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How To Take Care Of Your Partner On Their Period

Part one of our "Helping Men Be Better" series.

How To Take Care Of Your Partner On Their Period

There is no more vulnerable time of month for a woman than when she’s on her menstrual cycle. Not only are her emotions in a constant state of waxing and waning, but she’s fighting through symptoms like nausea, cramps, back pain, sore breasts, and countless more. The last thing she needs is to have to hold her partner’s hand through it, tip-toeing around their disdain for what a woman’s body does when it’s not at the mercy of their pleasure.

However, the conversation around period depression and menstrual hygiene awareness has become louder and louder, mostly because women are now too tired to whisper in the corridors in an effort to protect men’s comfort. This has led to the prevalent question: how should women be treated during periods?

There’s been a long-running joke about how a woman becomes “crazy” and her sentiments should be completely disregarded when she’s on her cycle, due to period-induced irrationality. This has been used as an argument for why a woman shouldn’t be president: the monthly mania could leave an entire nation vulnerable. Clearly, a withering man old enough to remember when dodo birds were wild, is more fitting.

And while we certainly aren’t our most “emotionally grounded” while menstruating, leaving us to feel gaslit and isolated is objectively not the answer. Our partners should turn to us the same way our girlfriends do: with presence, an empathetic heart, and a loving embrace.

How Do You Comfort A Woman On Her Period?

When it comes to what a person should do when their partner is on her period, there are many surefire classics: buy her preferred menstrual hygiene products and chocolate, watch romcoms with her, share a tub of ice cream, and smile through any emotional outbursts she throws at you. But that’s only the surface.

It’s crucial to build a warm language around her. Address her sweetly and check in regularly with how her heart is doing. Keep your home warmer, dimmer, and less noise-polluted than usual. Be thoughtful: brew an extra cup of tea in the morning, make an effort to keep your shared space tidy—unprompted!—and check off a few of her chores.

Many women delude themselves into feeling undesirable during their menstrual cycles, having to battle with bloat and all kinds of dysmorphia. Reminding her of the beauty you witness in her, both physical or spiritual, can go a long way.

You can also educate yourself on the journey of the menstrual cycle. This means becoming aware of what foods she should be eating, which supplements could best support her, and which phases she moves through week by week. You may even begin to notice when she’s ovulating or in a luteal phase, and even better support her by meeting her where her energy levels are.

As a quick checklist, to be a supportive partner, here’s what to consider:

  • Avoid mansplaining // advising her on her period care
  • Avoid argument triggers
  • Perform acts of service, like cooking, cleaning, or running errands
  • Be sensitive and comforting
  • Ask questions with kindness
  • Be patient
  • Don't act disgusted by her period
  • Spend quality time, if directed
  • Give her space, if directed 
  • Provide her with words of affirmation
  • Do your own research

It’s also important to note that there are varying levels of PMS and some women may experience more intense symptoms than others. Disorders like PMDD can leave women going through deep bouts of depression during this time, which is why it’s important to navigate her as sensitively and compassionately as possible.

How Period Sex Can Help

We all know cramps can be debilitating, but do you know what works even better than Advil? An orgasm! 

Leading up to (and directly following) an orgasm, your uterine muscles tend to relax, which can bring ease to the discomfort of tight menstrual cramps. 

A major way to be a supportive partner during your her cycle is to not find period sex so revolting. It’s important to distinguish the difference between something being taboo versus gross: while many may feel embarrassment around the idea of period sex, the truth of the matter is that outside of societal conditioning, it’s nothing to be ashamed of! As long as both partners consent, period sex can be just as enjoyable as any other kind of sex— if not more, thanks to the addition of natural lubricant.

If she doesn’t want to have sex during her period, coercing her is the last thing you should do. However, if you’re both in the mood, choreography is key, and sex positions that keep your torso relatively flat enlist the help of gravity to keep period sex as clean as possible. Since a lot of the pain accompanying menstruation has to do with your uterus and ovaries, you’ll want to avoid sex positions that put pressure on those areas. 

The best positions for period sex include:

  • Missionary 
  • Doggy style 
  • Spooning

If mess is a major concern, stick to her lighter days, which for most people are days 3-5 rather than 1 and 2.

Be Gentle, Soft, and Intentional

Ultimately, beyond all the acts of service, the best way to be a good partner is to listen. Listen to her complaints, the adjustments she asks from you, and the unspoken bits, like when she silently signals for some space and alone time or cuddling and deeper intimacy.

Take her seriously when she speaks of her pain, don’t minimize her emotions just because she’s menstruating, and remain loving, kind, and gentle. Only softness can counteract the harsh reality of a shedding uterus and a society built to infantilize you.

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