Women’s Health Issues We Keep Men In The Dark About
I had a small breakthrough in my relationship recently. Or, perhaps it was a personal breakthrough? I started being far more vocal about my health issues—particularly those that only pertain to women—around my partner. I used to try to hide things regarding my period or my birth control pills. I’d attended to these matters not only in private, but rather clandestinely. I’ve been with my guy for a long time, so the illusion that I’m perfect and have no biological function has gone out the window. But when it comes to particularly female health issues, I wouldn’t really bother him with the details. You know what? That’s over. I don’t think it’s good for men to remain in the dark about these things. Hey, we—the women—tend to things like birth control and pregnancy tests for the benefit of men. So, they can hear about it. Here are ways we keep men in the dark about women’s health issues.
I ask for pill reminders
My boyfriend got upset with me for forgetting to take my pill two days in a row. And then I got upset with him. I told him that it is on me and only me to take measures to prevent a pregnancy that would affect both of us. I also told him remembering to do something 363 days out of the year is pretty damned good. And I require him to now remind me to take my pill daily (even though I remember on my own.) I’d like to see how well he does at remembering the pill 365 days a year.
I’m vocal about needing more lube
I’m done appeasing a man’s ego and letting him move from foreplay to intercourse when he’s ready. If I’m not lubricated enough, sex can hurt me and cause small tears in my vagina—something I explained, in detail, to my partner. “I need more lube” is something I’ll confidently say, whenever I have to.
I told him more about pap smears
Men seem to think that their physicals—having their balls grabbed and a little finger up their butt—is a huge deal. So I finally explained to my partner that my doctor jams cold, hard tools inside my vagina and scrapes particles off of my cervix in my pap smear. There’s no more confusion over whose special doctor’s visits are more uncomfortable.
I explained the trauma of pregnancy tests
Too often do I hear of women telling their partners they’re late on their period, and their partners casually saying, “So buy a pregnancy test.” I made sure my partner understands how emotionally difficult the experience can be of going to the store, having everyone stare at you—knowing exactly your predicament—and waiting, alone, at home, afraid for the results. Men can and should be involved in buying and administering these tests. They should hold the stick while we pee on it, as far as I’m concerned.
As for IUDs, I explained some of the horrors
My partner suggested that if I struggle to remember to take my pill, I should try an intrauterine device—his friend mentioned that his wife has one. So I told my boyfriend just exactly how painful it is to have these inserted, and that they can cause side effects like migraines, back pain, cysts, and abdominal pain. In other words, no man is going to casually suggest I get an IUD.
And I explained side effects of quitting the pill
I also thought it was important for my partner to know all that I do to my body by taking or not taking a pill. When I go off it, for example, I immediately gain seven to ten pounds, develop terrible acne, and suffer from mood swings. So, if he asks me to quit the pill for any reason, he should know what he’s really asking me.
He can pick up tampons for me
Hey if it were up to me, I’d just sit in a bathtub for the entirety of my period. Half the reason I keep the area down there tidy is for the comfort of other people. So, on that note, my partner can pick up pads and tampons for me now. He benefits from them being around, too.
And I store pads/tampons openly
I don’t tuck away pads and tampons in a lockbox in a secret cabinet in the back of a closet. I put them in the medicine cabinet, next to his razor. They’re nothing to be ashamed of
I’m open about PMS-related depression
I suffer from some PMS-related depression. I didn’t really tell my boyfriend that until recently. I used to just try to hide it. But, he should be aware that that is a tough time of the month for me. He should tread lightly.
I tell him about UTI pain
I feel like UTIs are things women just hide away with until they’re gone. We make up reasons not to see our partners—god forbid we tell them, “I can’t have sex because you made it so my vagina is burning and in pain.” I’m very open about UTIs if I get one.
And require more UTI-prevention
I make sure my man cleans up his nether regions before sex. I don’t need him pushing any bacteria inside my vagina and giving me a UTI.
I told him soap-in-vagina=infection
My man gently mentioned my vagina having a, um, smell during the super hot summer months when we had no air conditioning and I was constantly sweaty. He suggested I put some soap up there. I took a hard stance and told him that it’s not safe to put soap inside my vagina and I could have a serious reaction to it.
I tell him why I prefer pads
If he thinks it’s weird that I wear pads that one can see through my pants, that’s fine with me. I explained to him the horrors of toxic shock syndrome caused by tampons, and that that’s why I prefer pads.
And why I prefer full-butted underwear
If he makes a comment about my underwear being visible or clunky through my tight clothes, I also mention that thongs put me at risk of sending fecal matter shifting from the back to the front when I wear thongs so I prefer full-butted undies. Thank you very much.
I’m also vocal about BMI and health issues
I want to re-train the male eye to understand that super skinny women with exposed clavicles and pointy shoulder blades should not necessarily be considered the image of beauty. They very likely face reproductive issues, anemia, and other health issues due to being drastically underweight.