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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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558 Responses

  1. Lauren
    Lauren September 2, 2011 at 10:18 am |

    Is this really a problem? Historically I’ve had a hard time waving guys off during my period. I’ve found through experience that I always get UTIs when I have period sex, which has come as a great disappointment to whoever I’m doing at the time.

  2. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon September 2, 2011 at 10:24 am |

    I’m kind of touchy about period sex myself because I own one set of sheets and one towel. So: shower sex time!

    I should probably just buy some more sheets and towels.

  3. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 10:28 am |

    I actually think it sounds kind of gross from the uterus-having side of things, too — maybe I’m imagining it bloodier than it is for most people? But frankly the last thing I want is to add more bodily fluids to sex. :p

  4. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 2, 2011 at 10:35 am |

    Word. Also orgasms are quite soothing for cramps IME. So its *medicinal*. Of course now that I have mirena its not an issue…I love medical technology.

  5. Amy
    Amy September 2, 2011 at 10:41 am |

    Can I say how jealous I am that you’ve encountered this only once? Where are all these open-minded vagina-loving fellows? I’d love to meet one!

  6. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines September 2, 2011 at 10:42 am |

    Is this just more fingerwagging at people’s bedroom habits?

    People can be into or not into whatever they like without it being a deep personal flaw/ or making them a bad person generally. Going “No, but misogyny…” does not overule anybody’s right to do or not do certain things.

    Can there not just be one uberpost that says: Whatever makes the consenting adults having sex happy is good.

  7. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon September 2, 2011 at 10:55 am |

    Kristen J.:
    Word.Also orgasms are quite soothing for cramps IME.

    Ooh, orgasms cause me to have out-of-this-world painful cramps. Luckily my cramps GTFO in a day or so and then it’s smooth sailing.

  8. Noemi
    Noemi September 2, 2011 at 10:56 am |

    I’m not sure that not wanting to have sex with someone during her period can really be chalked up to not liking normally functioning vaginas. Surely it can in some cases, but probably not all cases. Not everyone uses condoms or wants to use condoms, for one. The analogy is imperfect, but consider armpits. I have no principled objection to normally-functioning armpits, but when they’ve been carrying out their function for, say, a few days uninterrupted by a shower or deodorant . . . I don’t think I’ll be up for sex. So I suppose I don’t see a dude not liking the idea of bloody sex as inherently problematic.

  9. TheNatFantastic
    TheNatFantastic September 2, 2011 at 10:58 am |

    I agree with the central message of this post, but really hate how it’s been done.

    1) Hello, heteronormativity.
    2) Instead of “She’ll fuck you like a porn star”, how about “she’ll enjoy sex more, possibly”? I mean, fuck. I’m not a porn star, and if the only reason a man is fucking me is because he thinks I’ll be ‘better’ than I normally am… no thanks.
    3) The last time I checked (earlier this week), if you’re using a tampon/mooncup, it’s perfectly possible for someone to go down on you with no ‘blood’ issues.

  10. Alice
    Alice September 2, 2011 at 11:01 am |

    In all fairness, I’ve heard a lot of women say that they think sex during their period is disgusting or at least a little icky too. A lot of people find most body fluids to be pretty gross, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of contempt for the female body, but for body functions in general.

  11. Noemi
    Noemi September 2, 2011 at 11:06 am |

    I hear you, Jill. That’s why I acknowledged the imperfection of the analogy. I’m not claiming that menstruating vaginas are dirty. I simply want to stick up for the acceptability of being (somewhat irrationally) averse to various body functions. After all, not everyone or every culture is bothered by BO. I’m defending myself here more than a dude who thinks that vagina=gross and vagina blood=double gross.

  12. Ryan
    Ryan September 2, 2011 at 11:14 am |

    In my opinion, you’re overreaching on this one. I’ve never had any reservations about it, but my partner prefers not to have period sex (or to move the festivities to the shower) because of a strong aversion to the smell. Also, we also don’t keep condoms around and I’m not quite sure how you can have sex without otherwise having to “look at it or touch it.”

    I don’t think it’s internalized misogny that my partner has these preferences, and I don’t think it’s ::necessarily:: misogny on the part of any guy who does either. Everyone should at least give it a try though.

  13. L.G.
    L.G. September 2, 2011 at 11:18 am |

    My otherwise wonderful guy doesn’t dig doing it when I’m on my period, but mostly because of the smell of blood. He gets turned off by that smell. Is this really misogyny, or just an aversion to a natural, but violent smell. (Where else does one smell blood?) Is this really a bad thing? While I agree to some extent with this article, I also find it a little bit alienating.

  14. Alex
    Alex September 2, 2011 at 11:19 am |

    Alice:
    In all fairness, I’ve heard a lot of women say that they think sex during their period is disgusting or at least a little icky too. A lot of people find most body fluids to be pretty gross, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of contempt for the female body, but for body functions in general.

    Yeah…I’m one of those women. I have absolutely no interest in having sex during the one or two heavier days of my period–it’s unpleasant, distracting, and dare I say it, GROSS. To me. And if you want to judge me for feeling that way, then um…more power to you, I guess? I mean, I also think it’s gross that a lot of people pee in the shower, so at least I’m an equal opportunity “excretion of bodily fluids in public settings is gross” kind of gal.

  15. Jadey
    Jadey September 2, 2011 at 11:21 am |

    Yeah, orgasm makes my cramps worse (because my body hates me) so it’s a moot point anyway, but I still fall firmly in the camp of not being able to be attracted to or aroused around someone who thinks of any aspect of me as “gross”, especially because I’ve been treated shittily in the past because of menstruating. However, some people have general blood aversion issues, which to me is different than then the “periods are gross and dirty and so are you for having them!” meme. Also, not all my sex involves penises, condomed or otherwise, meaning the blood can be more of a complication. For me it’s about the rationale, not so much the preference.

    I’m waiting for someone to photoshop Stern Skeptical Pussy with a red wash, or possibly wearing a DivaCup as a fascinator.

  16. Sarah
    Sarah September 2, 2011 at 11:22 am |

    I’ll agree with several commenters here in that I don’t think it HAS to be because a man thinks it’s gross or because he’s a total jackass. Maybe it is? I don’t know. I don’t have this experience anymore because I’ve been on the depo shot for years.

    However, when I did have my period, I was in so much pain and discomfort, I didn’t want to be touched. A warm bath and cuddling up with a book and wine will make me feel as good or better, and I won’t have to clean up bloody sheets/towels/anything else. I just remember really not wanting to get busy while I was bleeding. At best, period sex was only not-awful, not porn-star-esque and amazing.

  17. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl September 2, 2011 at 11:25 am |

    And here I thought sex was supposed to be consensual! Nothing like a little social coercion to get adults to do things they don’t want to.

    Oh? and thank god that many adult relationship are built on more than sex.

    (also, can we start the countdown to when some clueless hetero talk about how much lesbians must dig period sex… kinda like the last thread about oral sex. So.much.cluelessness)

  18. Esti
    Esti September 2, 2011 at 11:26 am |

    Lots of women, myself included, also think period sex is gross. Respecting women doesn’t mean that you have to think that everything that comes out of their bodies is awesome and should be touched. Very few people think that because shit is a sign of a natural, healthily-functioning body, you have contempt for your partner if you don’t want to get covered in it during sex.

    And yes, period blood is something (mostly, but not entirely) unique to (most, but not all) sexually-active women. If a guy doesn’t want to get near you when you have your period, that’s a sign of misogyny. But if it’s just that he doesn’t want to actually touch blood coming out of you? Well, I don’t really want to touch his blood, either, and I don’t see a problem with that.

  19. Esti
    Esti September 2, 2011 at 11:38 am |

    And to the point made by the quoted article: maybe some people don’t really want to have sex during times when the only way they are comfortable doing so is to not “taste it, look at it or touch it”. If the author thinks that it’s understandable that someone would not want to put their mouth on something that is bleeding, and understandable that they would not want to put their hands on it because that would get messy, then maybe it’s also understandable that they wouldn’t find it particularly enjoyable to have sex without being able to look or touch down there?

    I mean, if you don’t mind getting your mouth or hands down there, more power to you. And if you are cool with sex that involves just sticking it in and otherwise avoiding the area, that’s cool for you. But the author’s description of how more people could and should embrace period sex did very little to convince me that period sex would be all that fun.

  20. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 2, 2011 at 11:38 am |

    Damn, and I was counting on that nobel prize money from writing about the groundbreaking treatment for all pain to buy a fascinator for both Stern Kitty and Chi.

  21. Lea
    Lea September 2, 2011 at 11:50 am |

    Wow, words can’t even express how much I love this article. Well said!

  22. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 2, 2011 at 11:51 am |

    It’s so fascinating reading the varied reaction of men and women to this issue. For the record, I enjoy period sex because I enjoy sex, period. However Mrs. Fat, like many women here, is not a fan, so it has been quite some time since we’ve gotten the pink towel out.

  23. Tim
    Tim September 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm |

    Jill:
    But Noemi, the armpit analogy is about cleanliness — unwashed armpits stink because of bacteria. A washed, menstruating vagina is not nearly the same thing.

    I pretty much agree with the overall point of your post, but:

    Actually, armpits “stink” mostly because that is their normal function. Maybe a little bit because of bacteria, especially if the person has sweated a lot and not washed for a long time. But what we normally refer to as “BO” is the product of scent glands located in the armpits. The smells they emit were apparently quite attractive as a sexual stimulant at one time, still are to many species of animals. And even some humans.

  24. What About
    What About September 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm |

    With a guy with a no oral sex policy, I can easily see the misogynist implications. But some people find blood gross, period (pun unintended). I get on the verge of passing out when I have to give blood at the doctor, or if I nick myself with a knife in the kitchen. Yes, I’m a bit of a wimp, but I know I am not alone in these feelings. Seeing other people’s blood is not much better – my girlfriend is diabetic and it look me a long time to get used to the sight of her testing her blood. I have been willing to do period sex for my girlfriend but I have to be really careful not to look at myself afterwords!

    Don’t like normally-functioning vaginas? Then you should be disallowed from fucking them.

    I think this is a little extreme. Anal sex, which may be optional for many straight couples, is integral to some male gay couples. However, I don’t think anyone would agree that a guy who was a averse to having sex with his partner during a time of loose bowel movements (which can be considered “normally functioning” under a reasonable interpretation of that phrase) should be barred for life from sex.

    Blood (like feces) is just inherently gross and disturbing to some people, and that has no (necessary or even likely) link to the gender of the person it is coming from.

  25. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil September 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm |

    At the risk of TMI:

    I fall into the “Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it,” camp here. I don’t find it any messier than sex without a condom generally is and if you’re worried about getting stuff on the sheets, throw down an old towel. (Or perhaps I’m just the only woman gets desperate for sex during that time of the month and has a partner who’s more than happy to oblige.)

  26. Blood aversion
    Blood aversion September 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm |

    With a guy with a no oral sex policy, I can easily see the misogynist implications. But some people find blood gross, period (pun unintended). I get on the verge of passing out when I have to give blood at the doctor, or if I nick myself with a knife in the kitchen. Yes, I’m a bit of a wimp, but I know I am not alone in these feelings. Seeing other people’s blood is not much better – my girlfriend is diabetic and it look me a long time to get used to the sight of her testing her blood. I have been willing to do period sex for my girlfriend but I have to be really careful not to look at myself afterwords!

    Don’t like normally-functioning vaginas? Then you should be disallowed from fucking them.

    I think this is a little extreme. Anal sex, which may be optional for many straight couples, is integral to some male gay couples. However, I don’t think anyone would agree that a guy who was a averse to having sex with his partner during a time of loose bowel movements (which can be considered “normally functioning” under a reasonable interpretation of that phrase) should be barred for life from sex.

    Blood (like feces) is just inherently gross and disturbing to some people, and that has no (necessary or even likely) link to the gender of the person it is coming from.

  27. Kierra
    Kierra September 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm |

    I’m going to add another vote to the “no period sex” side. Mostly for a lot of practical reasons that have been mentioned. Plus, the tampons tend to leave me too dry to have proper sexy time, especially since oral sex isn’t on the menu (which is really the only issue my husband has with the idea). And blood (at least my blood anyway) is not a good lubricant. Which means that when we add extra lubricant, we do end up with blood on the sheets. So while it’s awesome that the column’s author and Jill don’t have any of these problems, it’s not fair to claim that every woman feels this way.

  28. Icaarus
    Icaarus September 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

    As a sex positive male, I have yet to have a relationship with a woman who did not view her own period (among other things, including oral in general) as gross. The best solution for my experiences is to make dinner (because I like to nothing more or less) and curl up with books or TV. While I would not be for or against period sex, as Q Grrl said, there is more to a relationship than sex. Like companionship, understanding, and care. Two to four days of nothing more than cuddles is not a price, its a little scheduled variety.

    Period sex belongs in the same bucket as all the other “kink” cards. Something that needs to be discussed on a partner to partner level. No More No Less. So yes Jill, as with anything else you have the right to show a guy the door for not sharing your desire for that time of the month, but you do not have the right to judge his choice carte blanche.

  29. Kierra
    Kierra September 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm |

    Feces is waste, though. Blood is not.

    Shed uterine lining is waste, though. That’s why your body is getting rid of it.

  30. Mandolin
    Mandolin September 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm |

    “The last time I checked (earlier this week), if you’re using a tampon/mooncup, it’s perfectly possible for someone to go down on you with no ‘blood’ issues.”

    This goes for manual stimulation as well in my experience. I’m sure there are variations, tho.

  31. Mandolin
    Mandolin September 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    “you do not have the right to judge his choice carte blanche.”

    She judged not the choice per se, but his reasoning for it. I can understand reading ambiguity in the post, but she’s been quite blunt in the comments; she’s not complaining about people who dislike blood qua blood (me!)–she’s complaining about people who have an otherwise out-of-character dislike for vagina + blood in a way that’s consistent with historical, misogynistic narratives about menstruation.

  32. LemonDemon
    LemonDemon September 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm |

    “Feces is waste, though. Blood is not. And feces will make you pretty darn sick if you come into too much contact with it.”

    @Jill
    That blood is waste, though, as it also contains the lining. It may also make you ‘pretty darn sick’ if you come into contact with the blood, particularly if you’ve got hangnails, cuts, et cetera that you don’t know about. Not everyone knows their disease status, and not everyone gets tested after every sexual encounter. Further, not everyone is monogamous. Having your period may also make your scent smell different than it normally does – I know a couple of people who really, really reeked, no matter how many showers they took.

    Also seconding the ‘this discussion is awfully heteronormative’ bit. Also continuing to be irritated at the transphobic Vagina = Women/Girl! meme. The one that seems to come through most cis peoples’ essays. Like this

    “I think it’s weird when guys don’t want to have period sex (just to clarify, ‘period sex’ is when you have sex while a girl is ‘menstruating’ or ‘bleeding out of her vagina,’ in case you were wondering).”

  33. Sanoe
    Sanoe September 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    Oral during a period isn’t that bad either after the, um, gloppy part is over. Actually, some women taste better that time of the month.

    Tim: I pretty much agree with the overall point of your post, but:

    Actually, armpits “stink” mostly because that is their normal function. Maybe a little bit because of bacteria, especially if the person has sweated a lot and not washed for a long time. But what we normally refer to as “BO” is the product of scent glands located in the armpits. The smells they emit were apparently quite attractive as a sexual stimulant at one time, still are to many species of animals. And even some humans.

    That’s not quite it. You can smell a person at any time provided they haven’t covered themselves in perfumes. Most people differentiate between ‘good’ body smell and BO, which they dislike. There are also cultural factors in that what you eat can impact your scent in negative or positive ways depending on the preferences of the smeller.

  34. Paj
    Paj September 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    Computer Soldier Porygon:
    I’m kind of touchy about period sex myself because I own one set of sheets and one towel.So: shower sex time!

    I should probably just buy some more sheets and towels.

    I just bleed really heavily, so it kind of makes a mess and I, too, only have one set of (white) sheets, but I use the Instead cup and Mr. Paj still goes down. We put down a towel if it looks like things might get ugly. Everybody wins! Well, except maybe the towel.

  35. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil September 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm |

    I’m just not buying the “It’s gross!” argument. Sex in general is kinda messy–your body makes random sounds, you can whack someone in the nose with a stray elbow, there’s generally going to be some clean up of bodily fluids going on, etc., etc. Sex is fun, enjoyable, and pleasurable. But clean, sanitized, and totally elegant? No.

  36. Comments on Sex During Menstruation « Clarissa's Blog

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  37. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm |

    I’ve never encountered a man who had this issue in my own sex life, but I have a friend who’s dating one right now. She says she’s OK with it, so obviously that’s not for me to question, but it would definitely be an issue for me for the reasons Jill described.

    Also, what Kristin said – orgasms help to soothe cramps. So if dudebro thinks a bleeding vagina is too gross to touch, hope he doesn’t mind me taking care if it myself and then ignoring him and going to sleep.

    Actually I’m not really cool with the no fingering thing either. If a man was all “ew you want me to touch that with my fingers?” I’d be going “see ya”. It’s not even about the sex, it’s about what his refusal to touch period blood signifies.

  38. 2ndnin
    2ndnin September 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    Jill:
    Feces is waste, though. Blood is not. And feces will make you pretty darn sick if you come into too much contact with it.

    And as I said in the post, if you’re squicked out by blood generally, that’s a different story. I’m talking about being grossed out by period blood specifically.

    Jill, blood may not be a waste product however period blood is waste – it is being expelled from the body having served its purpose. So yes there is a difference there.

    Also period blood is not like other blood, so having an aversion to it doesn’t seem as odd. It is a mixture of blood, and other materials (I can’t remember the exact composition). It smells and tastes different to normal blood. Again placing this on misogyny seems odd – if the guy is avoiding you totally in this time yeah he is likely somewhat odd and possibly misogynistic, if he isn’t up for sex he might be an ass but not a misogynist unless he has some other reason behind it.

  39. LemonDemon
    LemonDemon September 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    - And yes, the hangnails/cuts/et cetera also ties into safer sex practices. But the only safe practice for sti’s in not having sex at all and not sharing anything (like used drinking glasses) with anyone, ever. And we know how well abstinence only education works, don’t we? I don’t do bloodplay because it involves blood. Same goes for someone on their period. Not because I find it disgusting, but because I’m leery of what it may carry and because gloves have a habit of breaking on me. That and I don’t want to deal with the inevitable stains.

    -Jill,
    “And if you think that’s gross, well, maybe spend your naked extracurricular time with someone who is vagina-free (exception to the “you’re kind of a dick if you think periods are disgusting” rule: People who are universally freaked out by any kind of blood and just can’t handle the sight of it).”

    So, let me get this straight – there’s exactly one exception to not going down on someone who’s bleeding Down There, and it’s only if they consider all blood gross? Ridiculous.

    ‘Vagina Free’ is also a horrible, inaccurate way of describing someone who doesn’t have a period. Did I mention inaccurate? Did I also mention ablist and transphobic? Yeah, I get it, you were probably trying to be cute. It isn’t cute, it’s rude. You can be cute without relying on specific body parts = assumed gendered actions.

  40. raya
    raya September 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

    TheNatFantastic: I agree with the central message of this post, but really hate how it’s been done.

    1) Hello, heteronormativity.
    2) Instead of “She’ll fuck you like a porn star”, how about “she’ll enjoy sex more, possibly”? I mean, fuck. I’m not a porn star, and if the only reason a man is fucking me is because he thinks I’ll be ‘better’ than I normally am… no thanks.
    3) The last time I checked (earlier this week), if you’re using a tampon/mooncup, it’s perfectly possible for someone to go down on you with no ‘blood’ issues.

    All of this!
    I don’t want anyone to overcome their “OMGZ SO GROSS”-feelings for my vagina and vulva just because they’ll get porn star sex in return.

    Q Grrl: And here I thought sex was supposed to be consensual! Nothing like a little social coercion to get adults to do things they don’t want to.

    I don’t think it’s coercion to point out that bleeding vaginas are not gross.
    Most of my (former) partners are currently between 17 und 22, and I got the impression most of them were horribly inexperienced when it came to how to treat their partners’ body. Maybe because they grew up watching tons of mainstream internet porn or so, I don’t really know.
    I mean, people in mainstream porn don’t have period sex – my partners somehow assumed women therefore for some reason don’t like having it.
    It’s just like many people my age seriously assuming every woman shaves every part of her body, don’t know many women don’t have orgasms by plain PIV fucking, don’t know many have *gasp* some hair around their areolae, etc. etc. I really don’t want to coerce my partners into anything or blame them if they don’t really know how to get me off at the beginning, but rather just tell and show them that women’s bodies and needs are more complex and diverse than they probably thought. If they find THAT gross, well then don’t fuck them.

    There are tons of good reasons for every man (and woman) to not like period sex, and tons of bad reasons for it. I never encountered a guy (or girl) who thought it was gross!1 but rather just never even considered it as an option – which is pretty sad and weird.

  41. me
    me September 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    I’ve had period sex with every man I’ve had a long term relationship with, but the current one generally avoids it because there is some chemical that appears to occur during that time that irritates him. (he’s not making it up, I’ve seen the after effects — he’s red and swollen, and not in the good way) We’ll still do it if a particularly good occasion arises, but in general it’s understood that there are about five-six days a month when it’s not on.

    In any case, I feel like this is just a little too blanket judgement for me. A man who is like, ew periods are disgusting, don’t talk about cramps, or tampons or anything, ohmygod how can you even think about having sex, gross gross gross, is at the very least immature, and probably at least slightly misogynistic.

    A man who is like, sweetie do you want an ibuprofen for your cramps, I’m going to the grocery store do you need me to get you some extra OBs, and I’m sorry but that smell just icks me out, so maybe we can just cuddle tonight, I think has just as much right to his sexual preferences as I do. Hell, around day 4 or so the smell icks me right out, too.

    I’ll also add that I had an ex who was completely misogynistic and freaked out about any even roundabout reference to cramps and or other period-related issues, and still more than willingly got it on when I was bleeding because hey, sex! So it’s not like men who will have sex during periods automatically win some sort of pro-woman prize, either.

  42. Kierra
    Kierra September 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    she’s complaining about people who have an otherwise out-of-character dislike for vagina + blood in a way that’s consistent with historical, misogynistic narratives about menstruation.

    How do you judge “out-of-character” in this case? In ANY other context, blood is a bad thing (being a pretty strong indicator of injury). Even for most women in this context it’s not a great thing, in that it generally comes with cramps, bloating, etc. So given that most men are not going to have any other instance of pleasure + blood, how does one judge that a given man’s aversion to vagina + blood is suddenly misogynistic?

    And I think as a general rule, people who are opposed to coming into contact with shit are opposed to coming into contact with all shit, not just shit that comes from a woman.

    I was under the impression that most people are opposed to coming into contact with other people’s blood, whether they have a specific aversion to blood (as in they have a physical reaction to it) or not. Is this not the case?

  43. StaudtCJ
    StaudtCJ September 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    This leaves the Orthodox Jewish completely out. We’re not supposed to touch our partners while menstruating or for 7 days afterward. I would hope if the one person who had refused period sex had indicated a religious objection, you wouldn’t vilify him for it. I can understand not wanting to date someone for any reason, but just like with anything else, there are people who like it or dislike it for many reasons. Personally, I’d not allow a penis anywhere near me during my period because the blood doesn’t do well as a lubricant, and it’s uncomfortable due to cramps.

  44. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    FashionablyEvil:
    I’m just not buying the “It’s gross!” argument.Sex in general is kinda messy–your body makes random sounds, you can whack someone in the nose with a stray elbow, there’s generally going to be some clean up of bodily fluids going on, etc., etc.Sex is fun, enjoyable, and pleasurable.But clean, sanitized, and totally elegant?No.

    Ha! What would elegant sex look like? Would Miss Manners have a rule about protruding digits?

  45. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin September 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    I have never had an issue with it. At least two or three sexual partners have, so that was just something that wasn’t done. There is something kind of primeval about it to me that’s appealing on a cerebral level, but otherwise it doesn’t turn me off or turn me on.

  46. chava
    chava September 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    I don’t know, Mr. Chava can always tell that I have my period by how I smell. Apparently it isn’t off-putting to him, but I can see how it might be to some (it can bother me from time to time, even). I don’t know that it smells “violent,” though–menstrual flow doesn’t taste, look or smell like fresh blood.

    I can see not wanting to get your junk covered in blood–and condom or no condom, if you have a heavy enough flow, its gonna happen. HOWEVER, if that’s the case, I’d be pretty put out if a man wasn’t willing to engage in something non-oral and non-penatrative.

    L.G.:
    My otherwise wonderful guy doesn’t dig doing it when I’m on my period, but mostly because of the smell of blood. He gets turned off by that smell. Is this really misogyny, or just an aversion to a natural, but violent smell. (Where else does one smell blood?) Is this really a bad thing? While I agree to some extent with this article, I also find it a little bit alienating.

  47. chava
    chava September 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

    I most certainly WOULD.

    If a man is observing taharas hamishpaha, he damn well better be married (or intending to marry, I have some sympathy for that) to someone with a similar religious expectation, who is the ONLY person he should be sleeping with. Anything less is hypocrisy and upholds the misogynist parts* of Jewish tradition without putting in the effort for the rest.

    *TH isn’t necessarily misogynistic. But observing it outside of the framework of Jewish tradition reeks of aspects of our cultural history that have nothing to do with Judaism and everything to do with hating women.

    StaudtCJ:
    This leaves the Orthodox Jewish completely out.We’re not supposed to touch our partners while menstruating or for 7 days afterward.I would hope if the one person who had refused period sex had indicated a religious objection, you wouldn’t vilify him for it.I can understand not wanting to date someone for any reason, but just like with anything else, there are people who like it or dislike it for many reasons.Personally, I’d not allow a penis anywhere near me during my period because the blood doesn’t do well as a lubricant, and it’s uncomfortable due to cramps.

  48. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

    *starts the popcorn*

    Butter? Carmel coating? Arare? Furikake?

  49. chava
    chava September 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm |

    I don’t think its misogynistic (or wholly so) as much as it can make life very, very difficult for couples who don’t fit in a normative box. Touch is a normal and healthy part of the human experience–cutting the amount you get first down to only 1 other being (spouse), and then cutting THAT in half (period)….it’s cruel to the single Jewish community, and to married people where the woman has a long cycle/has fertility problems/etc.

    Jill: Oh man… I am going to get so in trouble here, but I think that the “no touching during period-time” rule is misogynist. I respect the rights of people to follow their own religious beliefs, but I also reserve the right to think a lot of those beliefs are sexist and wrong.

  50. LemonDemon
    LemonDemon September 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    -Jill
    “My issue is with men who specifically think period blood is gross, but don’t have a problem with non-menstrual vaginal lubricant, and aren’t terrified of blood generally.”

    You wanna rewrite that? Because I know several men who dislike their own (and others) period blood. You don’t have to be terrified of something to dislike it, in yourself or others – particularly sexually. This seems like an either / or argument you’re having. You either loath all aspects of blood (and get a pass) or you’re an asshole. But only if you’re a man (whatever that may mean). But if you’re a woman (again, whatever that seems to mean), well, it’s acceptable, or at least, at this particular moment in time no one online, in this thread, is saying different. But I’m an equal opportunity cynic – Someone’s bound to say something along those lines, generally sooner rather than later.

    But for some reason the only sexual practices that seem to be considered are amab cissexual penis in afab cissexual, ability to menstraute vagina. I can’t even have a conversation on this topic in this thread without spending several pages explaining exactly what kind of sex I (generally) have, how it differs from vanilla, afab cissexual het sex and why period blood might (not will, but might – I can think of several things that wouldn’t matter with it) matter for it.

  51. Lyra
    Lyra September 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    I dunno. If my partner said, “Please lick the big, bloody scrape I have on my arm,” I think I would be pretty squicked out, and I don’t consider myself particularly blood-phobic. For me, blood has always been something that is natural, normal, important, and rather gross. It’s something you clean up when you encounter it, not consume. Which is why I find all those self-described “vampires” to be more than a little odd.

  52. Brittany-Ann
    Brittany-Ann September 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm |

    Well, a feminist site is absolutely the LAST place where I would expect commenters to be drawing parallels between shit and menstrual blood.

    Quite sad, the lot of you. I’d go farther than Jill, honestly. If you find my menses to be so disgusting you can’t touch, lick, or fuck me, then I have a lovely door to show you. Dueces.

    Bodily fluids: we all have them. If you can’t deal, enjoy your fleshlight.

  53. Cherry Soda
    Cherry Soda September 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm |

    I’ve researched many religions and ancient wisdom traditions and most (could be all?) have a tradition of women separating themselves for a while during their period. I believe this first started prehistorically as an organic and natural thing of ancestral cave women resting during this time, like animals do. Many (most?) women experience some sort of pain or discomfort or general fatigue during this time but post industrial modern and westernized culture has taught us to pop pills, suck it up and go on – running 2 miles per day in gym class, swimming, whatever.

    According to several ancient holistic healing systems, South Asian Ayurveda for example, this is a time when women can take the oppurtunity to relax and focus inward. It is recommended in that system not to do physical Yoga or any physically exhausting work during that time. Its a time for recharging one’s energy through rest. Even now Ayurvedic physicians still tell women this.

    All the “taboos” that developed around women during this time I believe have their origins in a natural organic response of the female human body and mind to the process, and later to developed natural health systems that recognized the fatigue and sometimes pain women feel during this time. As humanity “progressed” taboos about women being “unclean” during their menstrual cycle developed.

  54. LemonDemon
    LemonDemon September 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    “(seriously, in what universe would “vagina-free” mean “has a vagina but doesn’t bleed out of it”?).”

    “Lots of healthy vaginas bleed. And if you think that’s gross, well, maybe spend your naked extracurricular time with someone who is vagina-free”

    My universe, apparently. Whereas your universe apparently says all vaginas must bleed at one time or another because that must be what all healthy vaginas do. Despite me taking you at your word when you typed

    “most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month. Vaginas do not exist as sterile, liquid-free penis receptacles (although I hear there’s a toy for that).”

    See, I originally thought you actually meant ‘most’. And then you went and equated not having a vagina with not bleeding.

    Why do you think I said transphobic?

    Look, I don’t bleed out of mine, at least currently – I’m on T. Several friends and family take various kinds of birth control – they don’t bleed out of theirs, either. Not everyone who has a vagina has a uterus, so they may not bleed, either. No, this isn’t about semantics – and I can’t possibly be reading too much into it when you typed two disparate things in the same paragraph and then did the internet version of “It’s not my problem (you’re being too sensitive!)

    Try not to equate asab to bodily functions and gender identity and that’s a start. For this particular post, try not assuming all people are cissexual, heterosexual, and not kinky (for lack of a better term) would also be a start.

  55. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm |

    We’re not supposed to touch our partners while menstruating or for 7 days afterward. I would hope if the one person who had refused period sex had indicated a religious objection, you wouldn’t vilify him for it.

    I’m gonna go ahead and mentally “vilify” him extra hard for this, actually. Having a religious excuse for misogyny just makes me more pissed off, if anything. And not telling her about his weird no-filthy-woman-touching rule before they start having sex is an asshole move.

  56. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    Jill repeatedly said “lots” and “many” vaginas bleed — that sounds like she is explicitly not excluding trans people or people who are post-menopausal/on medication/etc.

  57. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    Well, a feminist site is absolutely the LAST place where I would expect commenters to be drawing parallels between shit and menstrual blood.

    Quite sad, the lot of you.

    I know, right? Women disagreeing with you about bodily waste is the worst.

  58. What We Missed
    What We Missed September 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm |

    […] From Feministe, In Defense of Period Sex. […]

  59. Chataya
    Chataya September 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm |

    The lining of one of my organs is sloughing off and falling out of me.

    There is no part of the above sentence that isn’t gross to me.

    Count me as someone whose cramps are incredibly painful during orgasm. Kind of sucks considering how horny I get while on my period.

    Also, your vagina does not bleed. If it does, see a doctor. The blood is from the uterus. It is possible to have a normally functioning vagina without a normally functioning uterus.

  60. Becky
    Becky September 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm |

    This has never actually come up for me because I’m not ever in the mood for sex during my period. I feel tired and blah and sex is the last thing on my mind. But if a man told me he was too grossed out by my menstrual blood to have sex with me during that time but expected me to be ok with his semen… yeah, I’d have a problem with that.

  61. Mama is tired
    Mama is tired September 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    Wow, am I the only one who is profoundly grateful for one week a month when I get to wave off advances relatively guilt-free? Back when I was young and horny I wanted it and was dating a guy who didn’t (because his friend told him it was “horrifying,” now there’s a great reason, eh?) but now that I’m old and married I’m REALLY glad that we never set ourselves up for sex any old time.

    Go ahead, youngsters, judge me whilst you silently tremble that this is where you’ll be in 25 years.

  62. xenu01
    xenu01 September 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    Ok, so from the comments it looks like the period sex/no period sex is very personal and varies from cis woman to cis woman.

    Without TMI (or maybe with, I dunno) for me personally, I always used my vibrator the most during my red times, so it was natural for me to find a partner who enjoyed engaging in sexy times during my menses. Most straight cis men I dated were totally not into it, hence it not lasting between us since I spend about 5 days a month menstruating.

  63. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Bagelsan: I’m gonna go ahead and mentally “vilify” him extra hard for this, actually. Having a religious excuse for misogyny just makes me more pissed off, if anything. And not telling her about his weird no-filthy-woman-touching rule before they start having sex is an asshole move.

    Rigid adherence to a religion is not the same thing as being misogynist, even though they may have the same results. I’ve been agnostic pretty much as long as I can remember so I have no idea what it’s like to think there’s a man/woman/whatever in the sky who dictates these rules that seem insane to me, but if you believe in a supreme being, you don’t follow these rules because you agree with them, you do so because it is the will of your God, right?

    Regardless, honestly I think the first commenter was just trolling, because as many have pointed out, that 7-day/hands off/period scenario would only apply to a couple, both of whom shared the same exact religious beliefs, in which case it would be a non-issue.

  64. Mandolin
    Mandolin September 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

    I would hope if the one person who had refused period sex had indicated a religious objection, you wouldn’t vilify him for it

    Since this is precisely the sort of historical cultural narrative about menstruation I object to, yeah, actually, I would object. Vilify? No. I’m also not going to crucify him or beat him up about it or any of the other hyperbolic metaphors that are used to invalidate the idea that people can criticize other people.

    Also, cosign Jill & chava & bagelsan on their comments about it.

    *

    “Vaginas do not exist as sterile, liquid-free penis receptacles” — are you reading liquid here as blood? That’s the only way I get your interpretation (going from an acceptance of Jill’s most, to an assumption that she means all). Most vaginas produce some sorts of liquids, as far as I know? (I always thought going dry meant “producing less” not “producing none”) Certainly, none of them are sterile in the sterile-as-in-medicinally-clean sense.

  65. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil September 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    What does asab mean? (Google is suggesting that it is a region of Namibia or the Association for the Study of Animal Behavior and neither of those seems likely in this context.)

  66. XtinaS
    XtinaS September 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm |

    AMAB and AFAB mean “assigned male/female at birth”, so perhaps ASAB means “assigned sex at birth”?

    There’s also “CA[F/M]AB”, for “coercively assigned [female/male] at birth”.  Relatedly:

    http://jamie.transmen.org.uk/post/4045983878/lizardwalk-replied-to-your-post-can-you-explain

  67. Doctress Julia
    Doctress Julia September 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    Yes to period sex. I get horrid horrid cramps and after the 6th or 7th orgasm, they’re gone! For a while anyway… :P

    Not that I have a partner right now or anything… :(

  68. Chataya
    Chataya September 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm |

    Also “normally functioning” for me involves 10 day periods, 17 – 40 day cycles, anemia, cramps, blood clots the size of my finger, and so many cysts that I go up a pant size.*

    “Normally functioning” can go fuck itself.

    *I have been tested for everything that can possibly cause this since I was 11. The official consensus is that I’m just highly irregular normally. Hormonal birth control pills are wonderful.

  69. LemonDemon
    LemonDemon September 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm |

    Assigned sex at birth is asab.

  70. Jadey
    Jadey September 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    FashionablyEvil:
    What does asab mean?(Google is suggesting that it is a region of Namibia or the Association for the Study of Animal Behavior and neither of those seems likely in this context.)

    Assigned sex at birth is my guess.

  71. Lori
    Lori September 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm |

    Well, I for one think period sex is digusting for me, so I don’t let my husband do it. I trust I’m okay, though, because it’s not the man saying “ewww” it’s me? My dh would be down for sex whenever, wherever, but I draw the line at period sex.

  72. Violet
    Violet September 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm |

    “I think it’s weird when guys don’t want to have period sex”

    And I can refer you to my ex-boyfriend who thought it was “weird” that I didn’t want to have period sex. Because I’d previously agreed to “light flow, end of period” sex, it meant I was therefore open for business during the “Welcome to the Niagra Falls of Womb Lining, Ladies & Gentlemen!” bit, complete with cramps and nausea. He gained bonus points for the sulky “but you didn’t mind LAST time!” rant, when I turned him down. (There’s a reason he’s an ex……).

    The basis of a good sexual relationship is the ability to compromise, and have some empathy for the other person’s feelings. If people (of any gender) want to abstain completely during menstruation, that’s their decision. If they’d rather shag like rabbits and then write “I wuv you bunnykins!!” in menstrual blood on the bedroom wall in 10-inch high letters, hey, that’s their decision as well. But someone not wanting to have sex during their or their partner’s period is entirely a personal decision, and unless he’s shouting “Begone foul unclean whore, I will strip you of your right to vote!”, I’m not really getting the “personal squick” = “misogyny” thing.

  73. Sanoe
    Sanoe September 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    Why are people calling Jill’s comments transphobic? It seemed clear to me that she deliberately picked language that didn’t assume all woman have vaginas or periods.

    StaudtCJ:
    This leaves the Orthodox Jewish completely out.We’re not supposed to touch our partners while menstruating or for 7 days afterward.

    Lots of religions are sexist. If you do or believe something sexist because your religion teaches you to do so (example: see menstruating women as unclean), you are still choosing to do or believe something sexist.

  74. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    I’ve been agnostic pretty much as long as I can remember so I have no idea what it’s like to think there’s a man/woman/whatever in the sky who dictates these rules that seem insane to me, but if you believe in a supreme being, you don’t follow these rules because you agree with them, you do so because it is the will of your God, right?

    If a guy believes his god is handing down disagreeable misogynistic rules and yet he follows them anyways… then actually I still think he’s a fucking prat. :p

  75. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    This has never actually come up for me because I’m not ever in the mood for sex during my period. I feel tired and blah and sex is the last thing on my mind. But if a man told me he was too grossed out by my menstrual blood to have sex with me during that time but expected me to be ok with his semen… yeah, I’d have a problem with that.

    I’m not usually in the mood during my period either. And I think that, even though I say “period blood/sex is kinda gross” I would not want a cis guy to say the same thing to me. It’s my uterine lining and I get to insult it, not him thank you very much! He can stick to talking shit about his own weird junk. :p

  76. Sanoe
    Sanoe September 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    FashionablyEvil:
    What does asab mean?

    I believe it means “assigned sex at birth.”

  77. Kim
    Kim September 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    My boyfriend is probably the least likely to be classified as misogynistic out of every boyfriend I’ve ever had (not that I have dated a series of them and not that he is at all) and he won’t have period sex. He has some weird little things and so do I. Sure, I wish we did sometimes but the first day or so I don’t want to either because I just want to die some months. It’s only another three days after that I have to go without sex and I’m sure that I can survive that. And he happily feasts upon it any other time of the month.

  78. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    Love this site because the discussions seemingly have no boundaries.

  79. karak
    karak September 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    I’d argue there’s a difference between, “Meh/that’s a mess/don’t care for a lot of bodily fluids/not particularly interested/I like to finger/taste you” and “OH MY GOD THAT VAGINA IS SO GROSS.”

    I’ve had boyfriends act like my period was so disgusting that I had to hide signs of being on it, and I’ve had boyfriends that were open to the idea but fairly disinterested unless I was interested (I’m not, the mess. THE MESS.)

  80. Cherry Soda
    Cherry Soda September 2, 2011 at 3:51 pm |

    In addition to my comment #58 above I think another reason the “no sex during menstruation taboo” developed across various cultures is because it could be a health risk.

    One commenter above who enjoys sex during her period said that she also gets UTI when she does it (urinary tract infection).

    We also know that there is “toxic shock syndrome” associated with tampons blogging up the flow and release of blood out of the body. I’m correlating that to a penis pushing the blood back up in there. Somebody mentioned sex WHILE WEARING a tampon or moon cup – my god, just the thought causes me pain.

    I think these “taboos” developed in part because ancient cultures needed to take precautions to prevent risk of illness and death.

    Like I said, animals today and prehistoric women of yesteryear would REST when they felt fatigue or pain, 2 things that are common during menstruation.

    We on the other hand are expected to plug the blood up and don bikinis for a swim, and of course that means waxing/shaving/delipatating our genitals during that time too.

    There is wisdom and practicality in the way the “pre-scientific” cultures honored the cycles of life.

    The only problem is when life cycle honoring took on sexist overtones and degraded into an “unclean taboo”.

    If women “listened to their bodies” more in today’s world, we might see more women actually taking some time off to “retreat” during their menstrual period, and those who have experiences UTIs, refraining from sex during this time.

  81. Allison
    Allison September 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    the guy that i’ve been doing it with lately is not super jazzed about the idea of period sex because he doesn’t like the sight of blood on his penis (even with a condom). he says he can’t help thinking that his penis is injured and he knows that this makes no sense. this feeling does not prevent him from actually having sex with me while i’m having my period though. my past girlfriends had a much bigger issue with it then men, i think because lesbian sex is more “in your face” (literally) than heterosexual intercourse.

    i once asked my current guy if he thinks that it’s gross and he shrugged and said that sex is gross. vaginal secretions, semen, sweat, spit, actual blood, queefing, poop (when butt play is involved)- sex IS gross. so are a lot of things that are fun though *sigh* such is life.

  82. Kristen from MA
    Kristen from MA September 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm |

    Oh man… I am going to get so in trouble here, but I think that the “no touching during period-time” rule is misogynist. I respect the rights of people to follow their own religious beliefs, but I also reserve the right to think a lot of those beliefs are sexist and wrong.

    Thank you for this.
    (I read a long blog post last year about this very subject, and having to take the underwear to the rabbi to confirm that the color of the secretions is acceptable, and so on. I was just horrified. Orthodox jews are just as misogynistic as the christian fundies and the Taliban.)

  83. Oldmanfred
    Oldmanfred September 2, 2011 at 4:07 pm |

    Mostly responding to Jill:

    First, I’m a hetero guy who has been trying to learn by lurking here, so please take this as respectful disagreement.

    I have no real experience with period sex as every woman with whom I have had sex has held a very hard limit of “no fucking way.” I’ve never formed a real opinion, but I don’t think it would be my first choice. However, to conflate that in anyway with “eww, periods are gross=vaginas are gross” is way beyond any logic I ever learned. Just because I don’t want to have sex while that is happening doesn’t, to me, mean that I think the vagina or any other part of her is gross. I don’t follow. I’m sorry, but I think that I could theoretically come to a position of “periods are a bit icky” without in any way, to any degree, under any circumstance moving in the direction of “vaginas are gross.” The vagina does not become gross while the period occurs. The vulva/labia does/do not become gross as urine passes across it.

    I wrote this whole thing out about waste processes which are perfectly natural, but which I wouldn’t consider sexy time. Then, right before I posted it, I started thinking about other “waste” processes: sweating, exhalation. So great. Thanks for giving me something to wrack my brain over. Sheesh.

    Jill said:

    But a dude who’s like “period sex is gross, here touch my semen”? NOPE.

    Here’s a whole can of worms – semen is a waste product? I read a post at some point either here, feministing, or maybe IBTP, where some women were saying that, in long term committed relationships, they were using condoms simply because they didn’t want to be in contact with semen. Is this a common view in any way? That semen is somehow icky? The lubricant fluids that my wife produces during sex certainly aren’t icky in any way. I could go all TMI on this topic, but let’s leave it at I like it when I have her fluids anywhere in contact with me. Except maybe my eyeballs. I’m currently trying to figure out how all this might affect how I see some things that I like. A major part of that is that I’m trying to figure out some things about the politics and the power relationships that revolve around semen contact, so maybe you could help me.

    In the end, the negotiation must be between me and my wife (I will not name her b/c she would not appreciate it – i.e. I am not using the term “my wife” to express ownership nor to diminish her personhood). However, as she is not nearly as interested in the details of the conversations that go on on these blogs, I have to ask you folks for help.

    Thanks.

  84. mjameson
    mjameson September 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

    Brittany-Ann: Bodily fluids: we all have them. If you can’t deal, enjoy your fleshlight.

    Just out of curiosity, do you think this applies to people who prefer not to swallow semen, too?

  85. JezebelMoon
    JezebelMoon September 2, 2011 at 4:28 pm |

    The first time I had sex with my husband was period sex about 12 years ago. We’ve been marry for about seven and my menstruation has never been a cause to not have sex. After the birth of our two kids he had a vasectomy and we stopped using condoms and other birth control methods (obviously). After stopping condom use we din’t have any problems with taste, smell or with any of the remaining senses. I agree with the article that a woman healthy menstruating vagina is not “gross” If someone don’t want to have period sex that’s fine, is like I don’t do anal or I don’t do something else, but if you are not having period sex because is gross we have a problem. Menstrual blood is the life force on this planet and to call it gross is disrespectful and disturbing.

  86. April
    April September 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm |

    I’ve had plenty of period sex, and it was always gross (at least, during the first couple days). I don’t hate myself or other women, though, promise. I just hate being that messy and getting blood all over everything, and seeing my husband’s dick covered in blood, because that looks sort of terrifying for a number of reasons.

  87. Rodeo
    Rodeo September 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm |

    *starts the popcorn*

    Butter? Carmel coating? Arare? Furikake?

    Try nutritional yeast on popcorn! Om nom nom!

    Agree completely with everything Jill said, even though I’m a woman who doesn’t like having period sex. I’m allowed to think it’s gross, he’s not.

  88. groggette
    groggette September 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    Mama is tired: Wow, am I the only one who is profoundly grateful for one week a month when I get to wave off advances relatively guilt-free?

    Personally I solve that problem by waving off advances guilt free any time I don’t want sex.

  89. EG
    EG September 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm |

    Just out of curiosity, do you think this applies to people who prefer not to swallow semen, too?

    Given the massively different cultural context–men have not generally been deemed “unclean,” for example, because their bodies emit semen from time to time, and even when they technically have, such designations have never been enforced in the same way that the designation of menstruating women has been, and we’ve encoded the valorization of semen in our language (“seminal”)–I don’t think this is the same issue at all. That said, I am always baffled by those who would rather not swallow after giving a blow job. I certainly understand not wanting/liking to give blow jobs, but if you’re giving one, it seems much yuckier to me to hold the semen in your mouth long enough to let it dribble out onto the sheets or, as one friend of mine described, running to the bathroom to spit it in the toilet, than it does simply to swallow. But, you know, horses for courses.

    So yes Jill, as with anything else you have the right to show a guy the door for not sharing your desire for that time of the month, but you do not have the right to judge his choice carte blanche.

    Wrong. Jill–or anybody else–has the right to judge anybody’s choice at any time. You–or anybody else–have the right to disagree with her judgment, and even to tell her it’s incorrect, in effect, to judge her judgment.

    Also continuing to be irritated at the transphobic Vagina = Women/Girl! meme.

    It’s not transphobic to note that the vast majority of women/girls have vaginas and the vast majority of people who have vaginas are women/girls, and to make generalities based on that. It doesn’t mean people who have vaginas and are not women/girls don’t exist, or that women/girls without vaginas don’t exist; it means that their concerns are not necessarily in play in the dynamic under discussion, which I am sad to say, is a common one.

    I would hope if the one person who had refused period sex had indicated a religious objection, you wouldn’t vilify him for it.

    Actually, I totally would. I don’t think “Because God says so” gives anybody a pass for sexism or misogyny. “Because God says so” has, in fact, been the justification for some pretty horrific and vile misogyny over the past several hundred years. It’s pretty much the go-to reason. And yeah, if you’re so weak-willed that you go along with something some god said even though you find it sexist and bad, then I don’t have much respect for that, either. There is, also, the issue that others have raised–if someone with a religious objection to menstrual blood was in my bed, he’d already have violated enough tenets that he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on at all.

    But a dude who’s like “period sex is gross, here touch my semen”? NOPE.

    Seriously. Last time I slept with a guy when I had my period, he had no problem whatsoever with penis-in-vagina sex, but wouldn’t go down on me or use his hands, claiming that it was “too messy.” I accepted this as a quirk of his, but after we broke up, I got to thinking: when he had asked if he could come on my boobs (I think this is a porn thing or something?), I thought for a split-second, and said “sure,” even though I can’t say that that would fulfill any sexual fantasy of mine. I figured, hey, he wants to, it doesn’t hurt me, what the hell. But…did he somehow think that was less messy than touching me with his precious hands while I was menstruating?

    This happens, and it’s not OK. My menstrual blood is not yuckier than your semen.

  90. groggette
    groggette September 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm |

    oh and thanks for the “you’re too young and dumb to know better” attitude, mama is tired. Without it I might have forgotten my place or something.

  91. Kierra
    Kierra September 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |

    Feces is waste, though. Blood is not. And feces will make you pretty darn sick if you come into too much contact with it.

    Switch the example to urine, which is sterile until it contacts genitals and is generally perfectly safe in the quantities we’re discussing. It’s just as much of a “natural bodily fluid” as menstrual blood (and both are wastes, as has been pointed out above). Should we be kicking our men to the curb if they think urine is gross?

  92. Athenia
    Athenia September 2, 2011 at 5:01 pm |

    I know of one guy who wasn’t interested in period sex, and while I was a bit disappointed, I usually don’t feel very well, so it’s not a huge deal.

  93. morf
    morf September 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

    Tim But what we normally refer to as “BO” is the product of scent glands located in the armpits. The smells they emit were apparently quite attractive as a sexual stimulant at one time, still are to many species of animals. And even some humans.

    Yup. I dig armpits, but not so much menstrual blood — my own or my female partner’s. For her, ditto. But a moon cup and tampon work for us during those times.

  94. zuzu
    zuzu September 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm |

    mjameson: Just out of curiosity, do you think this applies to people who prefer not to swallow semen, too?

    Have a load shot down your throat and we’ll talk. I’ve got no problem with semen in general, but I don’t want someone coming in my mouth or on my face. Incidental bits in my mouth: fine! Big wad dispensed by something pressing on my epiglottis? Not so much!

    I can’t say the period sex thing has ever really come up for me, since I haven’t ever lived with someone I was having sex with. So when I had my period and felt like crap, I just stayed home. And since I only bleed a day or two, that meant that it was easy enough to just not deal.

    Of course, when I do bleed, I bleed like a stuck pig and then it’s over, so I’m not overly eager to give it a try at high red tide. When I leak, it’s kind of sticky and my pubic hair gets all clumped together, so unless I’m going to shoot out of bed right afterwards and shower up, I’m not sure it’s worth it. But I’ve also got an unusual cycle, so I’m an outlier.

  95. Lisa A.
    Lisa A. September 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm |

    FashionablyEvil:
    What does asab mean?(Google is suggesting that it is a region of Namibia or the Association for the Study of Animal Behavior and neither of those seems likely in this context.)

    Judging by the context, I believe it means “assigned sex at birth” but I’m not positive.

  96. gabriel
    gabriel September 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    Not sure what guys you are dating but I have, and would never shy away from having sex with a girl during her period and have even gone down to help alleviate cramps. Vaginas are superior and thus should ne serviced at her discretion :-).

  97. Shives
    Shives September 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    For me it’s complicated, I despise/fear blood and have serious issues with blood coming out of my vagina. I do NOT want a penis/tongue/fingers/toy down there ever when I’m bleeding. It icks me out, plus my vag gets sore and swollen and generally too tender and ouchie for sex to feel good. BUT, huge but, I won’t have sex with a guy who is flat out opposed to period sex because it’s ‘icky’. Soo, I won’t actually have period sex but I won’t sleep with a guy who completely rules out period sex. It’s like oral sex with me I guess, I don’t enjoy it being performed on me, but I’m sure as all get out that I’ll never go down on you if you’re not at least willing to go down on me. Even though chances are I won’t let you. Aren’t you glad you’re not my sex partner? :) The lil Shives brain is a complicated being.

  98. Sargon
    Sargon September 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

    Some people don’t like the taste or smell of semen, and it is just as “natural” as menstrual blood, but we don’t accuse them of hating penises. (Or at least I don’t) Not liking to fuck during menstruation can, indeed, be a Bad Sign in a man, but it is frankly shallow to make that an all-in-one judgement. I don’t think forcing anyone to take part in a sex act they are not comfortable with for any reason is really the way to go. Saying “he wouldn’t do X and so I dumped his ass” does not make them look bad – it makes you look bad.

  99. Jennifer
    Jennifer September 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    groggette: Personally I solve that problem by waving off advances guilt free any time I don’t want sex.

    Uh, yes. Mama is tired, if your partner(s) is/are making you feel guilty about not engaging in sexual activity with them, you should get (a) new one(s).

    As for the topic at hand, my partner is thoroughly happy to have oral and/or PIV sex with me when I’m menstruating (or other kinds, if I were so inclined); I’m the one who doesn’t feel up to it. Partially, this is due to internalized shame about my period from western culture – which, with his help, I am gradually overcoming – but mostly it’s because I feel like crap, and about the furthest thing from sexy. However, if he refused to touch me or my vagina for the fact that I was on my period, he’d be gone in a heartbeat. Luckily, I have an amazing, very feminist boyfriend, and it’s never been an issue.

  100. saurus
    saurus September 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    One of the rare amusing moments with my “feminist” ex was when he was fingering me during my period, and admitted that while he was initially totally cool with it in a hypothetical way, seeing his fingers soaked with blood was more disturbing than he expected. Hahaha.

    To be honest, it looked a little disturbing to me too. I don’t do period sex now. I don’t like the mess, I do find menstrual blood gross – as gross as any other bodily fluid, really – and I wouldn’t mind if my partner felt the same way. As long as he’s still going to pick up my tampons from the store, give me backrubs and bring me yogurt, I don’t give a shit.

  101. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 2, 2011 at 6:09 pm |

    zuzu: Have a load shot down your throat and we’ll talk.

    Can’t we just talk?

  102. Anonoregonian
    Anonoregonian September 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    I must be getting old. I remember a time when I could jump right into one of these debates. Now I just cringe reading the OP and think “how the hell is this any of your damn business?” It really isn’t anyone’s business whether someone is comfortable with certain sex acts at whatever times. MYOB, for crying out loud.

  103. chingona
    chingona September 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Unlike the oral sex example, this one would not be a dealbreaker for me. That said, I’m left wondering why these posts upset people so much. Do you think Jill is judging the compromises you make or your sex life? Do you think she’s going to come out of the computer and make you break up with your SO? She’s thinks it’s dumb when guys are freaked out by period sex. You disagree. It’s okay.

  104. Kate A.e
    Kate A.e September 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm |

    Jill:
    Yes. I purposely chose language in this post to include people who are trans, or post-menopausal, or don’t have periods for whatever reason.

    Then all intent aside, you failed and you’re either missing the logic & trans fail that’s been pointed out or trying to ignore it. I’m going to run down the post and see if I can clarify where it looks like it goes off the rails to me?

    most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month


    This looks like a quick first pass (I’m assuming you didn’t get feedback from anyone outside your intended, somewhat un-inclusive audience?) at specifying you’re talking about a subset of people who have vaginas and uteruses; aren’t on birth control of a kind that prevents menstruation or makes it significantly less than a monthly occurrence; intersexed in one of the many ways that might alter or prevent menstruation while still having a vagina and uterus; in one of a large number of physical conditions that can do the same; dealing with one of many diseases or their treatments – make that on any of a long list of medications; have not had hysterectomies; and aren’t in that subset of trans men who do not menstruate on testosterone. Unfortunately that heavily constrained set is rather quickly equated to “women” and people outside that set to “vagina-free”:

    if you think that’s gross, well, maybe spend your naked extracurricular time with someone who is vagina-free


    It looks like the point you’re missing is that in the cause of a rhetorical “piss off” to the guys who have this issue (hey, there’s the heteronormativity, attempts at search and replace with “people” aside) you’ve limited period sex worth discussing to PIV and specified a binary choice between people who menstruate and those who have no vagina. That binary erases everyone who has a vagina and uterus but does not menstruate, all post-op trans women, all the guys who don’t have a penis (since your formulation assumes PIV and elides everything else) or use post-factory gear (ack, trying to remember any of the non-casual terms trans men I know use and failing – can someone please chime in with better?) on the penetrating side, all non or pre-op trans women who might enjoy being on that side as well as sex between women cis or trans using post-factory gear, etc. It’s not as you seem to believe that using “vagina-free” is the only thing we disagree with, it’s that you’re using it as the deciding factor for a very othering, very cis- and heteronormative pair of classes. There’s also a whiff of homophobia in using what appears to boil down in your formulation to “go fuck a guy” as a way to tell off the guys you disagree with, but I’ll leave that to someone else to tackle.

    Jill: Um, what? I was using “vagina-free” to describe someone who doesn’t have a vagina. I think “vagina-free” is a pretty clear term, and it’s not my problem if you’re reading all sorts of other things into it (seriously, in what universe would “vagina-free” mean “has a vagina but doesn’t bleed out of it”?).

    This is a hopefully well-intentioned straw man argument that ignores the suggestion is not that you’re equating the two, but that you’re using a false, exclusionary and erasing binary of “vagina-free” and “person who menstruates”. It’s a remarkably belittling and dismissive response to those of us who’re trying to point out on a blog that’s stated an intent to be a safe space for all varieties of women and of non-female identified non-cis people from someone who’s asserted her own principles around this pretty forcefully in the past. This looks like you were more concerned with the pro forma language than the substance in considering how to phrase things and even more that you have no desire to listen to the people you’re categorizing. Talking about a narrow set of women as if they’re all women (and skipping those who don’t identify as women but suffer from patriarchy and sexism) seems like it’s part of what we’ve tried to recover from as a movement. Please, please try to listen to the people you’ve excluded, however inadvertently, and consider that we may have something to say about our lives that you’ve overlooked coming from an outside, more prominently centered viewpoint.

  105. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer September 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

    OK, so, first of all: Jill, if a trans person is telling you you’re fucking up and using transphobic language, then you should probably actually fucking listen to that, just like you want men to listen to you when you say something’s misogynistic. Don’t wave it away and accuse people of being too sensitive. It’s an asshole thing to do. Try to actually listen. Your phrasing was actually pretty fucked up.

    Second: There are, actually, a lot of problems with menstrual sex, including that yeah, actually, it becomes a huge safer sex problem. Blood born infections are not necessarily the same as STIs, and most straight people’s usual safer sex measures don’t necessarily protect against them. Queer women might have more useful things around — gloves, dams — but most straight people won’t.

    Third: Which leads me to, NO, actually, a condom is NOT necessarily going to keep blood off someone’s penis and/or other parts. Lots of people bleed quite heavily, and when I’ve had PIV sex while I was bleeding, it’s gotten all over my partner, and leaked right through that towel all you people keep telling me to use. (Not only do I have a heavy flow, but orgasm tends to cause an extra push of blood coming out of me.) Contact with blood is definitely on my no-no list with most of my sexual partners; me with theirs OR theirs with mine, thanks.

    Fourth: No, liking period sex is not necessarily a kink. That seems denigrating to both kind and to liking period sex, to me. Negotiation is necessary, though, but EVERYBODY should be negotiating for pretty much anything sexual, AFAIC.

    Fifth: Kat George seriously needs to figure out that not all women are like her. Not only are there women who don’t have uteruses or periods, as has been discussed, and not only are there people with much heavier flows than she has, but NO, not everyone gets “super horny” when they’re bleeding, and not everyone who does wants to have sex with someone else. Just asserting that “the woman is super horny” is fucking awful, and talking about it as “your own living porno” is, in fact, objectifying and misogynistic. It gives false ideas about what many people experience during these times, sets up false expectations, and makes them all about the straight cis men she’s addressing. This piece is fucking awful.

    Fifth: It’s great that people are talking about the topic, I suppose. Cis women who DO want to have sex with cis men during their periods should get the chance, and clearly pretty much everybody needs to learn a little more about how that works for different people and what the actual risks factors are. But this has brought out a lot of prescriptivism and judgementalism aimed at feminists by feminists here. Very old-school Second Wave.

    Me, I don’t much care for sex during my period. I’m horny, but mostly I want to masturbate in a hot bath. Penetrative sex (fingers, toys or penises) is really uncomfortable and messy for me (blood makes a really, really bad lubricant, and my bits hurt). Clitoral stimulation isn’t necessarily very comfortable for me, either, as my clit is very sensitive, and even a little motion can feel abrasive. And while sometimes orgasms help my cramps, sometimes they make them worse; and honestly, when the cramps are bad, I don’t want anyone to touch me at all.

    In conclusion: People get to have their own boundaries about what they will and won’t do. Some people get to say they won’t have sex with someone who’s menstruating. Some people get to say they won’t have sex with anyone who feels that way. Some people get to say they won’t have sex while they’re menstruating.

  106. emjaybee
    emjaybee September 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    So much of this discussion goes away when you have a diaphragm (they work better than a Diva Cup, they’re not as big and are designed to be used during sex). Gotta say I don’t agree with the “he shouldn’t be squicked” thing. I mean, if he’s squicked by the fact you have a period, ok; he needs to get over that. But not wanting to get blood on yourself is something I can respect, even if you are not the kind who faints at blood. Blood is messy, it stains, and it can have a strong smell. Not everyone’s up for that any more than they’re up for covering themselves in chocolate sauce. Sex is messy, but not usually that messy.

  107. Blood, sex, boundaries, and coercion « Toy Soldiers

    […] a little social coercion to get adults to do things they don’t want to.” That line came from Q Grrl in response to a post on Feministe written by Jill. Last month Jill blessed the internet with her […]

  108. Aydan
    Aydan September 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm |

    Menstrual blood is the life force on this planet and to call it gross is disrespectful and disturbing.

    The uterine lining does support early life for many/most mammals, but by the time it’s menstrual blood it’s a waste product. (If there’s a single life force on the planet, I would vote for sunshine.) I wouldn’t be down with somebody calling my menstrual blood gross qua something that comes out of a uterus as opposed to qua just another somewhat-disconcerting bodily fluid, but disrespectful? We’re talking about something that most people either flush down the toilet or dispose of in the trash.

    I’m with the camp who’s saying it’s very possible to be grossed out or unenthusiastic about period sex without being misogynistic. Bodily fluids in general our precious bodily fluids can be kinda gross. It doesn’t make anyone who has that reaction necessarily misogynistic. And you don’t have to be “universally freaked out by any kind of blood and just can’t handle the sight of it” to be disconcerted at the sight of one of your body parts covered in blood. I feel kinda funny just thinking about that…

  109. igglanova
    igglanova September 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm |

    WTF? Why is this sentiment controversial on a feminist blog? The scowling kitty must be some kind of subliminal outrage trigger.

    If you’re terribly averse to menstrual blood then it’s worth examining why. And do it honestly. You might come out on the side of ‘not misogynist’, but the exercise causes no harm. Feminists can be forgiven for ditching someone because of this kind of squeamishness when one takes the time to connect the dots between varying degrees of menstrual shame tents and the babyish attitude toward periods in America. If someone thinks I become untouchably gross about a 4th of the time of my adult life, that is a turnoff. (Would you prefer a betitted twelve-year-old?? One glance at mainstream porn is enough to raise some serious suspicions.)

  110. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Fat Steve: Can’t we just talk?

    I’m LOLing at this.

    I have no problems with anyone who’s squicked by period sex. Because BLOOD.

    I’m popping some corn. I’m guessing this thread is going to hit 500+ comments.

  111. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

    Rodeo: Try nutritional yeast on popcorn! Om nom nom!Agree completely with everything Jill said, even though I’m a woman who doesn’t like having period sex. I’m allowed to think it’s gross, he’s not.

    Ooooo….I usually put that on grits (don’t ask how a chick from Hawaii likes grits…I realize it makes no sense). But I can see how that would be DELICIOUS.

  112. StaudtCJ
    StaudtCJ September 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm |

    Jill: YES. I mean, I totally understand not wanting to have sex while you’re on your period — at least for me, I feel like 100% shit on Day 1, and I’m crampy and bloated and cranky and my whole body hurts. So, no sex! But a dude who’s like “period sex is gross, here touch my semen”? NOPE.

    Oh, this I can totally agree with. It’s one thing to be having a discussion and quoting one’s religious taboos as a reason to not do something if the couple ever reaches a point where that religious taboo may come into play, but it is quite another to be squicked out about a woman’s menstrual blood and still expect a woman to be gung ho about that which erupts from one’s own body (no matter what fluid may be erupting from that body).

    I’ll also say to the individuals up-thread who indicated that it would be rude to invoke a religious objection at point-of-performance, you are also correct. It would be glaringly hypocritical to put a religious halt to a primary activity for a reason like this, when the activity should only be done under certain circumstances (such as in a marriage, for many religions) and those circumstances haven’t been met for the activity.

  113. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm |

    OK, look. Do you know when I’d DTMFA? If he made cracks about how I must be on the rag if I was pissed off about something. Not wanting to have sex with me while I’m bleeding out of my vagina? Yeah, I’m not going to take that as a misogynistic hangup on his part.

  114. igglanova
    igglanova September 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm |

    ‘OK, so, first of all: Jill, if a trans person is telling you you’re fucking up and using transphobic language, then you should probably actually fucking listen to that, just like you want men to listen to you when you say something’s misogynistic.’

    Listening doesn’t require agreement. Shocker: people of all kinds overreact to perceived slights all the time. Being trans* doesn’t mean you’re always right about this sort of thing, even if transphobia is a lot more common than people tend to think. Jill also didn’t mention lesbians, but I’m not screaming my head off about it, because this is a post about an issue that is fairly specific to heterosexual couples. Het people have different struggles and I accept that. It is productive to talk about them.

    The only way to avoid the transphobic accusation, in this particular case, would be to not mention menstruating vaginas at all. There are some aspects of misogyny that actually are fairly cis-specific and common. Nothing good comes from stomping one’s feet about it. Jill tried her best to be as open as possible, but the ‘problem’ of period sex in the public eye is an extension of contempt for women; sadly, the general public doesn’t really think much about trans* people and intersectionality. If you want us to decouple contempt for vaginas from contempt for women generally, you are hamstringing our ability to discuss how sexism in the real world works.

  115. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    I’m a woman with bleeding parts. All else equal, I would not want my genitalia covered in blood, mine or anyone else’s. I think it’s cool if others (i.e. het guys who I think are targeted here) feel the same way. All the “it’s natural!”s in the world doesn’t make me think that rubbing my junk in someone else’s blood is a thing I should be doing.

  116. Jenn
    Jenn September 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

    I’m more along the lines of, “I don’t want period sex because when I’m on my period I pretty much just want to cry and eat Ben & Jerry’s….”

  117. M_turnstyles
    M_turnstyles September 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm |

    Jill: Oh man… I am going to get so in trouble here, but I think that the “no touching during period-time” rule is misogynist. I respect the rights of people to follow their own religious beliefs, but I also reserve the right to think a lot of those beliefs are sexist and wrong.

    I love you. Just love. So much religion is sexist BS. It takes a real functioning uterus to call that out though!

  118. staci
    staci September 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm |

    TheNatFantastic:
    I agree with the central message of this post, but really hate how it’s been done.

    1) Hello, heteronormativity.
    2) Instead of “She’ll fuck you like a porn star”, how about “she’ll enjoy sex more, possibly”? I mean, fuck. I’m not a porn star, and if the only reason a man is fucking me is because he thinks I’ll be ‘better’ than I normally am… no thanks.
    3) The last time I checked (earlier this week), if you’re using a tampon/mooncup, it’s perfectly possible for someone to go down on you with no ‘blood’ issues.

    #1 is my main problem with this piece. Thanks, Feministe, for furthering the misconception that the only “real” sex is penis-in-vag. And the whole period sex discussion certainly never happens amongst us queer ladies, right? Ugh.

  119. Gabrielle
    Gabrielle September 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm |

    OH I HAVE THINGS TO SAY!!!

    I am a pansexual cisgendered lady, so I have been on both the receiving and the giving end. Personally, on my heavy days? I don’t want to have sex. At all. I feel gross and weird and miserable. On the lighter days (when I’m having a period, it runs about 7 days) I tend to get pretty horny and I am super down for sex! Oftentimes, as someone mentioned above, I dry out more during my period, so lube is required.

    I’ve gone down on a girl while she’s on her period, but generally a tampon was involved unless it was just a really light, spotty day. There is a different smell and taste, but I don’t think it’s a bad one. I have been fucked by a dude during my period when it was heavier than I thought, and yeah, some blood got on the sheets and on his fingers. He was less weirded out than I was, I promise you that. Then again, my guy does not have a problem with normal bodily functions, and I sometimes still experience period shame from washing so many sheets and pairs of underwear in the middle of the night.

    Finally, I do have an ex who was weird about periods. Really weird about them. Was also weird about going down on me, period or not. We’re no longer together, and that was just one of the many reasons. And while many commenters are all, why does someone’s preference to not have sex during a period matter so much? I would say because it makes the lady with the period feel shamed and dirty and weird. It made me feel really shitty.

    Luckily, I now have Implanon, and I don’t get periods anymore. But I have been there, done that.

  120. Kristen from MA
    Kristen from MA September 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm |

    There is, also, the issue that others have raised–if someone with a religious objection to menstrual blood was in my bed, he’d already have violated enough tenets that he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on at all.

    Exactly.

    If there’s a single life force on the planet, I would vote for sunshine.

    I’d vote for coffee. ;D

  121. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm |

    Kate A.e @ 113:

    I can see what you mean about the “vagina-free” problems; the original phrasing looked pretty good but Jill lost some of that delicacy when she switched from “most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month” to the idea of avoid blood by avoiding vaginas — at that point the implication is that all vaginas do bleed instead of “most.”

    It sounds like that switch was the main problem, right? The abbreviation of people-who-don’t-menstruate to “vagina-free” (which erases some of the people-who-don’t-menstruate)?

    As for this bit:

    “if you think that’s gross, well, maybe spend your naked extracurricular time with someone who is vagina-free”

    There’s also a whiff of homophobia in using what appears to boil down in your formulation to “go fuck a guy” as a way to tell off the guys you disagree with, but I’ll leave that to someone else to tackle.

    I don’t really think it’s homophobic; it sounds more like she’s saying “if you don’t like vaginas, don’t fuck people who have them”, and isn’t putting a value on whether you start fucking men (nor does she imply that all of these vagina-free people are men.) If she said “gay men hate vaginas” that would be homophobic, but imho saying “hating vaginas might be a good reason to stop fucking people who have them” doesn’t say anything negative about gay men, nor does it even necessarily imply gay sex.

  122. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm |

    “If you want us to decouple contempt for vaginas from contempt for women generally, you are hamstringing our ability to discuss how sexism in the real world works.”

    Thank you. Obviously this post is really only relevant to cis people in hetero relationships, as written. And no offense meant to Jill, but I wouldn’t want her to try to include everyone by, say, writing about how this stuff gets negotiated in queer relationships. Because she’s straight, and that’s way outside her knowledge base. That doesn’t make her an asshole, it just makes her straight. And I really don’t see why she isn’t allowed to write about issues that affect her personally that also affect a lot of other people, just because those issues don’t affect everyone.

    If you’re a woman for whom this particular issue isn’t really relevant – awesome! But it is relevant for, oh, probably 90% of women? So it’s worth discussing.

    (And yeah, even for the women who don’t want sex when they’re bleeding it’s still relevant. I have no issues with a dude not wanting to go down on me when I’m bleeding if I’m not wearing a tampon, cup, etc., but if his stated reason smacks of the idea that period blood is the most disgusting substance in existence then I’m going to have a problem with that.)

  123. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    Thanks, Feministe, for furthering the misconception that the only “real” sex is penis-in-vag. And the whole period sex discussion certainly never happens amongst us queer ladies, right? Ugh.

    Lol wut. Is “guys don’t want to have period sex” a huge problem for lesbians, then?

    And yeah, Jill didn’t address a lot of things (what about period sex with a strap-on? what about period sex in a box? what about period sex with a fox?) because this isn’t a book, it’s a blog post about a certain issue: dudes not wanting to have sex with their female partner when she menstruates. If this isn’t about you it isn’t about you.

  124. PM
    PM September 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm |

    I’m trying to figure out if it’s sexist for a woman to refuse to have PIV sex with an uncircumcised (natural at birth for cis men) man, or to have PIV sex with him only if he cleans out all traces of smegma. We know smegma is a natural substance that aids in lubrication, so it seems to fit Jill’s “disliking natural substances produced by one gender is sexist” paradigm.

    All I can come up with is no, it’s not sexist. Same as the menstrual blood bit, I think. As a guy who thinks lots of blood is really gross after being traumatized by watching my mom slice her finger open when I was very young, I’m not too inclined to judge others or myself for disliking it intensely. And, as a commenter said above, it’s not really our business. Why assume misogyny?

  125. sabrina
    sabrina September 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm |

    you know, I have to touch the fucking blood every time I empty my cup. The only “diseases” you can actually get from menstrual blood more than any other vaginal fluid you would encounter during non-period sex are ones that could be passed to me just as much to any guy who would be touching my vag during “that time of the month”. That is a moot fucking point, and I’m sick and tired of it being an excuse. Furthermore, if there is such a problem with blood we have these beautiful things called dental dams (which you can make out of a condom if you don’t have any place nearby to buy them) and gloves (dollar stores carry these, come on people). It’s not that hard. Especially since we should already be using these things anyway if we don’t know what our partners STI status is.

    On a personal level I find the no period sex thing really problematic because I have endometriosis and it is the ONLY thing that helps with the cramps.

  126. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm |

    If this isn’t about you it isn’t about you.

    What? Of course everything is about me. Me me me me me!

    …Sorry, the Spirit of Thread Derailing possessed me for a moment there. It seems to be going around, maybe we need an exorcist.

  127. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm |

    364 more comments to go, and dinner’s on my bud.

    COME ON COMMENTERS. SHEELZEBUB IS HUNGRY.

  128. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 2, 2011 at 9:40 pm |

    Sheelzebub: 364 more comments to go, and dinner’s on my bud. COME ON COMMENTERS. SHEELZEBUB IS HUNGRY.

    Ahem…Did I mention Mr. Kristen has 300 relatives? At 250 comments (less any comments from me), he has to handwrite the “thank you” cards for our trip home.

  129. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 2, 2011 at 9:41 pm |

    In boxes is ok, if the boxes are big enough.

    Big enough? Whatever Jill, you box-ist, drink the small-box haterade why don’t you? >:|

    (Sheelzebub, I got your back, but my internet is crappy at the mo’. Say something inflammatory! Maybe try to tie in parenting to the discussion? Women who are ashamed of period sex are terrible mothers!)

  130. zuzu
    zuzu September 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm |

    PM: I’m trying to figure out if it’s sexist for a woman to refuse to have PIV sex with an uncircumcised (natural at birth for cis men) man, or to have PIV sex with him only if he cleans out all traces of smegma. We know smegma is a natural substance that aids in lubrication, so it seems to fit Jill’s “disliking natural substances produced by one gender is sexist” paradigm.

    The uterus is self-cleaning, the foreskin is not.

    Belly button lint is natural, earwax and toe jam are also natural. Would you be upset if someone wanted you to trim your toenails?

    Also, why not use a condom? Kids today.

  131. Maggie
    Maggie September 2, 2011 at 9:45 pm |

    What about women who aren’t into period sex? I’m a feminist and pro-sex, pro-female, everything. But I’m just not comfortable having sex with my long-term boyfriend when I’m on my period. I don’t think it’s misogynistic, I think it’s just gross. I wouldn’t want to have sex with my boyfriend if he was bleeding from his genitals. I don’t really want blood involved in my sex life at all.

  132. Mollie
    Mollie September 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm |

    Jill:
    Look. I meant exactly what I said: If you’re grossed out by periods, you should not have sex with people who have vaginas. I mean that even if the vaginas in question don’t bleed, which is why I didn’t add any other modifiers to “vagina-free.” Because if you’re disgusted by normal vagina functions, you should not come near vaginas even when those vaginas are not having the functions you dislike.

    And I’m not saying or implying “go fuck a guy.” In fact, in the post I specified that you can go fuck a fleshlight if you’re grossed out by vagina-related liquids.

    Well that’s silly. I don’t really like big boobs — am I not allowed to fuck people with boobs?

  133. Liminal Fem
    Liminal Fem September 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm |

    Cherry Soda:

    We also know that there is “toxic shock syndrome” associated with tampons blogging up the flow and release of blood out of the body. I’m correlating that to a penis pushing the blood back up in there.

    Toxic shock syndrome was the product of tampons being left in for 10+ hours and breeding bacteria. It had nothing to do with a ‘disrupted flow.’

    A penis ‘pushing the blood back up in there’ would not lead to TSS.

    Somebody mentioned sex WHILE WEARING a tampon or moon cup – my god, just the thought causes me pain.

    Not all sex involves penetration. Just throwing that out there.

    There is wisdom and practicality in the way the “pre-scientific” cultures honored the cycles of life.

    There are also giant mounds of ignorance and superstition.

    If women “listened to their bodies” more in today’s world, we might see more women actually taking some time off to “retreat” during their menstrual period, and those who have experiences UTIs, refraining from sex during this time.

    Yeah, women who don’t want to have sex during their period because they feel bad or uninterested aren’t obliged to have sex. But there are plenty of women who do want to have sex during that time and what their body tells them is just as valid.

  134. EG
    EG September 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm |

    So, wait. Jill makes a post about a common problem in heterosexual relationships involving cisgendered people–an extremely common situation–and it’s a problem that she didn’t include lesbians and transpeople? Why? Do cisgendered straight ladies no longer suffer from sexism/misogyny, and somebody forgot to let me know? Because if they do still have to deal with it, the sexism/misogyny they have to deal with seems like a legitimate topic for a post on a feminist blog.

    I think another reason the “no sex during menstruation taboo” developed across various cultures is because it could be a health risk.

    But it didn’t develop across all cultures. In medieval and Renaissance England, for example, menstruation–referred to as “flowers”–was thought to be the single most fertile time of the month for women, and therefore, when trying to conceive, you should fuck as often as possible while the lady is menstruating, because, and I quote some Renaissance text that I read back when I was a wee grad student “flowers come before fruit.”

    We also know that there is “toxic shock syndrome” associated with tampons blogging up the flow and release of blood out of the body.

    That has nothing to do with why toxic shock syndrome occurs. First of all, tampons don’t block the flow of menstrual blood–they absorb it, which is why blood doesn’t come gushing out of you when you remove a tampon, even if it’s been in for a while. Second, TSS can develop when a tampon is left in for too long. Bear in mind that the recommended duration of use for a tampon is four to six hours. Does anybody have penis-in-vagina sex that lasts over six hours? I like to think that I’ve been around the block a few times in my life, but I would develop chafing issues–to say nothing of getting hungry and needing a meal–long before time was up on that. Finally, TSS occurred with tampons that were left in too long because leaving the tampon in too long without changing it gave bacteria the opportunity to grow on it in the dark, moist conditions surrounding the tampon, which made an excellent environment for bacterial growth. It has absolutely nothing to do with blocking up the “flow and release of blood outside the body.”

    Like I said, animals today and prehistoric women of yesteryear would REST when they felt fatigue or pain, 2 things that are common during menstruation.

    In the first world, as a middle-class professional woman, I don’t have to spend too much time worrying about where I’m going to get my next meal from. Prehistoric women of yesteryear, when they felt fatigue or pain from menstruation, still had to get their asses up and out to gather food anywhere they could and then prepare it, a process that was far more onerous and fatiguing then than it is now. They still had to make sure the nomadic encampment (or whatever) was safe and free of predators. They still had to run away from whatever predators found them. Compared to that extremely strenuous and difficult life, hauling my ass out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed, sticking in a tampon and taking a few ibuprofen, and then getting on the subway to go to my office is a walk in the park. I mean, worst case scenario, I can even call in sick for work (I do recognize how lucky I am to be able to do that, by the way), and stay in bed, going only as far as the kitchen and bathroom and back in order to feed myself relatively easily and to take care of essential bodily functions. Prehistoric women had it much, much tougher than I do.

    Wow, am I the only one who is profoundly grateful for one week a month when I get to wave off advances relatively guilt-free?

    I refuse advances guilt-free with the phrase “I’m sorry, sweetie, I just really don’t feel like it right now.” If this is something that becomes impossible post-wedding, I am very grateful that you have warned me, as I now know never to get married. I do wonder, though, why none of my married friends or relatives has ever mentioned it.

    Switch the example to urine, which is sterile until it contacts genitals and is generally perfectly safe in the quantities we’re discussing. It’s just as much of a “natural bodily fluid” as menstrual blood (and both are wastes, as has been pointed out above). Should we be kicking our men to the curb if they think urine is gross?

    OK, switch the example to sweat, which has many of the same components as urine. Why isn’t that gross, but menstrual blood is?

    I don’t think forcing anyone to take part in a sex act they are not comfortable with for any reason is really the way to go. Saying “he wouldn’t do X and so I dumped his ass” does not make them look bad – it makes you look bad.

    OK, so we’re not supposed to force somebody to take part in a sex act they’re uncomfortable with, I’m on board with that. But then, it makes us look bad if we dump someone who won’t perform a sex act we highly desire? So, what are we supposed to do, just shrug and say “Oh, well, luck of the draw, I sure hope he does something important that I can dump him for, so I don’t look bad, or I won’t get to have sex during my period ever again for the rest of my life”?

    So much of this discussion goes away when you have a diaphragm (they work better than a Diva Cup, they’re not as big and are designed to be used during sex).

    God, each to her own, but that wasn’t my experience. My experience was the hell of trying to get the damn diaphragm out the next morning, which was hard enough and took forever, but then also trying to get it out without spilling blood all over the bathroom? No, thank you. So much hatred for the diaphragm. (Though my mom always loved hers, so again, horses for courses.)

    We know smegma is a natural substance that aids in lubrication, so it seems to fit Jill’s “disliking natural substances produced by one gender is sexist” paradigm.

    No. Smegma is produced by both men and women. Look it up.

  135. Liminal Fem
    Liminal Fem September 2, 2011 at 10:16 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    364 more comments to go, and dinner’s on my bud.

    COME ON COMMENTERS.SHEELZEBUB IS HUNGRY.

    I have a question for Jill that I’ve wondered since I first read this article, but I didn’t post it earlier because I was worried it would be too off-topic/personal.

    Why a Sphynx?

    While writing a piece in defense of period sex, what made you think, “You know what this article needs? A cat picture. A FUR-LESS cat picture!”

    I keep on looking at it, and I can’t figure out what its connection to the topic is at all.

  136. evil fizz
    evil fizz September 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm | *

    What about women who aren’t into period sex?

    They should not have period sex. If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. Pretty simple.

  137. EG
    EG September 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    I keep on looking at it, and I can’t figure out what its connection to the topic is at all.

    Don’t think of it as a cat, or a sphinx. Think of it as a pussy. An angry pussy.

    Does that help?

  138. Brett K
    Brett K September 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm |

    PM:
    I’m trying to figure out if it’s sexist for a woman to refuse to have PIV sex with an uncircumcised (natural at birth for cis men) man, or to have PIV sex with him only if he cleans out all traces of smegma. We know smegma is a natural substance that aids in lubrication, so it seems to fit Jill’s “disliking natural substances produced by one gender is sexist” paradigm.

    Vulvas produce smegma too, actually, so this isn’t really a gendered thing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having an aversion to smegma in a social situation – but then again, that’s an issue that can be resolved with a quick shower. A woman (or man) who doesn’t want to have sex with an uncircumcised dude, even after he’s showered, because there *was* smegma on his penis at some point? Probably a sex-negative asshole.

    So, personal experience: I had an ex who would not tolerate any mention of periods (not even, like, “I’d better pick up some tampons next time I go to the store”) while he was eating. He didn’t have much of a problem with period sex, though, once I informed him that it would not be “gushing like a fire hydrant” (his words). In other words, I think a lot of guys are grossed out by periods just because they don’t know how they work, and are culturally conditioned to think they are grosser than they actually are.

    And, probably TMI, but I think that oral sex is the best sex to have during shark week as long as a tampon or cup is involved. Orgasms are had, no blood is tasted, everybody wins.

  139. Brett K
    Brett K September 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm |

    Um, obviously I mean “sexual situations”, not “social situations”. WTF, brain.

  140. organic mama
    organic mama September 2, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    Becky: This has never actually come up for me because I’m not ever in the mood for sex during my period. I feel tired and blah and sex is the last thing on my mind. But if a man told me he was too grossed out by my menstrual blood to have sex with me during that time but expected me to be ok with his semen… yeah, I’d have a problem with that.

    I’m with Becky. When I’m on my period (now, actually), I have no interest in sex. I feel crampy and completely unsexy, not to mention the fact that it is not comfortable when I’ve tried it during that time of the month. But I also would not be happy if a man told me he was grossed out. I think my husband would be quite interested in period sex. It’s me who is not interested.

  141. EG
    EG September 2, 2011 at 11:43 pm |

    Well that’s silly. I don’t really like big boobs — am I not allowed to fuck people with boobs?

    If this dislike would extend to refusing to touch your lover’s boobs when they are swollen due to pregnancy or nursing, then, yeah, you’re being a jerk about it, and you should avoid subjecting people with boobs to your jerkiness.

  142. philfemgal
    philfemgal September 2, 2011 at 11:44 pm |

    The article and comments makes me think of a few things:

    1) I must have periods that are much, much heavier than average, because, really many women don’t need a towel at all to avoid getting blood on the sheets? I can’t even move 1 foot from the toilet to the shower without leaving drops of blood on the floor during 80% of my period. While I’m not anti period sex at all, we rarely have it because it is such a potentially messy ordeal (except for sex with a tampon/diva cup in–that is how we had sex the first time ever). Or maybe an average session of sex for us just lasts a lot longer than for the author of the article? I just don’t think it is possible except during the last day of my period when the bleeding goes from heavy to barely there for me to lie/sit/kneel/move around/thrust, etc. on the bed for 30+ minutes and not get blood literally *everywhere.*

    2) The suggestion in the article that it’s okay if a guy doesn’t want to touch or lick a vagina makes me sad for the author’s sex life. (Unless she’s a rare woman who needs no clitoral stimulation or other touching of the vulva but can get off with pure piv.) I can’t imagine sex that involves no contact with the vulva/vagina with any body part other than the penis (or in our case, dildo/vibrator). What about hands, thighs, bellies, hips? This is where the mess comes in of course.

    3) I assume that the reason many people are pointing out that lack of attention to lesbians is because there are in fact lots of lesbians who don’t like period sex because they find it gross. If straight men who find period sex gross are being misogynistic and should be immediately dumped, then surely the same must be true of lesbians who find period sex gross. But, of course, if a straight-identified woman announced this about lesbians, many lesbians who don’t like period sex or are totally fine with their partners not liking it would probably take offense at being told they are woman-haters because of their sexual preferences.

  143. Maggie
    Maggie September 2, 2011 at 11:52 pm |

    So why is that not the same for men? Why is it okay for women to not be into period sex, but not men? I understand the point that it’s acceptable to end a relationship with someone who won’t participate in a sex act that you really like. But I genuinely do not believe that a man who is not into period sex is inherently misogynistic.

    evil fizz:
    What about women who aren’t into period sex?

    They should not have period sex.If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing.Pretty simple.

  144. Kathleen F.
    Kathleen F. September 3, 2011 at 12:29 am |

    The thing that bugs me about guys not wanting period sex is that it feels unfair. Like, I usually only prefer to have sex latish in my period, because Day 1 is crampy and painful and generally feeling horrible, Day 2 is Super Heavy Flow Day, and Day 3 is usually a pretty annoyingly heavy flow as well. After that, though, if a guy doesn’t want to have sex and says “I don’t want blood on my junk,” I’m like, “well, I didn’t want three days of having blood on my junk, either, and I also didn’t really want the cramps or any of the other totally unfun things about having a period, so why am I having to hear about how much you don’t like period blood?”

    This is really more of an issue within the context of a relationship, though, where both partners are ostensibly committed to keeping things equal between them. I can definitely see why someone would be less eager to have period sex with someone they didn’t know as well, especially when the issue of blood-borne disease comes into play.

  145. Cherry Soda
    Cherry Soda September 3, 2011 at 1:31 am |

    1. “But it didn’t develop across all cultures. In medieval and Renaissance England, for example, menstruation–referred to as “flowers”–was thought to be the single most fertile time of the month for women, and therefore, when trying to conceive, you should fuck as often as possible while the lady is menstruating, because, and I quote some Renaissance text that I read back when I was a wee grad student “flowers come before fruit.”

    — They were ignorant on matters of reproduction.

    2. “In the first world, as a middle-class professional woman, I don’t have to spend too much time worrying about where I’m going to get my next meal from. Prehistoric women of yesteryear, when they felt fatigue or pain from menstruation, still had to get their asses up and out to gather food anywhere they could and then prepare it, a process that was far more onerous and fatiguing then than it is now. They still had to make sure the nomadic encampment (or whatever) was safe and free of predators. They still had to run away from whatever predators found them. Compared to that extremely strenuous and difficult life, hauling my ass out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed, sticking in a tampon and taking a few ibuprofen, and then getting on the subway to go to my office is a walk in the park. I mean, worst case scenario, I can even call in sick for work (I do recognize how lucky I am to be able to do that, by the way), and stay in bed, going only as far as the kitchen and bathroom and back in order to feed myself relatively easily and to take care of essential bodily functions. Prehistoric women had it much, much tougher than I do.”

    — Unless prehistoric women were alone, single and childless or single moms living completely isolated with their children, they wouldn’t have to go out and do all that during their period. Someone else in the prehistoric community would do it.

    Cue an MRA yelling “and we killed the mammoth to feed you!”

    LOL

  146. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer September 3, 2011 at 2:29 am |

    igglanova:

    Listening doesn’t require agreement.

    No, but it does require actually paying attention, which, since she hasn’t responded to what people actually said, means she didn’t really listen.

    Shocker: people of all kinds overreact to perceived slights all the time.

    Shocker: Many more times, privileged people claim that disadvantaged people are overreacting when actually they have a totally valid complaint.

    Jill also didn’t mention lesbians, but I’m not screaming my head off about it, because this is a post about an issue that is fairly specific to heterosexual couples. Het people have different struggles and I accept that. It is productive to talk about them.

    Wow, way to be heteronormative, cisnormative, and silencing. This issue is not unique to opposite-sex couples (not all of which are heterosexual, thankyouvery much, you’re contributing to bi invisibility as well there). There are lesbians and bi women in same-sex relationships who have issues with period sex, some of them for misogynistic reasons, because women can be misogynists, too. There are trans men in same sex relationships whose partners have issues with period sex for misogynistic reasons. Way to fucking dismiss those people as completely unimportant.

    It’s ok to talk about issues that opposite sex couples have, but it’s important to acknowledge that most of those issues aren’t unique to them, and indeed, it’s heterosexist and cissexist NOT to do so.

    The only way to avoid the transphobic accusation, in this particular case, would be to not mention menstruating vaginas at all.

    As has been explained, no. The way to do it is to not equate having a vagina with menstruating, nor to equate either of these things with womanhood.

    There are some aspects of misogyny that actually are fairly cis-specific and common.

    Nope. Trans women and trans men come in for every aspect of misogyny I can think of.

    sadly, the general public doesn’t really think much about trans* people and intersectionality.

    Oh, I see. Nobody else thinks about it, so feminists don’t have to either. BZZZZT, WRONG!

    If you want us to decouple contempt for vaginas from contempt for women generally, you are hamstringing our ability to discuss how sexism in the real world works.

    Strawfeminist. I want to acknowledge that contempt for women is applied both to some people who do not have vaginas, and that contempt for vaginas still affects them, and to some people who do have vaginas but are not women. This does not actually decouple the two, but it does broaden the effect of the contempt.

    CassandraSays:

    Obviously this post is really only relevant to cis people in hetero relationships, as written.

    That is the problem, not a reason why we can’t discuss other people now. Silencing discussion on other populations affected by this is, well, silencing and invisibling. Do we as feminists really want to contribute to heteronormativity and cisnormativity?

    sabrina:

    The only “diseases” you can actually get from menstrual blood more than any other vaginal fluid you would encounter during non-period sex are ones that could be passed to me just as much to any guy who would be touching my vag during “that time of the month”.

    Do you understand what a blood-borne pathogen is? Yes, many of them can be transmitted via high-risk sexual contact, but not all.

    Also, people, the only people trying to shut conversation down are the ones trying to silence people standing up for inclusion. If the request for correction had been acknowledged, we would long ago have moved on. Why is this kind of silencing of discussion of intersectional issues happening on a feminist blog?

  147. PM
    PM September 3, 2011 at 3:29 am |

    Thank you, EG, for educating me about smegma being a product of both penises and vaginas. And thank you, Brett, for applying the phrase “Shark Week” to a totally different, and totally awesome, context.

  148. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil September 3, 2011 at 8:05 am |

    Why a Sphynx?

    While writing a piece in defense of period sex, what made you think, “You know what this article needs? A cat picture. A FUR-LESS cat picture!”

    I always thought it was pretty obvious that the cat’s expression was the primary reason for including it in this post. It has also made an appearance in the “Men who won’t go down on a woman are misogynist” post and in another post about this religious organization that thinks that women who masturbate or look at porn twice a week are sick, sick, sick and in need of therapy to cure their sex addiction.

    (I am sticking to this theory because I hate the word pussy as a euphemism for female genitals).

  149. becky
    becky September 3, 2011 at 8:10 am |

    Cherry Soda: “Unless prehistoric women were alone, single and childless or single moms living completely isolated with their children, they wouldn’t have to go out and do all that during their period. Someone else in the prehistoric community would do it.”

    As a historian (and a person, in general ;)), I find it extremely funny how people say stuff like that and claim it to be a fact… Wow.

  150. G
    G September 3, 2011 at 8:32 am |

    Jill:
    Feces is waste, though. Blood is not. And feces will make you pretty darn sick if you come into too much contact with it.

    To be fair feces, urine, sweat and menstrual / nasal blood can all be classified as waste since it is something the body naturally evacuates as part of bodily functions. It’s quite hypocritical to be selective about what bodily functions to embrace in the bedroom and the criticize others for being selective. Urine, for one, is a sterile liquid barring any infection (which also applies to blood). Should that also be a deal breaker if someone wouldn’t let you pee on them (even if you don’t actually want to do it)?

    And how about we move over to fluctuations in personality and not just biology. Should men (or women) never have sex with a partner they don’t agree with 100% of the time, because I don’t know any couples like that. Nobody ever likes precisely everything about someone and it’s up to those individuals to reach a compromise on the issues that arises from that.

    If you have these criteria that’s fine, but I don’t see what gives you the right to say what both men and women should think on the subject and angle this as a male only problem. Women get to be grossed out over menstrual blood, but men don’t? People are allowed to have preferences.

  151. Kierra
    Kierra September 3, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    OK, switch the example to sweat, which has many of the same components as urine. Why isn’t that gross, but menstrual blood is?

    I think it’s fairly obvious to draw the line at things that are wastes. Things that are at a certain location because they are being eliminated by the body rather than things that are at that location to do some other function.

    So normal vaginal secretions are not gross, since they have to be in the vagina to do their functions (cleaning, lubing, etc). Urine is a waste product, it serves no other purpose than to eliminate certain things (nitrogen, water, salt, etc) from the body, hence kind of gross. Sweat can be used for limited waste removal, but that isn’t its primary function. It’s primary function is cooling, which requires that it be on your skin, hence not gross. Menstrual blood serves its purpose when it’s in the uterus. Once it’s in the vagina, it is waste that is being expelled. Thus, I don’t really have a problem with people who want to label it as gross and don’t want to have it involved in sexy times.

  152. Society for Menstrual Cycle Research : » Links for a long weekend

    […] were a couple of posts in the feminist blogosphere this week in defense of period sex. Apparently heterosexual men need to […]

  153. EG
    EG September 3, 2011 at 9:30 am |

    They were ignorant on matters of reproduction.

    Obviously. And if I had been saying that they were correct, that would be relevant. Fortunately, what I was noting is that taboos on sex during menstruation are hardly universal.

    Unless prehistoric women were alone, single and childless or single moms living completely isolated with their children, they wouldn’t have to go out and do all that during their period. Someone else in the prehistoric community would do it.

    Evidence? I do agree that human beings obviously had to live in co-operative communities to survive, but “co-operative” does not automatically translate to “does not need the effort of every competent adult to survive,” especially in an era prior to modern medicine and any of the comforts that I get to take for granted. Life was harsh. I highly doubt having cramps or feeling tired would even break the top 100 when it came to “acceptable reasons for prehistoric humans not to contribute to food-gathering/encampment building/defense/child care efforts.”

  154. Heather
    Heather September 3, 2011 at 9:42 am |

    Brett K:
    So, personal experience: I had an ex who would not tolerate any mention of periods (not even, like, “I’d better pick up some tampons next time I go to the store”) while he was eating. He didn’t have much of a problem with period sex, though, once I informed him that it would not be “gushing like a fire hydrant” (his words). In other words, I think a lot of guys are grossed out by periods just because they don’t know how they work, and are culturally conditioned to think they are grosser than they actually are.

    I think this is definitely the case for a lot of men (maybe/hopefully just of my age group?*). When we learned about products liability in one of my classes last year, a lawsuit over TSS was one of the examples, and all of the men in the class were visibly uncomfortable. Even our professor, who said he “could talk about tampons” because he has several daughters, was blushing the whole time. I think a lot of guys, at least in my experience, would rather be completely ignorant, and hence terrified/disgusted, of menstruation than hear any conversations about it.

    *This is the hope I’m holding out, since a lot of the first comments seemed to be along the lines of “This is a problem? I had no idea those men existed.”

  155. EG
    EG September 3, 2011 at 9:44 am |

    Thank you, EG, for educating me about smegma being a product of both penises and vaginas.

    Clitorises, actually, I believe. But you’re welcome.

  156. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 3, 2011 at 10:06 am |

    This is kind of like saying that if a woman refuses to have a male ejaculate on her, that she’s a misandrist.

    Ejaculate and menses. Both very normal, natural body fluids. Also, if you don’t want blood on your hands/penis, it’s just as neutral and non-sexism related as not wanting semen on your chest/face/wherever.

    Would you think it crazy if you refused a facial, and were told it meant you hated the natural, testicle having male body?

    That’s how this ends up sounding. Just as ridiculous.

    Refusal of period sex isn’t out of some hatred of the female body, or some form of disgust by it anymore than refusal of a facial is hatred or disgust of the male body.

    This reeks of sexual coercion and shaming, and makes me a bit uncomfortable. Basically sounds as though if you are refused, you are totally okay with shaming someone into giving you what you want anyway.

    You might want to rethink your position on that.

  157. figleaf
    figleaf September 3, 2011 at 10:31 am |

    Can’t quite put my finger on it but reading this comment thread I had weird sense that if cis people can have a lot of unexamined misogyny then trans people probably can too, even if the transition is in the direction of mtf. Not sure why it would have come up while reading this thread.

    I think the original poster’s qualifying “sex” down to “just stick your penis in it” wasn’t about her heteronormativity, it was about her experience of (presumably cis but who knows?) men’s heteronormativity.

    See for instance the very first comment, which, I don’t know, maybe Jill would have read before composing her post

    The smell, the disgust, the smell!

    Period sex is gross and us guys have the right to not stick our dicks into some bleeding carcass. I’d happily not have sex and come back in a few days.

    Though, period sex is okay if you’re in a long-term relationship, it makes it better knowing the person, knowing every inch of their body and mind. One night stands? Never. I’ve tried and kicked the girl out after the putrid smell added to the disgust of a bloody condom wrapped member.

    And as far as the “zomg, blood, germs” dodge the original poster has a whole paragraph about partners who’ve cheerily proposed completely unsafe sex without a condom on a first date who’ve also totally freaked at the prospect of menstrual sex with a condom. In which case the “blood borne disease” risk business is bullshit in that context isn’t it?

    @Me #44 “A man who is like, sweetie do you want an ibuprofen for your cramps, I’m going to the grocery store do you need me to get you some extra OBs, and I’m sorry but that smell just icks me out, so maybe we can just cuddle tonight, I think has just as much right to his sexual preferences as I do.”

    This. I’m not a big fan of period intercourse. It doesn’t taste or smell particularly icky but as Zuzu says it is sticky.

    I’d rather do some of the million or so other non-sexual and non-PIV things you can do together. Bringing hot water bottles and (now a days) microwaved buckwheat wraps. Doing the menstrual-cramp massage protocols (lower ribs, hip bones and sacrum, clockwise palm-over circles between navel and pubis) bodyworkers learned back before ibuprofen. Also snuggling, sweet talking, and other goopy stuff.

  158. zuzu
    zuzu September 3, 2011 at 11:06 am |

    EG: So, wait. Jill makes a post about a common problem in heterosexual relationships involving cisgendered people–an extremely common situation–and it’s a problem that she didn’t include lesbians and transpeople? Why? Do cisgendered straight ladies no longer suffer from sexism/misogyny, and somebody forgot to let me know? Because if they do still have to deal with it, the sexism/misogyny they have to deal with seems like a legitimate topic for a post on a feminist blog.

    No shit.

    If you have a vagina, and it doesn’t bleed, this isn’t really a post you need concern yourself with, now, is it?

  159. zuzu
    zuzu September 3, 2011 at 11:07 am |

    Also: WHERE ARE THE POST-MENOPAUSAL WOMEN IN THIS POST? I DEMAND A DISCUSSION OF POST-MENOPAUSAL WOMEN IN A POST ABOUT PERIOD SEX. OR JILL’S AGEIST.

  160. zuzu
    zuzu September 3, 2011 at 11:16 am |

    Heather: When we learned about products liability in one of my classes last year, a lawsuit over TSS was one of the examples, and all of the men in the class were visibly uncomfortable. Even our professor, who said he “could talk about tampons” because he has several daughters, was blushing the whole time.

    Did you go into the silicone gel breast implant litigation? Because that one’s even more fun for the squirmies.

  161. Chataya
    Chataya September 3, 2011 at 11:18 am |

    Can we please, please, PLEASE stop referring to a vagina that can menstruate as a normal vagina? Plenty of people have perfectly normal vaginas and do not menstruate for various reasons.

  162. Sara
    Sara September 3, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    Jill:
    Look. I meant exactly what I said: If you’re grossed out by periods, you should not have sex with people who have vaginas. I mean that even if the vaginas in question don’t bleed, which is why I didn’t add any other modifiers to “vagina-free.” Because if you’re disgusted by normal vagina functions, you should not come near vaginas even when those vaginas are not having the functions you dislike.

    This is exactly the problem. Calling menstruation a “normal vagina function” means you’re calling non-menstruating vaginas “abnormal.” That’s wrong. In fact, any time you’re using the word “normal” in the context of bodies, you’re probably marginalizing some group of people.

    Of course you didn’t *mean* to be transphobic. I appreciate that. But we can criticize your language separately from your conscious intentions.

    I realize that you’ve spent some time being defensive about this (we all do it and I don’t blame you) so you may not want to “back off” now – but I hope you’ll at least reflect on the language in the abstract even if you don’t post about it.

  163. Sara
    Sara September 3, 2011 at 11:44 am |

    In light of the past three or four comments, I’d like to clarify: the problem is not that Jill talked about a problem that’s particularly common among cis women. The problem is the particular language she used – not just because it *feels* exclusionary to several trans people who have posted in this thread (including myself), but because it *is* exclusionary in the abstract.

  164. Heather
    Heather September 3, 2011 at 11:47 am |

    zuzu: Did you go into the silicone gel breast implant litigation?Because that one’s even more fun for the squirmies.

    Unfortunately, we missed out on that one. I think TSS and then our discussion of “Should gender and race of a plaintiff affect the damages awarded?” was enough uncomfortableness for our prof.

  165. Natalia
    Natalia September 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

    Also: WHERE ARE THE POST-MENOPAUSAL WOMEN IN THIS POST? I DEMAND A DISCUSSION OF POST-MENOPAUSAL WOMEN IN A POST ABOUT PERIOD SEX. OR JILL’S AGEIST.

    You forgot people who are single, asexual, or bored with sex and busy slogging through their box collection of “Six Feet Under.”

    Bigot.

  166. bpbetsy
    bpbetsy September 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm |

    Chataya, I have a vagina that does not menstruate because I take bcp continuously to manage anemia. Thus I am suppressing a natural function of my uterus, which is NOT “normal.” That doesn’t mean I have a bad, wrong vagina! Just one which deviates from the norm. It’s ok: I didn’t feel excluded by this post because it isn’t about me.

    Vaginas are all different, and nobody here is making a value judgement, they are just speaking specifically of one TYPE of vagina.

  167. raya
    raya September 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm |

    zuzu: If you have a vagina, and it doesn’t bleed, this isn’t really a post you need concern yourself with, now, is it?

    My vagina occasionally bleeds and I have sex with people whose vaginas occasionally bleed. Still this post isn’t meant to speak to me.
    I really don’t get why it is necessary to exclude all non-cis people in non-heterosexual relationships in posts like these. How about acknowledging that some lesbians/queer women are as grossed out by bleeding pussy as some men or het women – because women internalize misogyny, too. Or that the reasons for many trans guys to feel grossed out by menstruation is body dysphoria – so there are reasons for men to feel extremely uncomfortable because of (their own or other people’s) menstruations for non-misogynistic reasons.

  168. Becky
    Becky September 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm |

    Well. . .: Would you think it crazy if you refused a facial, and were told it meant you hated the natural, testicle having male body?

    I don’t think anyone here is talking about men who refuse to let women squirt menstrual blood on their faces. But if I told a man we could only have sex if he didn’t ejaculate anywhere on my body, including hands, mouth or vagina, even if he were wearing a condom, because semen was just too gross for me to deal with… how many men would consider that reasonable? I think I would be accused of having some pretty serious hangups. Whereas men who refuse to let menstrual blood touch their hands, mouth or penis, even through a condom or dental dam, are considered perfectly reasonable because menstrual blood just is that gross. To me, that’s problematic.

  169. TheRiverJordan
    TheRiverJordan September 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    TheNatFantastic:
    I agree with the central message of this post, but really hate how it’s been done.

    1) Hello, heteronormativity.
    2) Instead of “She’ll fuck you like a porn star”, how about “she’ll enjoy sex more, possibly”? I mean, fuck. I’m not a porn star, and if the only reason a man is fucking me is because he thinks I’ll be ‘better’ than I normally am… no thanks.
    3) The last time I checked (earlier this week), if you’re using a tampon/mooncup, it’s perfectly possible for someone to go down on you with no ‘blood’ issues.

    While I agree with the second 2 points, I take some issue with the first. Yes, the article talks about hetero-things, but that doesn’t mean it’s promoting hetero-normativity. Because this problem, at least in the way that it is framed (e.g. around men who have sex with women), is a hetero problem. And yes, there can be issues with this that the lesbian community faces, trans community faces, etc. but this article isn’t about that; that doesn’t make it wrong, transphobic, or promotional of hetero-normativity. There are many, many feminist issues and some of them only concern specific groups, this one happens to concern cis-gendered, straight women. There are some issues that only concern trans, lesbian but those aren’t wrong or unfeminist either.

    About the article, thinking something is gross doesn’t, necessarily make you a misogynistic (I think seamen is gross and I don’t hate men). While men who think periods are repugnant in general (i.e. men who don’t want anything to do with a menstruating women) probably are sexist jerks, I’m sure the majority of men who think period sex is gross probably just don’t want blood on their junk…

  170. EG
    EG September 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    The smell, the disgust, the smell!

    Period sex is gross and us guys have the right to not stick our dicks into some bleeding carcass. I’d happily not have sex and come back in a few days.

    Oh, sure. What does this asshole think, his semen tastes like apricot jam? I have managed to blow my boyfriends in the past, however, without referring to it as “putrid” or his body as a “carcass.”

    Ejaculate and menses. Both very normal, natural body fluids. Also, if you don’t want blood on your hands/penis, it’s just as neutral and non-sexism related as not wanting semen on your chest/face/wherever.

    Sure, if you strip the acts of any cultural context whatsoever, they wind up sounding very similar. But here in the real world, as I have mentioned above, we have a cultural history of valorizing semen and denigrating menstruation, as well as a history of male sexual coercion of women. Funny how context matters, doesn’t it?

  171. LC
    LC September 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

    I thought Stern and Hairless Kitty (I can never decide if “Skeptical” or “Disapproving” is a better third descriptor there.) appeared on these threads because, you know: Stern. Hairless. Skeptical. Disapproving.

  172. rabbitwink
    rabbitwink September 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    Maybe I’m an old fart at 43, but having grown up in the age of AIDS in NYC in the 80’s, all I can say is:
    EGADS- bloodborne diseases, anyone? HIV, hepatitis B & C? Any of those ring a bell? Ever lose a friend to AIDS?
    I’m kind of shocked at how cavalier people are about sexual contact with blood. Especially given how trendy tattoos are nowadays, and all it takes is one lazy-ass parlor not following health & hygiene practices to pass along a Hep C infection, which you (or your partner) may not know you (or your partner) even have until late in the game. You also cannot tell me that your average 22 year old is getting HIV tests every 3-6 months and practicing scrupulous safer sex, so the risks are still very real.

  173. james
    james September 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm |

    “And as I said in the post, if you’re squicked out by blood generally, that’s a different story. I’m talking about being grossed out by period blood specifically.”

    Does this really matter? In context, I think pretty much everyone who is squicked out from period sex would be equally squicked out if it their partner was bleeding through their vagina for non-period related reasons or proposing some type of blood play. The subset of people who dislike period sex, but are okay with other blood related sex acts has got to be pretty small.

    The other thing is things like semen and period blood are culturally thought of as dirty. I don’t think there’s a great deal of room between people who are like to see contact because it proves their partners have moved beyond that and think of these fluids as clean, and people people who like it because they’ve a degradation fetish. You’re still getting off on your partners contact with your bodily fluids, and it’s okay to be concerned about motivations.

    “Ejaculate and menses. Both very normal, natural body fluids. Also, if you don’t want blood on your hands/penis, it’s just as neutral and non-sexism related as not wanting semen on your chest/face/wherever.”

    It’s not just bodily fluids either. Custard isn’t gross or disgusting, but if my partner wanted me to perform a sex which meant it’d be smeared all over my face/chest/hands/junk I’d still be all WTF. It wouldn’t mean I thought pâtisserie chef’s were unclean or had a problem with milk or eggs because of deep seated issues with women. It’s just not something that would work for me.

  174. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    There’s also the fact, Becky, that semen is not a waste product, and menses is/are. (Not sure of the rules of grammar on that one.)

    So the context is different. Semen isn’t being ejected from the penis because it’s a waste product.

    So being averse to menses isn’t this misogyny thing, unless one defines ones menses as some sort of moon-blood-goddess-magic whatnot. It’s human waste. I can see someone not wanting it on them.

    EG:

    See above, re: semen vs menses. That said, the author here sounds more than a bit coercive herself. Further, again, it’s entirely reasonable to not want a human waste product on your bits. If you bring something to a relationship or sexual event that fills that with the history of oppression, and causes you to view your partner through those glasses, that doesn’t mean your assumption is true.

  175. Cherry Soda
    Cherry Soda September 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

    “Ejaculate and menses. Both very normal, natural body fluids. Also, if you don’t want blood on your hands/penis, it’s just as neutral and non-sexism related as not wanting semen on your chest/face/wherever.”

    This whole semen on chest/face nonsense is just that – nonsense.

    Any man who expects me to do an extreme act that people GET PAID to do – can smear semen on his own face!

    (supposedly its full of collegen or something good for the skin anyway he should be ok with that)

  176. Brett K
    Brett K September 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    Becky: I don’t think anyone here is talking about men who refuse to let women squirt menstrual blood on their faces.But if I told a man we could only have sex if he didn’t ejaculate anywhere on my body, including hands, mouth or vagina, even if he were wearing a condom, because semen was just too gross for me to deal with… how many men would consider that reasonable?I think I would be accused of having some pretty serious hangups.Whereas men who refuse to let menstrual blood touch their hands, mouth or penis, even through a condom or dental dam, are considered perfectly reasonable because menstrual blood just is that gross.To me, that’s problematic.

    Yes, this. If I had a penis, and my partner refused to come into contact with my semen at all, ever, even when condoms/gloves/etc. were involved that would be a dealbreaker. (Obviously I’m talking about a long-term partner here, not a one-night stand who might have legitimate reasons for avoiding a stranger’s bodily fluids). Fortunately for penis-owners, we don’t live in a culture that considers semen disgusting and unmentionable. It would be nice if we could apply those same standards to menstrual blood, too.

  177. Effy
    Effy September 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm |

    Actually, telling people who complain that the article is hetero-normative with “Well, sorry, but it’s just not about you” is really not good enough. If you are talking about hang-ups people have with menstrual blood, I don’t see why only talk about straight people? Say that you haven’t thought about including lesbians because you are straight and just didn’t think about it – ok, no problem, but don’t say that people shouldn’t mind because this doesn’t concern them. It does, that’s what they are trying to tell you.

  178. Eva R.
    Eva R. September 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm |

    i generally don’t have sex the first day of my period because im crampy and bloated and don’t feel like it but i do have sex pretty much every other day of my period because I’m a sex worker and sometimes get my period before/during work so i’m not really grossed out by it. I also am a lesbian and do go down on my gf while shes on her period and vice versa. sometimes with a tampon in, sometimes not…im not a vampire lol and i rarely taste the blood but a little bit is no harm done and we both really enjoy period sex.

  179. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    @Brett

    Semen is not a once a month waste product. That’s kind of the key difference, here. You can’t apply the same standards to menses as to semen. One will happen every time the male orgasms (under normal circumstances), and the other happens once a month as the uterus sheds and disposes of what is now waste.

    So menstrual blood and semen are not anywhere remotely similar.

  180. Rowann
    Rowann September 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

    Ok, I read this whole comment thread from the beginning and I can assure you it was tedious. Partly because some people really seem overly argumentative and complicated (excuse me it’s just my opinion). And partly because they use technical terminologies that I have some trouble understanding, English not being my first language (and me being a 19 y-old cisgendered and, until further notice, heterosexual female who just started learning about all that sexual orientation, gender identity, asab business).

    I don’t really agree with the OP because I think men have just as much right as women to be grossed out by period sex. Or other bodily fluids during sex. Sure you can choose to break up for it. But it doesn’t make him (or her) an asshole. S/he’s just not into what you’re into. It’s a shame that the relationship didn’t work out but it’s not anyone’s fault, you disagreed on something that you couldn’t get over. If the two people involved don’t love each other/want to fuck each other enough to compromise than there’s nothing else to do but break up/stop seeing each other.

    So that’s that. Then about the offended trans, queer etc etc community (I’m sorry I don’t know enough terminology to be more accurate), I feel really confused. Obviously Jill is writing about her experience as a cisgendered heterosexual female in relationships with cisgendered heterosexual males (as far as I can see). It’s just one article. If she tried to speak about what she doesn’t know, you would probably complain about that. Maybe you can just read other articles about the other configurations? Like, this is one point of view and other point of views can be complementary to this one, so that everyone can get the full picture. Instead of sitting up here criticizing like someone personally insulted you, explain what your experience is, bring your arguments to the table. If we were to follow your logic, no one would ever talk about any issue unless they’ve personally experienced every aspect of it. I agree the formulations she used were sometimes a bit clumsy, but I also believe in being indulgent with people who don’t mean bad.
    So maybe Jill was caught a little off guard by the criticism and didn’t give an adequate answer, but maybe you people are being a bit harsh and self-righteous about the whole thing. The essence of a text isn’t all in the semantics. The general idea and intention is just as important and she obviously didn’t mean to belittle, dismiss or ignore anyone.

    Yeah I’ll probably get hell for that comment but I just don’t see any need to be so aggressive. At least not on here where people are mostly of good will. Ignorance hurts a lot of people but I doubt someone’s been hurt a lot by this particular post.

  181. Danielle
    Danielle September 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm |

    I don’t think a guy not wanting to have sex at that time of the month is so evil and mysoginistic as you might think. My boyfriend is just squicked by blood in general. He won’t do anything below the waist when I’m on my period because blood just freaks him out. And it’s not just blood “down there”, it’s blood on any part of the body. I think it’s all just personal preference in the end. Sure, there are plenty of men who don’t do it just for the reason that they are freaked out by menstruation, but tarring them all with the same brush is quite unfair.
    (And my boyfriend loves giving oral sex, he doesn’t care about that at all!)

  182. Alison
    Alison September 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm |

    Natalia: You forgot people who are single, asexual, or bored with sex and busy slogging through their box collection of “Six Feet Under.”

    Bigot.

    And AHEM – what about those of us LIKE ME ME ME who are currently in a state of amenorrhea due to illness? WHY AM I NOT SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN THIS POST?? Y’all are so ablist and mean because you do not discuss my subgroup of people in every single post whether or not it actually relates to me in any way at the present time.

    And re: “normal vaginas” (band name ftw), I have no problem with saying that *for me* right now my vagina is not functioning “normally” because *for me* as a cis woman who is well before menopause, menstruation would be “normal”, in that if there were no cause – if I didn’t have an illness and also wasn’t pregnant or whatever – not menstruating would be “abnormal” and would be a reason to go to a doctor. Sure, to use the term normal in a broad sense isn’t accurate, but for people to apply it to themselves, it’s perfectly fine. “Normal” means what is usual and customary for one’s self.

  183. figleaf
    figleaf September 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm |

    @rabbitwink: “all I can say is: EGADS- bloodborne diseases, anyone? HIV, hepatitis B & C? Any of those ring a bell? Ever lose a friend to AIDS?”

    All perfectly legitimate in some contexts, but the poster Jill quoted explicitly said she was talking about male partners who’d press for bareback sex without STI confirmation but would squick at menstrual sex even with a condom. So. If your concern is disease transmission why balk at even protected sex one time of the month but not at unprotected sex the rest of the month?

    figleaf

  184. Rachel
    Rachel September 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    Bagelsan:
    I actually think it sounds kind of gross from the uterus-having side of things, too — maybe I’m imagining it bloodier than it is for most people? But frankly the last thing I want is to add more bodily fluids to sex. :p

    I’m with you on this one. It is usually more bloody for me and while I know it’s totally natural adding blood to the mix is quite the turn off for me.

  185. artdyke
    artdyke September 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm |

    To be fair, I’ve been with plenty of ladies who were grossed out by period sex too, thinking it was gross to be fucked while they were bleeding and/or not wanting to fuck other women while they were bleeding.

    They almost always get over it though. Having one week out of the month as downtime is annoying enough, but when it’s two of you… you get over it fast, haha. And I have been happy to convince a couple ladies that no, I was not grossed out by their bleeding, and I managed to show them that one can have a great time regardless of the time of the month. :P

    People, regardless of gender, can get the fuck over it, and they should.

  186. igglanova
    igglanova September 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm |

    ARRRRGH. As far as the heteronormativity accusations go, this dyke can assure everyone that wishing to be included in EVERY SINGLE POST, even when that would add nothing to the discussion, is far from a lesbian universal. Stop trying to speak for me, for god’s sake. You all look like pearl-clutching dorks and your affected outrage is embarrassing.

    And…we’re really having a shit fit because Jill called menstruation normal? Jesus.

  187. ellen
    ellen September 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm |

    Wow this post has obviously triggered folks in a ton of ways! I mostly agree with the article. I find it interesting that so many people still find blood gross. The only difference between blood and spunk is that blood stains darker. Objectively, they are equally “gross” (or equally natural!), and yet a man expects a woman to drink up his semen any time of month.

    Secondly I think people shouldn’t give the writer such a hard time for having a sexual preference! Like she said, you have the right to like what you like–no is promoting non-consensual sex here! However, it is perfectly acceptable to reject partners on the basis of being into different things. If you are into BDSM and your partner isn’t, you aren’t going to force them into it, but you have the right to stop seeing them if they don’t like having the same kinds of sex as you. AND you have the right to combine these preferences with context from other encounters and conversations and draw conclusions about the reasons for this persons preference. Once slept with a girl who didn’t want me to talk to her or talk dirty during sex, even saying “you are so sexy” was too much for her. From this and other conversations I concluded that she was sort of uptight and uncomfortable with sexuality in general, and thus I stopped sleeping with her. It was her right to express her preferences, and my right to decide that her preferences made us incompatible.

  188. anna
    anna September 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Alice:
    In all fairness, I’ve heard a lot of women say that they think sex during their period is disgusting or at least a little icky too. A lot of people find most body fluids to be pretty gross, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of contempt for the female body, but for body functions in general.

    what? women are perfectly capable of misogyny. we spend our whole lives hearing it, no surprise if we internalize it and agree that the vag is nasty.

  189. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse September 3, 2011 at 6:15 pm |

    So, maybe instead of whining “how dare you dare you discuss an issue affecting cis/hetero women from a perspective of a cis/hetero woman on a feminist blog!” it might’ve been just a wee bit more constructive to say “interesting perspective; but this is how I experience this as a trans/queer/lesbian/menopausal/etc. woman”? That would’ve been adding to the discussion and opening it up to different perspectives, instead of silencing cis/hetero women and shaming them for trying to center their experience. I’m just sayin’.

  190. bpbetsy
    bpbetsy September 3, 2011 at 6:50 pm |

    “As far as the heteronormativity accusations go, this dyke can assure everyone that wishing to be included in EVERY SINGLE POST, even when that would add nothing to the discussion, is far from a lesbian universal. Stop trying to speak for me, for god’s sake. You all look like pearl-clutching dorks and your affected outrage is embarrassing.”

    igglanova – Thank-you, from another lesbian. There are tons of feminist issues relating to heterosex that aren’t relevant to me. But I recognize that the vast majority of women on the planet sleep with men, and I have zero interest in telling straight/bi feminists to STFU about issues that are significant to their bodies and lives.

  191. Kylie
    Kylie September 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

    MOST dudes who are grossed out by period sex are informed by misogyny, they’re not dudes who just prefer other kinds of sex. I don’t think there is an exact parallel between partners who just don’t prefer bdsm and partners who just don’t prefer period sex. Every person has experienced blood, and blood oozing out of their bodies, vaginas or otherwise. Not every person has experienced jizz spewing from their dick. Yet men expect women to drink it like kool aid, a substance that is entirely foreign to women’s bodies. You’d think that blood wouldn’t be as big of a deal because we’ve all seen/touched/smelled/tasted? it. That being said, there has to be some type of gynophobia/misogyny going on because blood on its own is alright, but these men run when a vagina is added to the mix.
    For the record, I haven’t had better sex than when I’m on my period. So if you’re one of those period blood/woman hating types, you’re out.

  192. human
    human September 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm |

    Interesting discussion. Some people have brought up the issue about “well what if women find semen gross?” Here’s my take on that as a cis straight woman: I do find semen gross (mainly because it tastes awful and kind of reminds me of snot). BUT, I would never say to a partner that I think his semen is gross, or behave as though I am grossed out by it, because that would be really rude! And I think it’s important not to be rude to your sexual partners.

    This does mean that certain activities are off limits. In particular, I can’t swallow because I physically cannot swallow liquids that taste bad to me without puking. This is not specific to semen: if I get a bad cough I have to go to the doctor and get a prescription for these cough pills because I cannot use cough syrup. I also would not allow a partner to come on my face because that could never feel like anything but an act of misogynistic contempt to me, and I could not bear that. So actually, it’s less about my aesthetic feelings on the subject of semen, and more about how that particular act is coded in our culture.

    But as for other stuff that involves getting semen on my hands, maybe a little in my mouth, on other parts of my body — even though it’s kind of gross — well, for fuck’s sake (literally), I just had to get over that. Because there’s no way you can treat someone’s body fluids produced during sex as though they are ickity-gross-disgusting without treating that person as though they are ickity-gross-disgusting too. And if you’re fucking someone, presumably you either care about them if they’re your partner, or if it’s more casual you (ideally) have basic human respect for them – and so you shouldn’t treat them as though they’re ickity-gross-disgusting.

    This doesn’t really seem as complicated as people want to make it. (I was going to say it’s not that hard, but it’s not necessarily EASY to get over finding something gross.) In this case though it’s necessary to do that work because it’s about basic respect. There is a big difference between “I prefer this act to that other act [because I don’t find semen/period blood appealing]” and “Ew GROSS! Semen/period blood, get it away!”

    That is all.

  193. Sunatic
    Sunatic September 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm |

    anna: what?women are perfectly capable of misogyny.we spend our whole lives hearing it, no surprise if we internalize it and agree that the vag is nasty.

    But not all women (here’s one) find menses icky because of internalized misogyny. Several other reasons have already been mentioned, such as being squicked out by blood or bodily fluids in general. For me, the ickyness for menstrual blood comes from its smell – I personally find it unpleasant, and I have a very sharp sense of smell. It also has a very different consistency than other blood. Does it make me a self-hating anti-feminist that I prefer my menses to go into the pad and into the trash, rather than all over my hands?

  194. zuzu
    zuzu September 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm |

    igglanova: And…we’re really having a shit fit because Jill called menstruation normal? Jesus.

    New in town?

  195. JP
    JP September 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm |

    Jill: Are you seriously arguing that it’s incorrect to call menstruation a normal bodily function just because every single person on the planet doesn’t menstruate?

    As philosophers who think about biology and disability have very convincingly demonstrated, the notion of “normal bodily function” has no legitimate basis in biological science (e.g. it does not appear at all in evolutionary theory; cf. http://www.uhh.hawaii.edu/%7Eronald/pubs/2000-Against-Normal-Function.pdf). So, yes, one can very seriously argue that it’s incorrect to call menstruation – or anything at all – a normal bodily function if one intends thereby to be making claims about biological reality, because “normal bodily function” does not correspond to any real biological category, or even to any category standardly used by biological science in its current, imperfect state.

    Of course, one can perfectly correctly use “normal bodily function” to indicate some class of biological phenomena that have been singled out for socially constructed reasons. But any such correct use of “normal bodily function” does not carry the weight of justification you are trying to put on it.

    (N.b. I am a working evolutionary biologist and I can report that the philosophers’ diagnosis that “normal function” plays no role evolutionary biology is entirely accurate.)

  196. JP
    JP September 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm |

    igglanova: And…we’re really having a shit fit because Jill called menstruation normal? Jesus.

    See my response to Jill, above, for reasons why the use of “normal” is questionable (and the excellent paper I’ll link to again: http://www.uhh.hawaii.edu/%7Eronald/pubs/2000-Against-Normal-Function.pdf). This is hardly a “shit fit.”

  197. Brett K
    Brett K September 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm |

    Well. . .:
    @Brett

    Semen is not a once a month waste product.That’s kind of the key difference, here.You can’t apply the same standards to menses as to semen.One will happen every time the male orgasms (under normal circumstances), and the other happens once a month as the uterus sheds and disposes of what is now waste.

    So menstrual blood and semen are not anywhere remotely similar.

    Yeah, but “once a month” doesn’t mean “once a month for a couple of seconds”, it means “approximately one-fifth to one-quarter of the time, for about 40 years”. I don’t have a problem with people who don’t want to, say, taste menstrual blood, or get it all over the place, but refusing any kind of contact with a vagina (even when a tampon/cup is involved) because menstrual blood is just that gross? Not cool. That’s basically saying that my body is disgusting and unfuckable 1/4 of the time, and that’s pretty misogynistic.

    BTW, Well, you are the one who brought up the semen/menstrual blood comparison, so it’s pretty disingenuous to suddenly say that it’s a bad analogy because menstrual blood is so much grosser. Personally, I think they’re both a bit gross, but I understand that, what with both being integral to the reproductive process, they will probably show up during sex every once in a while, and that’s okay.

  198. igglanova
    igglanova September 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm |

    Hah! Not really, though. I should be used to it by now, but I never manage to keep my patience with people’s fondness for occlusion in the name of minimizing offense. I guess it feels almost like you actually improved someone’s life or something.

  199. James
    James September 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm |

    I don’t really understand this logic you’re using. There are plenty of things that are ‘natural’ and perfectly normal for a healthy body, like spit, snot, cum, sweat, blood, poop, pee, etc. That doesn’t mean they are pleasent to have all over you or anyone else. I find it silly to say that not enjoying having someone elses bodily fluids over your cock means you haet whimminz. I wouldn’t call a woman names because she doesn’t want my cum in or on her, and I believe that neither should you. Though that isn’t to say that you should have to deal with sexuality that isn’t your thing, since you gotta look out for #1, ya know?

    Also, you gotta remember that someone’s dick is special compared to the rest of their body, kinda like eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. Those areas are the areas where a lot of people DON’T want blood (or other bodily stuff) ;on where as the rest of your body is just a matter of a napkin.

    I can agree that it is unreasonable to not even try it.

    TL;DR I disagree that not wanting blood on your dick = womenz haeter

  200. LC
    LC September 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm |

    Jill: Menstruation is a normal vagina function; menopause is a normal bodily function; etc etc. That doesn’t mean “all normal vaginas menstruate” or “all normal bodies go into menopause;” it means “menstruation is normal” and “menopause is normal.” Normal doesn’t mean universal. Are you seriously arguing that it’s incorrect to call menstruation a normal bodily function just because every single person on the planet doesn’t menstruate?

    This sounds like a “normal” vs “normative” vs “norm” issue.

  201. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 3, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    “This is exactly the problem. Calling menstruation a “normal vagina function” means you’re calling non-menstruating vaginas “abnormal.” That’s wrong. In fact, any time you’re using the word “normal” in the context of bodies, you’re probably marginalizing some group of people.”

    No. Shitting is a perfectly natural bodily function, and the fact that I am not shitting right now does not mean that my digestion and/or ass are abnormal. Hair turning grey is perfectly natural, but it is also perfectly natural for hair not to be grey on young people. If someone was to say “it’s natural for young people to have non-grey hair” that would not be a result of internalised ageism, it would just be a statement of fact, even though there are exceptions. If someone was to say “it’s normal to have acne in adolescence”, that would not be a slur made against the people who don’t have adolescent acne, or against people who have acne as adults, and it would not be calling either group of people abnormal. It’s just a statement about things that a. are possible and part of the body’s standard functioning and b. are common in some cohorts.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that Jill’s intent by saying that it’s normal for vaginas to menstruate was to counter the idea that menstruation is inherantly abnormal, weird, and gross. Which is an idea that’s a. misogynistic and b. actually very common. Ie, “despite what some people seem to think, menstruation is not in fact some strange and disturbing abnormality”.

  202. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 3, 2011 at 11:06 pm |

    “Does this really matter? In context, I think pretty much everyone who is squicked out from period sex would be equally squicked out if it their partner was bleeding through their vagina for non-period related reasons or proposing some type of blood play. The subset of people who dislike period sex, but are okay with other blood related sex acts has got to be pretty small.”

    Actually, no. I’ve never had sex with them personally, but within the kink community I’ve had friends encounter men who are cool with bloodplay but repulsed by period sex, and indeed by periods in general. Which is about the best proof that being disgusted by periods is misogynistic that I can think of, the fact that even men who actively LIKE blood sometimes find menstruation disgusting.

  203. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    @ Anonymouse @ comment 200

    Exactly. I mean, how dare Jill center her own experience on her own blog? How dare anyone center an experience that affects the numerical majority of women in one way or another? This is an outrage and it must stop.

    (I’m actually perfectly open to the conversation expanding to include perspectives that the OP didn’t include because they are not her perspective too. That would be awesome! “How dare you talk about your experience and not include my experience”, however, is not awesome.)

  204. Nahida
    Nahida September 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm |

    PLACENTA! COOKBOOK!

    http://nymag.com/news/features/placenta-2011-8/

    OMG YOU GUYS OMG!!

    /derail

  205. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 3, 2011 at 11:27 pm |

    @human – Yep, that’s it exactly. Honestly, I don’t love semen. It does have a bit of a snot-like consistency (also a bit like badly prepared semolina, which reminds me of unpleasant boarding school meals, which is not a sexy association). But would I ever react to a man’s semen during sex in an “ew that is so disgusting” way? No, because that’s not just rude, it’s unkind, and potentially hurtful. And I don’t want to be unkind to my sexual partners, or to hurt their feelings.

    Which to me is sort of the core of this whole thing. When men react to menstruation in a way that demonstrates that they think it’s disgusting, that can be very hurtful to women. Reacting that way openly, to a person who you love, is unkind. So if a man just doesn’t want sex while a woman is bleeding, and it’s because the sight of blood on his junk scares him or he’s freaked out by blood in a general sense, that’s fine, though possibly inconvenient. But if he reacts to my periods in a way that suggests disgust, I’m dumping him, because I don’t like it when people I’m fucking find my body disgusting, and if he allows that “ew!” response to be really open and direct, especially if he ever does that during sex, he’s not a very nice person, and therefore not someone I want to be sleeping with.

  206. Whitney
    Whitney September 3, 2011 at 11:38 pm |

    I’m not a big fan of period sex- it just makes one fluid too many. Plus I’m always feeling nauseous and crampy when Aunt Flo is in town. I guess I’ve always been fortunate to be with guys who aren’t interested in period sex though.

  207. Brett K
    Brett K September 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm |

    human:
    Interesting discussion.Some people have brought up the issue about “well what if women find semen gross?” Here’s my take on that as a cis straight woman: I do find semen gross (mainly because it tastes awful and kind of reminds me of snot).BUT, I would never say to a partner that I think his semen is gross, or behave as though I am grossed out by it, because that would be really rude! And I think it’s important not to be rude to your sexual partners.

    Yes, this. And everything else you said. Yes x1000.

  208. FYouMudFlaps
    FYouMudFlaps September 4, 2011 at 12:54 am |

    I dunno about this one. I’m a college guy but a staunch feminist, internal dismantler of the patriarchy and future Gender Studies professor. Also I am repulsed by blood or anything related to it; I don’t even kill insects.

  209. elle
    elle September 4, 2011 at 1:01 am |

    Jill: But period sex doesn’t make you more prone to contracting an STI than non-period sex. Yes, blood generally will make you pretty sick if that blood has a disease in it; but that’s not unique to period blood. My issue is with men who specifically think period blood is gross, but don’t have a problem with non-menstrual vaginal lubricant, and aren’t terrified of blood generally.

    Feces comes with a whole host of bacteria that can make you extremely ill. And I think as a general rule, people who are opposed to coming into contact with shit are opposed to coming into contact with all shit, not just shit that comes from a woman.

    I’m a heterosexual women with a blood phobia. The sight of blood doesn’t bother me, but cardio systems in certain contexts freak me out. Also, sometimes blood can. Yet, I am rarely squeamish around period blood.

    If I can deem venal blood as gross, but not period blood, I don’t see why someone else might not think that period blood is grosser than regular blood WITHOUT it being misogynistic. I’m not saying it’s healthy. I KNOW I’m not healthy. But I don’t think it’s flat out misogynistic. Sure, it’s a little misogynistic because only females have true periods, but that’s the reality of biology, and I don’t think it has to be negative.

    My period blood is a lot different than my regular blood. It’s not just blood, either. It’s blood, mucous, epithelial cells, and other miscellany. Also, I smell different. Even with a cup. So, there’s that.

  210. rabbitwink
    rabbitwink September 4, 2011 at 1:15 am |

    Let’s not split hairs: what I meant was exactly what I said- I’m a bit shocked at how cavalier people nowadays seem to be about sex during blood-flow, not to mention that nobody seems to be concerned about protection during non-period sex, lack of testing, prophylaxis. It seems like y’all are more concerned about stains and smells and lubrication than contracting or transmitting potentially fatal diseases you don’t even know if you have or not. What happened in thirty years? HIV still kills, Hep C is rampant. You can also transmit other STD’s, parasites, assorted other rare but extant bloodborne diseases, herpes- good god let’s talk about herpes and HPV… When did people start thinking they were bulletproof?
    I don’t know, maybe losing a lot of friends and coworkers and citizens die to AIDS really struck me as pertinent, but c’mon-

  211. EG
    EG September 4, 2011 at 2:41 am |

    If you bring something to a relationship or sexual event that fills that with the history of oppression…

    You mean, like the entire history of the western world in general and US culture in particular? Yeah, for some crazy reason, I bring that to my relationships and sexual events. Probably some peculiar trauma I suffered in my youth or something.

    If you are talking about hang-ups people have with menstrual blood, I don’t see why only talk about straight people?

    Because it’s not an article about hang-ups people have with menstrual blood. It’s an article about men viewing women’s menstruation with disgust and distaste. It is specifically concerned with the gender issues informing that dynamic. It does not at any point pretend to be about all people’s hang-ups about menstrual blood. It is about this particular dynamic. If you’d like to write about other dynamics, nobody is stopping you. But that is not what this post is about.

    Semen is not a once a month waste product. That’s kind of the key difference, here.

    I really don’t see how that makes a difference at all. Blood is sticky and messy; semen is sticky and messy. Blood can carry diseases; semen can carry diseases. How does one being a “waste product” make any difference? And what does it occurring once a month have to do with anything? Would menstrual blood be less icky if it happened every other day?

    Another interesting fact: the guy who did not care to touch me while I was menstruating was very interested in playing around with my asshole. Clearly, it is not waste products that distressed him.

    Calling menstruation a “normal vagina function” means you’re calling non-menstruating vaginas “abnormal.”

    No. Menstruation is, in fact, a normal vagina function. It is one of the things that most vaginas will do at one point or another, and nothing in particular to write home about, unless you are unlucky. It is very common; it does not signal an unusual state of affairs. That does not mean that all vaginas bleed all the time. Similarly, lactating is a normal breast function. It is one of the things that most breasts will do at one point or another (speaking broadly), and nothing in particular to write home about, unless you are unlucky. It is very common; it does not signal an unusual state of affairs. That does not mean that all breasts lactate all the time.

    Crying is a normal eye function. It is one of the things that most eyes will do at one point or another, and nothing in particular to write home about, unless you are unlucky. It is very common; it does not signal an unusual state of affairs. That does not mean that all eyes cry all the time. Is noting that oppressive to those who cry infrequently, or not at all?

  212. pokethulhu
    pokethulhu September 4, 2011 at 3:42 am |

    Personally, I don’t give a flying fuck if my partner wants to have sex with me while I’m on the rag, so long as it’s not based on the fact that my vagina is disgusting and based on the fact that blood and jelloey bits are gross (which has always been my experience, and I personally find the jelloey bits gross myself). But if it’s a prerequisite that they’re down for it, more power to you!

  213. jessi
    jessi September 4, 2011 at 6:30 am |

    Actually, no. I’ve never had sex with them personally, but within the kink community I’ve had friends encounter men who are cool with bloodplay but repulsed by period sex, and indeed by periods in general. Which is about the best proof that being disgusted by periods is misogynistic that I can think of, the fact that even men who actively LIKE blood sometimes find menstruation disgusting.

    The only thing that proofs is that these individuals have misogynistic views, it doesn’t say anything about all the other men and women who don’t like period sex.

  214. igglanova
    igglanova September 4, 2011 at 6:49 am |

    James, come on, nobody’s actually saying that men who don’t like period sex must hate women. The closest anyone came to saying that is that disgust regarding menstruation is a result of misogynist socialization – and not always, because of caveats x y and z.

    I’ll reiterate some of the simple, sensible suggestions upthread: condoms, dams, tampons. Also, if yer cunt is a little more ripe than you would like, then you can fucking wash it in the shower. People seem to be operating under the assumption of a worst-case bloody death carnage scenario when most women don’t even have especially heavy flows for the entirety of their menses.

    None of this is to say that you simply MUST have period sex if you don’t want it. I accept that some people just don’t care for it, even if you remove sexist squeamishness as a factor. But I have good reason for having my suspicions about people who recoil from something as mundane and ordinary as a bloody vag.

  215. james
    james September 4, 2011 at 7:35 am |

    “Actually, no. I’ve never had sex with them personally, but within the kink community I’ve had friends encounter men who are cool with bloodplay but repulsed by period sex, and indeed by periods in general.”

    I don’t understand how that shows I’m wrong. I said these people would be a very small subset. What you say is that, within a small group of hardcore pervs, you’ve had friends encounter some guys who were fine with it. So, yeah, given that even within a specialist community you’ve only got hearsay evidence of it ever happening – that’s a small subset. For me to be wrong you’ve have to have much more direct evidence.

    I reiterate my point: the vast majority of period who are grossed out by periods would not want their dick going anywhere near normal blood either. I’m amazed that even here there are people who think that’s debatable.

  216. becky
    becky September 4, 2011 at 8:07 am |

    James: “Also, you gotta remember that someone’s dick is special compared to the rest of their body, kinda like eyes, ears, mouth, and nose.”

    ROTFL!!! There it is…: the holy penis, embodying the sixth sense!

  217. Sunatic
    Sunatic September 4, 2011 at 8:41 am |

    CassandraSays:
    Actually, no. I’ve never had sex with them personally, but within the kink community I’ve had friends encounter men who are cool with bloodplay but repulsed by period sex, and indeed by periods in general. Which is about the best proof that being disgusted by periods is misogynistic that I can think of, the fact that even men who actively LIKE blood sometimes find menstruation disgusting.

    But menstrual blood is different from other blood in both smell and texture. It’s not impossible to like blood and dislike menses.

  218. James
    James September 4, 2011 at 9:25 am |

    becky:
    James: “Also, you gotta remember that someone’s dick is special compared to the rest of their body, kinda like eyes, ears, mouth, and nose.”

    ROTFL!!! There it is…: the holy penis, embodying the sixth sense!

    LoL, I’m just saying that I’d rather have dirty hands than dirty southern regions, seeing how people seem to understand not wanting to use your hands but your dick is a-ok. If it helps, just tell guys period sex is awesomesauce sex, a lot more sensation.

  219. Lyndsay
    Lyndsay September 4, 2011 at 9:55 am |

    I see the ambiguity of language. Jill is trying to say something is a “normal function of a vagina” and some people are reading it as “function of a normal vagina”. Bleeding out of a vagina is normal as in we shouldn’t be alarmed if it is happening.

  220. The_L
    The_L September 4, 2011 at 10:29 am |

    I would like to submit one possible problem with period sex:

    Based on my own personal experience, blood is a better lubricant than one would generally expect, especially when mixed with other fluids. By which I mean, it wouldn’t stay in, we had to use our hands to guide it back in, and by the end the whole room looked like the set of a horror movie.

  221. scallywag
    scallywag September 4, 2011 at 10:32 am |

    So essentially as long as we as men anaesthetise the experience we shouldn’t be bothered by it, but to be bothered by it suggests somehow that we are bothered by women? Really? Is this a view many women share? Is that why women make such an effort to get their hair and nails done, cause they reckon we will only want to be with them as long as they accede to some preferred version of ideal femininity that men lob over their heads? And if we digress then we hate them?

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2011/09/tell-me-this-isnt-true-refusing-to-have-sex-with-a-woman-whilst-she-is-on-her-periods-now-makes-you-a-misogynist/

  222. zuzu
    zuzu September 4, 2011 at 10:54 am |

    James: I find it silly to say that not enjoying having someone elses bodily fluids over your cock means you haet whimminz.

    As has been pointed out, though, these aren’t men who don’t like the idea of “someone else’s bodily fluids over [their] cock[s],” because they were more than happy to suggest unprotected sex at other times of the month.

    Blood being not the only bodily fluid secreted by the vagina.

  223. karalynz
    karalynz September 4, 2011 at 10:57 am |

    My husband is in the “universally freaked out by any kind of blood” category and he still is cool with having sex with me while I’m on my period. We just have found it’s best to do it in the dark.

  224. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 4, 2011 at 11:36 am |

    Hmmm. I need to amend my previous comment. I don’t have any quibbles with a guy who isn’t into sex with a woman if she’s having her period. However, anyone who refers to a woman who’s on her period as “a bleeding carcass” is a bag of pus and needs to have his ass dumped immediately. Because really? That’s rude and misogynist. (And if your hookup partner turns out to be in her menses and you aren’t into that, say you aren’t into that. Don’t be an asshole, just say you aren’t into that.)

    I mean, really, anyone who referred to me that way shouldn’t be surprised that he killed the sexy the other 3/4 of the year. Dumbfuck.

  225. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 4, 2011 at 11:59 am |

    Being “grossed out by period blood” is not the same thing as using that as an excuse for not having sex with a partner. Many of us would be grossed out if a female roommate left a note saying “we’re out of milk and peanut butter” written in period blood on the kitchen. That’s not the same as being SO grossed out by it that you can’t wash some of your penis after pleasing your partner and yourself.

  226. Marlene
    Marlene September 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm |

    I’m thinking of those ads that featured various models with milk mustaches.

  227. becky
    becky September 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm |

    @James: ah, so it’s just simple trolling… my mistake for engaging.

  228. Darque
    Darque September 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm |

    Fat Steve:
    Being “grossed out by period blood” is not the same thing as using that as an excuse for not having sex with a partner. Many of us would be grossed out if a female roommate left a note saying “we’re out of milk and peanut butter” written in period blood on the kitchen. That’s not the same as being SO grossed out by it that you can’t wash some of your penis after pleasing your partner and yourself.

    I’m sorry Fat Steve. I didn’t realize that you really needed an “excuse” not to have sex with someone.

  229. EG
    EG September 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    Holly posted this, but in another thread, but I think that it’s mean to be here:

    Look, bottom line: I’m having a hard time imagining some guy being all “Hey, sweetie, your period blood grosses me out so much that I can’t touch it with my finger, but also? I’m totally hard for you right now, hot lips!”

    You may be having a hard time imagining it, but I have lived it. It happens. It is not uncommon.

    A few decades ago, it was not uncommon for straight men to consider going down on a woman “gross.” But they still got hard and wanted to stick their dicks in. That has changed. Fortunately.

  230. LC
    LC September 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    Lyndsay: I see the ambiguity of language. Jill is trying to say something is a “normal function of a vagina” and some people are reading it as “function of a normal vagina”. Bleeding out of a vagina is normal as in we shouldn’t be alarmed if it is happening.

    As I said: Norm, normal, normative — not all the same thing.

    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/07/08/norms-normality-and-normativity/

  231. J.Go
    J.Go September 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    Personally, I disagree. I think there’s a difference between guys who think a period/female anatomy is gross, and guys who think having sex while on one’s period is gross. Do I want to date someone who thinks I’m inherently “unclean” for 6 days every 28? Fuck no. I think menstruation is fine and dandy… and yet I still don’t want to have sex while I’m on my period. Just not how I roll.

    Ditto on the equating guys who shy from period sex with guys who think oral is gross (on women). I’ve just had examples where that’s not the case.

    Still, to each their own. Like Dan Savage says, everyone has a “price of admission” (crass, but true). So if you don’t want to be with someone who won’t have period sex, whatever floats your boat.

  232. Cherry Soda
    Cherry Soda September 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

    “So essentially as long as we as men anaesthetise the experience we shouldn’t be bothered by it, but to be bothered by it suggests somehow that we are bothered by women? Really? Is this a view many women share?”

    NO!

    Globally this is not an issue. Its a post-modern western privelege concern.

  233. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines September 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    Yes, I can’t say I found this post anymore cheering then the sort which turn up on certain other feminist blogs saying that blow jobs or BDSM are the frown.

    There’s something about the whole oversharing culture of comparing sex lives in the same way we compare jobs or cars that’s more then a little depressing, but that’s faaaar beyond the realms of this post.

    Anonoregonian:
    I must be getting old. I remember a time when I could jump right into one of these debates. Now I just cringe reading the OP and think “how the hell is this any of your damn business?” It really isn’t anyone’s business whether someone is comfortable with certain sex acts at whatever times. MYOB, for crying out loud.

  234. Violet
    Violet September 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    “I’ll reiterate some of the simple, sensible suggestions upthread: condoms, dams, tampons. Also, if yer cunt is a little more ripe than you would like, then you can fucking wash it in the shower. People seem to be operating under the assumption of a worst-case bloody death carnage scenario when most women don’t even have especially heavy flows for the entirety of their menses.
    None of this is to say that you simply MUST have period sex if you don’t want it. I accept that some people just don’t care for it, even if you remove sexist squeamishness as a factor. But I have good reason for having my suspicions about people who recoil from something as mundane and ordinary as a bloody vag.”

    And as the owner of an occasionally bloody vag, I have good reasons for being suspicious of someone who regards “no” as just an excuse for a list of reasons about why it should be “yes”, with a hint at the end about there being something “wrong” with people who say “no”. Is feeling in pain/nauseous/tired and completely unhorny not sufficient excuse for opting out of 24/7 fuckability for a day or so? Preferably without being patronised by someone who (so very generously!) “accepts” that maybe some people don’t want to have sex at that time.

  235. Holly
    Holly September 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

    EG: You may be having a hard time imagining it, but I have lived it. It happens. It is not uncommon.
    A few decades ago, it was not uncommon for straight men to consider going down on a woman “gross.” But they still got hard and wanted to stick their dicks in. That has changed. Fortunately.

    Yeah, there was a whole Firefox act-up. Woot. But anyway, I’m sure that there are some men out there who don’t have a problem with it. But me? If I don’t want to touch it with my hand, I definitely don’t want it near my genitals. So the idea that not touching period blood is totally reasonable, but not touching it with a penis (even a condom covered penis, because I don’t know about your condoms, but the ones I buy are really thin, somewhat transparent, totally breakable barriers, not a panic room around a penis) is so unreasonable as to be misogynistic makes no sense. I could actually see the logic of being so grossed out that you couldn’t even touch it with your hands, much less your penis as being misogynistic (I wouldn’t agree, but I could see it). But this? Not so much.

  236. Tamen
    Tamen September 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    Today I learned that although I respect a woman’s right to say she won’t do facials or don’t swallow or any other sex act without vilifying her for that I shouldn’t expect the same in return.

  237. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm |

    I’d actually be a lot more confused and not happy about a man who refused to touch me with his fingers while I was bleeding than one who didn’t want to fuck. Hands are easy to wash, you know? That seems like a much more visceral “no, it’s gross” reaction than not wanting penetration.

  238. Lise
    Lise September 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm |

    I’m the owner of a vagina and I don’t like period sex. It feels gross, the idea of it’s gross, it -looks- gross after the fact… it’s just 18 pounds of do not want bursting out of a 10 pound bag for me. Does that make me a misogynist? No. I don’t see how a guy having that opinion suddenly becomes one, either.

  239. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

    Darque: I’m sorry Fat Steve. I didn’t realize that you really needed an “excuse” not to have sex with someone.

    I’m sorry Darque, I didn’t say anyone ‘needed’ an excuse not to have sex with someone.

    Had you read the original article, rather than just coming here to be a douchy derailer, you would see that the article quoted described a man who used being grossed out by period blood as an excuse not to sleep with someone.

  240. figleaf
    figleaf September 4, 2011 at 8:17 pm |

    CassandraSays #212: “within the kink community I’ve had friends encounter men who are cool with bloodplay but repulsed by period sex, and indeed by periods in general. Which is about the best proof that being disgusted by periods is misogynistic that I can think of, the fact that even men who actively LIKE blood sometimes find menstruation disgusting.”

    I love that part because it clearly differentiates what Jill and Kat George were talking about from numerous other people who might not care for menstrual sex either.

    figleaf

  241. Maeve
    Maeve September 4, 2011 at 8:18 pm |

    To reframe this, if men went through menses instead of women, ie. they bled from their penis’ as we women do from our vaginas, I would not want to have intercourse with them during their menses. I would find it gross. Would that make me a “man hater”?! Where I am going with this is, it is not enough to say that a man is a misogynist simply because he finds the idea of having sex with her while she is bleeding unattractive. Were he to say demeaning things to her about her bleeding, yep, that could be considered misogynist. Sex, besides being a consensual act, also involves negotiations between the two people. If one party doesn’t agree, they should be able to stop it unequivocally. If you must have sex on your period and your current partner doesn’t want to, then perhaps you should get a new one. This article comes off as sour grapes.

  242. Daol
    Daol September 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm |

    Maybe they’re just kinda freaked out about having their penis covered in blood. Not as a hygiene issue, but perhaps more of a squeamishness thing.

  243. Paul
    Paul September 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm |

    Fat Steve: I’m sorry Darque, I didn’t say anyone ‘needed’ an excuse not to have sex with someone.Had you read the original article, rather than just coming here to be a douchy derailer, you would see that the article quoted described a man who used being grossed out by period blood as an excuse not to sleep with someone.

    First of all, I don’t see how what Darque said was derailing… at all, because it was still completely on topic. (Hint: Disagreeing with you =/= derailing) And second of all, your entire point seems to be that a woman being on her period is an invalid excuse not to sleep with her, which would suggest that there is such a thing as a valid excuse not to sleep with someone, which would in turn suggest that an excuse not to sleep with someone is in fact neccessary.

    But hey, apologies if taking your statements to their logical conclusions is a “douchey” thing to do.

  244. MadGastronomer
    MadGastronomer September 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm |

    This whole thing is just disgraceful. People are actually insisting that there is no erasure of anybody because they were erased in the first post. People are trying to silence any mention of the silencing. This is some shitty damn feminism, erasing women, and trying to define what women are, while insisting that that’s not what’s going on at all. This is why Feministe’s reputation has gone so far downhill.

    And again, I present to all you erasing, silencing assholes the cases of the trans men who still menstruate, whose male partners display exactly the kind of misogyny you’re talking about — against people who aren’t women, no less, just because they have something in common with women — by refusing to have sex during the trans man’s period. How can you continue to insist that this is only a cis het couple problem? How can you continue to erase people affected by precisely what you’re talking about, by insisting they can’t possibly be affected by it? What in the fuck is wrong with you assbiscuits? And how can you deny that by doing so, you are also being heteronormative and cisnormative. Are you really this blinkered by your own self-righteous bullshit?

    There are, of course, all kinds of other people you’re erasing and silencing, and all kinds of other ways you’re being heteronormative and cisnormative, but this one is the most blatant, because it’s the exact same situation, except that both partners are men.

    Can you maybe let us into the clubhouse long enough to discuss the topic?

  245. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 4, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    @figleaf

    What’s interesting is that Jill has stated clearly that she’s not talking about men who’re just freaked out by blood in general, but how many comments going “but what about guys who just can’t deal with blood in a general sense? how dare you shame them?” have we had so far?

    People need to learn to read. When people who otherwise seem intelligent are mysteriously unable to parse the nuances in situations like this, I begin to suspect not so much poor reading comprehension as defensiveness and refusal to engage with what’s actually being said.

  246. Darque
    Darque September 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    Fat Steve:
    Being “grossed out by period blood” is not the same thing as using that as an excuse for not having sex with a partner. Many of us would be grossed out if a female roommate left a note saying “we’re out of milk and peanut butter” written in period blood on the kitchen. That’s not the same as being SO grossed out by it that you can’t wash some of your penis after pleasing your partner and yourself.

    Your words, not mine.

  247. igglanova
    igglanova September 4, 2011 at 11:42 pm |

    Violet:
    And as the owner of an occasionally bloody vag, I have good reasons for being suspicious of someone who regards “no” as just an excuse for a list of reasons about why it should be “yes”, with a hint at the end about there being something “wrong” with people who say “no”.Is feeling in pain/nauseous/tired and completely unhorny not sufficient excuse for opting out of 24/7 fuckability for a day or so? Preferably without being patronised by someone who (so very generously!) “accepts” that maybe some people don’t want to have sex at that time.

    Where the fuck are you getting this from my comment? Am I broadcasting invisible contempt-rays for women who experience cramps and backwards-masked pro-male-rape slogans? Jesus. Yeah, I do think some blanket refusals to do a sexual activity are stupid because, newsflash, everyone has opinions about this shit. I bet you have at least one eye-rolling reaction to somebody’s notions of sexual taboo in there somewhere. That doesn’t come close to feeling disdain for consent. In fact I don’t know why this touchiness about consent (see ‘someone who regards “no” as just an excuse for a list of reasons about why it should be “yes”’) is even entering into the discussion. Yes, OBVIOUSLY thinking horror at menstruation has a sexist element means that forcing men to have sex with bleeding vaginas is the way to go. OBVIOUSLY I must mean that women who feel crampy, uncomfortable, and the furthest possible state from horny should force themselves to have period sex for my benefit.

    And I get this hair-trigger reaction even after trying my best to outline how moderate my position is. I have made no blanket judgements on people who still don’t want to go with the flow, so to speak. Should I even bother trying to have an opinion here? Should I even fucking bother with restraining myself from making screaming asshole judgements at people in all caps, since that’s how any disagreement here is going to be taken anyway?

  248. EG
    EG September 4, 2011 at 11:45 pm |

    So the idea that not touching period blood is totally reasonable, but not touching it with a penis (even a condom covered penis, because I don’t know about your condoms, but the ones I buy are really thin, somewhat transparent, totally breakable barriers, not a panic room around a penis) is so unreasonable as to be misogynistic makes no sense.

    I haven’t had a condom break on me in…God…well over 10 years. I could just be lucky, but no, I don’t really think of them as breakable.

    Holly, the issue I have experienced is that the very same man who wanted to come on my boobs and had no problem at all sticking his dick in me when I was menstruating so he could get off (without a condom, no less), refused to touch my cunt with his hands, because that would be gross and “messy.” What that means is that the stuff that gets him off is fine, but the stuff that gets me off is just too gross to do when my body is doing a normal, overwhelmingly female, function. How is that not misogynistic?

  249. EG
    EG September 5, 2011 at 12:31 am |

    How can you continue to insist that this is only a cis het couple problem?

    Nobody has insisted that. What people, including myself, have said, is that this article is about this particular dynamic as it occurs between men and women in hetero relationships. I really don’t see how discussing a problem that straight cis women often encounter problems with misogyny in their relationships with men “silences” anybody. What if Jill makes a post about the way wealthy abusive men use financial resources to control their wives? Would that be “silencing” women who were controlled by their abusive wealthy female partners? Or “silencing” women who were controlled by abusive working-class or poor partners? Or “silencing” transmen who were controlled by abusive wealthy partners? Or would it just be a post about a particular situation that does not even pretend that it addresses all possible aspects of the experience of relationship abuse?

    This post does not pretend to address all issues regarding sexuality and menstruation. That would a) be impossible and b) take up at least a hundred pages.

    Can you maybe let us into the clubhouse long enough to discuss the topic?

    So who the fuck is keeping you out? Have your comments been deleted? Has somebody said “Shut it, nobody cares about your experience with sex and menstruation?” Go ahead and discuss. All I’ve seen is impatience with the post being called “heteronormative” etc. But talking about how heteronormative this post is for not discussing your situation is not actually the same damn thing as discussing your situation.

  250. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 5, 2011 at 12:35 am |

    I have been sexually active for 22 years and have never had a condom break. So yeah, not really seeing that as a significant issue in terms of this particular conversation.

    Also, agreed with igglanova – it’s rather interesting how many people are interpreting this conversation as “you must have sex during your period even if you are a woman who doesn’t like the idea at all, even if you don’t want to because you usually feel too ill to have a libido”. It’s interesting because that’s not what Jill said, or what anyone else said for that matter.

    It’s particularly interesting that the same pattern is repeating with the issue of men who’re just freaked out by blood in general, even though, again, it’s been clearly specified multiple times that no one was ever suggesting that men who can’t deal with blood in general should be expected to deal with it in this particular case.

    (That would go for women who don’t like sex during their period because they’re freaked out by blood, too. Also, kind of OT a bit, but I’ve always wondered how women who’re really blood phobic deal with menstruation in general – seems like that would be very stressful, so I’m curious what sort of work-arounds people might come up with.)

  251. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 5, 2011 at 12:36 am |

    Also, why is every single comment I make on moderation? That wasn’t the case a couple of weeks ago.

  252. Matt
    Matt September 5, 2011 at 1:00 am |

    Semen is not analogous to menstrual blood. It it is analogous to vaginal secretions. Although you could argue about the definition or context of analogous if you wanted.
    I would probably not want to have sex with someone on their period. Is that some sort of Freudian insight into my character? Not wanting to have sex with someone on their period might have a small correlation to misogyny. It might also have a correlation to dozens of other things. Like not liking the sight of blood on your penis. If you haven’t woken up to bloody red stained sheets with dried blood in/on/near the opening of your penis, I am not concerned about your opinion.
    You can dump someone who won’t have period sex. That falls under the “you can dump someone at any time for any reason rule.” But just because you don’t have sexual compatibility with someone doesn’t make them a terrible person. I know a hell of a lot of misogynists who are down for period sex, or any sex, any time, because they may hate women but they sure don’t hate vaginas.
    Guys, if you don’t want to have period sex, here is your pass on assholishness. People may still think you are an asshole, but that doesn’t make them right.

  253. Natalia
    Natalia September 5, 2011 at 1:58 am |

    MadGastronomer: People are trying to silence any mention of the silencing.

    We must silence the silencers of the silencing!

    But seriously…

    How can you continue to erase people affected by precisely what you’re talking about, by insisting they can’t possibly be affected by it?

    No, that is not what happened. What happened is that the post addressed a fairly specific demographic. That, in itself, is neither erasing nor silencing – as has been pointed out.

    No one is insisting that people outside said demographic “can’t possibly be affected” by what’s being discussed in the original post.

    Can you maybe let us into the clubhouse long enough to discuss the topic?

    And that’s precisely what the comments section is for, imho. And more posts riffing on this. Obviously, this is a bigger issue than the original post implied.

    But you’re not going to get posts that automatically address everyone’s concerns at the outset. That’s just not how it works. Attempting to do so would only result in appropriation. At best, it would involve mere lip-service.

    I mean, I’m married, and Jill obviously hasn’t mentioned how this can affect a marriage. Should people divorce over something like this? Goddamit, Jill, WHY have you implied that this is only an issue for people who are dating?!?!?!?!

    … But does anyone really want a writer who doesn’t at all share one’s experience to speak for them? That way, trouble lies.

  254. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 5, 2011 at 2:34 am |

    People seem to be operating under the assumption of a worst-case bloody death carnage scenario when most women don’t even have especially heavy flows for the entirety of their menses.

    No bloody death carnage? So… do you usually not sacrifice a goat over your crotch immediately before sex?

  255. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 5, 2011 at 2:39 am |

    This is some shitty damn feminism, erasing women, and trying to define what women are, while insisting that that’s not what’s going on at all.

    And again, I present to all you erasing, silencing assholes the cases of the trans men who still menstruate, whose male partners display exactly the kind of misogyny you’re talking about — against people who aren’t women, no less, just because they have something in common with women — by refusing to have sex during the trans man’s period.

    So we’re erasing women… by not specifically mentioning trans men who menstruate? Trans men aren’t women.

    But more to the point:

    People are trying to silence any mention of the silencing.

    Yo, dawg! I heard you like silencing, so we silently silenced any mention of silencing! SILENCEPTION.

  256. Holly
    Holly September 5, 2011 at 4:01 am |

    EG: I haven’t had a condom break on me in…God…well over 10 years.I could just be lucky, but no, I don’t really think of them as breakable.

    Holly, the issue I have experienced is that the very same man who wanted to come on my boobs and had no problem at all sticking his dick in me when I was menstruating so he could get off (without a condom, no less), refused to touch my cunt with his hands, because that would be gross and “messy.”What that means is that the stuff that gets him off is fine, but the stuff that gets me off is just too gross to do when my body is doing a normal, overwhelmingly female, function.How is that not misogynistic?

    Well, condoms do break. The breakage rate is around 2.3%. So it does sound like you are lucky. Yay for you, but there is a reason people are advised to not use condoms as their only method of birth control.

    That does sound misogynistic, when he has no issue with getting his orgasm met but god forbid you get yours. But, that is not what the post said. It didn’t say that when combined with other misogyny, it becomes misogynistic. Instead, it said that unless you’re someone who pretty much faints upon the sight of any blood, any man who dislikes period blood and sex is misogynistic, and has a feminist duty to suck it up. I have no problem buying into the idea that there are some, even many, men who do hate period blood out of misogyny. What I object to is the painting of everyone who dislikes period sex with the same brush; I feel that it makes us no better than them. And, of course, I object to the idea that saying “no” just isn’t good enough. There are many ways the post could have addressed traditional patriarchal notions towards period sex without resorting to coercion, sweeping generalizations, and promises of porno sex. But it didn’t. Calls for a great deal more nuance and understanding in our discussions is not the same as saying that every single bit of the argument is flat-out wrong.

  257. Nonny
    Nonny September 5, 2011 at 6:32 am |

    Okay, so for disclosure, I’m pansexual and have been with both women and men.

    I personally don’t mind period sex. I don’t expect someone to go down on me, and I use a tampon if they do, but *cough* as I bled for 4-6wks on end with a short break before my PCOS was diagnosed and treated, I basically had to learn to be okay with period sex on the receiving end.

    On the giving end… I have some trouble with it sometimes because of scent. I have really bad nausea issues due to my various health conditions and strong body odors can make me retch. It’s not that I don’t want to go down on my gf when she’s having her period; it’s that sometimes, I literally can’t. (Same deal when a girl I’m involved with was taking fenugreek. That stuff reeks and gets into all your sweat glands.)

    And frankly, a lot of the women I’ve been with have not been comfortable with period sex themselves. I have heard so many times, that they feel gross and disgusting and unsexy during their period, and they just don’t want sex because of how the hormonal rush makes them feel.

    On one hand, I do have an issue with guys who are all “ew, that’s gross” about women’s bodies in general, but I also feel hypocritical saying it’s okay for women to feel that way but not for women to. Let’s face it, this culture has a LOT of issues with bodily functions and a lot of things are considered “gross” that probably shouldn’t be.

    Nobody has to put up with it, sure, but I think it’s a more complicated issue than simply misogyny.

  258. Joanna
    Joanna September 5, 2011 at 7:42 am |

    Jill:
    Feces is waste, though. Blood is not. And feces will make you pretty darn sick if you come into too much contact with it.

    And as I said in the post, if you’re squicked out by blood generally, that’s a different story. I’m talking about being grossed out by period blood specifically.

    Period blood IS a waste product!It is not just regular blood, it is also the unneeded uterine lining being expelled from the body. And the fact that it is being expelled as unneeded would make it waste, wouldn’t it.

    Sorry but if a man I was with did not want to have sex on my period I would not consider him averse to a normally functioning vagina. If he enjoys licking it, rubbing it and fucking it when it isn’t bleeding, he enjoys my vagina. He just doesn’t enjoy the mess that comes with period sex, and frankly, I don’t either.

  259. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 5, 2011 at 8:25 am |

    Maeve: To reframe this, if men went through menses instead of women, ie. they bled from their penis’ as we women do from our vaginas, I would not want to have intercourse with them during their menses. I would find it gross. Would that make me a “man hater”?!

    Hahahaha ewww.

  260. EG
    EG September 5, 2011 at 9:00 am |

    To reframe this, if men went through menses instead of women, ie. they bled from their penis’ as we women do from our vaginas, I would not want to have intercourse with them during their menses. I would find it gross. Would that make me a “man hater”?

    Damn. If men went through menses, there would be a goddamn celebration every fucking time some dude got his period; it would be a prerequisite for the priesthood (after all, if you don’t bleed, how can you hope to understand the suffering of Jesus?) (and I tip my hat to Gloria Steinem, here). We wouldn’t even be talking about whether or not it was gross to have sex with men during their periods, because the cultural discourse would valorize menstruation.

  261. EG
    EG September 5, 2011 at 9:19 am |

    The breakage rate is around 2.3%. So it does sound like you are lucky. Yay for you

    2.3% is pretty damn low. It doesn’t sound to me like I’m that lucky. The failure rate for hormonal birth control is something like 1%.

    What I object to is the painting of everyone who dislikes period sex with the same brush; I feel that it makes us no better than them. And, of course, I object to the idea that saying “no” just isn’t good enough.

    That may be, and that isn’t the part of your comment I took issue with. The part I took issue with is where you said that you had a hard time imagining that a guy would be revolted by the idea of menstruation and yet still be hard for the menstruating woman. As I’ve noted, I have unfortunate evidence to the contrary.

    But who said that saying “no” isn’t good enough? Objecting to someone’s reasons for saying “no” in an critical essay without naming names is not the same thing as disrespecting an individual’s no or coercing a “yes.”

    If you haven’t woken up to bloody red stained sheets with dried blood in/on/near the opening of your penis, I am not concerned about your opinion.

    It’s true, no woman ever wakes up to blood-stained sheets and dried blood on her genitals. How can we possibly understand your deep trauma and suffering?

  262. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 5, 2011 at 9:29 am |

    These posts are such derails of the thread.

    Look, the author of the post is a straight, hetero, biological female. She’s writing about this as it pertains to her (and others like her), involving straight, hetero, biological males.

    As a few people earlier in the thread have said: If it’s not about you, it’s not about you. It’s not silencing you to not mention you. Nor is it erasure.

    She has every right to talk about this, because it’s something relevant from her life, that she wants to discuss.

    If no one was allowed to discuss anything without mentioning every possible person and situation and gender presentation, and genital configuration, and fully researching every possible perspective from anyone, just to avoid offending anyone, nothing would ever be discussed.

    I’m sorry, but running into someone else’s post and demanding “WHAT ABOUT ME?!” is very similar to that old “What about teh menz?” business.

    If you would like there to be a post about you, for you, specifically to discuss an issue as it pertains to you, no one is stopping you from writing it.

    It’s not “shitty feminism” to discuss an issue important to you without discussing similar issues that affect every single other person in the room.

    MadGastronomer:
    This whole thing is just disgraceful. People are actually insisting that there is no erasure of anybody because they were erased in the first post. People are trying to silence any mention of the silencing. This is some shitty damn feminism, erasing women, and trying to define what women are, while insisting that that’s not what’s going on at all. This is why Feministe’s reputation has gone so far downhill.

    And again, I present to all you erasing, silencing assholes the cases of the trans men who still menstruate, whose male partners display exactly the kind of misogyny you’re talking about — against people who aren’t women, no less, just because they have something in common with women — by refusing to have sex during the trans man’s period. How can you continue to insist that this is only a cis het couple problem? How can you continue to erase people affected by precisely what you’re talking about, by insisting they can’t possibly be affected by it? What in the fuck is wrong with you assbiscuits? And how can you deny that by doing so, you are also being heteronormative and cisnormative. Are you really this blinkered by your own self-righteous bullshit?

    There are, of course, all kinds of other people you’re erasing and silencing, and all kinds of other ways you’re being heteronormative and cisnormative, but this one is the most blatant, because it’s the exact same situation, except that both partners are men.

    Can you maybe let us into the clubhouse long enough to discuss the topic?

  263. raya
    raya September 5, 2011 at 10:36 am |

    EG: Or would it just be a post about a particular situation that does not even pretend that it addresses all possible aspects of the experience of relationship abuse?

    Natalia: What happened is that the post addressed a fairly specific demographic. That, in itself, is neither erasing nor silencing – as has been pointed out.

    I do think the post tries to be inclusive. At least to me, using terms like ‘people with uteruses’, ‘vagina-free’ instead of ‘women’ and ‘men’ do sound a lot like it’s acknowledged that this topic isn’t exclusively relevant to cis women in hetero relationships.

    Well. . .:
    As a few people earlier in the thread have said:If it’s not about you, it’s not about you.It’s not silencing you to not mention you.Nor is it erasure.

    This is really confusing. On one side, “this isn’t about you if you don’t bleed and identify as female and fuck cis men!!!!”
    And on the other side, in the same comment section, it’s encouraged by some to bring your point of view on that topic and specific problems that come with being not-het and/or not-cis to this discussion. But who wants to start sharing their experiences when half of the people here don’t think they’re important to this topic anyway?

  264. Eraser
    Eraser September 5, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    I definitely agree that no part of the original post or the comment thread is “shitty feminism.” It’s just feminism, period. It’s just “feminism as usual.”

    It’s amazing to see so many mentions of “context”, especially the cultural/social/historical “context” that helps clarify why certain things in relation to “period blood” are misogynistic. It’s amazing because moments later, context means fuck all when someone mentions the fact that, oh, hey, not even the tiniest bit of effort was put into noting women, other than a very specific type of woman that is always, always, always, centered in “feminist” discussions, exist. When it was pointed out that some of phrasing was kind of problematic, not even the tiniest bit of effort was put into saying something as simple as, “Hey, I probably could have done a better job with that. Sorry.”

    Instead, when this was noted, it was met with defensiveness. Dismissiveness. Mockery. Hey, about that “context” thing…

    Feminism has a history of actively silencing us. Of erasing us. Of completely excluding us. So every time feminism goes back to (typically) focusing on the cis, white, middle to upper-middle class experience, without even a head nod to the fact that we exist, it’s kind of hard to stomach because of that that whole concept of “context” that you love to get hung up on, except for those times when it doesn’t aid your argument. Then, suddenly, fuck context.

    I’d point out how problematic it is to compare complaints about the exclusion, othering, erasing, and silencing of trans people, primarily trans women, with “that old ‘What about teh menz?’ business,” you know, because of the “context” and all that jazz, but what’s the point? To watch a few more of you let your inner Mary Daly’s, Janice Raymond’s, Germaine Greer’s, and Julie Bindel’s come out and play?

    Am I kind of pissed off? Absolutely . Because the little things in the original post, and the little things in the comments, they’re all part of a much larger thing. They’re all part of a much larger feminist system of reminding us that only certain types of women really matter. Not every body matter. We’ve got to tow the line and keep privileging certain bodies because they’re the the majority, most common, etc, etc.

    I spend more time fighting for my right to even exist with “feminists” than I do anyone. More than conservatives. More than people with “deep religious objections.” More than with “teh menz.” It’s cis, feminist women that I have to spend the most time arguing that I’m an actual human being with. So when I read this comment thread and I see the responses, I’m torn between anger and just dying inside a little because everyone is eager to remind trans women of their “place.”

    But, again, “context.” Context is why I’m not surprised by the lack of outrage extended on behalf of Jovanie Saldana. Because, she’s one of us. If what happened to her happened to any cis woman, you can bet your ass that it would be plastered all over this site and every other “big” feminist site out there. But there’s no outrage for Jovanie Saldana. There’s no call to action. There’s no outcry for this woman. Because only certain bodies matter.

    When certain feminists are actively pushing for legislation to deny trans women basic human rights? Silence. When they’re crafting proposals for the UN? Silence. Not within “trans community,” of course. Hell, even some corners of the larger “LGBT” community are speaking out. But among “feminists.” Among those valiant souls fighting for the equality of ALL women. Silence.

    It’s that “context” thing again. It’s how the little problematic statements and the little problematic comments are part of a much larger system that’s tripping over itself in eagerness to destroy trans women, especially trans women of color.

    I’ll be shocked if this comment even makes it through, but if it does, go ahead. Get defensive. Get dismissive. Mock me.

  265. igglanova
    igglanova September 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    Also, kind of OT a bit, but I’ve always wondered how women who’re really blood phobic deal with menstruation in general – seems like that would be very stressful, so I’m curious what sort of work-arounds people might come up with.

    I’m somewhat blood-phobic but periods don’t bother me. It’s kind of inconsistent and irrational but hey, what quirks of the psyche aren’t? I conceptualize period blood as a sort of shedding rather than outright bleeding, because menses don’t come from a wound. It’s also similar to the way that my own cuts and scrapes are much easier to bear than someone else’s – I dunno, it makes me feel more like I’m in control of the situation.

  266. igglanova
    igglanova September 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    Bagelsan:

    Yo, dawg! I heard you like silencing, so we silently silenced any mention of silencing! SILENCEPTION.

    I think I just peed.

  267. zuzu
    zuzu September 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    Tamen: Today I learned that although I respect a woman’s right to say she won’t do facials or don’t swallow or any other sex act without vilifying her for that I shouldn’t expect the same in return.

    OH NOES WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ????

  268. zuzu
    zuzu September 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    MadGastronomer: This whole thing is just disgraceful. People are actually insisting that there is no erasure of anybody because they were erased in the first post. People are trying to silence any mention of the silencing. This is some shitty damn feminism, erasing women, and trying to define what women are, while insisting that that’s not what’s going on at all. This is why Feministe’s reputation has gone so far downhill.

    Oh, this is precious. Really. Feministe’s reputation going downhill has a lot to do with what you just wrote, but not in the way you seem to think.

  269. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    I didn’t mean to be confusing.

    The application was to the original post (“If it’s not about you, it’s not about you.”)

    The importance of different views to THIS topic are shaky, at best. I say this because, to use an analogy, if we were having a discussion about the eating of oranges, and someone came in representing the Lemon Eaters Association, telling us we’re erasing all people who eat lemons, would discussing the eating of lemons really be beneficial in a discussion about the eating of oranges?

    (I went with lemons as if I’d gone with apples, apples and oranges are different, lemons and oranges are both citrus, similar, but different.)

    So, are the experiences of a transman who still menstruates valuable in a discussion about heterobio females and heterobio males having (or not having) sex while the heterobio female is on her period?

    I’ll probably get razzed for it, but I’ll go ahead and say “Not so much.”

    Just like in a discussion about that same transman, would the perspective of a straight woman having hetsex on her period be of much value? No, because the topic wasn’t about her or experiences similar to hers, it was about his, and experiences similar to his.

    I think it’s pretty much a silencing tactic, in and of itself, to walk into a thread not about you, and tell people they should instead be talking about you, not what they WERE talking about.

    Or that they can’t talk about that unless they also talk about you, too. It also sets that person up as more important than anyone else in the room, as it were.

    Nobody ever said there wasn’t a place for valid discussions of other things in a similar vein (aaahhh, blood pun), but the best solution for that would be companion posts, not comment derailing.

  270. Daisy
    Daisy September 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    Like a few above, it’s a non-issue for me because I spot for a couple of days and I’m extra horny during those days. I’ve never met or heard of a man who won’t fuck because of a tiny bit of spotting that he wouldn’t even know about anyway. For two to three days I pretty much hemorrhage, and the last thing I ever want to do is have sex. It’s off the table. (however, strangely, the day after my period I am out of control horny). But my SO would definitely be into it if I was. I had to tell him straight out in the beginning; sorry, I don’t do period sex. He was astounded. I have to admit, it may make no sense, but if he was all, eww no way I’m fucking you while you have your period, that’s be a turnoff for me. So ironically, I want him to want to do it, even though i don’t want to and won’t do it. Somehow, this doesn’t bother my SO at all either. Well, it did take me a long time to find him.

    As for the question regarding Hasidics above. do not even get me started. I went to a show where vendors who were interested in selling to my business had booths. I (i guess ignorantly) reached out my hand to shake that of a Hasidic, and he told me he couldn’t do that. For some reason, I asked him, do you shake men’s hands?

    He actually answered “of course”. He saw that I was upset and told me, oh it’s a religious thing. I said, well, if my hands are too dirty to touch, imagine how filthy my money must be. And i walked away from him.

    Misogyny? Not a religion. Misogyny? Also not a culture. I am so FUCK YOU about that. As in, fuck you.

  271. BlackHumor
    BlackHumor September 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

    My opinion on all this:

    Can you break up with someone for not having period sex? Of course, you can break up with anybody for any reason, and especially for not giving you sex you enjoy.

    Are some men that don’t like period sex/blood misogynist? Yes. Especially those guys who refuse to have non-PIV sex during your period, while you aren’t bleeding. The apparent fear that he’ll get contaminated by your period somehow IS definitely misogynist.

    Are all guys who don’t like period sex/blood misogynist? No, and that includes guys into bloodplay. Like many women have pointed out period blood is not chemically the same as normal blood. Someone can consider a bleeding vagina gross for reasons (like smell) that a bleeding anything else isn’t.

    Most guys are #2 rather than #1, as should be clear from the many women saying they find their own periods or their own period blood gross.

  272. Taylor
    Taylor September 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    Well, any kind of vaginal blood reminds me of my assaults, so I would absolutely not want to have sex if I were on my period, nor would I want to have sex with anyone else if they were on their period. It doesn’t mean I think they’re gross, and I don’t think anything is *wrong* with me. I think people have different preferences based on their experiences and it’s reasonable to not want to be triggered in any way during sex.

  273. Matt
    Matt September 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm |

    Kylie:
    MOST dudes who are grossed out by period sex are informed by misogyny, they’re not dudes who just prefer other kinds of sex. I don’t think there is an exact parallel between partners who just don’t prefer bdsm and partners who just don’t prefer period sex. Every person has experienced blood, and blood oozing out of their bodies, vaginas or otherwise. Not every person has experienced jizz spewing from their dick. Yet men expect women to drink it like kool aid, a substance that is entirely foreign to women’s bodies. You’d think that blood wouldn’t be as big of a deal because we’ve all seen/touched/smelled/tasted? it. That being said, there has to be some type of gynophobia/misogyny going on because blood on its own is alright, but these men run when a vagina is added to the mix.
    For the record, I haven’t had better sex than when I’m on my period. So if you’re one of those period blood/woman hating types,you’re out.

    Good job erasing men who don’t expect women to drink their ejaculate like kool-aid, or at all.

    I’d like to thank the people who mentioned blood play.
    If I have to be okay with period sex because blood isn’t icky, even blood with lots of other things in it that aren’t in normal blood, then you should have no issue with me liking blood play, or even something as simple as biting my tongue so that my mouth bleeds while we are making out.
    Also, if a man who has internalized misogyny is an asshole, does that mean that all women who internalize misogyny are assholes?
    Why are men more responsible for internalizing misogyny than women? Have you ever seen a kid viciously beaten for telling his dad that he didn’t want to do something misogynistic? Do you understand that men learn misogyny from their environment just like women do?
    I agree with the poster who said that you are free to dump someone for refusing to have sex with you on your period. Not because you are a bitch or he is an asshole, but because you clearly don’t have sexual compatibility. Neither of you is a bad person. Now maybe he was a misogynist. But not liking period sex is not an accurate indicator of that.

  274. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm |

    Paul: First of all, I don’t see how what Darque said was derailing… at all, because it was still completely on topic. (Hint: Disagreeing with you =/= derailing) And second of all, your entire point seems to be that a woman being on her period is an invalid excuse not to sleep with her, which would suggest that there is such a thing as a valid excuse not to sleep with someone, which would in turn suggest that an excuse not to sleep with someone is in fact neccessary.

    But hey, apologies if taking your statements to their logical conclusions is a “douchey” thing to do.

    That is not my point and that is not a conclusion which is at all logical. I do agree with the ‘douchey’ bit. I never even came close to implying that someone’s sex life is my business.
    All I was pointing out is that the original article was about guys “who don’t want to have period sex” and the only judgement the original article made was that she found the attitude ‘weird. Then in Jill’s post about the piece, she described her experience with one guy who offered up an excuse of “it’s gross.” Shall I repeat that again? She was talking about ONE guy, who OFFERED an excuse, so whether or not I think people need an excuse was never implied or said. She felt that attitude said something about him that she didnt like, so she ended the relationship. Are you demanding that she continue to date him? What the hell is wrong with you? You can’t just read a fucking blog without making nit picky ass-holish comments? No one is giving out any annoying dickhead awards here, so for god’s sake stop embarrassing yourself.

  275. DonnaL
    DonnaL September 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm |

    “a Hasidic”

    I’m no big fan of the Hasidim, but at least take the trouble to get the word right. There’s no such thing as a “Hasidic.” The word not only looks like an adjective, but is one. An individual is a Hasid, the group is the Hasidim.

    And, of course, women aren’t allowed to shake men’s hands either. It goes both ways.

    I was amused, vaguely speaking, by the fact that before I transitioned, my Orthodox (non-Hasidic) neighbor in the office next to mine, was allowed to shake hands with me, but his wife wasn’t. Now, he can’t shake hands with me anymore, but his wife does when I see her. Do I care? Not really.

  276. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    Immediately after I posted that, I remembered that Jill does give out annoying dickhead awards at some point, so carry on.

  277. igglanova
    igglanova September 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    I am really starting to resent these melodramatic self-righteous rants in which the person sniffs, ‘It would have been so easy for you to be completely submissive and apologize profusely for everything I personally hated about your article, but do you do it? No. Disagreement is tantamount to shitting on all marginalized people everywhere and you are all prime examples of What is Wrong With Feminism.’ It is downright unhealthy for people to need to exert this much control over other people in order to keep their cool. Take a fucking breath and read the OP again. Specificity is not erasure.

    The fact that there are serious problems with transphobia in the movement in general does not mean that accusations of transphobia are always right. You are likely to encounter a lot of friction when you careen into a feminist comment thread while completely strung out on outrage because you demanded that a bunch of women obey, and they said ‘No.’

  278. Darque
    Darque September 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm |

    Fat Steve: That is not my point and that is not a conclusion which is at all logical. I do agree with the ‘douchey’ bit. I never even came close to implying that someone’s sex life is my business.All I was pointing out is that the original article was about guys “who don’t want to have period sex” and the only judgement the original articlemade was that she found the attitude ‘weird. Then in Jill’s post about the piece, she described her experience with one guy who offered up an excuse of “it’s gross.” Shall I repeat that again? She was talking about ONE guy, who OFFERED an excuse, so whether or not I think people need an excuse was never implied or said. She felt that attitude said something about him that she didnt like, so she ended the relationship. Are you demanding that she continue to date him? What the hell is wrong with you? You can’t just read a fucking blog without making nit picky ass-holish comments? No one is giving out any annoying dickhead awards here, so for god’s sake stop embarrassing yourself.

    Nah, Jill was right to dump his ass. However, it annoys me that people go from that and start making comments like this:

    (This was something that was said by the author in the original post that Jill quoted, so I figure it’s relevant.)

    “And, as one very attentive young man once pointed out to me, “It would be disrespectful to a woman’s body to tell her when she can and can’t have sex.” Amen to that”

    I’ve seen this shit a thousand times. A woman’s vagina is made of sparkles and sunshine (and thus) a man would be crazy to refuse her sex. Don’t worry Steve, if you’re an asshole, you’re simply the thousandth asshole to repeat this tired sexist line.

  279. The Right to Say No | No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

    […] has been posting recently about men who don’t like particular sex acts, namely, period sex and […]

  280. zuzu
    zuzu September 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm |

    Fat Steve: You can’t just read a fucking blog without making nit picky ass-holish comments?

    Second verse, same as the first: You new in town?

  281. Gross or Not Gross… | so i'm a feminist…

    […] Feministe had a round up of the article that included this little quip: I have met a grand total of one dude in my entire life who was like “no” on the period sex (for the record, he wasn’t saying no in the moment; it was a general conversation, not a negotiation). His reasoning was “it’s gross.” And when I stopped seeing him approximately 24 hours after that conversation, my reasoning was, “I don’t want to be with someone who thinks that a natural, healthy uterus-having body is gross.” […]

  282. Suzy
    Suzy September 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm |

    zuzu: I’m so glad you continue to comment at Feministe. I always loved your posts here.

    /fangirl

  283. Lavena
    Lavena September 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm |

    Well. . .:
    This is kind of like saying that if a woman refuses to have a male ejaculate on her, that she’s a misandrist.

    Ejaculate and menses.Both very normal, natural body fluids.Also, if you don’t want blood on your hands/penis, it’s just as neutral and non-sexism related as not wanting semen on your chest/face/wherever.

    Would you think it crazy if you refused a facial, and were told it meant you hated the natural, testicle having male body?

    That’s how this ends up sounding.Just as ridiculous.

    Refusal of period sex isn’t out of some hatred of the female body, or some form of disgust by it anymore than refusal of a facial is hatred or disgust of the male body.

    This reeks of sexual coercion and shaming, and makes me a bituncomfortable.Basically sounds as though if you are refused, you are totally okay with shaming someone into giving you what you want anyway.

    You might want to rethink your position on that.

    This is just non-sequential. The equivalent would be not wanting anything to do with semen including letting your partner come inside you (even with a condom), and witholding any activity which involves semen whatsoever. Jill goes completely out of her way to explain that she’s not talking about giving head or even hands during menstruation, just PinV sex (with a condom even). Which I completely agree. Never wanting to come into contact with semen to the point you refuse to be anything that involves it is about as hateful to some men as and utter avoidance to menstrual blood to women.

    There are a lot of parallels between semen and menstrual blood in a sexual sense. There can be a certian ick factor socially which comes with each in which one might have to overcome (although society is far easier on semen then menstrual blood). In fact in a lot of ways semen is far more dangerous to a lot of women then menstrual blood could ever be to men (I’d like to see the last time someone’s period got someone else pregnant). I think it’s completely reasonable if a partner doesn’t want to involve either orally, and when you get into semen on the chest/face there’s an entirely different historical/social/power complex that you completely leave out. Either way it seems reasonable that a partner wouldn’t want either menstrual blood/semen on their face or chest. But refusal to have menstrual sex but having no problem ejaculating into a women (whether it with or without a condom) is a complete and utter double standard.

    Why is it that nobody thinks twice about semen (composed of mucus, dead cells, and sperm…which is a mindful on its own and potentially extremely dangerous to a women)? While menstrual blood is something seen as utterly disgusting and acceptable to men to avoid sexually. I think an utter aversion to either in a sexual sense is hateful, and in either case the partner should sit down and consider an equal sexual relationship.

  284. Lavena
    Lavena September 5, 2011 at 10:15 pm |

    Matt: Matt

    Well considering vaginal lubrication doesn’t contain sperm for the most part, that’s really not analogous. This is more referring to the mind, which for a lot of women sperm is quite a mental leap (not to mention a dangerous physical). Now if you want to talk about precum vs vaginal lubrication fine, but semen has a whole other mental level much on par with menstrual blood for women. Yet it’s something we generally get past for the benefit of our partner, and overall enjoyment of sex. We could look at either as gross (talk to any women who has had to clean up after a guy came in her) – in fact there are many parts of sex we could envision as gross , but we get over it.

    This isn’t to say that anyone should be forced into anything, but we certainly have the right to call anyone who absolutely refuses to even think about it immature, selfish, childish, and self-centred. And if one partner is willing to get over the societal/mental ick factor, and the other is perfectly willing to take advantage of this, and instead of trying to return the favour denounces the other as gross – well I’d call that hateful.

  285. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. September 5, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    Since I’ve obviously lost another round of “Outrage – Feministe Edition” I’ll throw my two cents into the conversation.

    Western culture has vilified menstruation. Menstruation is seen as taboo, a part of women being sinful and unclean. Hell, even today its seen as embarrassing – something that requires the use of various euphemisms. And it is still used to undermine the success of women from cracks about Rodham-Clinton’s mood swings to those about female managers taking too much time off from work.

    Menstruation has been the *basis* for gender oppression.

    Saying that it is “gross” is not like saying vomit – or whichever bodily fluid you prefer – is gross. “Gross” when discussing menstruation carries with it all of the connotations of *wrong* and *bad* that don’t accompany vomit.

    Vomit isn’t used as a rationale for not being allowed to participate in the community or to hold political office or to earn as much money as a male counterpart. Vomit can be discussed on national television without it turning into a *very special episode*. Vomit is not bad, or wrong, its simply something people do. The same cannot be said for how western culture views menstruation.

    If a cis man doesn’t get that distinction, he probably shouldn’t be in a position to further the oppression many women experience.

  286. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 5, 2011 at 10:47 pm |

    @Lavena – I do think it’s interesting that women who to one degree or another have an “ew” response to semen are going out of their way not to communicate that in a way that’s hurtful to men, whereas men (both here and in general) don’t seem to feel any particular urge to consider whether or not their expressed “ew” response might be hurtful to women.

  287. Jessica
    Jessica September 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm |

    I do not have sex when on my period as a matter of practicality; I don’t have a washer or dryer and my in-laws kindly take care of laundry for me once a week. The idea of bringing them blood-stained sheets and towels on a monthly basis is too horrifying to even consider.

  288. bpbetsy
    bpbetsy September 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm |

    “Menstruation has been the *basis* for gender oppression.”

    Yes times a million.

  289. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 6, 2011 at 12:05 am |

    Re. the trans people/queer people/etc. who may have experienced similar things (sex partners giving them crap about their periods) I personally would love to hear about it, in order to broaden the discussion — we’re already debating the deliciousness of semen or whatever, it’s not like this thread will get more derailed by other vaginaed folk’s input. I just don’t think Jill was wrong in keeping the OP specific, and I definitely don’t think she should be yelled at by drive-by whiners. If MadGastronomer, for example, could climb down off the RageGasm 2000 for a second I’ll bet ze’d have something useful to contribute.

    (Also, am I the only one who has learned to hate the words “erase” and “silence”? They’ve become the new “problematic” and anytime anyone is unhappy all those descriptors get tacked onto the situation, no matter how inappropriately. Really, multiple screaming all-caps comments about how you’re being silenced? You’re so silenced that I’m about to lose my hearing. :p)

  290. Matt
    Matt September 6, 2011 at 12:42 am |

    EG: 2.3% is pretty damn low.It doesn’t sound to me like I’m that lucky.The failure rate for hormonal birth control is something like 1%.

    That may be, and that isn’t the part of your comment I took issue with.The part I took issue with is where you said that you had a hard time imagining that a guy would be revolted by the idea of menstruation and yet still be hard for the menstruating woman.As I’ve noted, I have unfortunate evidence to the contrary.

    But who said that saying “no” isn’t good enough?Objecting to someone’s reasons for saying “no” in an critical essay without naming names is not the same thing as disrespecting an individual’s no or coercing a “yes.”

    It’s true, no woman ever wakes up to blood-stained sheets and dried blood on her genitals.How can we possibly understand your deep trauma and suffering?

    Blood from your period is not the same as blood from a penis since blood isn’t supposed to come out of a penis. Although I know some women getting their first or first few periods do freak out and are not expecting it. FYI, that is more like dudes first few wet dreams because before you have those you don’t expect gooey milky shit to come out of your penis and it is sometimes scary.

  291. Matt
    Matt September 6, 2011 at 12:49 am |

    You can call someone whatever you want, that doesn’t mean they are that.

    Lavena: Well considering vaginal lubrication doesn’t contain sperm for the most part, that’s really not analogous. This is more referring to the mind, which for a lot of women sperm is quite a mental leap (not to mention a dangerous physical). Now if you want to talk about precum vs vaginal lubrication fine, but semen has a whole other mental level much on par with menstrual blood for women. Yet it’s something we generally get past for the benefit of our partner, and overall enjoyment of sex. We could look at either as gross (talk to any women who has had to clean up after a guy came in her) – in fact there are many parts of sex we could envision as gross , but we get over it.

    This isn’t to say that anyone should be forced into anything, but we certainly have the right to call anyone who absolutely refuses to even think about it immature, selfish, childish, and self-centred. And if one partner is willing to get over the societal/mental ick factor, and the other is perfectly willing to take advantage of this, and instead of trying to return the favour denounces the other as gross – well I’d call that hateful.

  292. EG
    EG September 6, 2011 at 1:06 am |

    zuzu 9.5.2011 at 1:06 pm

    MadGastronomer: This whole thing is just disgraceful. People are actually insisting that there is no erasure of anybody because they were erased in the first post. People are trying to silence any mention of the silencing. This is some shitty damn feminism, erasing women, and trying to define what women are, while insisting that that’s not what’s going on at all. This is why Feministe’s reputation has gone so far downhill.

    Oh, this is precious. Really. Feministe’s reputation going downhill has a lot to do with what you just wrote, but not in the way you seem to think.

    Seriously. The best was the comment thread on the earthquake post. It was like…a self-parody of every damn thread that goes beyond 50 comments. It’s why I took some years off from reading Feministe.

    Context is why I’m not surprised by the lack of outrage extended on behalf of Jovanie Saldana. Because, she’s one of us. If what happened to her happened to any cis woman, you can bet your ass that it would be plastered all over this site and every other “big” feminist site out there.

    You think cis women aren’t routinely raped in prison? Because I don’t see that plastered all over any big feminist site either. When it comes to Saldana being then transferred to a men’s prison, I knew about it, and I sure didn’t read about Saldana in the NYT. Given that I know what happened to her, I suspect I must have read it on one of the feminist sites I frequent. And I don’t frequent niche sites. What does that have to do with this post?

    When certain feminists are actively pushing for legislation to deny trans women basic human rights? Silence. When they’re crafting proposals for the UN? Silence….But among “feminists.” Among those valiant souls fighting for the equality of ALL women. Silence.

    Not among any of the feminists I routinely interact with, on-line or in real life. But yep, guess what, feminism–just like every other socio-political movement and subculture–replicates the dynamics and biases of the larger culture(s) that contain it. Is this news? Go ahead and wait for a perfect movement to join if you like, but you’ll be waiting a long time. I suspect that what will end up happening is the same thing that happens for most people: you’ll pick the issues that you’re going to prioritize, most likely the ones that you know the most about and/or have experienced personally, and do what you can, while doing your best to bear the other issues in mind.

    And what does it have to do with Jill making a post about a situation faced by many ciswomen in hetero relationships? You say that there wasn’t even a “head-nod” toward the existence of transpeople–but look at the actual sentences Jill wrote: “most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas who are old enough to consent to sex bleed once a month.” Most pre-menopausal people with uteruses and vaginas. What is that, if not an acknowledgment that a) some pre-menopausal people who are old enough to consent to sex and who have uteruses and vaginas do not menstruate (transmen who have not had surgery who do take hormones) and b) for the many who do, menstruation is not a function of being a woman, or of having a vagina, but of having both a uterus and a vagina, as there are women who do and do not have vaginas who do not menstruate (transwomen)? That is a head-nod. What do you think it means that Jill wrote “Lots of healthy vaginas expel blood”? It means that some don’t.

    The fact that the great majority of cases in which Jill’s discussion is going to be applicable is a function of the fact that the great majority of people are cis and heterosexual. She did indeed acknowledge that not all the people negotiating this situation in the entire world were cis and straight. If that’s not good enough–and I should think it wouldn’t be, because obviously there’s a lot that she’s not qualified to say, there was nothing–nothing–preventing you from writing up a comment about how menstruation and sexuality interact in your experience, and how that intersects with being trans. You haven’t done this. So what is the deal? Is Jill somehow supposed to know and explicate the situation of transfolk with respect to sex and menstruation even though she has no experience with it herself, as far as I can tell? What would be your ideal resolution, here?

    Jill is a blogger. She is writing about things that she understands, has experienced, and/or has informed opinions on (or that she thinks are funny). It is not an act of “erasure” or “silencing” for her not to have the experiences and knowledge of someone she is not. She is not preventing you–or any of the trans bloggers, regular or guest–from blogging or commenting about sex and menstruation in your experience and understanding.

    I used to be involved in labor organizing, back when I was young and had more energy. The labor movement has a checkered record when it comes to feminist issues and women’s needs and concerns (with some truly inspiring high points, of course), and of course, just as with which feminist blogs get considered to be “major,” the paradigmatic image of labor is of a burly working-class straight white man doing manly things, often manufacturing or construction jobs. I’d like that to change, both to reflect reality and history, and to open up the labor movement more fully to those who do not fit that image, both to benefit them and to expand the movement’s power. That doesn’t mean that working-class straight white men no longer have concerns that are important to the labor movement or that those of us who care about the labor movement should be addressing. It doesn’t mean that no posts or essays should be written concerning the issues that working-class straight white men face within a capitalist system. It doesn’t mean that every time a labor organizer discusses those issues–especially a white male labor organizer who has spent most of his time working with white male factory workers–that he or she is “silencing” or “erasing” the concerns of, oh, black public-school teachers, who are also part of the labor movement–as long as he or she acknowledges that those issues facing working-class straight white men are not the be-all and end-all of organized labor and leaves room for other people to represent and discuss other concerns. Which Jill did. It means he’s talking about what he knows, rather than making assumptions about other people.

    I’ll be shocked if this comment even makes it through, but if it does, go ahead. Get defensive. Get dismissive. Mock me.

    I wasn’t aware I needed your permission, but thanks anyway.

    I’m always surprised when commenters write things like this. Do bloggers on major political sites regularly refuse to let through comments that disagree with them, even violently or rudely, as long as they’re not abusive and/or threatening? Is my ignorance of this common practice an example of my long-since-vanished-in-other-areas naivete? Comments like that always come off as so petulant and foot-stamp-y to me.

  293. EG
    EG September 6, 2011 at 10:14 am |

    Also, am I the only one who has learned to hate the words “erase” and “silence”?

    Nope. I’m actually close to vowing never again to use the word “privilege,” because it’s so damn overused to describe every damn thing (see, again, the earthquake thread) that it’s becoming meaningless.

    Blood from your period is not the same as blood from a penis since blood isn’t supposed to come out of a penis.

    Ah, in that case, I have misunderstood what you are saying. When you wrote “If you haven’t woken up to bloody red stained sheets with dried blood in/on/near the opening of your penis, I am not concerned about your opinion,” in the context of the post and the thread, I thought you meant blood on your sheets and in/on/near the opening of your penis from having sex with someone who was getting her period. If what you were referring to is, in fact, the experience of waking up to find blood from your penis, then that’s entirely different, and I apologize for mocking you. Still, that seems to me to be a rather unusual personal trauma, and really not something that can explain the reactions of most men who are grossed out by menstrual blood.

  294. EG
    EG September 6, 2011 at 10:19 am |

    Why are men more responsible for internalizing misogyny than women?

    Because men benefit from misogyny. It’s a function of power.

    Have you ever seen a kid viciously beaten for telling his dad that he didn’t want to do something misogynistic? Do you understand that men learn misogyny from their environment just like women do?

    And that’s why I don’t hold children responsible for their misogyny. However, by the time you’re an adult, you’re responsible for your own actions and beliefs, no matter how you learned them.

  295. Charity
    Charity September 6, 2011 at 10:48 am |

    Mr. Kristen J.: Since I’ve obviously lost another round of “Outrage – Feministe Edition” I’ll throw my two cents into the conversation.Western culture has vilified menstruation. Menstruation is seen as taboo, a part of women being sinful and unclean. Hell, even today its seen as embarrassing – something that requires the use of various euphemisms. And it is still used to undermine the success of women from cracks about Rodham-Clinton’s mood swings to those about female managers taking too much time off from work.Menstruation has been the *basis* for gender oppression.Saying that it is “gross” is not like saying vomit – or whichever bodily fluid you prefer – is gross. “Gross” when discussing menstruation carries with it all of the connotations of *wrong* and *bad* that don’t accompany vomit. Vomit isn’t used as a rationale for not being allowed to participate in the community or to hold political office or to earn as much money as a male counterpart. Vomit can be discussed on national television without it turning into a *very special episode*. Vomit is not bad, or wrong, its simply something people do. The same cannot be said for how western culture views menstruation.If a cis man doesn’t get that distinction, he probably shouldn’t be in a position to further the oppression many women experience.

    Yes!

  296. LC
    LC September 6, 2011 at 10:50 am |

    EG: Do bloggers on major political sites regularly refuse to let through comments that disagree with them, even violently or rudely, as long as they’re not abusive and/or threatening?

    Actually, I think they do in some cases. Probably just often enough for people to think there might be lots of cases where “not agreeing with you” is being used to moderate and erase comments and so the whole “you won’t even let this comment show up” becomes a not-unreasonable assumption.

  297. Charity
    Charity September 6, 2011 at 10:53 am |

    Also, MadGastronomer, that was quite a spew and there is a definite trend that I’m seeing in threads you’ve visited. Have you stuck around the other threads you’ve commented in to witness the effects of some of your more thoughtless comments (like about people affected by natural disasters and how they should have “educated themselves” more)? I didn’t think so. Maybe have a look.

  298. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 6, 2011 at 11:08 am |

    Darque: Nah, Jill was right to dump his ass. However, it annoys me that people go from that and start making comments like this:

    (This was something that was said by the author in the original post that Jill quoted, so I figure it’s relevant.)

    “And, as one very attentive young man once pointed out to me, “It would be disrespectful to a woman’s body to tell her when she can and can’t have sex.” Amen to that”

    I’ve seen this shit a thousand times. A woman’s vagina is made of sparkles and sunshine (and thus) a man would be crazy to refuse her sex. Don’t worry Steve, if you’re an asshole, you’re simply the thousandth asshole to repeat this tired sexist line.

    So, in your universe, “And, as one very attentive young man once pointed out to me, “It would be disrespectful to a woman’s body to tell her when she can and can’t have sex.” Amen to that” means the same as “a woman’s vagina is made of sparkles and sunshine (and thus) a man would be crazy to refuse her sex.”?

    Have you been sniffing bath salts?

  299. Sanoe
    Sanoe September 6, 2011 at 11:54 am |

    Bagelsan: No bloody death carnage? So… do you usually not sacrifice a goat over your crotch immediately before sex?

    Like the fine China, the goat sacrifices only come out during special occasions.

  300. Mztress
    Mztress September 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    I feel so down and crappy, and fatigued during my period that I don’t even want to get out of bed. The idea of someone touching and/or fucking me is downright unpleasant.

  301. SpudTater
    SpudTater September 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm |

    Hmm. Well, certainly there’s a history of linking menstruation to uncleanliness, and using it as a tool of sexual oppression. (Hello Leviticus, as usual.) And I’m pretty sure that’s a major factor in our current cultural prejudices of periods as “gross”.

    But is it the only reason? I don’t think so. As has been said over and over in these comments, menses aren’t just blood, they’re a waste product. And waste products are taboo in all cultures that I know of. Urination is a natural function of both penises and vaginas, too, and clean to boot. But should anybody be shamed and called mis[ogynist/andrist] just because they do not wish to engage in watersports? Of course not.

    And even if a man has a hang-up about menstruation that can be linked to misogyny, does that mean he should be judged for that hang-up? Loads of people have religious, conservative upbringings and have internalised shame about bodies and bodily functions (and women’s bodies in particular) that persist even after being rejected on a conscious level.

    In conclusion: People aren’t logical beings. The emotion of disgust is complex and notoriously difficult to control. Instead of judging people for their instincts and fears, judge them based on how they treat you and others.

  302. Gomeisa
    Gomeisa September 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

    So, in your universe, “And, as one very attentive young man once pointed out to me, “It would be disrespectful to a woman’s body to tell her when she can and can’t have sex.” Amen to that” means the same as “a woman’s vagina is made of sparkles and sunshine (and thus) a man would be crazy to refuse her sex.”?

    Have you been sniffing bath salts?

    It’s very easy to read the statement as: “It would be disrespectful of a woman’s body to tell her she can’t have sex with you.”

    You can’t see how this sentence implies that straight men (and bi/lesbian women) are OBLIGATED to perform sex at their partner’s beck and call? Guys have just as much right to say “No, not interested, sorry” without being guilt-tripped into sex.

    If a man declines to have sex with a woman, it’s not disrespectful at all. He’s ALLOWED TO SAY NO, without any questions asked and without any implications being called into question, especially not having his decency, respect for her body, or manhood questioned.

    Neither women nor men are entitled to sex because they want it. If it kills your relationship, oh well, find someone else.

  303. zuzu
    zuzu September 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm |

    Oh, let me thank whoever dropped the term “shark week” up above: I am adopting it henceforth. Especially because I have a new partner and shark week is starting. He’ll appreciate it.

  304. igglanova
    igglanova September 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm |

    SpudTater: Urination is a natural function of […] vaginas

    No, it isn’t. :|

    But seriously, I agree with your overarching point. As with all interpersonal conflicts, there is a lot to be said for reading the ‘vibe’ of the person who won’t go for period sex. It’s difficult to articulate what, exactly, would set off my misogy-meter in this scenario when we’re all communicating through writing. As long as the person is making a sincere attempt at being respectful, I would leave the situation alone. But if they’re concealing an obvious ‘ew’ reaction, the door is that way.

  305. igglanova
    igglanova September 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    …Is there a reason why every one of my comments has been going into the mod queue other than an enactment of blanket moderation? If I did something to piss off the mods, I’d like to at least know what it is.

  306. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm |

    And even if a man has a hang-up about menstruation that can be linked to misogyny, does that mean he should be judged for that hang-up? Loads of people have religious, conservative upbringings and have internalised shame about bodies and bodily functions (and women’s bodies in particular) that persist even after being rejected on a conscious level.

    I don’t think I’d want to judge someone for a hang-up they couldn’t really help, especially if they’ve tried rejecting that hang-up — like they’ve tried something out once or at least weren’t horrified that other people don’t have the hang-up. A lot of people have some aspect of their own brain or upbringing they can’t shake but may not like, and I think that’s something they should legitimately be cut slack on.

    But I think a lot of the problem is how some hetero cis guys deal with their hang-up; plenty of guys have no problem proclaiming that the entire process/idea of menstruation is disgusting without knowing a thing about it, or they act like the woman wanting to have sex during her period is bizarre or gross, rather than acknowledging that it’s their own hang-up about menstruation that should be considered out-of-the-norm and possibly disappointing.

    If there’s something I would like to do but just find gut-level icky — even just sharing food with someone or kissing on the mouth, sometimes (I’m fairly fastidious!) — I tend to apologize for it or explain that it’s just my tidiness hang-up kicking in. I don’t say that their mouth is a horrifying pit of mysterious diseases (it is) or that they are a pervert for wanting to exchange saliva (ew), and basically I don’t blame the other person’s body for my personal preferences. If guys could stop blaming women for being too gross and instead just admit they aren’t into it, or that they’re sorry but it squicks them, I think they’d be forgiven by just about everyone.

  307. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm |

    …Is there a reason why every one of my comments has been going into the mod queue other than an enactment of blanket moderation? If I did something to piss off the mods, I’d like to at least know what it is.

    My comments have been, too. I think it’s ’cause I called Jill a boxist. (Fer serious, I think it’s just a heavily moderated thread. Shockingly! ;p)

  308. andie
    andie September 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm |

    Wow. I can’t believe I read the whole thing. Go for a lousy four-day road trip and this is what I miss out on.

    Got an easy way to get around the whole ‘coercion vs internalized mysogyny’ issue. If you, het-dudes (and hell, anyone faced with the prospect of sex with a menstruating person), are thoroughly and honestly squicked out by the thought of period sex then it’s totally okay, in the name of practicing consent to say “I’m really not feeling it honey.” WITHOUT the use of words like “Gross”, “Icky” or “Bleeding carcass.”

    It’s cool to say no to sex. You don’t have to be an asshole about it, is all.

  309. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 6, 2011 at 7:55 pm |

    igglanova:
    …Is there a reason why every one of my comments has been going into the mod queue other than an enactment of blanket moderation?If I did something to piss off the mods, I’d like to at least know what it is.

    I think there’s blanket mod going on. (Note how all the comments post at once, and outside of office hours.). Its not just you.

  310. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm |

    igglanova: I’ll be shocked if this comment even makes it through, but if it does, go ahead. Get defensive. Get dismissive. Mock me.

    All my comments on this thread have been moderated and they have all been posted. It only makes sense with a topic that is eliciting this much response to weed out the dross.

  311. Tigertoes
    Tigertoes September 8, 2011 at 12:20 am |

    I’ve had period sex before and it’s no different than regular sex, aside from me worrying about bleeding on the guy. I think, personally, things like that are better to be kept to ones self. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or no. Your significant other knows you menstruate, why menstruate on them. I mean there’s nothing wrong with being classy and keeping some of your functions, as natural as they are, to yourself. Also “” Do you have a right to refuse to have period sex because you think bleeding vaginas be nasty? Of course. And do I have a right to leave your ass and think less of you because of that? You betcha” saying things like that? If someone told you they were afraid of bugs and they ran off at the sight of a butterfly, would you really think less of them? If your friend is terrified of height and refuses to go sky diving with you, would you really disown them? What gives you the right to judge someone on something they don’t want to do? How would you feel if I guy dumped you just ’cause you wouldn’t give him a blowie? Dumping someone because they won’t do you when you’re gushing forth the red sea, doesn’t entitle you to judge them. Breaking up with someone and calling them a dick because they won’t give you period sex is just shallow and plain insane. If you’re really desperate for sex grab a dildo, or just use your hands. I mean shit, why take it out on him?

  312. Ismone
    Ismone September 8, 2011 at 2:05 am |

    Look, of course a man can say no to sex with me any time, for any reason. But if it is because he is disgusted with my body, that ain’t cool. And that does make him a jerk. It doesn’t negate his lack of consent, but if someone is a sexist jerk, I am not going to shut up about it, especially if his sexist jerkdom is hurting me and other women.

    And as others have pointed out, comparing period sex, all becondomed and shit, with facials makes no sense whatsoever–because facials involve not using condoms. That and the disrespect involved.

    If women (or any people) doesn’t want to have sex during their periods, that is fine because it is their body. A lot of the women who have said this have tied it to one of two things–(1) pain/discomfort/lack of desire, (2) disgust. People who feel disgust at their periods really might want to consider internalized misogyny. Really. I thought one of the comments upthread from one menstruating person saying how a fellow menstruating partner was able to help zir get over the taboo was really awesome.

    And about semen being gross–look, other than blood, the main components in menstrual flow are small amounts of tissue and mucous. The same mucous that is always in the vagina. And the same mucous that is in semen. Semen has a definite taste and odor to it, and when it is deposited in your body, sans condom, those stay with you. And semen and vaginal fluids are just as dangerous re: transmission of diseases as blood is. In fact, semen and unprotected oral sex performed on a male who ejaculates is really dangerous–we are now starting to learn that various *terminal* mouth, throat, tongue and even sinus cancers are highly correlated with HPV infection–so, yeah. That plus pregnancy gives women a good reason to be leery of semen, but it does not mean that men should ever be treated as gross or untouchable for having produced it. And heck, have you ever tried to get that off of certain body parts/out of certain laundry? Not always the easiest.

  313. igglanova
    igglanova September 8, 2011 at 11:17 am |

    I remain baffled by people’s insistence on comparing period sex to stupid porn shit like facials. The whole jizz-on-face thing is especially irritating, given that a woman’s right to refuse to be used like a toilet is being leveraged against women’s reasonable expectation that menstrual blood is not so revolting that it will rot your dick off. Oh those poor men, you already asked them to refrain from spitting sex juices all over your face, isn’t that enough? Why so protective of the precious men?

  314. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    So, a woman has a right to refuse contact with semen, but a man has no right to refuse contact with human waste?

    That’s a strange setup, really.

    Also, you do realize you’re being sexist, right? If a woman is ejaculated on, in your words, she’s being used as “a toilet”, which is comparing semen to urine or feces, and saying that the place semen belongs is a toilet.

    Or, to put it in terms more accurate to yours: “Men’s right to refusal to being used like tampons.”

    I’m sorry, you cannot shame and badger people into doing something they don’t want to do. Coercive sex isn’t exactly enthusiastic consent.

    No matter how you want to talk about it, menstrual blood is not “just blood”. It contains shed uterine lining, it is, (according to the very body that’s getting rid of it), waste. It’s being disposed of.

    It also has a markedly different scent (and I’ve heard taste, [no firsthand experience]) than regular, plain blood.

    It also rapidly dries in male pubic hair. It creates a very large, very unpleasant-to-clean mess, both on the genitals, and in the pubic hair.

    You don’t just wipe it off with a towel.

    You might ask “why so protective” of the “precious men”, but see, you are not entitled to sex. Ever. Nobody is. You’re entitled to no sex, unless someone is good enough to give their consent to have sex with you. Nobody owes you sex, nobody owes you period sex.

    I can’t believe I’m having to use the words “You are not entitled to sex” on a feminist blog, and I’m not addressing a frat boy.

  315. groggette
    groggette September 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm |

    Well. . .: I’m sorry, you cannot shame and badger people into doing something they don’t want to do. Coercive sex isn’t exactly enthusiastic consent.

    Good thing no one here is talking about doing that then. What the people who enjoy period sex ARE saying is they won’t sleep with someone who thinks periods are nasty. That’s not coercion! Grossed out dude has a right not to sleep with me because he’s grossed out. I have a right not to sleep with him ever because of his reason.

  316. Andie
    Andie September 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm |

    How come a guy saying “I don’t want to have sex with you because you are on your period and I think it’s gross” is practicing one’s right to say no, but a girl saying “I don’t want to have sex with you because your attitude towards my body and its functions are distasteful to me” is coercive?

    hmmm…

  317. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    No, it’s more the general, pushing attitude of implying someone is bad/wrong/etc if they don’t do something.

    The comments like the one I was replying to, all have a certain bent to them, where they sound just this side of shaming.

    Even you are doing it a bit. If someone is grossed out by what is, for all intents and purposes, human waste, they are a bad person, and don’t deserve to ever have sex! And so on.

    Some comments are outright saying it, others hinting at it, but the overall attitude is “If you don’t want human waste and dried blood all up in your pubic hair and on your genitals, you hate women, and no one should ever have sex with you, because you’re a horrible monster.”

    That’s my problem. If this was turned on it’s head, and someone was saying they were dumping women and refusing to sleep with them if they didn’t do facials, I’m pretty sure the author would be torn into for shaming/coercive attitudes.

    I’m just pointing out it’s still the same. It’s f’d and wrong to shame someone for not doing something in bed that you want them to, if they don’t.

  318. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    Andie:
    How come a guy saying “I don’t want to have sex with you because you are on your period and I think it’s gross” is practicing one’s right to say no, but a girl saying “I don’t want to have sex with you because your attitude towards my body and its functions are distasteful to me” is coercive?

    hmmm…

    Magic?

  319. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    Andie:
    How come a guy saying “I don’t want to have sex with you because you are on your period and I think it’s gross” is practicing one’s right to say no, but a girl saying “I don’t want to have sex with you because your attitude towards my body and its functions are distasteful to me” is coercive?

    hmmm…

    Because one always has the right to refuse any sex act they’re uncomfortable with.

    Telling someone they’re “bad” or “wrong” unless they agree to do said sex act makes it coercive.

    Many people in this thread have said as much. It’s quite likely completely not related to sexism to want to avoid period sex. Also like many have said, there’s plenty of misogynists that won’t balk at period sex, so maybe summing it up as “You don’t want blood in your forest/on your junk, you must hate women you sick shit” is a bit dismissive and not really looking at it objectively.

    That’s not even counting, again, menses is a waste product. It also often smells rather unpleasant. If the person in question hated “functioning vaginas” I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have sex with you at all, period or no.

  320. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm |

    Magic?

    PENIS magic, you mean. If you don’t have a penis, you better just shut the fuck up and accept that you’re disgusting.

  321. groggette
    groggette September 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm |

    Saying/implying something along the lines of “I think it’s asinine you don’t want sex for this reason, and I will no longer be sleeping with you” while harsh and possibly even assholish depending on the circumstance is still not coercion.

    But we get it well…, you believe men can have their preferences when it comes to sex but women can’t or else they’re being coercive.

  322. zuzu
    zuzu September 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm |

    Well. . .: So, a woman has a right to refuse contact with semen, but a man has no right to refuse contact with human waste?

    No, you have a right to refuse contact with anything. What we’re talking about is whether such refusal is based in being a misogynist asshat, for which I personally feel free to judge.

    Also, you do realize you’re being sexist, right? If a woman is ejaculated on, in your words, she’s being used as “a toilet”, which is comparing semen to urine or feces, and saying that the place semen belongs is a toilet.

    Okay, how about a sock, then?

    Men who masturbate don’t keep their jizz as a souvenir; they dispose of it. And it’s a lot less harmful to them than it is to someone else. Jizz isn’t some totally benign substance that any woman (or man) should be happy to bathe in; it can carry disease and get you pregnant. It’s also something that has traditionally be used to mark territory when it comes to women’s bodies.

    And of course you know the implications of a woman’s interaction with semen, don’t you? Does she spit or swallow? Does she do facials? Is she a cum dumpster? You of course know all this, but you’d rather whine that it’s sexist that a woman might not want to have a guy spooge in her face because he saw it in a porno once.

    Or, to put it in terms more accurate to yours: “Men’s right to refusal to being used like tampons.”

    Dicks make terrible tampons, being non-absorbent.

  323. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm |

    A large part of Well…’s argument seems to be that it’s not misogynistic to call period blood gross because it’s actually honestly gross!

    Uh huh.

  324. EG
    EG September 9, 2011 at 12:10 am |

    So, a woman has a right to refuse contact with semen, but a man has no right to refuse contact with human waste?

    Nope. He has the right to refuse contact with my menstrual blood, and I have the right to kick him to the curb and judge him because of it. Rights all around!

    I’m sorry, you cannot shame and badger people into doing something they don’t want to do. Coercive sex isn’t exactly enthusiastic consent.

    So who’s coercing? He gets to make a decision about how to interact with my body; I get to make a decision about how to interact with him. “Shaming” and “badgering”? Is that code for “lady-people having the gall to think they get to set standards for how they want the men with whom they have sex to think about their bodies”?

    No matter how you want to talk about it, menstrual blood is not “just blood”. It contains shed uterine lining, it is, (according to the very body that’s getting rid of it), waste.

    So what? You write this as if it’s self-evident that “shed uterine lining” is inherently disgusting. That’s actually the thing you have to be providing some support for. I don’t find my shed uterine lining repulsive. Messy, sometimes, sure. I find my hair messy too, sometimes. Guess what? A guy who’s fucking me is going to get shed bits of my body on him–shed vaginal secretions, shed hair, shed skin cells, shed sweat. What makes my uterine lining so uniquely horrific that I have no right to judge his aversion to it?

    It also has a markedly different scent (and I’ve heard taste, [no firsthand experience]) than regular, plain blood.

    Again, so what? I’ve smelled and tasted menstrual blood. I don’t mind the smell at all–sometimes I find it nice–and I found the taste completely unremarkable. Metallic, as I recall, like regular blood.

    It also rapidly dries in male pubic hair. It creates a very large, very unpleasant-to-clean mess, both on the genitals, and in the pubic hair.

    Wow! You don’t say? As a lady-person who has menstruated every month for 21 years, I have never realized that menstrual blood dries in public hair (I’m not aware that “male pubic hair” has any special blood-drying properties that mine doesn’t) or creates a mess on the genitals! How could I ever have considered subjecting my sexual partners to such horrors?! Oh…wait. Menstrual blood dries on my pubic hair and genitals quite regularly. It’s not that unpleasant to clean unless you have a peculiar aversion to showers or baths. The kind of fellow who does not like to regularly clean his body with water is not the kind of fellow who’s likely to find himself in my bed, so I’m not going to waste any time worrying about how the poor baby will clean up dried menstrual blood. I assume he’ll do it the same way I do: take a shower, and use the warm running water to cleanse the genitals. It can even feel quite pleasant.

    You might ask “why so protective” of the “precious men”, but see, you are not entitled to sex. Ever. Nobody is. You’re entitled to no sex, unless someone is good enough to give their consent to have sex with you.

    Exactly. I don’t feel any need to be kind enough to consent to sex with someone who feels my menstrual blood is simply too disgusting to have anything to do with.

    That’s not even counting, again, menses is a waste product. It also often smells rather unpleasant.

    I like the way you say this as though it’s some kind of gospel truth. Again, I’ve been menstruating once a month for a very long time. I’m pretty familiar with the smell of menstrual blood. I’ve never found it unpleasant.

    By the way, sweat is a waste product–it’s being extruded from the skin specifically to be dried and blown on by the air. Many people often find the smell of sweat unpleasant. Nonetheless, I think that someone who expects to have sex with another human being and yet not have to come into contact with any of their yucky sweat is absurd and not worth my time.

  325. Johnny Heartbeat
    Johnny Heartbeat September 9, 2011 at 12:12 am |

    Okay, so…I’m a white cis straight man. So it’s not like I really have any standing to opine what I’m about to opine anyway, but what the hell*.

    What this and other threads like it have convinced me is the following: It is literally impossible to write a post with enough care, with enough attention paid to nuances and disclaimers and the like, to avoid making a member of a historically, kyriarchically marginalized group feel excluded and offended. I was thinking as I read the post what a marvelous job Jill had done at clarifying her lack of heteronormativity, cisnormativity, youthnormativity intent. Obviously, I was disastrously wrong about the impression.

    And the thing is (and this will hardly defuse the flames headed my way, nor even should it, necessarily)…I can’t possibly “blame” or begrudge those who are LGBTQ or otherwise not addressed by this post for feeling that way. It is impossible to write a post with language that does not make such a person feel excluded, because the entire kyriarchy is laser-focused on exactly such an exclusion. At least, this is my developing understanding as an aforementioned cis white straight male…that whatever level of empathy I am able to experience (that is, to whatever extent my empathy provides me an insight, about which extent YOMV) suggests to me that it would be next to impossible to avoid such a reaction.

    So I guess, while wryly and probably inappropriately bemoaning the inability of Jill to avoid offending historically marginalized people no matter what she writes, I’m also calling for…giving such commenters a break, at the same time? Jill should NOT avoid a topic such as this one just for fear of giving offense, especially with the level of care she takes to be as inclusive as possible. This kind of conversation needs to happen. I just don’t happen to believe it will ever happen without offending someone, and time spent arguing against those who feel excluded is time spent being thoroughly derailed, and also – which is a conclusion I didn’t expect to reach when I started this whole comment – yeah, kind of silencing.

    Oh, and I do find period blood kind of gross on a purely tactile sensory, but can sign on wholeheartedly to the “if you make a woman feel like SHE’S gross because of it, you’re DEFINITELY misogynist” line of thought.

    * Meant as a metaphor, not to restrict this discussion to those who accept the existence of a literal hell.

  326. Johnny Heartbeat
    Johnny Heartbeat September 9, 2011 at 12:26 am |

    Eh. That last paragraph before the footnote would have been better if I’d explored the theme more, since it comes off sounding like I’m making the same argument as Well…, as bagelsan refers to in #332. I should have explored it more or left it out. So let’s pretend I left it out. I’m too tired of typing, and uncommitted to that part of the opinion, to explore it more.

  327. Well...
    Well... September 9, 2011 at 12:40 am |

    First off, zuzu, again, if refusal of period sex makes one a misogynist, then refusal of semen contact makes one a misandrist.

    If you find the analogy incorrect, do explain why, please. I’m all ears.

    Also, women don’t keep their menses as a souvenir, either. You act as though it couldn’t also carry disease, or anything else. It’s human waste. Semen isn’t. Further, you’re arguing from a bad faith position anyway, and one of incredible bias, considering you find pregnancy to be “harmful” and “dangerous”, a position many women would disagree with. It’s also pretty insulting to women who ARE pregnant, who have been pregnant, or who want to be pregnant.

    I’d call that a bit of misogyny on your part.

    Bagelsan: Period blood is human waste. Full stop. It’s not moon-goddess-power-juice. It’s not magic. It’s not what makes the world go round-round-round.

    It is a woman’s body saying “Nope, don’t need this this month, get outta ‘ere, you!” and disposing of said waste.

    Couple that with the fact that it often has foul odor, and creates a nightmare mess (stained sheets, stained towels, stained junk, crusty dried blood and tissue in pubic hair regions) and is awful to clean (blood does not like to come out of sheets).

    Not to mention many women in this thread have said the exact same things.

    I’m sorry, explain to me how being averse to human waste that is also an agent that will strongly and deeply and nigh-permanently stain bedsheets makes one misogynist.

    I think the main problem you’re having here, is you believe since it came from a woman, that makes it amazing, and anyone should be lucky to come into contact with it.

    When it comes right down to it, again, you aren’t entitled to period sex. Telling someone they have something wrong with them for not doing it makes you coercive, and sexist. Full stop.

    If you don’t like the concept of it being implied something is wrong with you for not doing a sex act, then don’t you dare tell someone something is wrong with them for not doing one.

  328. Well...
    Well... September 9, 2011 at 12:56 am |

    Your reply makes zero sense, and isn’t really at all logical.

  329. Well...
    Well... September 9, 2011 at 12:58 am |

    I mean, honestly, how does your comment even work, Jill? Affirmative action has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand.

    If someone says not wanting contact with something that comes from someone’s body makes them hate that person’s gender, I’m simply saying it works for both genders.

    You don’t get a free pass to be sexist because you’re a woman. If you do something f’d, you will get called on it, as you have in this comment thread by more people than me.

    You’re totally allowed to toss a guy off for not wanting period blood sex, but that also opens you up to being totally allowed to be wrong in your judgment.

  330. Johnny Heartbeat
    Johnny Heartbeat September 9, 2011 at 1:06 am |

    Dicks make terrible tampons, being non-absorbent.

    That’s awfully nonpermeablenormative of you. Mine is made of ShamWow.

  331. Johnny Heartbeat
    Johnny Heartbeat September 9, 2011 at 1:16 am |

    You’re totally allowed to toss a guy off for not wanting period blood sex

    I think you’re still not quite getting this.

  332. EG
    EG September 9, 2011 at 1:27 am |

    It’s human waste.

    Again, so what?

    Couple that with the fact that it often has foul odor, and creates a nightmare mess (stained sheets, stained towels, stained junk, crusty dried blood and tissue in pubic hair regions) and is awful to clean (blood does not like to come out of sheets).

    “Foul odor”? Not that I’ve noticed, and I do smell my own, from time to time, out of curiosity and in order to see what’s what. And, y’know, I must say…I’ve never noticed that testicles smell like Chanel #5…but I suspect that if I said I wished never to engage in sex in which I had to interact with testicles, people would find any plans I had to have sex with a man to be somewhat unrealistic.

    If you consider stained sheets a “nightmare mess,” your nightmares are much tamer than mine, and your life must be a bed of roses. Ok, so your sheets might get stained. Big deal. Given that I menstruate once a month, and I began to do so 21 years ago, and, judging from my mom, won’t stop for another, oh, 15-18 years, I take it for granted that hey, every so often, my sheets are going to get stained. It’s…not really the hellish experience you make it out to be. I look down, I think “Oh dear, well, that happened again. Oh well.” I chuck them in the laundry when it’s laundry time, and, over time, the stain fades. If I were more hyper about it, I could apply one of those stain stick treatments, wrench them off the bed immediately, and then put them in the hamper. Neither experience is exactly scarring.

    And…”stained junk”? What kind of weirdo, acid-for-blood Alien periods are you talking about? Menstrual blood does not stain human genitalia. It just…dries on it. And then washes off quite easily in the shower. I mean, I’ve been having sex with dudes who have period sex for quite some time now, and never once have I had this conversation:

    Me: Hey sweetie, what’s that star-shaped stain on your cock?
    Him: Oh, that’s where some of my ex’s period blood got on it. You know how that shit can stain!
    Me: Do I ever! Why, my vulva is simply scarred from the many times it has been touched by my menstrual blood.

    Dried blood comes off in the shower. I have no idea why you’ve included bits of tissue in this catalog of what you clearly believe to be unspeakable horror. Personally, I have never included tissues in my sex life, but of course tastes vary. Still, I suspect that bits of tissue would also come off in the shower.

    Look. None of the things you have mentioned are horrible. Not one. The best you seem to be able to come up with is “It gets messy! And then you have to clean up!” Um, OK. But sex, in general, is messy. There’s a wet spot, you get other people’s hair in your mouth, other people sweat on you, you swap saliva, lube drips all over, semen runs down your thighs, you have to dispose of the used condom, etc. That’s just…sex. Even if you never, ever have sex during your period, you’re still going to have to wash the sheets. There will still be sticky gunk involved. You’ll still find pubic hairs that did not come off of your body on your pillows. Sex is just not a hygienic activity. Menstruation doesn’t cause that; it’s just the nature of the experience.

  333. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 9, 2011 at 2:37 am |

    Couple that with the fact that it often has foul odor, and creates a nightmare mess (stained sheets, stained towels, stained junk, crusty dried blood and tissue in pubic hair regions) and is awful to clean (blood does not like to come out of sheets).

    Isn’t this exactly the same argument I was just laughing at? If you’re trying to prove that you aren’t bizarrely horrified by menstrual blood you’re failing at it. A “nightmare” of “crusty dried blood and tissue”? You sound like you just murdered someone with your dick!

  334. Mädchenmannschaft » Blog Archive » Menstruations-Sex, Frauen in den neuen Ländern und weibliche Fans – kurz notiert

    […] verteidigt feministe. Kann ich nur zustimmen: wirkt wunderbar entkrampfend und schön glitschend ist es […]

  335. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 9, 2011 at 7:47 am |

    I think the main problem you’re having here, is you believe since it came from a woman, that makes it amazing, and anyone should be lucky to come into contact with it.

    Hello, idiotic strawfeminist! It’s been so long since we’ve seen you! Must be easier to waste time with logical fallacies than create an actual argument, huh.

    When it comes right down to it, again, you aren’t entitled to period sex. Telling someone they have something wrong with them for not doing it makes you coercive, and sexist. Full stop.

    In the sense that no one is “entitled” to sex with another person, yes. But, for the 73rd billionth time: NO ONE IS SAYING THAT THE POOR PRECIUS DUDES YOU’RE SO DESPERATELY DEFENDING *HAVE* TO DO ANYTHING.

    What they are saying is, if he won’t because of misogynistic reasons, and she isn’t okay with that, DTMFA.

    The only way you’d have a problem with that is if you’re a sexist. Full stop.

    If you don’t like the concept of it being implied something is wrong with you for not doing a sex act, then don’t you dare tell someone something is wrong with them for not doing one.

    Translation: Bitches better fuck on demand, but never have demands. Coercive bitches!

    Women not fucksocks, no matter how hard you try to shame them into it. If he doesn’t want to get down in ways that I want to get down, he doesn’t have to, and – *gasp* – I don’t have to fuck him.

    Full stop.

  336. llama
    llama September 9, 2011 at 8:48 am |

    Jill,

    Why do you bother with men ? It seems like you don’t like them much.

    llama

  337. Charity
    Charity September 9, 2011 at 8:52 am |

    Um, pregnancy is quite often dangerous, physically, economically, etc. It can be many other things, including wonderful and awe-inspiring, but I don’t see how anyone can argue it’s not dangerous.

  338. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 9, 2011 at 9:19 am |

    My point is, that’s a bad analogy. The two are not analogous.

  339. EG
    EG September 9, 2011 at 9:37 am |

    A “nightmare” of “crusty dried blood and tissue”? You sound like you just murdered someone with your dick!

    Seriously, Bagelsan! Also…I have to say, dried semen on your skin, or wet semen leaking out one’s vagina the following morning/day isn’t exactly what I would call appetizing, but…it’s something I put up with in order to have sex with a man I find attractive. I really don’t see why Well… thinks that period blood is such a uniquely horrifying part of sexual experience.

    Why do you bother with men ? It seems like you don’t like them much.

    I guess that if by “men,” you mean “dudes who won’t go down on the woman from whom he is getting blow jobs and/or have any kind of sex while the woman is getting her period,” that would be correct. Fortunately, in the real world, the two terms are not synonymous.

  340. chava
    chava September 9, 2011 at 9:54 am |

    Well…:

    Further, you’re arguing from a bad faith position anyway, and one of incredible bias, considering you find pregnancy to be “harmful” and “dangerous”, a position many women would disagree with. It’s also pretty insulting to women who ARE pregnant, who have been pregnant, or who want to be pregnant.

    Ummmmm…..why? I’m pregnant, and just woke up from ANOTHER freaking nightmare about how I’m going to die/bleed to death/have my organs fall out my vagina/tear horribly. I could go on there, but you get the point.

    And…none of those things are terribly uncommon. Some are thankfully rare in the United States, but still very real complications of pregnancy.

    Point being–if I want to “refuse seminal contact” on the off-chance it might get me pregnant, hell NO that doesn’t make me “misandrist.”

  341. groggette
    groggette September 9, 2011 at 10:16 am |

    I’m still waiting on Well’s explanantion on how women having dealbreakers when it comes to sex is coercive.

  342. igglanova
    igglanova September 9, 2011 at 10:38 am |

    What, people having to wash their dicks from time to time? No way! They’d get wet!

    Life is hard.

  343. EG
    EG September 9, 2011 at 10:50 am |

    What, people having to wash their dicks from time to time? No way!

    You know what the ickiest implication is, right? It’s that unless some dude experiences the horror that is period sex, it would never occur to him to rinse off his dick in the shower from time to time. Damn, straight and bi ladies. Let’s all think about that next time we contemplate putting some guy’s dick in our mouths. And gentlemen of all orientations? Wash yourselves. Trust me, it will make you more appealing to 99.44% of the population.

  344. igglanova
    igglanova September 9, 2011 at 10:58 am |

    Also: am I the only one who doesn’t find blood all that difficult to get out of sheets? Spray-n-wash, have you heard of it.

  345. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 9, 2011 at 11:21 am |

    Rare Vos: Hello, idiotic strawfeminist!It’s been so long since we’ve seen you! Must be easier to waste time with logical fallacies than create an actual argument, huh.

    In the sense that no one is “entitled” to sex with another person, yes.But, for the 73rd billionth time: NO ONE IS SAYING THAT THE POOR PRECIUS DUDES YOU’RE SO DESPERATELY DEFENDING *HAVE* TO DO ANYTHING.

    What they are saying is, if he won’t because of misogynistic reasons, and she isn’t okay with that, DTMFA.

    The only way you’d have a problem with that is if you’re a sexist. Full stop.

    Translation:Bitches better fuck on demand, but never have demands.Coercive bitches!

    Women not fucksocks, no matter how hard you try to shame them into it.If he doesn’t want to get down in ways that I want to get down, he doesn’t have to, and– *gasp* – I don’t have to fuck him.

    Full stop.

    I enjoy that you are calling “strawfeminist” while making traditional strawmen.

    Not wanting to have sex with a woman on her period is more often than not, not misogynist. Full stop.

    Considering nowhere did I say “bitches better fuck on demand”, all you’re doing in your post is strawmen. You aren’t good faith debating, at all. Not even a little.

    Again, sure, no one is saying they have to do anything, but you’re being deliberately obtuse, and I’m not sure why.

    If a man says to his partner “Oh, c’mon baby, if you don’t do (sex act A), there’s something wrong with you. A lot of women do it! I’ll dump you if you don’t do it!”, find me a way in which that is NOT coercive. Seriously. It absolutely is. You would call him a sexist, a misogynist, and say he’s bordering on rape via emotional manipulation.

    Well, hey. That’s better. Would you prefer I stopped saying coercion, and moved to emotionally manipulative? Because what you are saying is “Oh, c’mon baby, if you don’t do period sex, there’s something wrong with you! A lot of guys do it! If you don’t, I’ll dump you!”

    Using a threat to get a sexual act in your favor is coercive, manipulative, and altogether wrong. Sure, he doesn’t have to, but you’re using a threat to get what you want, so the person is under duress.

    I’ll just use “duress” and “emotional manipulation” instead of “coerce”.

    That should make you feel better.

    Because at this point you’re essentially arguing for a double standard, wherein a man is a sexist if he refuses a sex act YOU want, but you still have carte blanche to refuse a sex act without being deemed wrong for doing so.

    Double standard. An autonomous human has a right to refuse a sex act, for any reason, at any time, without being told they’re bad or wrong or screwed up, or anything else negative for said refusal.

    Also, EG, you know, I’ve been with a lot of women over my life, and you know, nobody has ever stained my sheets during a period, just by being on the bed.

    Also, it’s not “Oh, just a stain, no big deal”. It’s a blood stain that will likely never come out.

    Maybe you’re okay with sheets that look like that, and a potentially stained mattress, but I’m not.

    As to the “so what?” comment, well, excuse me if I don’t want human waste on my body. Urine is sterile, but I still wouldn’t engage in watersports.

    Maybe that sort of thing is acceptable to you, but it’s not to me. Also, as far as tissue, you know precisely what I meant. Menses is not “just blood”. Also, you smelling your own isn’t anything more than an anecdotal experience, and hell, PLENTY OF WOMEN IN THIS THREAD have commented on the odor.

    But go ahead, single me out for your scorn, because hey, I have a dick, that makes everything I say wrong, yeah?

    Also, you’re only using your own experience. I’ve never ended up with pubes on my pillows, or in my mouth, I’ve never had need of lube, there’s no used condom disposal.

    Sure, sex has the potential to be a little messy, but none of those things that are messy are made of human waste and blood.

    groggette:

    I have, and I did, repeatedly. It’s not a woman having a dealbreaker, so much as it is a woman shaming someone ELSE for having one.

  346. groggette
    groggette September 9, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    Well. . .: I’ve never had need of lube

    What about your partners?

    Also there is a difference (that you’re willfully ignoring) between “Oh, c’mon baby, if you don’t do period sex, there’s something wrong with you! A lot of guys do it! If you don’t, I’ll dump you!” and “You won’t have period sex because you think it’s disgusting? Ok, no more sex between the 2 of us. Have a nice day.”

    One of those is what we’re arguing here. One of them you made up.

  347. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 9, 2011 at 11:51 am |

    Well. . .: Also, EG, you know, I’ve been with a lot of women over my life, and you know, nobody has ever stained my sheets during a period, just by being on the bed.

    Unless you have a woman over who is on the rag for seven days every month, you are statistically much less likely to have this happen to you than it would to a menstruating person. You make it sound like blood on the sheets is unheard of, but I can’t think of a single menstruating person who has never had it happen to them. It really sounds like you’re trying to shame EG for something that’s a fact of life if you are a person who leaks blood occasionally.

    That said, I noted above that I’m not into this particular act myself. I’m pretty sure someone upthread implied that I’m not a feminist or I’ve internalized misogyny or some nonsense because I find it gross. If you had an orifice that was shedding its lining, I would not stick any of my appendages into it and that sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I really don’t care what anyone else thinks. Being called a misogynist by someone who disagrees with my reasoning is hardly the worst thing, so I couldn’t really give an eff. So why do you care?

  348. Andie
    Andie September 9, 2011 at 11:59 am |

    Is this a bad time to post this? Because I kind of been wanting to all thread.

    Dave Foley Has a Good Attitude Towards Menstruation

    Oddly enough, he doesn’t mention his view towards sex during.

  349. EG
    EG September 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm |

    I’ve been with a lot of women over my life, and you know, nobody has ever stained my sheets during a period, just by being on the bed.

    Are they using magic pads? It happens once every…oh…few years. Last time it happened to me, I was sharing a room with a friend, an older woman, who also shrugged her shoulders when I felt a bit embarrassed and said “Well, that happens over a lifetime of menstruating.” I have since recounted the story to several woman friends. Not one has said “What on earth is wrong with you? That never has happened to me, not ever! It is impossible!” Sleeping on a bed when menstruating and staining the sheets happens. It’s not even uncommon.

    Are you actually trying to tell me about the likelihood of menstrual blood staining sheets over the course of a lifetime? You know…I suspect that no matter how many women you’ve been involved with, I have more experience than you, and have spoken to more women about this than you. I mean, if a man was telling me something about twenty years of experience with, I don’t know, erections or chest hair or something, I’d happily defer to his expertise.

    Sheesh. This dude is trying to mansplain getting your period to me. Jerkwad.

    Also, it’s not “Oh, just a stain, no big deal”. It’s a blood stain that will likely never come out.

    Maybe you’re okay with sheets that look like that, and a potentially stained mattress, but I’m not.

    Bloodstains come out all the time. Buy a stain stick and get over yourself. Again, I have more experience with this than you. For some years when I was a teenager, I used to flip out and scrub my underpants immediately whenever my tampon leaked. Then I decided that it wasn’t worth my time. After a few washes, the stains come out anyway.

    As to the “so what?” comment, well, excuse me if I don’t want human waste on my body. Urine is sterile, but I still wouldn’t engage in watersports.

    And that would be relevant if we were talking about how not wanting to be urinated on was a dealbreaker. But simply labelling something as “waste” does not actually explain what about it is so repulsive to you. You’re going to have to actually explain that with something besides “it’s messy.” Again, why isn’t sweat equally repulsive to you? It is, after all, messy and smelly, and it is extruded from the body. It even contains some components in common with urine.

    Also, you smelling your own isn’t anything more than an anecdotal experience

    As opposed to your “foul odor” comments, which are based on scientific data? Again, I have lots and lots of lady friends. We often discuss the ups and downs of menstruation. Not once has anybody commented on any odor at all, much less a “foul” one.

    But go ahead, single me out for your scorn, because hey, I have a dick, that makes everything I say wrong, yeah?

    It’s not your dick–I’ve known many people with dicks who are not total idiots on the subject of menstruation. It may be comforting for you to think that it’s your dick that makes you think this way, but it is, in fact, your brain.

    I’ve never ended up with pubes on my pillows, or in my mouth, I’ve never had need of lube, there’s no used condom disposal.

    You’ve…never found public hair on your pillows or in your mouth. I think that just told all of us everything we need to know about your desirability as a sexual partner. You’ve never used lube? Well, lemme tell you, it’s a matter of time. Eventually you’ll be old enough that your sexual partners will be post-menopausal, and if you hadn’t used lube before that, you’ll start then. Good luck, given your distaste for mess. I find it telling that there’s no need for condom disposal in your sex life. You do know what that means, right? It means that your partner is dealing with your messy, sticky, drippy, smelly semen. Trust me, even if she’s not making you aware of it, it’s a mess.

    none of those things that are messy are made of human waste and blood.

    You keep saying this as though it’s self-evident that “waste” and blood make all the difference in the world. But you see, that’s what you’re trying to argue, so you can’t take it as a given. What you’re doing here is an argumentative fallacy known as “begging the question”: “It’s gross to have sex when a woman is menstruating because menstruation produces waste and blood, and waste and blood are gross.” It’s a circular argument. You haven’t demonstrated any qualities unique to blood and minute bits of uterine lining that make them inherently disgusting. Claiming that they’re disgusting is not actually the same thing as demonstrating that they’re disgusting.

    And quite frankly, if some woman said to a guy, “I’m happy to have sex with you, but I will not touch your balls ever, because they are smell and gross,” then I would expect him to dump her. I wouldn’t call that shaming or manipulative. I’d call it reasonable.

  350. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. September 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm |

    Well,

    First, no one has mentioned attempting to force a man into having a type of sex he isn’t into. Calling menstruation *gross* signals that a man may not understand how that word has been used to harm women. Consequently, its a signal that he’s a misogynist. I would guess that “having sex with a misogynist” is probably not on the To Do List of many of the het or bi women on this blog.

    Pro tip: There are lots of words that connote oppression. As a general principle, when you use them people who have experienced that oppression may not want to be near you.

    As an aside, I can also confirm that there is not much of a taste beyond metallic and while there is a difference in smell it is not a “foul” odor. Further, I would suggest that shower sex is always an alternative if messiness is bothering you.

  351. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. September 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm |

    Well. . .: Also, EG, you know, I’ve been with a lot of women over my life, and you know, nobody has ever stained my sheets during a period, just by being on the bed.

    You have had a very unique experience then. There’s a whole line of menstrual products designed to prevent leaking and a line of cleaning products designed to remove menstrual stains. I doubt that would be the case if people never bled on things.

  352. igglanova
    igglanova September 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm |

    We really need a non-sexist word with the same bite as ‘histrionic,’ because that is exactly the kind of sniffling we’re getting from poor Well of Tears over here. Those feminists are so mean for not deferring to him. Think of the penises!

    I would participate in the good ol’ inanity smackdown, but frankly, I would just be paraphrasing EG.

  353. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Groggette:

    No. It’s never been an issue.

    There’s not much of a difference. You’re still taking someone and saying “Oh, why do you find that gross? It’s not gross, I’ll dump you if you don’t do (sex act)”. Doesn’t matter the gender of the person making the threat, it’s still using a threat to attempt to get a sexual act out of someone. Not cool, no matter who does it.

    PrettyAmiable: It bothers me because, I suppose, it’s an unkind, incorrect insinuation. I’m sure not many people like having negative things attributed to them based on arbitrary criteria.

    EG:

    No, they use tampons. Refrain from ad hominem. I’ve no issue ceasing to treat with you if your posts devolve into petty insults. We’re all adults here.

    Well, bloodstains from my experience, don’t come out all the time. I’ve articles of clothing I’ve bled on over the years that I’ve had to get rid of. Once the stain sets, it’s always going to be there, albeit perhaps slightly faded.

    It’s not exactly great post-sex-cuddle-romance to hurry up, jump up, strip the bed, stain stick the sheets, soak the sheets in cold water, remake the bed, shower, and then go have some afterglow.

    It’s repulsive to me because it’s human waste. I wasn’t aware I needed more than that. Most mammals and other animals have a revulsion for waste products, in some fashion.

    Sweat doesn’t bother me as much (though the odor does), because it’s primarily salt, and being extruded for the purposes of cooling the body. Unlike other releases of waste, it’s doing something. Taking a crap or urinating or menstruating is for the purpose of ridding the body of that stuff, the end. It’s not as though menstruating acts as an air conditioner for the vagina, or something.

    It’s simple only purpose is to get rid of the unused uterine lining.

    Again, my foul odor comments are based on the fact that plenty of women here have said it doesn’t smell pleasantly. I’m wrong for saying it, but they aren’t?

    No, I’ve never found pubic hair on my pillows or in my mouth. I’m not really sure how that says something about my “desirability as a sexual partner”, because for one, it’s not up to you to shame someone for doing or not doing things YOU do in the bedroom, and for two, I don’t really care what you think about my sexual desirability, because I’m not trying to attract you, nor do I want to, so your statement is needless snark.

    That said, I’m not even sure how one WOULD end up with pubes on pillows. I mean, I can possibly imagine a few odd scenarios, but for the most part, my head, or my partner’s head, or both, are laying on the pillow. Not our genitals.

    No, lube has never been necessary. By the time my partner is post-menopausal, I’ll be too damn old to be having sex anyway. Might break a hip or something, have a heart attack, maybe.

    I don’t think I’d say she’s “stuck” dealing with it, considering she wants to deal with it.

    I wasn’t aware I needed an excuse to justify why human waste is gross. I could bet you money in a perfectly feminist, equitable world, you wouldn’t find period sex would be this non-issue, and everyone would want to do it and be celebratory about it.

    It’s still human waste. I’m sure to people that engage in fecal play, poop is no big deal, and they can’t understand why more people don’t mess with it.

    As far as the balls comment, that’s a poor analogy. Balls are a part of a person’s body, and are always there. They don’t appear and flop around once a month. If there was a sort of wereballs on the full moon, and someone was weirded out by my week of full moon balls, and didn’t want to have sex with me during that week, so be it. Masturbation exists.

    Your analogy would only work if menstruation was the default state for a woman, and you simply bled all the time, and having sex with a woman inevitably meant getting blood and tissue on your junk/pubes/bed. It isn’t the default state, however.

    Even comparing semen is weak, at best, simply because one is always present during orgasm, and menses isn’t. You seem to be acting like this is something men HAVE to do or they are bad. That’s always been my problem with it.

    You don’t ever once seem to entertain the idea that it’s not right to tell someone they’re bad for not engaging in a sex act, so long as it’s a man who isn’t consenting. If you were more willing to consider that it doesn’t necessarily make someone a bad person to refuse said sex, I think we might have a better time at this.

  354. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    It’s not exactly great post-sex-cuddle-romance to hurry up, jump up, strip the bed, stain stick the sheets, soak the sheets in cold water, remake the bed, shower, and then go have some afterglow.

    You know, I’m sympathetic to the “I am squicked out by blood and don’t want to make the beast with two backs during your/my period” feeling. Really. But you’re not exactly making me feel particularly sympathetic to you, because you’re being so fucking ignorant. Protip: it’s not shark week all the time during your menses, it’s also quite possible to not leak out much after sex, and frankly, wearing tampons at night is not advisable if you’d like to avoid toxic shock syndrome. If you’ve dated women seriously I would hope that you wouldn’t banish them from your company if they were having their period–and it’s coming across that you would. You’re all obsessed with bloodstains (dude, how do you think it goes FOR US??), etc. which can happen even if you’re wearing a tampon if you’re a heavy bleeder. I mean, what? Are you going to insist she sleep on the couch one week out of the month or something?

    Sheesh.

    I mean, really–I’ve dated guys who weren’t into sex during menses, and I respected that. But if they talked about my body the way you talk about women’s bodies–talking about foul smells (dude, you guys don’t always smell like vanilla and cinnamon), waste products, and ZOMG BLOODSTAINS, I’d be pretty hurt (and would dump them), mainly because I don’t go around making such shitty and nasty comments about THEIR bodies and the stuff THEIR bodies do.

    Seriously? You’re getting blowback because you’re coming across as an asshole.

  355. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub September 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    Also? Semen might be a typical fluid to deal with during sex with a male bodied person, but it’s not exactly a clean thing to deal with. I mean, it can stain sheets, smell, etc. Yet I don’t freak out about ZOMG WET SPOTS STAINED SHEETS) or go on about how FOUL and DISGUSTING it is when it comes to oral sex because, you know, that’s a shitty thing to do to your partner.

    There’s a difference between saying, “I’m not into this/x doesn’t appeal to me” (and not expecting your partner to do the thing you don’t want to do) and making someone feel like they’re dirty and disgusting. I really hope you don’t act towards your girlfriends the way you’re coming across in this thread.

  356. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    Well. . .: PrettyAmiable: It bothers me because, I suppose, it’s an unkind, incorrect insinuation. I’m sure not many people like having negative things attributed to them based on arbitrary criteria.

    Yeah, but you’re acting like this is a decree handed down by the arbiters of feminism. It’s a couple of people who disagree with you on something that’s more important to them than it is to either of us, right? But it’s a social question – and therefore, opinions on it are subjective. It’s not like you disagree that 1+1 = 2 and someone is calling your intelligence into question. You’re delving into relatively murky areas of a thought that already differ across members of a group of people who share a common identification. It’s hardly a new issue in feminism. For relatively more important disagreements, see how feminism has historically treated WOC and trans* women. You don’t want to put your winkie in someone’s bloody cookie? BFD. Much bigger ways to be a feminist asshole. If “feminist” is a title you want, anyway.

  357. zuzu
    zuzu September 9, 2011 at 4:22 pm |

    Oh, pumpkin! You’re just *precious.* I just want to pinch your widdle cheeks.

    Well…: First off, zuzu, again, if refusal of period sex makes one a misogynist, then refusal of semen contact makes one a misandrist.

    If you find the analogy incorrect, do explain why, please. I’m all ears.

    So it’s misandrist to ask that a guy wear a condom? Because in all my 20-odd years of fucking, I’ve never gone bareback. And here I thought I was keeping myself unpregnant and reducing the risk of transmission of disease.

    But let’s never mind that; let’s focus on what you’re doing here, which is battling straw. No one has said that the mere refusal to have period sex is per se misogynist, because the reasons behind the refusal are important. A guy may just be freaked at the sight of blood, or not care for the smell, or what have you, but at the same time not view a perfectly normal function of women’s bodies as some kind of vile horrorshow. As I said above, I don’t particularly care to have sex during my period, and I wouldn’t be upset if a guy I was sleeping with begged off — as long as he didn’t convey in his refusal that he found my bodily functions to be disgusting.

    Also, you’re really beating this “refusal to touch semen” horse to death here, and yet the refusal you’re responding to is a refusal to accept facials. That’s not a blanket refusal to touch semen. If indeed some woman refused to touch it at all, that might indeed indicate “misandry,” but your argument is based on a ginormous leap from “I refuse to let someone come on my face because the action is degrading” to “OMG YOU DON’T WANT TO TOUCH SEMEN THAT’S MISANDRIST YOU BITCHES11!!!1!”

    Also, women don’t keep their menses as a souvenir, either.

    Perhaps you’ve missed the artwork.

    You act as though it couldn’t also carry disease, or anything else.

    Mmmm… no.

    It’s human waste. Semen isn’t.

    Really? So when my FB throws out the condom with the spooge in it, that doesn’t make it waste?

    Perhaps if you thought of the two things as bodily fluids that are the result of normal reproductive functioning, you’d be less skeeved out there, Howard Hughes.

    Further, you’re arguing from a bad faith position anyway, and one of incredible bias, considering you find pregnancy to be “harmful” and “dangerous”, a position many women would disagree with. It’s also pretty insulting to women who ARE pregnant, who have been pregnant, or who want to be pregnant.

    Ah, here it is. Sperm is magic sparkling love juice made of butterfly wings, and every woman is absolutely overjoyed to be pregnant and only has sex with a man when she wants to be pregnant. And pregnancy is never, ever dangerous or unwanted, and babies are always a joy and never a burden. And sperm never, ever transmits disease — why, it must have been spit that caused the AIDS epidemic to spread.

    You’re really quite a pathetic creature. And blood’ll come out of your sheets quite easily if you use hydrogen peroxide. Or sleep at her place if you don’t want to mess up your own sheets. Or put a fucking towel down.

    Boy, kids today.

  358. groggette
    groggette September 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

    Well. . .: it’s still using a threat to attempt to get a sexual act out of someone.

    Oh for fuck’s sake, you really are this obtuse aren’t you? For the last time: Deciding not to sleep with someone for ANY REASON isn’t coercion. Dumping someone because they won’t do something you find important is NOT threatening in attempt to get a sexual act out of the other person. If I say I’m not going to sleep with someone because 1)they refuse to do something that won’t get me off, 2)think a part of my body is disgusting, 3) other then I mean exactly what I say, I’m not going to sleep with them. I’m not holding out that they’ll see the error of their ways and all of a sudden be down to fuck. Even if they try to pull that on me I’ll still say no and walk away because the underlying problem is still there.

    A WOMAN HAVING STANDARDS OR DEALBREAKERS IS NOT COERCION.

    Get it through your fucking skull.

  359. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm |

    igglanova:
    We really need a non-sexist word with the same bite as ‘histrionic,’ because that is exactly the kind of sniffling we’re getting from poor Well of Tears over here.Those feminists are so mean for not deferring to him.Think of the penises!

    I would participate in the good ol’ inanity smackdown, but frankly, I would just be paraphrasing EG.

    Ah, more ad hominem.

    Anyway, statements like the one you just made are exactly what I’m talking about. You’re basically saying “Those men are so mean for not deferring to her. Think of the vaginas!”

    Except, well, no one is asking women to defer to them. I don’t have an interest in period sex, ergo I do not have it. Our positions are quite different. Mine is one of exercising my right to refuse consent.

    Yours, and many other women here, are operating from the position of “I want this, and if you don’t give it to me, you are a horrible human being. My sexual gratification is more important than you, or your thoughts/feelings on the subject, so if you refuse to give me sex, get out.”

    Seems kind of funny, considering if it were a man demanding sex, and saying that a woman’s reason for refusing consent wasn’t good enough, you’d have a very large issue with it. Somehow, though, all those issues of sexual autonomy and consent don’t apply quite as much to men, do they?

  360. groggette
    groggette September 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm |

    they refuse to do something that will get me off

    Heh, important distinction there.

  361. Ismone
    Ismone September 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm |

    PrettyAmiable,

    We are pretty much all in a constant state of shedding skin, hair, mucous, urine, sweat. Our vaginas are always shedding cells, in the natural lubrication (whether from bartholin’s glands and other glands or from the fluid that flows down out of our uteri through our cervixes.) Really, I mean, have you ever showered or bathed and had skin sort of slough off in sort of little balls of dirt? That is skin, btw, not “dirt.” And it is kind of gross, when you think about it. Partners have eaten our skin, our hair, and maybe even mucous and earwax WITHOUT EVEN NOTICING.

    Do I like thinking about this stuff? Nope. Do you have to like period sex? Nope. But focusing on the grossness of period blood but not the fact that we are walking tissue shedding factories and bacterial colonies–yeah, if a partner licks you, they are licking e. coli and all kinds of other lovelies off of your skin, and vice versa–well, I don’t think that is a completely culturally neutral belief. Not blaming, just saying.

    Well,

    Of course there is a huge difference between breaking up with someone who shows disgust with your body, and then telling them (or never telling them) and using a break-up as a stick to get them to do what you want. A huge difference. And yes, if a woman (or anyone) was so phobic of semen that she/zie never wanted any contact with it ever, she/zie probably would have some deep-seated issue.

    But the solution is condoms. Because semen has some risks associated with it, to get around them, use condoms, until those risks are taken care of. For example, if the fear is STDs, and nothing more, a waiting period and testing. If the fear is pregnancy, wait until sterility or other birth control methods are used. If the concern is “I don’t want to leak semen while wearing a bikini to a pool party tomorrow” again, maybe condoms are a good idea.

    And that is the thing you keep ignoring–people are talking about period sex with condoms, which has the same risk of contact with blood as ejaculating men create when *they* have sex with condoms.

    You are setting up a false equivalence.

  362. zuzu
    zuzu September 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    Well. . .: Also, you’re only using your own experience. I’ve never ended up with pubes on my pillows, or in my mouth, I’ve never had need of lube, there’s no used condom disposal.

    So are you saying you dry-fuck waxed women without a condom?

  363. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig September 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    Can we not have one post on period-related stuff without half of the posts going straight to moon-goddess-ville?
    Personally, I think periods are neccessary but gross. I’d expect a guy to refuse- heck, if I were a lesbian, I’d still completely understand if my hypothetical partner said no. It’s all kinds of squicky to me, and I’m the owner and operator of my body.
    Scallywag: I don’t know about you, but I always have my hair neatly brushed and try to look professional. Beauty is beyond me. I’d be really suspicious if a man told me I looked pretty without makeup- heck, a man telling me I’m beautiful at all sets off my creep radar. (I’m very, very far from the white American ideal.) Short version: Most women know what men find attractive already, and blood and general sloppiness are not on any dude’s radar. Men can look like slobs, women can’t. Heck, men find women eating to be gross, so it’s in a woman’s best interest to pretend not to be human.
    (Yeah, I know, he’s trolling. But I’m bored.)

  364. zuzu
    zuzu September 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    Well. . .: It’s repulsive to me because it’s human waste. I wasn’t aware I needed more than that. Most mammals and other animals have a revulsion for waste products, in some fashion.

    Sweat doesn’t bother me as much (though the odor does), because it’s primarily salt, and being extruded for the purposes of cooling the body. Unlike other releases of waste, it’s doing something. Taking a crap or urinating or menstruating is for the purpose of ridding the body of that stuff, the end. It’s not as though menstruating acts as an air conditioner for the vagina, or something.

    It’s simple only purpose is to get rid of the unused uterine lining.

    You have a very, very weird definition of human waste, bucko.

    There’s not really a comparison between menstrual blood and feces/urine. There is a comparison between menstrual blood and semen, which you seem to think that women should revere.

    Time for a little biology lesson: the uterine lining you so disdain has a purpose, my dear: it’s meant to shelter and nourish an embryo/fetus and grow into the placenta. It’s not just some horror-movie product, it’s something that has a purpose. And when that purpose is not fulfilled, it leaves the body.

    Sperm also has a purpose, but it has to leave the body to do so. Unused semen, which has not fulfilled its purpose, is no less a “waste” product than menses. The only real difference is the point at which said fluid becomes unnecessary: inside the body for menstrual blood, outside for semen. Either way, there’s goo, and it’s outside the body.

    But you know why neither semen nor menstrual blood are analogous to urine and feces? Because they’re produced by the body; they’re not, as urine and feces are, the end result of digestion, which takes an input from outside the body, extracts what the body can use, and then EXPELS AS WASTE what the body can’t use.

    Besides, I’ve never seen corn in semen or menstrual blood. Have you?

  365. zuzu
    zuzu September 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm |

    Well. . .: That said, I’m not even sure how one WOULD end up with pubes on pillows. I mean, I can possibly imagine a few odd scenarios, but for the most part, my head, or my partner’s head, or both, are laying on the pillow. Not our genitals.

    You clearly Aren’t Doing It Right.

    No, lube has never been necessary. By the time my partner is post-menopausal, I’ll be too damn old to be having sex anyway. Might break a hip or something, have a heart attack, maybe.

    Either you are already 80 years old and your partner is 20, or you’re very, very young and you think that women in their 50s regularly break hips and should not be having sex.

  366. Lamech
    Lamech September 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm |

    Okay… on the “foul odor”, and a number of similar statements. That is subjective. So if someone says something has a “foul odor” it has a foul odor. Chocolate tastes bad. Person X is attractive. That color is red. Its hot outside. All these statements and many more are subjective. Furthermore so is “X is gross/disgusting/distasteful/is-a-turn-off.”

    Two, its usually rude to say to your partner or anyone that something about them is gross, disgusting or something similar. It could be that they have pink eye, are bleeding, just vomited, have half their face burned off, their eyes are rotting out ect. If they push for the answer feel free to tell them though; people should be responsible enough to not ask questions they don’t want answered.

    Three, holy hell people can say for any reason at all they don’t want to have sex. You should never end up going “You don’t want to do [sex act]? That’s [wrongbad].” If someone says they don’t want to do a certain sex act don’t start trying to push them into it.

  367. Obedient
    Obedient September 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm |

    Don’t get it. Just insert your erection wherever She directs you to.

    Shut up and like it. Then take a shower.

  368. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    Lamech: That color is red.

    That’s subjective? I thought there’s like, red. Not the point, of course, but… red, right?

    Ismone: well, I don’t think that is a completely culturally neutral belief.

    Is anything? But the culture that I’m confident I’m reflecting is “It’s gross to stick your fingers into gooey, bloody stickiness” rather than “Women’s bodies are the ick.” I mean, I use nuvaring. I deal with it for sure once a month. Also, I use tampons, so it’s not like that’s the cleanest endeavor either. But all else equal, I’d rather not be gooey. And bloody. And sticky.

  369. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 9, 2011 at 6:53 pm |

    You know, I went to an all girls boarding school, so I’ve been in close contact with a LOT of people who’re menstruating. Menstrual blood definitely has a distinct odor, but I can’t say I’d call it “foul”. And I can’t help but point out that perceiving that odor as foul may in fact be a socially conditioned response influenced by…wait for it…misogyny.

    Also I’m laughing at the “nightmare scenario” of cleaning menstrual fluids of bodies and sheets. My most common nightmare involved being attacked and eaten by sharks – can’t say that a shower and pouring bleach in with my laundry has quite the same instinctive “argh!” impact. And I have OCD that’s specifically related to the idea of dirt and germs, so if anyone was going to freak out you’d think it would be me.

  370. Ismone
    Ismone September 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm |

    Obedient,

    You are so full of it. The point is, if two people aren’t fulfilling eachother sexually, breaking up is a good idea. And that certain things that certain people don’t like doing reflect certain negative attitudes.

    Prettyamiable,

    Not all period secretions are gooey or sticky. And who said anything about fingers? We’re talking about dicks in condoms. Also, again, you are simply characterizing what is different about periods as gross, using exaggerated language. As I pointed out graphically in my post, you can do the same thing with say, licking a partner’s neck or ear.

  371. igglanova
    igglanova September 9, 2011 at 8:23 pm |

    Shorter Obedient: MATRIARCHY!!!!!11!!!1!

  372. igglanova
    igglanova September 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm |

    It is kind of amazing what people will take from a post that simply posits that period sex needn’t be scorned as disgusting. Better alert the human rights watch, because Jill just advocated for MALE SEX SLAVERY. God you’re such evil bitches for invalidating a man’s right to say no!!!!!!!!

    (…except for the part where none of us actually did that.)

    Christ. Once people started arguing against a made-up position that people took great pains to avoid, we lost all hope of intelligent discourse.

  373. Becky
    Becky September 10, 2011 at 1:06 am |

    Well…: Further, you’re arguing from a bad faith position anyway, and one of incredible bias, considering you find pregnancy to be “harmful” and “dangerous”, a position many women would disagree with. It’s also pretty insulting to women who ARE pregnant, who have been pregnant, or who want to be pregnant.

    Wait, what? I’m pregnant. And I don’t find that offensive. It’s true. Pregnancy is potentially harmful and dangerous – it can cause blood pressure to rise to dangerous and even fatal levels. It can cause diabetes. Women can die in childbirth – my MIL almost died giving birth to my husband. I don’t even understand how stating the fact that pregnancy is dangerous is supposed to be insulting to pregnant women – you’re grasping at straws here.

  374. Charity
    Charity September 10, 2011 at 8:15 am |

    zuzu: You have a very, very weird definition of human waste, bucko.There’s not really a comparison between menstrual blood and feces/urine. There is a comparison between menstrual blood and semen, which you seem to think that women should revere.Time for a little biology lesson: the uterine lining you so disdain has a purpose, my dear: it’s meant to shelter and nourish an embryo/fetus and grow into the placenta. It’s not just some horror-movie product, it’s something that has a purpose. And when that purpose is not fulfilled, it leaves the body. Sperm also has a purpose, but it has to leave the body to do so. Unused semen, which has not fulfilled its purpose, is no less a “waste” product than menses. The only real difference is the point at which said fluid becomes unnecessary: inside the body for menstrual blood, outside for semen. Either way, there’s goo, and it’s outside the body. But you know why neither semen nor menstrual blood are analogous to urine and feces? Because they’re produced by the body; they’re not, as urine and feces are, the end result of digestion, which takes an input from outside the body, extracts what the body can use, and then EXPELS AS WASTE what the body can’t use.Besides, I’ve never seen corn in semen or menstrual blood. Have you?

    Thanks, Zuzu!

  375. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 10, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    Ismone: And who said anything about fingers?

    I lack a dick, and therefore a dick with a condom. It’s the only way I can relate to the idea. Throw on some rubber gloves though, and I still think it’s yucky.

    Ismone: Also, again, you are simply characterizing what is different about periods as gross, using exaggerated language.

    I’d argue I’m characterizing MY period accurately. Maybe you don’t gush like a faucet for three days and get less gushy for the next four, but that makes you lucky, IMO. It doesn’t make my characterization wrong or exaggerated. I also dislike the idea that’s been implied throughout that I’m a bad feminist because I find something that’s been demonized in the past (and currently by douchebags) kind of gross because it was a lady/trans-dude-only problem. My body does LOTS of shit I find gross. I sweat. My eyes get weird crusty shit when I sleep sometimes. My feet get all callused when I walk too much in stupid shoes, which also has a great function but I think it’s gross. So what – I have to use language that doesn’t represent my relationship with my period because there are still misogynists and they’re dumb enough to interpret my language as validating? I’m not willing to work around them like that. My body, my feelings, my words. Blisters, calluses, crusty eye shit, sweat, my period. All of them have awesome purposes, but they all irritate the shit out of me and are gross.

    Ismone: As I pointed out graphically in my post, you can do the same thing with say, licking a partner’s neck or ear.

    I try not to lick my partner’s neck or ear if they are bleeding either. Or if they’re sweaty (which would add the gooey/sticky factor). Sweaty AND bloody, barring some kind of tragedy that got him bleeding out of his neck, and the fucker doesn’t need me poking around at all. I ignored the analogy because it didn’t focus on what I personally find rather distasteful about period sex.

  376. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 10, 2011 at 8:52 am |

    PrettyAmiable: I also dislike the idea that’s been implied throughout that I’m a bad feminist because I find something that’s been demonized in the past (and currently by douchebags) kind of gross because it was a lady/trans-dude-only problem.

    Noun-verb disconnect – “it’s been demonized because it was a lady/trans-dude-only problem,” and “I find it gross” were the two thoughts I meant to convey. I don’t find it gross because it’s a lady/trans-dude-only problem.

  377. EG
    EG September 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm |

    By the time my partner is post-menopausal, I’ll be too damn old to be having sex anyway. Might break a hip or something, have a heart attack, maybe.

    You must be kidding. Do you know any people over the age of 50 at all?

    Nonetheless, I think that what with the “too old to have sex” this, and the “no pubic hair ever gets in my mouth” that, it’s pretty clear that you’re the last person whose judgment on sex is worth listening to.

    Mine is one of exercising my right to refuse consent.

    And so’s mine. You don’t consent to period sex. I don’t consent to men who refuse to have period sex. I also pass judgment regarding internalized misogyny in such men–passing judgment being another right that everybody has, though some may choose not to exercise it. You, for instance, pass judgment on women who have the gall to believe that they don’t have to fuck a guy who thinks their periods are gross.

    It’s not exactly great post-sex-cuddle-romance to hurry up, jump up, strip the bed, stain stick the sheets, soak the sheets in cold water, remake the bed, shower, and then go have some afterglow.

    You don’t stick fabric to which you’ve just applied stain stick into cold water to soak–it would wash the stain stick right off. The whole point of stain stick is that you can apply it, throw the thing in the hamper, and not worry about it until it’s time to do the laundry. In any case…lay down a towel, stain stick it, toss it in the hamper, and go cuddle.

    You know, you act as though women, who menstruate monthly, cannot know the pain of stained sheets, and how can you be expected to deal with such horror. You really need to understand that we deal with this all the time, stained sheets, stained underpants, sometimes even stained pants or skirts, and yet we somehow find the strength to carry on with our lives. Your whining doesn’t even merit the world’s tiniest violin.

    Even comparing semen is weak, at best, simply because one is always present during orgasm, and menses isn’t.

    So? No, really, so? Balls are a normal part of a man’s body; if I want to fuck a man, I better be prepared to deal with them. Semen is a normal emission from a man’s body; if I want to fuck a man, I better be prepared to deal with it. Menstruation is a perfectly normal state for a woman’s body; if you want to fuck a woman, you better be prepared to deal with it.

    I wasn’t aware I needed an excuse to justify why human waste is gross.

    You do, because just because two things share a category, that doesn’t mean they’re equivalent. For instance, tomatoes are in the same plant family as deadly nightshade; it would, however, be an absurd mistake to dismiss any notion of eating tomatoes with “but they’re in the same category as deadly nightshade!” The issue is not why shit is almost universally repulsive (we’ve evolved to find it so because not finding it so would kill us). The issue is why you find menstrual blood, which has nothing in common with shit except the fact that it is expelled from body, to be so self-evidently disgusting that no support needs to be given for your judgment.

    menstruating is for the purpose of ridding the body of that stuff, the end. It’s not as though menstruating acts as an air conditioner for the vagina, or something.

    Actually, my understanding is that nobody’s quite sure why we menstruate. Other mammals don’t. It may be that constantly maintaining a uterine lining is simply too draining on the body for such a weak species. It’s not that the uterine lining is itself toxic or dangerous or needs to be eliminated. It’s not like women who have 45-day cycles are at some greater risk for Deadly Uterine Lining Decay than women who have 20-day cycles.

    You don’t ever once seem to entertain the idea that it’s not right to tell someone they’re bad for not engaging in a sex act

    I haven’t said anybody’s bad. I’ve said that I won’t sleep with such a person, and I do think that there’s a very high probability that the person in question has internalized the irrational misogyny that our culture is steeped in. If you were more able to understand that, and less expecting us all to agree that menstrual blood is gross because it’s inherently gross, then perhaps we would have a more productive conversation.

    it’s still using a threat to attempt to get a sexual act out of someone.

    Um, no. Dumping someone is a way to dump someone. I don’t threaten. I make a couple of good faith attempts to get my partner to see how important something is to me, and if he can’t or won’t, and we can’t work out a compromise, I dump him. Why would I bother threatening? The issue is that I don’t want to sleep with someone who finds a perfectly normal part of my reproductive system repulsive. I don’t want him to grit his teeth and do it anyway. I want him to vacate my bed and make room for a better partner.

    No, they use tampons.

    Trust me, tampons leak, too.

    Refrain from ad hominem. I’ve no issue ceasing to treat with you if your posts devolve into petty insults.

    Well, that is a terrible threat. I shall be sure to check my wicked, snarky, mocking ways, as I would be lost without the pleasure of your company.

    I don’t think you understand. I don’t take my pleasure in reading you. I take my pleasure in making fun of your ridiculous, melodramatic hysterics about bloodstains and uterine lining and such. I can do that, no matter whom you’re addressing.

    Well, bloodstains from my experience, don’t come out all the time. I’ve articles of clothing I’ve bled on over the years that I’ve had to get rid of. Once the stain sets, it’s always going to be there, albeit perhaps slightly faded.

    You do realize that I have more experience in this than you do, yes? You yourself have noted that menstrual blood is not like other blood. The stains eventually come out.

    I’m not really sure how that says something about my “desirability as a sexual partner”

    We had a whole long thread about this, just a little while ago: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/08/08/dealbreaker-indeed/

    your statement is needless snark.

    Oh, I beg to differ. Far from being needless, my statement was crying out to be made.

    I’m not even sure how one WOULD end up with pubes on pillows.

    Your lack of imagination is not my problem.

    I don’t think I’d say she’s “stuck” dealing with it, considering she wants to deal with it.

    She wants to deal with your semen, or she wants to have sex with you, and dealing with your semen just comes with the territory? Perhaps your partner is into playing with semen–it takes all kinds, after all. Most of us aren’t. Semen is not made of hot apple cider and rum. It carries disease, comes out of the body, is messy, sticky, drippy, smelly, not terribly tasty (not repulsive, though), and gross–all the things that make menstrual blood so revolting to you. But they don’t put your girlfriend off. Or most other straight women. We just deal. I guess the average straight woman just isn’t as fastidious as you. Lucky for men.

    on the “foul odor”, and a number of similar statements. That is subjective.

    And goodness knows “subjective” judgments are never affected by misogyny or other bias. In any case, tell that to Well… He’s the one who makes pronouncements about “foul odor” and “nightmare mess” as though they were universal truths.

    My most common nightmare involved being attacked and eaten by sharks – can’t say that a shower and pouring bleach in with my laundry has quite the same instinctive “argh!” impact.

    CassandraSays, you are my Sister in Fear! Shark attack is a nightmare. Bloody sheets are just somewhat irritating. Unless, of course, you’re holding the bloody sheets while in the water, in which case they are terrifying, because blood attracts sharks!

  378. EG
    EG September 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm |

    Ah, hell. Must’ve forgotten to close the tag. Apologies to all.

  379. EG
    EG September 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm |

    And oh, Well…, as to why I find your pronouncements on “foul odor” so much more offensive than women deciding that they don’t like the smell of their own periods? It’s the same reason I respond differently to men talking about how fat some woman is, and that woman herself talking about how fat she is.

  380. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm |

    It is kind of amazing what people will take from a post that simply posits that period sex needn’t be scorned as disgusting. Better alert the human rights watch, because Jill just advocated for MALE SEX SLAVERY. God you’re such evil bitches for invalidating a man’s right to say no!!!!!!!!

    Wow, you mean to suggest that a post saying “menstruating women’s bodies aren’t horrifying and gross, and dudes should stop calling them that” is getting certain guys all freaked out and hyperbolic? Whoda thunk? :p

  381. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve September 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm |

    Well. . .: Also, you’re only using your own experience. I’ve never ended up with pubes on my pillows, or in my mouth, I’ve never had need of lube, there’s no used condom disposal.

    Who’s experience is she supposed to use apart from her own?

    My experience is of being in a nearly 20-year monogamous relationship in which both partners are fastidious groomers in the pube department, don’t use artificial lube (I do have a tongue,) and have no need for condoms, so your experience is closer to mine than zuzu’s. It doesn’t mean you’ve said anything that wasn’t nonsense.

  382. zuzu
    zuzu September 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

    I missed this the first time around:

    Well. . .: As far as the balls comment, that’s a poor analogy. Balls are a part of a person’s body, and are always there. They don’t appear and flop around once a month. If there was a sort of wereballs on the full moon, and someone was weirded out by my week of full moon balls, and didn’t want to have sex with me during that week, so be it. Masturbation exists.

    Your analogy would only work if menstruation was the default state for a woman, and you simply bled all the time, and having sex with a woman inevitably meant getting blood and tissue on your junk/pubes/bed. It isn’t the default state, however.

    Hold up there. Women spend a lot more time menstruating than non-porn-star men (for whom it’s a job) spend ejaculating. I mean, I bleed for days on end every month. The average cum shot lasts a few seconds. On a cumulative basis, then, I bleed more than the average guy spooges.

    So, by your own logic, semen is actually more gross than menses. And yet you’re acting as if semen is something women should just deal with because it’s a fact of male bodies, while menses is some kind of horrible anomaly that men should disdain and avoid and shame women for daring to inconvenience them with.

  383. EG
    EG September 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm |

    But zuzu, won’t you think of the sheets?! Somebody, please, think of the sheets!

  384. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm |

    Women who are menstruating should have to wear a red letter “A” on their shirts for “AAAAAAAaaaaaaagggggggggrrrrrrrhhhhhhh…!”

    (because the men who accidentally slept with them all died screaming — they were apparently dictating — like in Monty Python. Anything less would be coercive.)

  385. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm |

    Well’s “omg icky!” response does make more sense in light of the fact that he’s clearly rather young. It also makes me really glad that I’m not sleeping with men under 30 any more. Although I think that his breaking-a-hip comment was a (pitifully failed) attempt at humor.

    Also, yeah, semen. Doesn’t taste very good (though diet affects that), and yet many women regularly tolerate having it in their mouths. If our misguided young friend is under the impression that his female sexual partner actively adores and seeks out contact with his semen because she just loves it so much…well, women who really really dig semen do exist, but it’s certainly not the norm. Most women tolerate the unpleasant aspects of semen (sticky, unpleasant taste, odd texture) because it’s just part and parcel of having sex with someone with a penis. And because there aren’t huge cultural messages being thrown out all the time telling us that things that come out of men’s bodies are freaky, weird, and disgusting. It would be quite possible for culture to construct semen as freaky, weird, and disgusting, the same way it does with menstrual blood, but it doesn’t because hey, patriarchy.

  386. Well. . .
    Well. . . September 11, 2011 at 10:27 am |

    (Just a disclaimer, I’m hereon ignoring the bad faith commenters)

    EG:

    Yep, I do know people over the age of 50. However, it’s not really up to you, at all, to tell me when I’m too old to have sex, or still within the “you can do some sex” age range. If I personally say “I am now too old, and I don’t want to”, then that’s my prerogative.

    I’m older than my partner, and by the time she’s completed menopause, I will consider myself to be quite old. Given that I already have a lower sex drive than I did, say, 10+ years ago, and presuming things go as they have been, I highly doubt I’ll have any interest in sex whatsoever by that point. Why does that seem to bother you?

    Again, keep your shaming judgments to yourself. I could say that since you like getting blood all over the bed, you inexplicably get pubes on your pillows, that your opinions on sex aren’t worth listening to.

    In fact, my partner and I both mulled your statement over the other night, and can’t quite figure out how you’re ending up with pubes on your pillows.

    Care to share?

    See, again, all I’m saying is: You are flat-out wrong. Refusing period sex is NOT “internalized misogyny”. You too often slap that sort of label on any behavior you please in order to always seem as though you are in the right.

    Given that plenty of men who don’t much care for women will fuck while they’re on a period, that sort of takes your idea and sinks the battleship, doesn’t it?

    You’re still doing something that inversely, would be considered hugely wrong. Taking someone’s sexual “no” and telling them it’s not good enough, and that their reasons for revoking consent aren’t good enough.

    Not appropriate.

    As far as the stains, I don’t keep seven sets of sheets in order to change them nightly for period sex. Waste of water, waste of money to do laundry that often.

    The difference in your “perfectly normal” argument, is one of those things is not like the others. The rest are *always present*. Menstruation isn’t.

    I piss sometimes. It doesn’t mean that someone who wants to fuck me better be prepared for me occasionally wanting to pee during sex.

    (People spent many years refusing to eat tomatoes just because of said deadly nightshade connection, fyi)

    I find it disgusting because it is. Much like I have revulsion for any other human waste, I have revulsion for that. A lot of what I’ve noticed your argument boils down to is: “You must revere this. It came from a woman. Anything that came from a woman must be loved. If it is not, you hate women.”

    What next, will you tell me your farts are unicorn sighs, and they are wondrous, and if I do not love the scent, I have internalized misogyny, and am afraid of the strong farts of a strong woman?

    Be serious.

    Your argument is poor because anyone could reverse it on you. I’m certain there are sex acts that you refuse to do. How would you feel if anything you refused in the bedroom, you were called a misandrist, told you had internalized misandry, and that any other possible reason you could give for not wanting to do said act was all bullshit, and that this other individual knew your mind better than you did, and so on and so forth?

    Umm, yes. The threat of severing a relationship is generally considered just that: a threat. Well, unless your concept of relationship is just partners of convenience for the purpose of sex. Then I suppose it’s not a big deal. I don’t engage in relationships of that nature.

    Also, I think if you were to read your own words from a male, about a sex act you find distasteful, you’d sing a different tune.

    If there was an article about a man dumping women left and right for not engaging in an act that they didn’t want to, you’d definitely have a different opinion.

    No, it’s more that using insults and pettiness is not good debate, nor good faith, and it only reflects badly on the user, not the target.

    You have more experience in having blood? Yes, there’s differernt things in it, but it still has blood. Blood stains. Quite strongly, especially if it’s allowed to set.

    You’re very much more experienced in having a period, but in having blood in general, or in bleeding on something? Maybe not so much.

    Yes, she specifically wants to deal with it. Not just “grin and bear it”.

    Saying “semen carries disease” is a bit inflammatory. You could say “potentially carries”. It doesn’t just carry disease by default, like some form of rabid raccoon. If I said “menses carries disease” how would that grab you?

    Semen carries disease if the producer of the semen has disease. If not, it doesn’t. To imply that it’s just always diseased implies some internalized misandry.

    I can’t disagree about some of the qualities of it you’ve mentioned, however taste is largely dependent on the male in question’s diet.

    Has nothing to do with fastidiousness. My partner has no interest whatsoever in having period sex either.

    In fact, she also finds the smell foul. Of her OWN MENSES! OMG! It’s probably because misogyny has crept into her olfactory senses and ordered her not to like a smell.

    Finally, again, on the pronouncement of “foul odor”: You can’t say a word on it. That’s the fun thing about a human’s olfactory system.

    See, to you, perhaps the smell of grilling salmon is wonderful, and smells like an excellent dinner. If I smell cooking fish, I gag, and if it’s too strong, I will vomit. No exaggeration. So, if I find a smell unpleasant, it means I do, and that’s all there is to it. You can’t really call that “misogyny”. A concept cannot inform the sense of smell, or taste, or similar.

    Even suggesting the idea of “You hate women, that’s why you don’t like that smell” is absurd.

    zuzu: Maybe so, but your argument is flawed, as men will spend more time having sex that involves ejaculation than women will having sex that involves menstruation.

    So you come from flawed beginnings to reach a flawed conclusion.

    Semen is a part of sex. It happens because of sex. Sex causes it to appear from the body. It’s not as though a woman will lay back and scream “Oh, god, oh baby, I’m menstruating, harder, I’m gonna, gonna, I’m gonna perrrriooooooooooddddd!”

    So, not really the same.

    Cassandra: First off, your statement could be pulled as ageist. Secondly, no, I’m not “rather young”.

    I’m in my 30s.

    My comment about breaking a hip wasn’t so much humor, as accurate. As I said above, by the time my partner is through menopause, I will be quite significantly old. Considering the fact that the males in my family tend to die around their 60s, and are usually in damn rough shape by then, yeah, I’ll be too damn old to have sex.

    I’m not going to get all hopped up on viagra and have my bones creak more than the bedframe.

    As far as the cultural whatnot, I’m fairly certain such messages wouldn’t exist, because if they had, you wouldn’t be here to talk about them. If there was a huge stigma attached to semen, that’d go pretty badly given it’s necessity in human reproduction.

    So no, not patriarchy.

  387. Ismone
    Ismone September 11, 2011 at 11:56 am |

    Prettyamiable,

    Those other “gross” things that you discuss probably don’t keep you from kissing your partner when the sweat has dried, or isn’t apparent to you. Do you not kiss eyes for the fear of eye boogers? Do you not have sex when your partner has allergies? I’m thinking no. You still seem to have a strong aversion to periods, more so than other “gross” bodily secretions, and it is probably culturally constructed, is all I am saying. With effort, if you cared to, it might be something you could overcome. I know that I initially was worried about period sex–more because I didn’t want to inflict it on my partner–but after having partners who weren’t phobic about it, I was able to get over any lingering issues. And now, yeah, I can see a pattern between the guys who are into it and who are not.

  388. I Am No Bro
    I Am No Bro September 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm |

    My light and useless contribution to add to the mix, being a straight female:

    -I’ve only bled on my sheets a handful of times in the past 15 years. The stains do not come out (yes, I’ve tried peroxide). Let’s not get started on the miscarriage that left a murder-scene style bloodstain on our sheets.

    -Toxic shock syndrome isn’t that common anymore and you can sleep with a tampon in.

    -It’s not just a male thing to consider period blood gross. It isn’t just blood. It’s goopy, gloppy, full of lumps and tissue and clots and (godi’mgonnagagheremaybeishouldn’tbesodescriptive) it does have a rather odd odor.

    -I see a lot of assumptions here about how people have/will have multiple sex partners or what have you (ergo wearing condoms and not getting diseases knocked up and all), but if you are in a committed relationship with a clean partner and on birth control (especially serious business types like Mirena and Essure) odds are you WILL be going bareback and semen contact is unavoidable every time you have sex save pulling out.

    -I have, in my dating life, refused to give oral sex because I hated the texture and smell and taste of semen. This was met with hard-to-hide disappointment, but NEVER have any men told me it was a dealbreaker or dumped me because a body fluid gave me the ickies. It was never threatened or given as an ultimatum. And I wasn’t nice about it, I flat out said that semen totally grossed me out. In retrospect, maybe I should have phrased it in a more polite way, though.

    -That being said, since I would find it extremely crass to dump me if I didn’t want to suck dick, I certainly wouldn’t dump a man over not wanting to touch menstrual blood. I’m sorry, but it’s just a period, and there’s no real way to get around the fact that a lot of people find the blood/clots/tissue disgusting. Including women (I do). It’s not disgusting because you hate women, or hate the female reproductive system, or you think it’s wrong. It’s disgusting because . . . okay, I’m not going to repeat my lovely description of menstrual blood again. Gack. I don’t think most people say “You know why that’s gross? BECAUSE FUCK WOMEN, THAT’S WHY!”

    I mean, my god, if I came on here and said “My partner told me that he will dump me if I don’t blow him!” would you all REALLY say that was his right? If I really, really loved him and I didn’t want to lose him, and he laid down that sort of dealbreaker/ultimatum to me? I don’t think he’d get much of a fan club. I’m pretty sure it WOULD be called coercion.

    I’m sorry, I just feel that if we, as women, want to be given a certain level of respect for our boundaries and would consider being dumped over said boundaries an affront, then the same goes for how we interact with men (or lesbian partners who also don’t want to touch period blood).

    If I really wanted to get off during my period and my partner (some people would even pass out at the sight of blood) wasn’t comfortable helping out with that – well, they do make vibrators and such, you know. Just a side note.

  389. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm |

    Ismone: With effort, if you cared to, it might be something you could overcome.

    …With effort, if you cared to, you could probably overcome your insistence that you understand my relationship to my body better than I understand it. Really, I would entertain you on this topic, but when your response to my claim that “I’m equally grossed out by this other gross shit my body does” is “NO YOU’RE NOT,” I can’t really have this conversation in good faith. Maybe you were grossed out by your period because of internalized misogyny and you worked through that and it’s great. But not everyone dislikes periods because they’re uterus-owning events and society tells them that that’s the appropriate response.

    FFS, I paint my nails and don’t leave the house without make up on. I let a guy pay for my drinks last night at a bar even though there’s a chance I make more than he does and despite the fact that I knew I was going to pounce on his dick later. That shit is internalized misogyny for me. But I would never tell a woman who really likes make up that she likes it strictly because of internalized misogyny. Maybe she just likes making her eyes sparkly or some shit. Rule 1 of feminist arbitration: my subjective experiences are not the universal subjective experience.

  390. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 11, 2011 at 8:27 pm |

    @Well

    Wow…what a obnoxious diatribe. I’m sure you didn’t respond to my SO because he wasn’t arguing in good faith. You are a complete tool. Also, a pillow under the hips, FYI.

  391. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm |

    Ignoring Well’s tl;dr…

    “I mean, my god, if I came on here and said “My partner told me that he will dump me if I don’t blow him!” would you all REALLY say that was his right?”

    Yes, I would. I’d also say that you’d be entitled to be pissed off about it, or hurt, or sad, and if he was presenting that in a way that was clearly intended to be coercive rather than just a statement of “this is vital to me, and if you’re not up for it I guess that means we’re not doing to work out” then I’d think he was a jerk. But yep, if he really really wanted something that you didn’t feel comfortable providing, then I’d say he had a right to decide that that was a dealbreaker. That’s kind of the point here – dealbreakers are individual, and we’re all entitled to have them even when other people don’t think they make sense. Other people are entitled to judge us for having them, too – what they’re not entitled to do is try to talk us out of having them.

    I really find it funny how hard some people seem to find it to accept the idea that a sexual partner can dump you at any time, for any reason, even a reason that you don’t agree with. That’s how consent works, folks – everyone has a right to draw lines for themselves. Doesn’t mean you have to like where that person drew the line, or that you’re required not to think poorly of them for it, but for the gazillionth time – no one is ever entitled to a relationship with someone who for whatever reason doesn’t want to be in a relationship with them.

  392. igglanova
    igglanova September 11, 2011 at 10:10 pm |

    Again with the weird comparisons. We’re not talking about a specific sex act that isn’t even necessary to get most people off (read: blowjob). We’re talking about sex at all.

    Not that any of this matters, really, since everyone has agreed multiple times that a man can break up with a woman for any reason at all. (Please actually read the thread before bringing up the same debunked talking points over and over.) It is, however, useful, and telling, to look at trends in which sex acts are accepted as normal and which ones are considered going above and beyond. Yeah, sure, nobody can prove that any individual’s distaste for period sex is influenced by sexism, but that’s the same for any individual scenario, from a woman’s self-undermining behaviour in meetings to the discrepancy in pay between two employees. There are always weird and unpredictable confounds. But when you look at things more broadly than yourself, there’s no doubt that there is sexism in play.

  393. zuzu
    zuzu September 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm |

    Well. . .: The difference in your “perfectly normal” argument, is one of those things is not like the others. The rest are *always present*. Menstruation isn’t.

    Neither is semen, but you seem to think women should treat it like it’s made from unicorn tears.

    I find it disgusting because it is. Much like I have revulsion for any other human waste, I have revulsion for that. A lot of what I’ve noticed your argument boils down to is: “You must revere this. It came from a woman. Anything that came from a woman must be loved. If it is not, you hate women.”

    You don’t seem to have any revulsion for semen. Which leads inexorably to the conclusion that you’re a misogynist asshat.

  394. zuzu
    zuzu September 11, 2011 at 10:29 pm |

    Well. . .: zuzu: Maybe so, but your argument is flawed, as men will spend more time having sex that involves ejaculation than women will having sex that involves menstruation.

    So you come from flawed beginnings to reach a flawed conclusion.

    Semen is a part of sex. It happens because of sex. Sex causes it to appear from the body. It’s not as though a woman will lay back and scream “Oh, god, oh baby, I’m menstruating, harder, I’m gonna, gonna, I’m gonna perrrriooooooooooddddd!”

    So, not really the same.

    You have to be a lousy lay.

  395. zuzu
    zuzu September 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm |

    I Am No Bro: I mean, my god, if I came on here and said “My partner told me that he will dump me if I don’t blow him!” would you all REALLY say that was his right?

    Yes.

    And it’s your right to think he’s a jackass as a result.

    If I really, really loved him and I didn’t want to lose him, and he laid down that sort of dealbreaker/ultimatum to me? I don’t think he’d get much of a fan club. I’m pretty sure it WOULD be called coercion.

    It would also be called being a doormat. Why would you want to stay with a guy who coerced you into sucking his dick?

  396. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    Actually I get super horny during my period. So in theory in that case sex is happening because of menstruation. And if you want to get macro sex happens because of menstruation too, since women who don’t menstruate are not fertile and thus cannot have babies who will when they’re all grown up probably want to have sex.

    (I’ve always suspected that this is a sign that on a subconscious level my body agrees with my desire not to get pregnant, by making me horniest at the times when conception is least likely.)

  397. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 12, 2011 at 9:41 am |

    You don’t seem to have any revulsion for semen. Which leads inexorably to the conclusion that you’re a misogynist asshat.

    BINGO. Because, if you’ve got a penis, you have every right to standards, preferences and desires. If you don’t have a penis, shut the fuck up and admit that 1) you’re disgusting; 2) men’s bodies are pure and clean and never disgusting; 3) that if he thinks your body is disgusting, you’re not allowed to argue; 4) if you don’t like his attitude towards you body, you’re a rapist.

    Bow to that logic, you dirty, disgusting rapist-bitchez!

  398. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 12, 2011 at 9:43 am |

    I Am No Bro – did you take a class in Missing The Point? I bet you got an ‘A+’.

  399. groggette
    groggette September 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

    Wait a minute…. how is this post not at 500 comments yet?!?

    *FLOUNCE*

  400. Kendal Pierce
    Kendal Pierce September 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    I know we are all entitled to our own opinion, but I don’t see any reason why some women find it appealing to have themselves engage in sexual intercourse during their monthly period. It is gross, completely repulsive for me. I would never dare to have sex with my boyfriend if I am on my monthly period. We can do it at another time perhaps but never when I am menstruating.

  401. zuzu
    zuzu September 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm |

    Kendal Pierce:
    I know we are all entitled to our own opinion, but I don’t see any reason why some women find it appealing to have themselves engage in sexual intercourse during their monthly period. It is gross, completely repulsive for me. I would never dare to have sex with my boyfriend if I am on my monthly period. We can do it at another time perhaps but never when I am menstruating.

    Let’s draw a Venn diagram, Kendal.

    Draw two non-overlapping circles.

    In Circle 1, we’ll write, “Kendal.”

    In Circle 2, we’ll write, “Everyone else.”

    Circle 1 is the entire set of people Kendal gets to make decisions about regarding how gross it is to have period sex. See how that works?

    Rare Vos: 4) if you don’t like his attitude towards you body, you’re a rapist.

    I am still at a loss as to exactly why I would want to force a man who regards my body as disgusting to fuck me. Can anyone help me out there?

  402. chipchop
    chipchop September 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |

    That robot-voice you’ve got going there (“to have themselves engage in sexual intercourse during their monthly period”??) is really dampened by the contraction “don’t.” You’re not going to sell many shitty e-books with that kind of carelessness! Tsk.

  403. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm |

    Well, I know that I don’t want to have sex with a robot that’s bleeding, since I’m fairly certain they’re not supposed to do that.

    Also, about this? “I would never dare to have sex with my boyfriend if I am on my monthly period.”

    I suspect that there are a lot of things that I (and many others) “dare” to do that you don’t. Largely because I’ve never related to a boyfriend in such a way that I’d be wondering if I dare to do something with him/in his presence.

  404. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm |

    You have to be a lousy lay.

    In all fairness, zuzu, if Well and his girlfriend always have sex through holes cut in their biohazard suits that is kind of interesting and kinky. ^^

  405. Tori
    Tori September 12, 2011 at 9:07 pm |

    Kendal Pierce:
    I know we are all entitled to our own opinion, but I don’t see any reason why some women find it appealing to have themselves engage in sexual intercourse during their monthly period. It is gross, completely repulsive for me. I would never dare to have sex with my boyfriend if I am on my monthly period. We can do it at another time perhaps but never when I am menstruating.

    I don’t see any reason why some women find it appealing to have themselves engage in sexual intercourse during their monthly period.

    With my current condition (yes, I have seen a doctor about it — it’s the best it’s ever been) and current medication, I spend more days bleeding than not bleeding. When I choose to have sexual intercourse while bleeding, it is generally because fucking feels fucking awesome.

    Certainly, if my partner objected, I’d respect that. And if there were issues to work through, we’d do that.

    But again, we’re both basically part of Team Fucking Feels Fucking Awesome.

  406. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig September 12, 2011 at 9:15 pm |

    Bagelsan: Or maybe he’s one of the wool fetishists Regretsy digs up from time to time.
    http://www.regretsy.com/2011/08/21/weekend-flashback-wool-gathering/

    Groggette: I’m doing my part. Let’s derail this trainwreck.
    This is the thread that never ends, this is the thread that never ends, some people started posting on it, not knowing what it was and they’ll continue posting forever just because..

  407. Well...
    Well... September 12, 2011 at 9:51 pm |

    Rare Vos: BINGO.Because, if you’ve got a penis, you have every right to standards, preferences and desires.If you don’t have a penis, shut the fuck up and admit that 1) you’re disgusting; 2) men’s bodies are pure and clean and never disgusting; 3) that if he thinks your body is disgusting, you’re not allowed to argue; 4) if you don’t like his attitude towards you body, you’re a rapist.

    Bow to that logic, you dirty, disgusting rapist-bitchez!

    One big fail, here. What you’re doing, in fact, is telling men they have no right to have standards, actually. The standard is expressed (No period sex) and you say it is wrong, bad, and he’s an evil hater of women for having said standard.

    You’re also arguing in very bad faith, and throwing strawmen up left and right.

    See, saying you don’t want to have period sex is not saying “Women’s bodies are all disgusting”, nor is it saying “Men’s bodies are pure and clean and never disgusting”, in fact, it’s not saying ANY of the things you are.

    Your attitude still conveys that of a person who thinks that since it came from a woman, it’s to be revered, and what a woman wants is of the highest, utmost importance.

    It’s not.

    Nor is anyone saying “rapist”. Funny thing, though, if some dude shamed, insulted and attacked a woman over not performing a sexual act, you’d call the guy a rapist, or at least hint strongly around it. At bare minimum, a misogynist.

    The point you still don’t seem to grasp: Disliking period sex =/= finding person’s body gross.

    That’s like saying if you don’t relish the smell of my farts, you think my entire body and entire gender is disgusting. That’s essentially your absurd argument. If you continue in bad faith, much like all the others I ignore, I’ll ignore you as well.

  408. Brett K
    Brett K September 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm |

    That’s like saying if you don’t relish the smell of my farts, you think my entire body and entire gender is disgusting.

    Because… women never fart?

    I’m sorry, what are you talking about again? I seem to have lost track, what with all the bullshit and period-hating.

  409. zuzu
    zuzu September 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm |

    I’m just going to read Well…’s posts in the voice of Comic Book Guy from here on out.

  410. Poker Face « Opopanox, Home of the Arrogant Worm

    […] In Defense of Period Sex by Jill […]

  411. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 13, 2011 at 2:17 am |

    See, saying you don’t want to have period sex is not saying “Women’s bodies are all disgusting”

    You’re right; those aren’t the same thing. But you have been saying both things — you don’t want to have period sex and periods are disgusting — so I’m not sure what your point with this is. Plenty of people upthread have stated their personal preferences without any problem, so maybe you should consider why your particular phrasing is getting pushback. (Hint: all the fussing about unwashable pube gore might have something to do with it.)

    Politicalguineapig: Oh Regretsy, the only thing you never seem to give us is eye bleach. :D (Though honestly I’d rather have period sex any day than have covered-in-wool sex. Jeezus, it makes me skritchy and claustrophobic just to look at!)

  412. igglanova
    igglanova September 13, 2011 at 6:32 am |

    Funny how you’re scolding Rare Vos for a bit of hyperbole when you still can’t get off your bizarre high horse about mystical womanhood. At least people were talking about consent in RV’s case, but nobody said anything fucking close to revering menstruation. We want people to see it as mundane and boring, unworthy of extra attention. We want the opposite of reverence.

    Also a bit rich to hear condescending lectures about points we ‘don’t seem to grasp’ when you clearly have a very poor grasp of reading comprehension.

    Well…: If you continue in bad faith, much like all the others I ignore, I’ll ignore you as well.

    A dire threat. Given that none of us needs your permission to speak, however, I will continue to post whenever it pleases me to do so.

  413. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 13, 2011 at 8:48 am |

    One big fail, here. What you’re doing, in fact, is telling men they have no right to have standards, actually. The standard is expressed (No period sex) and you say it is wrong, bad, and he’s an evil hater of women for having said standard.

    You’re also arguing in very bad faith, and throwing strawmen up left and right.

    I see that you’re not very self-aware, so let me explain what I’m actually doing. I’m mimicking YOU.

    I wanted to see how you’d react to having your words twisted, your (idiotic) point mispresented, just as you have been doing to every woman on this entire thread.

    It appears you don’t like it. So, in addition to being a whiny misogynist, you’re also a hypocrite. No surprise there.

    Nor is anyone saying “rapist”. Funny thing, though, if some dude shamed, insulted and attacked a woman over not performing a sexual act, you’d call the guy a rapist, or at least hint strongly around it. At bare minimum, a misogynist.

    Now, you’re just straight up lying, as you repeatedly stated that its coercive of women to force men into period sex, regardless of how many times its pointed out to you that nothing here is about forcing anyone to do anything. Sure, you didn’t use the word “rapist” but that’s exactly what “coercive” means in this context. No use pretending you didn’t know that, because you wouldn’t have used that blatantly false argument otherwise.

    So, congrats on being a hypocrite AND a liar. How’s that petard feel?

  414. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 13, 2011 at 8:58 am |

    I am still at a loss as to exactly why I would want to force a man who regards my body as disgusting to fuck me. Can anyone help me out there?

    Apparently, Well’s point is that thinking periods are gross doesn’t equal thinking women’s bodies are gross – except, you know, when they’re bleeding that disgusting waste product, then DEAR GOD STAY AWAY FROM HIM!!!! And, if you want to get down during Aunt Flo’s visit, you’re a disgusting rapist who wants to rub a dudes face in your feces. Or something. it’s hard to keep track of the pro-misogyny argument lost among the backpeddaling and whining.

    I never want to have sex during my period – I’m bloated, painfully crampy, and waaaaaay too lethargic. But, if I was with a dude who said what Well is saying about women and women’s bodies – which has literally NOTHING to do with what women are actually saying – his ass would be on the curb in a NY minute.

    So, I think this is ultimately Well’s firm belief that we all desperately want to fuck him, and that we’re really really mad he won’t fuck us while Aunt Flo is in town, therefore we must be coercive disgusting bitches who suddenly and inexplicably hate enthusiastic consent.

  415. LC
    LC September 13, 2011 at 9:52 am |

    zuzu: Let’s draw a Venn diagram, Kendal.

    You just made my day. :)

  416. groggette
    groggette September 13, 2011 at 10:59 am |

    Men (and women) have the right not to want to fuck me while I’m menstrating. I have the right to not want to fuck people ever who won’t fuck me while I’m menstrating. We both get to have our standards and everyone’s happy!

    Except for the part where I’m somehow coercing dudes because I’m not catering to their every whim and instead demand on having some standards of my own?

  417. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 13, 2011 at 11:23 am |

    I’m not catering to their every whim and instead demand on having some standards of my own?

    *gasp* You have STANDARDS?!?!!! You coercive misandrist rapist, you!

  418. llama
    llama September 13, 2011 at 11:48 am |

    I am not sure that misogyny is the whole reason why a lot of men would prefer to avoid period sex.

    I think there are also elements of embarrassment and taboo and possibly not wanting to loose some degree of privacy.

    Embarrassment can come in lots of forms, we usually have a bunch of rules for avoiding it in social situations. I can’t say I have ever learned anything about the etiquette of period sex. People, both women and men tend to avoid situations that are unfamiliar.

    The taboo idea might come from having experiences with women that have painful or otherwise stressful periods. If your whole experience has been that women don’t want to be bothered during their periods then this might take some adjustment.

    Finally every relationship needs some degree of privacy and once you have looked up a woman’s vagina mid period can you really expect to keep her out of the bathroom when you are in it ?

    I suppose my point is that men are conditioned too, and if hetro then their bedroom conditioning is due in part to their previous female partners.

  419. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 13, 2011 at 11:50 am |

    Oh no! Well is going to stop talking to us!

    (Some of us. Not the ones who he’s decided are good girls because we’re not being too mean to him. Divide and conquer, dude.)

    That’s not a threat so much as it is a promise. Sadly, I doubt that he’ll stick to it. Also, this whole “I think this is disgusting, therefore it is disgusting! And I say that X does not mean Y, so clearly it does not!” thing is kind of babyish, intellectually speaking. I kind of feel like digging out a link to Piaget’s theory of child development and pointing out where Well seems to have gotten stuck.

    (But I’m lazy and supposed to be working.)

    But yeah, for the gazillionth time – no one is saying they’re going to force anyone at gunpoint to fuck them while they’re menstruating. Just that they may draw some conclusions about you if you don’t want to, especially if you respond with hilarious hyperbole about the pubic stain that can never be erased and nightmare visions of bloody sheets.

  420. Well...
    Well... September 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm |

    Rare: You’re an idiot, full stop. You’re nowhere near as intelligent as you think you are, your “points” aren’t anywhere near as clever as you think they are, you’re a poor debater, and your comments are a joke.

    What you don’t seem to understand: Threatening someone with an unpleasant consequence if they don’t do something you want can be considered coercion, or at the very least, duress. If a man said to a woman, “I will dump you if you don’t blow me”, would that not be considered using a threat to get what one wants, which is duress/coercion/manipulation? Which is exactly what the whole thing here is advocating?

    If he said she was a man-hater, and insulted her, and berated her for not performing said act, would you not have a problem with it?

    Your issue seems to be that it seems you believe that if a man refuses something a woman demands, that that means he is then a misogynist, because he didn’t do what she wanted, and that there is no legitimate reason for a man to refuse a sex act requested by a woman.

    That’s your failing.

    Also, trust me. Keep your vanity to yourself. I have no interest in you. Another of your failings, you seem to have this bizarre thought that you know the minds of all men, because you think we’re all such simple creatures and you’re ever-so-smart and can fathom all our motivations.

    Get over yourself. I’ve said nothing about “women’s bodies”. You seem unable to separate disposing of waste with your “body”. Probably because it comes from your vagina, you seem to think it’s sacrosanct and cannot be in any way disliked. Naturally, you don’t apply the same magical reverence to things that come from male bodies, because hey, those aren’t female bodies, and only exist to either provide you what you want, or be cast aside as “misogynist”.

    Your claim of misogyny is hilarious, incorrect, and pathetic. It loses all impact when you apply it left and right without meaning. Like others have said upthread, plenty of actual misogynists will fuck women on their period, so, there goes your distinction.

    I also wasn’t aware that not liking stained sheets = hating women. Your criteria for “misogyny” in a male seems to coexist with “being male and alive”.

    groggette: Except for the part where I’m somehow coercing dudes because I’m not catering to their every whim and instead demand on having some standards of my own?

    Except you’re getting pissed that they’re not catering to YOUR every whim, and that they have standards of their own.

    Funny, that. I was under the impression that sexual relationships involved compromise, not unyielding demands.

    Cassandra: Uh. . . huh.

    More like when people start commenting in bad faith, there’s no point in attempting to treat or reason with them, because they’re going to continue debating in bad faith, throwing logical fallacies, and generally being obnoxious. If someone wants to start flailing about and throwing baseless insults and nonsense, I’m likely to ignore them.

    I also notice you clearly ignore all the females on the thread who point out their stained sheets.

    Laughable.

  421. Azalea
    Azalea September 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm |

    Bagelsan:
    I actually think it sounds kind of gross from the uterus-having side of things, too — maybe I’m imagining it bloodier than it is for most people? But frankly the last thing I want is to add more bodily fluids to sex. :p

    I’m with you. Unless I’m tapering off stay away from my bleeding vagina.

  422. groggette
    groggette September 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

    Well…: Except you’re getting pissed that they’re not catering to YOUR every whim, and that they have standards of their own.

    On the contrary, I’m not pissed at all. I know to move on to the next person who doesn’t have a problem with satisfying me in the way(s) I desire. I’m not going to put up with shitty sex out of fear some douche bag will label me “coercive”.

  423. Ismone
    Ismone September 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    PrettyAmiable,

    I would believe that your aversion was neutral if your other descriptions of stuff you found gross were as descriptive and graphic as your description of period sex. And as full of exaggeration. They aren’t.

    And if having sparkly eyes was neutral, probably more men would be into it, too. Or even wearing foundation. Think about the idea that women’s skin isn’t fit to see the light of day, but men’s is.

    So it isn’t that I don’t think you could be like, meh, period sex, and not have it come from internalized sexism, it is that your language suggests that is where it comes from.

    Well,

    Dear God, reading comprehension fail. Everyone has said repeatedly (including me, directly to you, in a comment that you never answered even though it was perfectly polite) that while it is not okay to coerce someone into a sexual act by saying “you do it or I go” it is perfectly acceptable to tell a partner that something is important to you, and why. And/or, it is perfectly acceptable to break up with a partner, and after that is done, say something like “hey, you seemed to be really disgusted with my body. And that is a turnoff for me. You did x, y, and z that made me feel that way.” Here’s a helpful hint–this type of approach works for the menfolk too!

  424. Ismone
    Ismone September 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    PS–Problem with stained sheets or clothing? Ivory bar soap and cold water. Works every time.

    If you are using hot water, that explains why you are getting stains.

    Consider this a public service announcement.

  425. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    Rare: You’re an idiot, full stop. You’re nowhere near as intelligent as you think you are, your “points” aren’t anywhere near as clever as you think they are, you’re a poor debater, and your comments are a joke.

    LOL awwwww, someone not liking the petard he hoisted himself on. Poor baby! Now, run along to the bathroom and change your pants.

    Glad you chose to humilate yourself – again. Glad you chose to utterly ignore everything I said to jam some more words in my mouth and attack them – again. Your absolute cowardice, lack of reading comprehension skills and lack of basic common sense is noted. Again.

    You managed to hit nearly every square on the bigot bingo card. You only missed the “you’re a hairy-legged dyke” accusation. Better luck next time, you sniveling, barely literate, little bigot you.

    Or, you could grow the fuck up and deal with what is actually being said to you, instead of flailing around like an ignorant pile of bigot shit. Address that arguments presented to you, stop cowering behind strawman and sniveling bigotry, and for god’s sake change your damn pants.

  426. LC
    LC September 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm |

    Ismone: and after that is done, say something like “hey, you seemed to be really disgusted with my body. And that is a turnoff for me. You did x, y, and z that made me feel that way.” Here’s a helpful hint–this type of approach works for the menfolk too!

    Hey, whaddyaknow, this is pretty much the issue going on with me and the person I don’t think I will be involved with anymore! It DOES apply to the menfolk, too! Amazing! :)

  427. zuzu
    zuzu September 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm |

    CassandraSays: Oh no! Well is going to stop talking to us!

    (Some of us. Not the ones who he’s decided are good girls because we’re not being too mean to him. Divide and conquer, dude.)

    I tried so hard to be mean to him, but he still responded to me.

  428. Well...
    Well... September 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    Ismone:

    Considering the statements given here, ARE along the lines of “Do this or I go”, and not “this is important to me, and here is why”, what I’ve said stands.

    Not once has it been expressed in a way that would sound reasonable. Moreso “You’re a misogynist shit, and a horrible person and so on and so forth, various rage and obnoxiousness, so therefore get out!”

    Also, again, you can’t really equate not wanting to have period sex with “really disgusted with my body”. That’s like saying again, if you don’t relish the smell of your partner’s farts, that you are disgusted with their body. Which, I wouldn’t expect someone to chase me around and tell me how magical my farts were, and how much they made them want to fuck. I’d be pretty disturbed by it.

    It still all comes down to the apparent opinion of “Something came from a woman’s body, you must love it, or you hate women.” No legitimate reason is allowed (except for total phobia of blood in general) for why someone might not want to have period sex.

    It still covers that no reason a man has for saying “No” to a sex act is good enough. It says his refusal of consent isn’t valid, and that is where I find the problem, because if this were a reversed situation, a woman’s lack of consent would be considered inviolate and unquestionable. A man’s lack of consent is considered misogyny.

    Reminds me of an old argument I had on some now-defunct blog, wherein a woman refusing sex was considered an untouchable thing, but a man refusing was considered to be trying to use sex, or the depriving thereof as a method of controlling women and misogyny.

    Rare:

    Your nonsense ceases to be entertaining. All you’ve done is conjure strawmen, use more logical fallacies than I could shake a stick at, and generally exercise poor debate skill.

    You appear to have a complete and total lack of basic grade-school reading comprehension, considering nowhere in my statements do I say anything even close to what your absurd replies address.

    You also do not understand basic dictionary words, definitions, and early-education vocabulary. Disliking period sex =/= bigot.

    You’re still acting as though menses is sacred, and not wanting it smeared all over your genitalia and sheets is tantamount to domestic violence, and raw, Aleister Crowley levels of hatred of womankind as a whole.

    Your last sentence is clearly directed to yourself, as you address nothing said to you, and instead invent the wildest, most ridiculous strawmen.

    I’ll be glad to reply to you in the future, once you crawl out of your own imagination and flights of fancy, as far as this conversation goes.

  429. Azalea
    Azalea September 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm |

    Ismone:

    I think , depending on the woman, there is FAR more period blood involved in condom sex than there is semen. 1) the period blood will secrete for longer than a few seconds, 2) because it is pouring outside of the condom and not inside there is a HUGE chance that its just going to drip right on down at the base of the penis to where the condom is open 3) period sex is messy unless the blood flow is light.

  430. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm |

    Well…: “you’re a poor debater”

    Lies. I’m sure everyone on this thread is a master debater.

    (That’s me, always contributing meaningfully to the conversation! :D)

  431. igglanova
    igglanova September 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm |

    Ooookay, so now Well is dishing out serious insults to other commenters (which are completely unwarranted, btw), and he hasn’t been banned yet? Man, nothing nastier than a threatened mansplainer on the internet.

  432. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm |

    So basically Well’s entire ongoing tantrum boils down to the fact that women might judge him for not wanting to fuck them while they’re menstruating, and this is unacceptable to him?

    Of course there’s also the side issue of “it’s objectively gross because I find it disgusting, so there”.

    I feel like I’m attempting to reason with a toddler. Except toddlers are cute.

  433. zuzu
    zuzu September 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm |

    Azalea: 2) because it is pouring outside of the condom and not inside there is a HUGE chance that its just going to drip right on down at the base of the penis to where the condom is open

    If you put it on right, there shouldn’t be any openings.

  434. LC
    LC September 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm |

    Well…: You’re still acting as though menses is sacred, and not wanting it smeared all over your genitalia and sheets is tantamount to domestic violence, and raw, Aleister Crowley levels of hatred of womankind as a whole.

    OK, I have a firm belief that anyone who brings in Aleister Crowley gets brownie points from the judges. :)

  435. llama
    llama September 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |

    I do not sure think that misogyny is the whole reason why a lot of men would prefer to avoid period sex.

    I think there are also elements of embarrassment and taboo and possibly not wanting to loose some degree of privacy.

    Embarrassment can come in lots of forms, we usually have a bunch of rules for avoiding it in social situations. I can’t say I have ever learned anything about the etiquette of period sex. People, both women and men tend to avoid situations that are unfamiliar.

    The taboo idea might come from having experiences with women that have painful or otherwise stressful periods. If your whole experience has been that women don’t want to be bothered during their periods then this might take some adjustment.

    Finally every relationship needs some degree of privacy and once you have looked up a woman’s vagina mid period can you really expect to keep her out of the bathroom when you are in it ?

    I suppose my point is that men are conditioned too, and if hetro then their bedroom conditioning is due in part to their previous female partners.

  436. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |

    Azalea: I think , depending on the woman, there is FAR more period blood involved in condom sex than there is semen. 1) the period blood will secrete for longer than a few seconds, 2) because it is pouring outside of the condom and not inside there is a HUGE chance that its just going to drip right on down at the base of the penis to where the condom is open 3) period sex is messy unless the blood flow is light.

    Interesting. I’ve never had a flow heavier than the vaginal fluid that occurs during sex. I always thought my flow was pretty heavy given that I have to use the “heavy” tampon/pads. But I guess that may explain (some of – not that any explanation is necessary) why some uteri having people don’t like period sex.

  437. Azalea
    Azalea September 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm |

    April:
    and seeing my husband’s dick covered in blood, because that looks sort of terrifying for a number of reasons.

    I cant imagine how seeing a blood and blood clot and uterine lining covered penis is sexy. I ..just…cant.

  438. EG
    EG September 13, 2011 at 8:25 pm |

    Wait, I don’t get why Well… continues to honor me with his attention. I explicitly said that I enjoyed mocking him! Why am I arguing in good faith but Mr. Kristen J isn’t?

    I do find it very, very funny that he finds menstrual blood more akin to shit than to semen. Semen contains sperm, the male genetic contribution to conception, and the fluid needed to keep it going. Menstrual blood contains the egg, the female genetic contribution to conception, and the uterine lining needed to maintain it once it is fertilized. Semen is ejected from the male genitals; menstrual blood is dispensed from the female genitals. The only difference is that semen is ejected in order to attempt conception, while menstrual blood is ejected after conception has failed. Yet somehow semen, according to Well… is full of yummy goodness and is totally normal during sex, but menstrual blood is gross gross gross inherently gross and all you gross ladies know it!

    Well… thinks menstrual blood is more akin to shit. Shit comes from the digestive system; menstrual blood comes from the reproductive system. Shit is the remains of your food once everything of value to the body has been extracted (ideally–obviously illness can affect this process). It has never been absorbed or used by your body in any way at all. Menstrual blood consists of the sloughed-off remains of your own cells, cells that had once been part of your body and held the potential for usefulness. Shit is inherently dangerous, as it contains bacteria that can cause you serious problems should it be ingested or contaminate your water supply. Menstrual blood is only dangerous if the woman who is menstruating has a disease. Shit comes out of your anus; menstrual blood comes out of your vagina. The only similarities between them that I can see is that they are both extruded from the human body, as are tears and sweat.

    Yet Well… thinks that the similarities between menstrual blood and shit are so self-evident that he needs not elaborate beyond saying “waste product! waste product!”

    Conclusions: Well… has no understanding of either the human reproductive system or the human digestive system.

    When it comes to stains, the last time I leaked (the time I was sharing a room with my friend), I was wearing a pair of gray cotton yoga pants as pajama bottoms, the very same pants I am wearing right now, actually. There was a giant, giant bloodstain on the seat of these pants. As I was out of town, and did not have any other pajama bottoms, and my friend and I were not close enough that I felt it would be OK to sleep bottomless, I could not immediately scrub them out, because they wouldn’t have dried by the time I had to go back to bed.

    When I got home, I put the pants in the hamper and ran them through the laundry. Wore them as pajamas again the following week, put them in the hamper, and ran them through the laundry. Wore them as pajamas yet again the following week, put them in the hamper, and ran them through the laundry. Pulling them out of the laundry after a mere three washes–three–with no stain stick or pre-treating of any kind, no washing in cold water–guess what? My pants are now completely stain-free. I was so impressed that I examined them minutely. There is no stain there whatsoever. The last time I leaked significantly, a couple years ago, I ran my slip (polyester) with no pre-treating through the laundry once, and there was no stain left at all.

    I haven’t checked my sheets in a while, but I know that my blue sheets used to have a bloodstain on them, and now no longer do. Neither do my red sheets. Because I don’t much care, I didn’t keep track of how many washes that took.

    And I don’t pretreat, don’t soak, don’t wash in cold water, hell, I even use hippy-dippy all-natural detergent. Given that I bleed heavily enough to stain 3 days every month, and have been doing so for 21 years, that means I have, so far, gone through 756 days–roughly two straight years–of bleeding heavily enough to stain, not even counting any injuries I have incurred (injuries, by the way, usually clot in minutes). So, yes, I’m going to make the educated judgment that, unless Well… is a doctor or nurse, and given the above-noted ignorance about basic human biological systems, I doubt it, or, I guess, a hit man, I have more experience dealing with bloodstains than he does.

    And you know…it is possible his partner just revels in his semen. As I said, it takes all kinds. If that is important to him, I strongly suggest he do whatever it takes to hang on to her, because it’s a fairly rare predilection.

    What else…oh, yeah. I think the intriguing thing about Well… is how convinced he is that he knows things that he couldn’t possibly know. There’s the obvious mansplaining about menstruation to women who actually, you know, menstruate. There’s the conviction that he knows how we would respond to a man breaking up with a woman because she wouldn’t give him a blow job–in fact, he’s so convinced that he’s right about this, that he ignored the actual discussion of this topic which I linked him to in the last post. There’s the conviction that he knows his future–he’ll die in his mid-60s, because that’s what his family has done, and be damned to any medical advances in the next few decades, and he will stay with this partner forever and thus never have to deal with a post-menstrual partner, because he says so, and be damned to the fact that weird shit happens all the time that breaks people up.

    Then, of course, there’s the weird characterization of my argument as “women are all goddess-moonbeams.” Well…, do find and quote anything I’ve said that indicates that. Not your paraphrase or your fevered fantasy, but my actual words. What I’ve said, repeatedly, is that menstruation is normal and no more disgusting than semen.

    Anything else?

    One more thing. I still find it mind-blowing that Well… can’t even imagine how shed pubic hairs could find their way onto pillows. It makes me think that his pillows must be welded to his mattress at the top of the bed, and that he and his partner don’t move much during sex, despite her delight in his semen.

  439. EG
    EG September 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm |

    once you have looked up a woman’s vagina mid period can you really expect to keep her out of the bathroom when you are in it ?

    I’m not sure how looking up my vagina when I’m menstruating is any more intimate than looking up my vagina when I’m not menstruating. I’m also not sure what either of those have to do with privacy in the bathroom.

  440. Azalea
    Azalea September 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm |

    zuzu: If you put it on right, there shouldn’t be any openings.

    There is an opening at the base as opposed to a closure at the tip where is no latex, ie the hole he inserts his penis into doesnt close shut behind him. condoms are meant to keep semen in not to keep other things out. If you put on latex gloves and dip your hands in canal of blood some WILL get in, the vaginal canal and latex covered penises are not special. I have HAD period sex with a properly used condom and the ONLY time the blood only got on the condom and not on him or all over both of our bottoms and sheets is when it was tapering off.

    I prefer sex sans the period and have found my periods are shorter if I dont have sex while I’m on. But then again, my flow is heavy. With a light flow the condom thing works but latex isnt going to restrain a heavy flow from getting all over the place.

  441. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm |

    I’m finding the idea that anyone who doesn’t find menstruation disgusting must be a raging hippie rather funny.

    My dad, corporate executive type and traditional Scottish bloke with a coal miners union past, is totally blase about menstruation. Completely unphased – part of the reason I find men like Well so baffling is that I grew up with a dad who regarded the occasional staining of sheets, etc, as just sort of part and parcel of living with girls/women of childbearing age. And then I married a similarly blase dude, who a couple of years post-breakup I can still send to grab me some tampons from Target if he’s going to be there and I’m busy.

    Moonflower loving, goddess venerating hippies, both of them, clearly. How did I fail to notice this before?

  442. Lamech
    Lamech September 13, 2011 at 9:33 pm |

    What are people even arguing about?
    Does anyone disagree with the statement “A (wo)man can consider menstrual blood a turn-off and refuse to have sex during a period without any other justification, and furthermore this should not be seen as a sign of misogyny or similar wrong-badness”?
    Does anyone disagree with “Sexual incompatibility is a valid reason to break up?”
    Does anyone disagree with “Gross/disgusting and similar statements are subjective?”
    Does anyone disagree with “You should not say something about someone is gross if you can avoid it. Regardless of if that person is your partner or how gross it seems.”?

    I swear it seems like this has devolved into strawmaning and insults, with the rest being agreement.

  443. Tori
    Tori September 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    Kristen J.: Interesting.I’ve never had a flow heavier than the vaginal fluid that occurs during sex.I always thought my flow was pretty heavy given that I have to use the “heavy” tampon/pads.But I guess that may explain (some of – not that any explanation is necessary) why some uteri having people don’t like period sex.

    Kristen J. — In contrast, I’ve had to purchase a new mattress on account of period sex. I think I’m extreme in that, but I know a few other people who have to lay down garbage bags (which I’d known that trick before Teh Mattress Incident!) or to replace mattress pads (and in one case, to invent a really interesting story about a stain on a living room rug). So it does happen.

    My partner and I still do have period sex sometimes, but there is definitely significant planning (and clean-up) involved.

  444. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 12:11 am |

    Because it needed to be mentioned twice.
    You can dislike period sex for legit reasons, or for misogynist reasons. I feel like most people with any kind of EQ can pick up who’s doing what.

    Mr. Kristen J.:
    Since I’ve obviously lost another round of “Outrage – Feministe Edition” I’ll throw my two cents into the conversation.

    Western culture has vilified menstruation.Menstruation is seen as taboo, a part of women being sinful and unclean.Hell, even today its seen as embarrassing – something that requires the use of various euphemisms.And it is still used to undermine the success of women from cracks about Rodham-Clinton’s mood swings to those about female managers taking too much time off from work.

    Menstruation has been the *basis* for gender oppression.

    Saying that it is “gross” is not like saying vomit – or whichever bodily fluid you prefer – is gross.“Gross” when discussing menstruation carries with it all of the connotations of *wrong* and *bad* that don’t accompany vomit.

    Vomit isn’t used as a rationale for not being allowed to participate in the community or to hold political office or to earn as much money as a male counterpart.Vomit can be discussed on national television without it turning into a *very special episode*.Vomit is not bad, or wrong, its simply something people do.The same cannot be said for how western culture views menstruation.

    If a cis man doesn’t get that distinction, he probably shouldn’t be in a position to further the oppression many women experience.

  445. llama
    llama September 14, 2011 at 1:01 am |

    EG: I’m not sure how looking up my vagina when I’m menstruating is any more intimate than looking up my vagina when I’m not menstruating.I’m also not sure what either of those have to do with privacy in the bathroom.

    So the trite answer is :-

    There is instantly an increase in what I know about you if I look up your vagina when you are menstruating. For instance I know you are not pregnant, I know with some margin of error the timing of your past and future periods, I know you are not past the time when you have periods, I might also discover what sort of sanitation device you use during your period, I could get an idea if you bleed very heavily during your periods.

    With my knowledge in this area I could not tell any of these things from a non menstruating vagina.

    One way that I measure how intimate a piece of information is by asking myself who would you be willing to share it with ?

    Now this information might be stuff one might be ok sharing with a long term partner but not necessarily something one would want a one night stand to know. I think this makes one act more intimate than another.

    The less trite but less logically consistent reason why I think one act is more intimate than another is that:-

    Women are frequently made to feel bad about their periods so when a woman (who of course we don’t know the background of and may never have been made feel bad about her periods) opens up in anyway on the matter I feel it is a sign of trust in me and and thus more intimate.

    The point about privacy in the bathroom was really not about the bathroom but a euphemism: Once you have got as intimate as I think looking up a vagina mid period is then you really don’t have much right not to reciprocate the intimacy.

  446. EG
    EG September 14, 2011 at 9:14 am |

    Well, I guess this is just an YMMV thing, then. None of the stuff you note is made clear by looking at my menstruating vagina seems that intimate to me. I mean, if someone wants to know what kind of thing I use when menstruating, and we’re already friendly, all he has to do is ask–certainly if we’re close enough that we’re having sex, I don’t consider any of that info particularly intimate.

  447. Azalea
    Azalea September 14, 2011 at 11:55 am |

    Kristen J.: Interesting.I’ve never had a flow heavier than the vaginal fluid that occurs during sex.I always thought my flow was pretty heavy given that I have to use the “heavy” tampon/pads.But I guess that may explain (some of – not that any explanation is necessary) why some uteri having people don’t like period sex.

    I splash. I would be absolutely fucking MORTIFIED if I splashed out a mixture of typical natural vaginal lube AND menses during sex, it would remind me of some Quintin Tarrantino film scene (I’m pretty sure I butchered his name ><).

  448. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm |

    Women are frequently made to feel bad about their periods so when a woman (who of course we don’t know the background of and may never have been made feel bad about her periods) opens up in anyway on the matter I feel it is a sign of trust in me and and thus more intimate.

    Hmm, that’s some pretty pro judo there! You don’t want to look at a menstruating woman’s vagina because you are just too respectful and thoughtful of womankind? :p

  449. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm |

    Um, my dad used to know the timing of my periods and what products I used, since I would ask him to pick said products up from the store for me…amazingly enough we’ve both been able to maintain the concept of bathroom privacy after this extraordinary intimacy.

    I honestly hadn’t realized that this was still such a shocking, taboo thing for so many men. My mind is blown, and not in a good way.

  450. zuzu
    zuzu September 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm |

    Azalea: I cant imagine how seeing a blood and blood clot and uterine lining covered penis is sexy. I ..just…cant.

    I don’t actually spend a lot of time looking at it once it starts the PIV part of the business, given where my eyes are in relation to my cooch. And my partners usually strip off the condom pretty quickly after they’re finished.

  451. ch
    ch September 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm |

    What’s with all this talk about looking “up” a vagina, llama? I’m fairly certain that, no matter what time of the month it is, you can’t actually see *inside* my vagina without a speculum.

  452. zuzu
    zuzu September 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    Azalea: If you put on latex gloves and dip your hands in canal of blood some WILL get in

    A canal of blood?

    Is that in Venice?

  453. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos September 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm |

    Aww, man, i was hoping Well Bigot would come up with some schoolyard insults for me, but all he did was reguritate my post and pretend it was his. Booooorrrriinggggg.

    A canal of blood?

    Is that in Venice?

    LOL That brings “Venice is Sinking” to a whole different level.

  454. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    Um, my dad used to know the timing of my periods and what products I used, since I would ask him to pick said products up from the store for me…amazingly enough we’ve both been able to maintain the concept of bathroom privacy after this extraordinary intimacy.

    I honestly hadn’t realized that this was still such a shocking, taboo thing for so many men. My mind is blown, and not in a good way.

    Oh noes! Does that mean that I am now on “intimate” terms with the TSA guy who saw my IUD? *shame*

  455. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm |

    Hee.
    I think the “canal of blood” makes more sense to those of us who bleed enough to indeed feel that the damn thing DOES turn into a canal of gore.

    zuzu: A canal of blood?

    Is that in Venice?

  456. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

    “A canal of blood?

    Is that in Venice?”

    Yep. That’s why tampons were initially referred to as blood gondolas.*

    * Ironically, as ridiculous as this is, it’s no more ridiculous than many of the things people have said in this thread with no apparent irony.

  457. LC
    LC September 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm |

    zuzu: A canal of blood?

    Is that in Venice?

    I would have guessed an old Hammer horror film.

  458. zuzu
    zuzu September 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm |

    chava:
    Hee.
    I think the “canal of blood” makes more sense to those of us who bleed enough to indeed feel that the damn thing DOES turn into a canal of gore.

    Look, if I have to have a canal of blood, I’m gonna need some gondoliers.

  459. zuzu
    zuzu September 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm |

    And clearly, the Canal of Blood runs under the Bridge of Cramps.

  460. EG
    EG September 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm |

    Hmm, that’s some pretty pro judo there! You don’t want to look at a menstruating woman’s vagina because you are just too respectful and thoughtful of womankind?

    Well, the weird thing is, if some guy I’m fucking wants to know if I’m pregnant, or when I last got my period/will next get my period/if I am currently menstruating, or any of that stuff, all he has to do is sit down and chat with me for two minutes, and I’m likely to say something like “Ugh, I got my period this morning and now I’ve forgotten to take any Advil with me when I left the house. We’re going to have to stop at the drugstore,” or “I got into a debate on-line the other day with some women who are all into using cloth pads, and I just can’t tell you how little interest I have in rinsing and washing pads, because life is too damn short; tampons all the way for me, thanks,” or something like that. Because I don’t find menstruation to be some horrible inherently disgusting OMG am I ashamed and must never bother the menfolk with it taboo topic.

    And clearly, if I am OK with having sex while menstruating, I’ve taken into account the fact that the dude I’m fucking will be able to garner all this amazingly intimate info about me, and am OK with it, so what’s his problem?

    With my knowledge in this area I could not tell any of these things from a non menstruating vagina.

    I mean, dude, you could always ask. The mouth is always a good place to go for this info, if you’re interested.

  461. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm |

    Must.find.gondola.condom.

  462. Brett K
    Brett K September 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm |

    zuzu: I don’t actually spend a lot of time looking at it once it starts the PIV part of the business, given where my eyes are in relation to my cooch.And my partners usually strip off the condom pretty quickly after they’re finished.

    I have to admit that when my ex and I used to have period-PIV, I would actually ask him not to look when he pulled out (especially if we weren’t done yet) because I knew it would freak him out a bit. So, yeah, it’s not exactly a turn-on, but it’s hardly the grossest thing I’ve experienced during sex.

    Which, honestly, is what I don’t get. Even at its safest, least sweaty, most latex-covered, sex is kind of gross. Bodily fluids are weird, none of us look as good as we’d like to think, everyone makes funny noises, stuff gets on the sheets, etc. I thought the general consensus (among sexual types) was that the grossness was, at worst, worth it, and at best, part of the fun. You don’t have to like menstrual blood any more than you have to like semen, sweat, saliva, etc. (to say nothing of lube or any of the other non-bodily fluids that often show up), but to act like its presence during sex is SHOCKING and REVOLTING is pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?

  463. llama
    llama September 15, 2011 at 4:56 am |

    Bagelsan: Hmm, that’s some pretty pro judo there! You don’t want to look at a menstruating woman’s vagina because you are just too respectful and thoughtful of womankind? :p

    Your judo beats mine though:-

    Pasting my posts on this together should result in a flow of logic like:-

    I said some guys might not want period sex because they are not yet ready for that increased level of intimacy say for instance in the early parts of a relationship.

    It was then pointed out to me that some don’t think there is anymore intimacy involved in period sex than sans period sex.

    I then made a post to support the view that period sex can indeed involve an increased level of intimacy even if it simply more knowledge about you. I actually believe it is somewhat more than just information that makes it more intimate but that would perhaps be harder to show.

    And clearly, if I am OK with having sex while menstruating, I’ve taken into account the fact that the dude I’m fucking will be able to garner all this amazingly intimate info about me, and am OK with it, so what’s his problem?

    Simply you might have jumped the gun you might have offered the period sex too early in the relationship and he might see this as a level of commitment he is not willing to reciprocate at that time.

    Just because you are fucking a guy doesn’t mean he is fully committed to you. He might see the offer as upping the ante as regards commitment which he is not willing to reciprocate. For you it might mean nothing other than you have an itch you want scratched for him it might seem more significant. But it still doesn’t mean he finds a period as anything more than the normal workings of the plumbing a large percentage of the populations bodies.

    Now you might think this is somehow ridiculous but I am sure that many people choose the kind of sex they are wiling to do with a partner dependent on the stage the relationship is in. Some forms of sex are simply more intimate than others. Thus a guy not wanting period sex at a specific time could just be an example of this.

    In all seriousness can you see most women offering period sex the first time they have sex with a guy ? or do you think that this type of offer is more likely to happen later in the relationship ? If you do think the offer would come later then why do you think that ?

  464. llama
    llama September 15, 2011 at 7:59 am |

    ch:
    What’s with all this talk about looking “up” a vagina, llama? I’m fairly certain that, no matter what time of the month it is, you can’t actually see *inside* my vagina without a speculum.

    I was actually using someone else s words. We where just using that phrase to mean getting up close to a vagina not actually a full internal inspection.

  465. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 15, 2011 at 9:45 am |

    In the interests of science!

    Googling indicates that on *average* menstrual blood is 6 to 8 ounces over the course of the cycle. Googling + guestimating suggests that the bodily fluids created during PIV intercourse would be somewhere between 4 and 6 ounces.

    So for the person with an average period and an average sexual fluids experience the amount of blood to “other sexual fluids” is going to be rather low.

    I wonder if people are more squicked out by the color and if people don’t care whether other bodily fluids soak into their mattresses.

  466. EG
    EG September 15, 2011 at 10:22 am |

    I then made a post to support the view that period sex can indeed involve an increased level of intimacy even if it simply more knowledge about you. I actually believe it is somewhat more than just information that makes it more intimate but that would perhaps be harder to show.

    Yeah, and I disagree, and don’t understand your reasoning. As I said, all that info is the sort of stuff I disclose on a regular basis in general conversation, so if it’s that upsetting for a guy to know that stuff that soon, we most likely will not make it to the stage where we are having sex. When it comes to this nebulous other significance…as I said, I don’t understand what makes it more intimate.

    Simply you might have jumped the gun you might have offered the period sex too early in the relationship and he might see this as a level of commitment he is not willing to reciprocate at that time.

    First, a note about your phrasing. Sex is not something I “offer” a man. That kind of phrasing feeds into the idea that sex is a commodity that women have and men are trying to get. Sex is an activity I do with somebody. Next, do you honestly believe that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between someone saying “Sweetie, I’m not ready for that right yet,” and “Ew, that is gross, and I’m not going to do it”? Believe me, not only can I tell the difference, but I have told the difference.

    In all seriousness can you see most women offering period sex the first time they have sex with a guy ? or do you think that this type of offer is more likely to happen later in the relationship ? If you do think the offer would come later then why do you think that ?

    Again with the offering. Speaking for myself, I don’t particularly want to have period sex with someone the first time I sleep with them because the first time is, in my experience, rather awkward, and the more variables/concerns you can minimize, the better. The first time, you already have to negotiate the kind of birth control you use (for instance, is one of you allergic to latex condoms, and if so, did that person remember to bring the polyurethane, and if not, is there a drugstore open in the area?), what each of you likes in bed, whether there is any health history that you should disclose, etc. Menstruation would be one more damn thing.

    The second or third time, a lot of that is already settled.

  467. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 15, 2011 at 11:49 am |

    Not only do I not “offer” sex for all the reasons outlined above (and honestly, the fact that you phrase it like that offers us a lot of information about how you view women and sex, none of it good), it would never occur to me to say “hey, honey, do you want to have some period sex?”, because the point of that question is the sex, not the period.

    Also because I don’t think of my own body and its processes as weird and freaky, or of allowing men to realize that those processes exist as “intimate”. Honestly, llama, yes, I do think you’re being ridiculous. Also a bit sexist, in that you seem to keep defaulting to the assumption that women do and should see their bodies/bodily processes the same way you do. In fact I think that the idea that period sex is “intimate” is incredibly sexist, because it’s based on the idea that menstruation is culturally constructed as dirty and shameful and embarrassing, so if a woman is willing to “share” it with you it must be a sign of intimacy. But if a woman doesn’t view it through a sexist lens menstruation isn’t something to be embarrassed about, and therefore there’s no emotional desire to conceal it, therefore no “intimacy”.

    The fact that you think sex during menstruation is “intimate” in a way that sex normally isn’t is odd, but where it really becomes offensive is the point at which you start trying to get women to see it that way too, and act baffled as to why they don’t.

  468. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm |

    Simply you might have jumped the gun you might have offered the period sex too early in the relationship and he might see this as a level of commitment he is not willing to reciprocate at that time.

    That is fucking hilarious. Just…I can hardly even put into words how hilarious this paragraph is. Now I’m imagining this conversation:

    Cis Dude 1: “Hey man, how was your date last night?”

    Cis Dude 2: “Well, it started out okay… but then she totally jumped the gun and offered me the period sex.”

    Dude 1: “What? She offered the period sex? Haven’t you only been together a month? She might as well just hand you a full medical history and let you paddle a gondola right up her blood canal!”

    Dude 2: “I know! It’s like, okay we’ve been fucking on the regular for weeks, but do I look like I want to know that she’s not pregnant and that she probably has a functional uterus? For all I know, next she’s gonna let me use the restroom at her house and I’ll find out she prefers tampons over pads! Why do women always want that level of commitment so early in a relationship!?”

    Dude 1: “Does…does she expect you to reciprocate? Is she gonna want to have sex when you’re on your period?”

    Dude 2: “Nah, I still haven’t got mine yet for some reason. … By the way, do ever feel like maybe we shouldn’t have skipped sex ed in school all those years?”

    Dude 1: “Psh, no!”

  469. zuzu
    zuzu September 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm |

    Since we need to push this thread over 500 comments, I would just like to announce that I have made Stern and Hairless Kitty my new desktop wallpaper. Tiled, so I have multiple kitties giving me the stinkeye.

    As for this “offering” business, well, not much more to add. What can you say to someone who seems to think that women offer sex like a cater waiter offers up crab puffs?

    And, you know, llama, if you’re not into it, you can just politely decline. Really!

  470. EG
    EG September 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm |

    Bagelsan, I love you. I’m in a library right now, and I literally had to hold my hand over my mouth in order to prevent myself from literally Laughing Out Loud.

    “She might as well just hand you a full medical history and let you paddle a gondola right up her blood canal!”

    Awesome.

  471. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |

    I would just like to announce that I have made Stern and Hairless Kitty my new desktop wallpaper. Tiled, so I have multiple kitties giving me the stinkeye.

    Tee hee! I would do that, but it would make me feel like a total slut… which would be fine, obviously, but it’s a displeased wall of kitties and therefore I would clearly be an incompetent slut. And that’s just sad. Kitty-pleasin': ya gotta do it right! And I’m really more of a bitch girl myself. ;p

  472. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |

    COME ON COMMENTERS. SHEELZEBUB IS HUNGRY.

    Sheelzebub, you know we got your back! As a grad student I take free dinner pretty damn seriously. >:D

  473. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm |

    Thanks, EG. :D

    As for “let you paddle a gondola right up her blood canal” I kinda want to make this a thing, now. It can replace “TMI” maybe? “Omg, my roommate was talking to her mom all night about her stupid infected ingrown toenail — gee, way to paddle my gondola right up your blood canal, Stacy!”

  474. Charlotte
    Charlotte September 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm |

    Just want to say that -I- don’t want to have period sex, as a vagina-owner. Sex does not make my cramps better (regardless of all of the women who say it does) and it makes a HUGE mess because I bleed like a recently slaughtered cow. Also, having a period makes my boobs swell up like over-filled water balloons, so having anybody touch them isn’t so fun either.

    (Positive note? I got a Mirena 6 months ago to help with the bleeding craziness and it’s working great. However, I still don’t want to have sex on the remaining heavy day.)

  475. llama
    llama September 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm |

    EG:
    First, a note about your phrasing.Sex is not something I “offer” a man.That kind of phrasing feeds into the idea that sex is a commodity that women have and men are trying to get.Sex is an activity I do with somebody.

    Ok noted! there was no intention to offend. I was using the word “offer” simply to denote it was a free choice. The use was coloured by my own experience where my wife when she feels like sex sometimes says “Would you like sex ?” probably because I am too slow on the uptake of other clues. Mainly I used it out of laziness and to avoid some clumsy long winded sentence that made it clear that the sex was mutually consensual in a nice easy way. Can you suggest a more appropriate word ?

    EG: Next, do you honestly believe that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between someone saying “Sweetie, I’m not ready for that right yet,” and “Ew, that is gross, and I’m not going to do it”? Believe me, not only can I tell the difference, but I have told the difference.

    This was the whole point of my posts and finally you agree with me that “Sweetie, I’m not ready for that right yet,” is an ok reason for not wanting period sex but the poster of this story thought the only acceptable reasons for saying no was a real phobia of blood in all types.

    So as I see it all we are disagreeing on here is the exact mechanism that happens in a mans mind that leads him to not yet be ready for period sex.

    I think the problem here is that we have a different idea of what intimacy is. For me it isn’t only about the physical side of things it is includes things such as the sharing of confidences. For me those discussions that you have before sex are intimate because the content of these are not something I would share with everybody they are indeed a sharing of confidences. Hypothetically, for instance the first ever time I had a discussion about period sex with a woman I would have to disclose that I had never done it, this would be a sharing of a confidence that I would consider intimate. This is because I have opened my self up to such comments as where have you been ? and is it because your a misogynist ?

    Speaking for myself, I don’t particularly want to have period sex with someone the first time I sleep with them because the first time is, in my experience, rather awkward, and the more variables/concerns you can minimize, the better. The first time, you already have to negotiate the kind of birth control you use (for instance, is one of you allergic to latex condoms, and if so, did that person remember to bring the polyurethane, and if not, is there a drugstore open in the area?), what each of you likes in bed, whether there is any health history that you should disclose, etc. Menstruation would be one more damn thing.

    This is the exact sort of thing that I am talking about these are intimate discussions and as you point out menstruation would require an extra level discussion. It isn’t the act itself that is any more intimate is is these exchanges that are.

    zuzu: The fact that you think sex during menstruation is “intimate” in a way that sex normally isn’t is odd, but where it really becomes offensive is the point at which you start trying to get women to see it that way too, and act baffled as to why they don’t.

    It isn’t that I believe it is more intimate in a way sex normally isn’t it is that I believe it is more intimate in the same way. As you point out you have all the normal intimate discussions that you would have before normal sex then some more. For a woman or a man who is a first timer to period sex this could come with extra concerns discussing those would be an intimate act in my book.

    I am interested to know if you think some sex acts are more intimate than others ? I know that I do. For instance is going down on a man something that you do very early in a relationship or is it something that you wait to do until you trust him ? or is it something you just wont do ? certainly going down on a woman is something I consider more intimate than using my fingers.

    If you do consider some sex acts more intimate than others why cant I do the same ? and do I have to place them in the same order of intimacy as you ?

    As for your comment about trying to get women to see it the same way as me, that is not the point of my posts. The whole point was that the way the original story is written there is only one way that a man must be thinking if he says “no thanks” to period sex. It is this that I dispute.

    BTW for the record my wife and I do have period sex occasionally. This isn’t because I only agree to it occasionally but because she only feels like it occasionally. Most periods she prefers me to hold my hand in a particular place on her stomach.

  476. zuzu
    zuzu September 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    Don’t you pole a gondola, rather than paddle it?

    And do the tiny gondoliers who pole the tiny gondolas up the Canal of Blood and under the Bridge of Cramps wear red-and-white striped shirts rather than black-and-white?

  477. EG
    EG September 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm |

    As for “let you paddle a gondola right up her blood canal” I kinda want to make this a thing, now.

    OK, let me give it a try. “God, this student came in during my office hours and started talking about the STD he got from his girlfriend. I was like, ‘Dude, I am your professor. Do not make me paddle a gondola up your blood canal!'”

    You’re right! It’s far more satisfying than just “what the fuck” would be.

  478. llama
    llama September 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm |

    Bagelsan: That is fucking hilarious. Just…I can hardly even put into words how hilarious this paragraph is. Now I’m imagining this conversation:

    Cis Dude 1: “Hey man, how was your date last night?”

    Cis Dude 2: “Well, it started out okay… but then she totally jumped the gun and offered me the period sex.”

    Dude 1: “What? She offered the period sex? Haven’t you only been together a month? She might as well just hand you a full medical history and let you paddle a gondola right up her blood canal!”

    Dude 2: “I know! It’s like, okay we’ve been fucking on the regular for weeks, but do I look like I want to know that she’s not pregnant and that she probably has a functional uterus? For all I know, next she’s gonna let me use the restroom at her house and I’ll find out she prefers tampons over pads! Why do women always want that level of commitment so early in a relationship!?”

    Dude 1: “Does…does she expect you to reciprocate? Is she gonna want to have sex when you’re on your period?”

    Dude 2: “Nah, I still haven’t got mine yet for some reason. … By the way, do ever feel like maybe we shouldn’t have skipped sex ed in school all those years?”

    Dude 1: “Psh, no!”

    Yeah if all men talked to each other that might be hilarious. The thing is some of us are grown up and don’t talk like that.

    If the scenario was as you assume and one of my friends asked how the date had gone I would have said “ok” and nothing more.

    As for your comment about having sex with a man on his period. I am sorry, I didn’t think of the possibility that there where places in the world where reciprocate only means an exact like for like exchange in some sense. Where is that ? I am especially interested in those types of cultural difference.

    Here in Australia the word reciprocate is not so limited. It can mean for instance if somebody does something nice for you that you reciprocated by doing something equally nice for them but not necessarily in the same way. It can even be used if somebody did something really bad to you you could reciprocate by doing something bad to them again possibly not the same bad thing.

  479. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    ‘Dude, I am your professor. Do not make me paddle a gondola up your blood canal!’

    Ooh, I like it! Also sounds like a good way to get a student to back quickly and quietly out of your office — hell, depending on your area of expertise that could be taken literally! (Freshman: “Um…my anatomy prof just said she was going to ‘paddle a gondola up my blood canal.’ Is…is that a thing? o_O;”)

  480. EG
    EG September 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm |

    This was the whole point of my posts and finally you agree with me that “Sweetie, I’m not ready for that right yet,” is an ok reason for not wanting period sex but the poster of this story thought the only acceptable reasons for saying no was a real phobia of blood in all types.

    No. The OP is referring to men refusing to have sex with you when you’re getting your period at all. Not “not now,” or “I don’t feel comfortable yet,” but “No, I don’t do that.” Reread the post.

    This is the exact sort of thing that I am talking about these are intimate discussions and as you point out menstruation would require an extra level discussion. It isn’t the act itself that is any more intimate is is these exchanges that are.

    But I don’t find those exchanges intimate at all–they’re just logistical (“Don’t worry, I brought condoms,” “Oh, that’s thoughtful, but I can’t use those condoms,” “But these are non-latex!” “I know, but I react to those the same way I react to latex. Here, I can use these.” “How are those different?” “Polyurethane.”). And once they’re settled, you can add in another level of logistics: “I know we used them up last time I was here, so I picked up a box of those polyurethane condoms on my way over.” “I’m up for it, but I’m getting my period, so lemme get a towel to lay down,” “Nah, that’s OK, you stay here, I’ll get the towel, where do you keep them?” “In the drawer in the closet–no not that towel! That’s the only set of matching towels I have!” “Well, which towel, then?” “Any of the others.” “The only other ones I see are hand towels–not going to work.” “Hell, I thought it had been a while since I’d done the laundry. Well, the hell with it, the sheets are red anyway.”

    It’s not intimate; it’s just something you have to hash out.

  481. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm |

    Don’t you pole a gondola, rather than paddle it?

    Er, uh …nooooooo. Because–

    *desperately searches for justification to pretend she is not an uncultured American*

    –Because using “pole” would be too phallo-centric, and using “paddle” is a subtle hat-tip to the kink community! Duh.

    *…NAILED IT.*

  482. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm |

    Yeah if all men talked to each other that might be hilarious. The thing is some of us are grown up and don’t talk like that.

    Are you trying to suggest that my imaginary dude conversation was not 100% accurate and true to life? No wai. :D

    Here in Australia the word reciprocate is not so limited. It can mean for instance if somebody does something nice for you that you reciprocated by doing something equally nice for them but not necessarily in the same way.

    Thanks, dictionary.com, but I got that. I’m from the US and a native English speaker, so I doubt there are vast cultural differences in our various usages of “reciprocate.” But at least I no longer have to feel slightly guilty laughing at your odd wording of “offer the period sex” — I was wondering if I was mocking someone new to English, which would be kinda mean of me. ‘Lilbabyminiguilt assuaged!

  483. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm |

    @ Bagelsan – Perhaps “intimate” also has a new and fascinatingly different meaning in Australia.

    (I’m guessing that the answer is no and, like many other men in this thread, our friend is conflating “stuff that I feel” with “stuff that everyone feels”.)

  484. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 8:02 pm |

    More to the point: llama, it’s totally okay to think that knowing that a woman is menstruating is super intimate for you. But that doesn’t mean everyone here has to agree with you. And it doesn’t mean your justifications about all the omg-seekrit-biological-informationz! you can learn are any less silly.

    Like, I personally think kissing on the mouth is kinda grosser and more intimate to me than a lot of sex acts, but I don’t expect anyone else to accept that as the norm (unless we’re all in Pretty Woman universe now?) Sure, I could start making arguments about how kissing is sooo not first date material (I might know what you ate for dinner! I might guess that you had braces as a kid!) but I would then be completely deserving of all the other commenters laughing at me a little bit. :p

  485. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan September 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm |

    “In the drawer in the closet–no not that towel! That’s the only set of matching towels I have!”

    Wow, thanks EG. I really needed to know you own a matching set of towels. What you and your towels do is your own intimate business so please keep it to yourself in the bathroom like a decent person. -_-

  486. llama
    llama September 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    Bagelsan: Are you trying to suggest that my imaginary dude conversation was not 100% accurate and true to life? No wai. :D

    Thanks, dictionary.com, but I got that. I’m from the US and a native English speaker, so I doubt there are vast cultural differences in our various usages of “reciprocate.” But at least I no longer have to feel slightly guilty laughing at your odd wording of “offer the period sex” — I was wondering if I was mocking someone new to English, which would be kinda mean of me. ‘Lilbabyminiguilt assuaged!

    Ok since you are a native English speaker and you do understand the meaning of the word in a general sense I can now assume you where purposely misconstruing my statement. But I wonder to what end ?

    I can now also assume when you misquote me by suggesting I used the wording “offer the period sex” that this too is intentional and again I ask to what end ?

  487. llama
    llama September 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm |

    CassandraSays:
    @ Bagelsan – Perhaps “intimate” also has a new and fascinatingly different meaning in Australia.
    (I’m guessing that the answer is no and, like many other men in this thread, our friend is conflating “stuff that I feel” with “stuff that everyone feels”.)

    I dont think there is much confusion when I make statements like

    “For me it isn’t only about the physical side of things it is includes things such as the sharing of confidences.”

    It is clearly what about what I feel.

    Does the fact that I alone feel something make it less valid ?

  488. andie
    andie September 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm |

    I read the sidebar as “In Defence of Llama Sex” and decided I have officially been following this thread for too long.

  489. EG
    EG Septembe