There’s still a lot of hush-hush surrounding the topic of menstruation, even as literally half of the world population menstruates. A recent survey has looked into how people from different countries handle the conversation about menstruation, and also lifts the veil on menstruation-related habits. Spoiler: those are pretty different.
FLEX Company, the inventors of the menstrual disc — another alternative to tampons, and even menstrual cups — have interviewed close to 2,000 people in six countries (Canada, India, the US, the UK, China and South Africa) on the topic of menstruation.
The survey offers some pretty interesting insights. For instance, tampons are not really popular menstrual hygiene product outside of the US. Only respondents from the States have said they prefer tampons over pads. In contrast, in China, over half of those who took part in the survey said they don’t want to use tampons because of the fear of affecting their virginity. So it isn’t surprising that 93% of respondents from China use pads. Still, 90% said they wish they had more types of period products to choose from.
The Chinese respondents also turned out to be the least likely to have sex during period, with 67% saying they would never ever even think about having period sex, much less engage in it. Americans were much more comfortable with entertaining the thought, placing first among the six nations in terms of willingness to have period sex. Thirty-four percent of Americans surveyed by the FLEX company responded with “of course” to the question or whether or not they’d have sex while menstruating. Canada and the UK share the second place with 19% of respondents enthusiastically supporting the idea.
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But most importantly, the study has reminded us that all around the world, people having periods are still not comfortable with talking about them freely. Over 73% of respondents said they try to conceal their periods, hide them from others. The survey shows that in India, for instance, people are less likely to keep mum about their periods, but, at the same time, there is a higher probability for a person from India to miss work because of their period.
The way we talk about periods should change. Sex ed in schools must be more comprehensive — and in many countries, introducing sex ed into school curriculum would be the step. Talking about menstruation in the context of cultural differences will surely bring on a huge shift in how we see our bodily functions.
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