Sunday, 3 Dec 2023

Millions of adults who menstruate are too embarrassed to discuss it with partner

Over a third of women and adults who menstruate are too embarrassed to discuss their periods – with their partner, a study has found.

Millions of women and people who have a monthly cycle are keeping quiet about it, with 33% of those in a relationship never opening up to their other half about the impact it has on their daily life.

Over a fifth (22%), of 1,500 menstruating adults polled, have hidden and washed stained sheets without their partner knowing, as they feel ashamed of any leaks.

And three in ten (29%) can't even face sleeping in the same bed as their partner while on their period – instead relocating to the sofa, the spare room, or even a different house altogether.

But of those, two in five (39%) said this is because their partner prefers to sleep separately during their time of the month.

Bodyform, which commissioned the research for its “Periodsomnia” campaign, teamed up with Love Island host Laura Whitmore to discuss the importance of being open with your partner when it comes to your periods – as well as the different night-time routines and habits of women and adults that menstruate.

Laura said: “The results show so many people hide stained sheets, and it can be embarrassing.

“It shouldn’t be this way, but it is the way we’ve been taught – but it’s a natural thing that your body does, and it’s okay.

“A lot of people say they sleep separately to their partner – if you do this for yourself to get a better night’s sleep, that is totally understandable, but if your other half has asked you to sleep away, it’s not okay.

“It’s very important to consider how a period can impact sleep. You have a bad night’s sleep, and your day is pretty much ruined.”

The survey also found almost a third (29%) of those polled have a worse quality of sleep than usual while they’re on their period, due to stomach cramps, bloating, and worries about leaks – missing out on an average of five hours of sleep a night.

And 30% also experience anxiety on the nights leading up to and during their period.

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To ease these worries, one in five change their sheets to the darkest colour, or put extra mattress protectors on the bed.

A quarter lay down towels before sleeping, and 24% sleep in a different position.

But they still wake up an average of two times more than usual each night during their period – and 87% even change their sheets multiple times over the week.

Nearly six in ten (57%) also avoid sex and intimate moments while menstruating.

Despite the findings, almost half (47%) of those with a partner do discuss the impact their period has on their daily routines.

And 90% of those claim their other half is understanding of the situation, according to the research by OnePoll.

A spokesman from Bodyform added: “Periods can really get in the way of life, even when we’re asleep.

“It’s no wonder women+ change up their night time routines so much when menstruating, from laying down towels, to wearing extra pairs of knickers in bed – we’ve all been there.”

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