Well it is the first day of my period. This month I thought I would turn the subject to sex during menstruation. Many people stop engaging in sex because of the idea that during our periods we are dirty. There are religions that specifically prohibit sex during a woman's period on that ground. This once again falls in line with the idea that the vagina is somehow foul and dirty.
Sex during my period is something that I avoid. I must admit that for the longest time it was because I felt ashamed of my monthly bleeding. I wanted to hide the evidence of it from my partner. I am quite sure that once again this stemmed from the idea the female biological process is disgusting.
I was taught like many other women to hide any evidence of my period. It was to be invisible to the world. Any stain on my clothing was to be washed immediately lest someone discover my dirty secret. This idea carried over to sex where I feared that my partner would find disgust in my body because it was dirty.
As I think about blood, it dawns on me that it is only menstrual blood that is deemed foul. If I were to get a cut on my finger, no one would comment about how disgusting it may, or may not bet. Menstrual blood is deemed disgusting not because it is blood, but because of where it exits the body. It is tied to our social attitude towards the vagina. It is deemed our unique female stain, and a stamp of our eternal impurity.
Even recognizing that the stigma attached to my period is meant to create woman as other and less than, I still cannot engage in sex during my period. On an intellectual level I know that there is no reason for shame. I am the same woman today as I was the day before my period started and yet there is a part of me that fears rejection, or the disgust of my partner. There is a part of me that fears contaminating him with my foulness.
I no longer feel the need to hide the evidence of my period. I deem it a part of being a woman; however truly revealing it on an intimate level with someone I care about, is something that I have not yet been able to do. I don't know if I will ever get to the point where I can leave this conditioning behind me.
Please share your experiences, or thoughts about sex during your period. Have you been able to freely engage, why or why not.