When I was 18, I had to teach my 21-year-old boyfriend about what it takes for a woman to get pregnant. He was under the impression that pregnancy could happen at any point during the cycle and not just during ovulation–something he hadn’t really heard of.
This conversation opened my eyes to the realities of sex education in our school systems. Granted, he went to an all-boys school, so periods and pregnancy probably weren’t hot topics in the classroom. But, why not?
To kick off my research for this article, I decided to google: “Why don’t men understand periods?” It seemed like a simple enough question, but as I scrolled through the results I discovered something interesting. The internet is stuffed with articles titled 12 Things Guys Will Never Understand About Periods.
That’s when it really hit me. Not only are men at a disadvantage when it comes to information on the internet, but women are also not helping this conversation either. And unfortunately, no man is going to wake up and say: “I’m going to research periods today. Oh, look, what a convenient Cosmo article.”
So, instead of expecting men to do this research on their own, how about we start open and honest conversations about our cycles with them instead. I think by doing so we have a greater chance of reducing the stigma, decreasing the lack of knowledge and opening up a positive line of communication.
I am a firm believer that men should know just as much about women’s health as women do. After all, if you’re a heterosexual man, it is going to concern you in one way or another eventually.
Opening up a conversation about women’s health with your partner could lead to safer sex, better family planning and more empathy surrounding periods/cycles. So, next time you’re around a guy, try to teach them a thing or two about women’s health. I think many of you would be surprised by how little they know.