Debunking 5 Menstrual Myths
Have you ever gathered around to tell tall tales about creatures living in the hills, ghost stories from back home, or regale each other with menstrual myths? Not the last one? That’s okay, even if it’s not shared often; menstrual myths have a way of altering how we see ourselves and react in different situations. Let’s break down five myths and find the truth behind them so you can freely flow in your everyday life.
Myth #1: Periods attract sharks
You’re about to go to the beach, but then your period starts. All of a sudden, you start worrying less about being chummy with cute folks on the beach and more about being chum for a shark. Should you be concerned? The answer is no, and although sharks can smell blood from hundreds of meters away; you simply aren’t on top of a shark’s preferred diet. Most shark bites happen from sharks thinking a swimmer is a seal, and more men are bit each year than women due to more men being in the water.
The Florida Museum writes in its International Shark Attack File, “There is no positive evidence that menstruation is a factor in shark bites. Additionally, evidence suggests when swimming the water pressure will temporarily stop the flow of menstrual blood decreasing the chances any blood is released into the water.”
All that to say enjoy your swimming without stress.
Myth #2: Periods should only last for three days
Periods can last for a few days or longer, up to 10 days. On average, a person bleeds for about 5-7 days, but this can morph due to new medication, stress, travel, hormones, and other factors. If you are constantly bleeding, or spotting throughout the month, go see a doctor, but remember there is no ‘perfect’ flow time. Your whole cycle could be 20 days or 35 days. Everyone is different, so you need to track your cycle to know what is going on with your body.
Period Myth #3: Menstruation only affects Women
Menstruation impacts women and also Trans men, and Non-Binary Folks. Menstruation is not limited by what you may just think, which is why inclusive period products are so helpful. We love this comic on Oh Joy Sex Toy by Jey Pawlik about Navigating Menstruation While Trans. Menstruation may only occur in some of the population. Still, it impacts more than that, which is why Alyx, our Founder, wrote the book Manstruation: A Field Guide to Not Sucking When Someone Around You Has Their Period. You can grab your copy here from Amazon.
Myth #4: You can’t get pregnant during your period
You are less likely to get pregnant, but it is still possible. Sperm can live up to 5 days; depending on when you ovulate, you can be in for a surprise. It’s best to practice safe sex regardless of your time of the month. There are many ways to prevent pregnancy. Check out your options and choose what is best for you.
Menstrual Myth #5: Exercising during your period is bad for you.
Let’s be honest. Moving the body when bleeding is not often a favorite thing because everything hurts. Perhaps the idea of a high-impact Zumba class on day three of your period makes you want to hurl, but some gentle yoga or lifting heavy weights to get out some stress sounds fantastic. Working out doesn’t hurt you, but your body is shedding blood, and your progesterone is high, so you may want different things than when you are ovulating, and that’s okay! Try to remove any guilt or shame, and see if a gentle walk or another method of movement sounds good to you.