My period and I have had an adversarial relationship for a long time. It appeared in my life at the age of twelve with vicious cramps and bloating. It felt like a street gang had staked out territory in my private downtown, a battle between the bloods for my crypt. Oh yes, just writing the word bloat conjures such appealing imagery. The worst part was the PMS. In a parallel universe, I would have been one of those women taking the witness stand for manslaughter with PMS as my defense. Irrational? Easily irritated? Exhausted and over-emotional? Try all that, then multiply it by thirty.
When I was trying to get pregnant, my period became the enemy. After a plethora of tests, my reproductive system was declared perfectly healthy. There was no medical reason explaining why I couldn’t conceive. My ex-husband was deemed healthy as well, but since science has made no advances regarding male fertility, I was the guinea pig. I took pills and had injections. I had a chart that I carefully plotted according to the results of ovulation tests and my temperature. I became a zealot about having sex at the correct time on the correct days. All that work, the attention to detail, the hyper-focus on my body plus the addition of a cocktail of drugs took me on an emotional rollercoaster every single month.
For four years my period arrived with the regularity of clockwork, and brought with it the bad news that nothing had worked. I began to view it as a harbinger of doom; the death of my dreams of having a child, the death of my hopes that this month would be different and a testament to my failure in the basic biological right that all women have. After days of hoping and trying to do everything right, my period appeared and I’d be in tears. I ranted. I shook my fist at God and the medical establishment, and I despaired.
Through the magic that is In-Vetro-Fertilization, I eventually became pregnant. My period and I really needed that year-long break that pregnancy and infancy provided. When it did come back, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was a sign that my body and its cycles were FINALLY returning to normal. My period and I were no longer adversaries but partners. I welcomed it, because it brought me the good news that my body was transitioning from the taxing physical effort of making a human being and eating nachos with the appetite of a feral dog to the hope that I may someday fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans again with the normal desire for a salad.
Now that my baby days are over, I don’t hate my period at all. In fact, I might like it a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I still get PMS and all the beautiful monster characteristics that accompany it. We’ve made a truce, though, because my period is the gateway to a new way for me to orgasm.
I have never been squeamish about sex on my period, so I had experienced the physical sensitivity firsthand with a partner. Orgasms were easy to attain, and everything on my body felt highly sensitized during my menstrual cycle. But I had never used my period knowledge and applied it to masturbation.
Several elements coincided to give me my new orgasmic experience. M bought me a new vibrator as a housewarming present. I had my period, and I was alone in bed and couldn’t sleep. I honestly didn’t expect anything to really happen. But I hadn’t used the vibrator a lot and figured I’d test drive it on my clit, since my vagina was otherwise occupied with a tampon. Mind you, up until that point, all my orgasms had been vaginal.
The only way I can describe that first orgasm was…magical. I discovered that with enough deep stimulation of my vibrator on my clit and the clitoral organ beneath (check out this diagram so you know what I’m talking about) I can achieve a throbbing, powerful orgasm. I felt echoes of it in my vagina, but it was concentrated around my clitoris. The best part was that during my period, I could orgasm in about fifteen minutes. Without the help of my period, it can take as long as forty-five minutes.
I made friends with my period that night. Although I may dislike the cramps and the inconvenience of bleeding, those seven nights of heightened sensitivity are a delight. In the dark of my bedroom, alone beneath the sheets, my period and I have a very good time.