He's Always Scared About Sex During My Period

My guy and I don’t draw lines about when or when not to have sex but things have changed lately. My partner is now scaredabout having sex when I’m menstruating or having breakthrough bleeding.

His male friends told him that menstrual material could get lodged in his urethra and cause an infection. That doesn’t make sense to me. How could menstrual material be any more infectious than other body fluids that are exchanged during sex?

Lola, Ekiti

Dear Lola,
You’re right. Menstrual fluid is no more likely to infect a woman’s partner than sweat, saliva, or vaginal secretions caused by sexual arousal.

Unfortunately, your partner’s friends are not the only ones who have been misinformed.
History taught us a lot about this. Menstruation has been misunderstood and feared in western civilization for thousands of years.

The ancient Hebrews believed that menstruation was one of many ritual impurities that required ritual cleansing. By the time of the early Christians, menstruation was seen as a physical pollution that caused all kinds of illness and disease, as well as spiritual pollution.

For example, in the year 562, the Archbishop of Arles in France declared, “Whoever has relations with his wife during her period will have children that are either leprous or epileptic or possessed by the Devil.”

It is amazing how long it is taking to dispel such unhealthy notions. The widespread western phobia about menstruation was one of the excuses used until well into the 20th century to bar women from many activities allowed men: standing near or touching the altar of a church, singing in a church choir, or getting an education.

In some parts of the world, however, menstruation was seen as a source of great physical and spiritual power. In certain cultures of the South Pacific, for example, men ritually cut themselves to bleed so that they could claim that they, too, had periods.

Today, we understand that menstruation is an important part of the fertility cycle of women. We know that human females have a greater menstrual flow than any other animals.

That is because many blood vessels are needed to support the development of a human fetus if a pregnancy takes place.

When pregnancy does not take place, the supporting tissue and blood is lost in a woman’s menses, and new supporting tissue develops to prepare for ovulation in support of another potential pregnancy if fertilization and implantation take place.

We also know that there is nothing dirty or unclean about menstruation. We know that menstrual fluid itself is not infectious, and it does not cause disease or sickness. Many women today enjoy their periods as a proud reminder of their femininity.

Many others see it as an uncomfortable inconvenience that they could do well without. And many have found that they can enjoy their sexuality and express themselves sexually during menstruation.
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