistic name. “Meeting with Uncle Sexno,” perhaps.
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