• Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Millions of women feel ashamed of menstruation, don’t discuss periods with their partners

By: ShelbinMS

A report featured in WaterAid back in 2018 states that there are around 2 billion women of menstruating age around the world, and among these women, around 288 million are on their periods (on any one day).

Also, menstruating women generally spend 52 days a year on their period, amounting to 14% of their time. In spite of this, menstruation remains wrapped up in stigma and shame, said WaterAid.

It’s surprising that people all over the world are too embarrassed to use the real word for this monthly ritual, without which human life would not exist.

Whether it’s menstruation or menopause, speaking about periods has often been a taboo subject, reports the BBC.

Claire Best, a volunteer for The Red Box Project NI which is a community-based, not-for-profit initiative that aims to support young people throughout their periods is reported to have earlier told BBC News NI, “It’s crazy that we’re still talking about the stigma attached to periods when it’s something that affects every woman.”

The Sun reports that a study has found that 33 percent of those in a relationship don’t share with their partners the true impact periods have on their daily lives. The poll comprised 1,500 women and people who have a monthly cycle.

The study also revealed that 35 percent feel too embarrassed to let their partner know about their concerns and worries regarding their periods.

Many women (22 percent), and more than one in five have also admitted to feeling ashamed of leakage during their periods – they have hidden stained sheets and washed them without their partner knowing.

Another 29 percent were found to maintain a distance from their partners during their period.

While some supposedly slept on the sofa in the spare room, some women even slept in a different house during their time of the month, stated The Sun.

But of those, 39 percent of the women said it was their partner’s preference to sleep separately when they had their period.

According to The Sun, Bodyform, which commissioned the research in tandem with its Periodsomnia campaign, teamed up with Love Island host Laura Whitmore to discuss the importance of being open with your partner about your periods. Laura is reported to have discussed the different night-time routines and habits of women and adults during their period.

She is quoted as saying, “The results show so many people hide stained sheets, and it can be embarrassing.

“It shouldn’t be this way, but it is the way we’ve been taught – but it’s a natural thing that your body does and it’s okay.

“A lot of people say they sleep separately from their partner, if you do this for yourself to get a better night’s sleep, that is totally understandable, but if your other half has asked you to sleep away, it’s not okay.”

The survey also discovered that 29 percent of women (those polled) experienced a worse quality of sleep than usual while on their period. This was attributed to worry about leaks, stomach cramps, and bloating.

They, therefore, missed out on approximately five hours of sleep each night.

A spokesperson from Bodyform added, “Periods can really get in the way of life, even when we’re asleep.

“It’s no wonder women change up their nighttime routines so much when menstruating.

“From laying down towels, to wearing extra pairs of knickers in bed – we’ve all been there.”


Some of the other findings of the survey include:

  • Changing sheets to darkest colour/putting mattress protectors (20%)
  • Laying down towels on the bed before sleeping (a quarter)
  • Sleeping in a different position (24%)
  • Changing sheets multiple times over the week (87%)
  • Around six in 10 avoid sex/intimacy while menstruating (57%)


Last year councilor Sian O’Neill who put forward a motion to consider the feasibility of Belfast City Council providing free sanitary provisions in its buildings, is reported to have told BBC News NI, “Firstly we have to talk about periods in our social circles and in everyday life. We have to be able to say the word and talk about it freely in our homes.

“If we encourage an attitude of embarrassment and discretion from the outset then that will permeate through into general society.”

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