“I had a heavy period”
“I am only spotting today”
“I had light bleeding”
“Aunty Flo is flowing“
These are all quotes any person who menstruates can relate to. Even though heavy and light bleeding can mean different things, as every menstruater is different and bleeds differently, they have a pretty good idea of what I mean if they come across any of these quotes.
Ask any guy, and he probably has a skewed view of how much blood a woman loses on average. A quick google search reveals that a woman can lose anywhere from 30 to 80 ml of blood during a period. Even for us vulva owners that sounds a bit abstract… I found this picture which I found quite helpful:
When I tried to explain it to my boyfriend (a question I was quite proud of him for asking – “so how does the whole bleeding thing work?”), I described how much blood is in my pad when I bleed and how often I might need to change it. I did this by describing the amount in comparison to the palm of my hand and I must say, my estimates were pretty much exactly what is pictured above for the pad user. I felt he was a bit uncomfortable as he was happy to move on to another topic quite quickly, but he did say that he already had a better idea of how much I bleed.
“When you say you were bleeding heavily, I’m imagining like a lot of blood,” he said.
“Nono, it’s not as bad as you’re imagining…” Even though it can sometimes feel like all your insides are coming out, I am happy to say my periods are not that bad. Not every woman has the same experience.
Boys should learn about periods and period blood. They should have a vague idea of how much blood is normal for their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, or friends to loose (and I don’t mean in ml) and know when to maybe suggest calling a doctor if those people are bleeding too much. Boys should not be afraid of talking about periods or intimacy when their partner is bleeding. I’m not saying everyone has to have or want to have period sex. Whatever you and your partner are comfortable with is perfectly fine. But maybe if boys know how much blood menstruaters lose, what it looks like, and are dare I say confronted with the topic in a more relaistic way, maybe they will realize it is not as dramatic as it is so often portrayed. Yes, sometimes there’s a mess, and mood swings, and cramps. Sometime’s though – and luckily for most women – it’s just another day, we just happen to be bleeding.