Yes, Periods Are A Thing And Cramps Hurt

Yes, Periods Are A Thing And Cramps Hurt

Please don't tell me that I am overexaggerating.

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Recently, I have been astounded about the ignorance of some of the male species about their knowledge toward female's reproductive organs. Women actually bleed out of their vagina every month for an average of about three to seven days. Baffling! They go as far as to say that we can "turn off" our menstrual cycle and there's a simple solution — just don't get your period anymore!

If only it were that easy.

My period would have been turned off the second I got it. If you get cramps, then it can't be any worse than getting kicked in the testicles, right?

What exactly is a period or menstruation? My favorite description is where the uterus is preparing a nursery for a baby and when it realizes I'm not pregnant, my uterus goes mentally crazy, ripping everything apart and tearing down walls. However, since most girls learned this in elementary school, they know what is really going on in there. The body is readying itself to maintain another human being by sending more blood and tissue to the uterus and when there is no pregnancy (estrogen and progesterone levels are low), all the extras are tossed out by way of the vagina.

Doesn't sound painful, huh? Wrong.

Every girl has a different experience with their period. From my first period up until I was a sophomore in high school, my period was so extremely heavy that I had to wear a tampon and an overnight pad every day and I would still bleed through in two hours. My cramps hit me like a truck. They made me so nauseous that I would feel dizzy and I even passed out a few times. Don't even ask about going to the bathroom during your period, it's gross. I would crave the greasiest and saltiest foods I could get my hands on, but everything I ate (greasy or not) seemed to worsen my menstrual cramps. I couldn't "turn off" my uterus as much I wanted to. Even though there are methods to try to ease these uterine contractions, none of them seemed to do the trick and I know other women experience that as well.

My grandmother told me that my family had a history of endometriosis on both maternal and paternal sides. She had it when she was going through her menstrual cycle and she told me that she had missed days of school because of it. The doctors didn't realize the symptoms then and she was only diagnosed when she became pregnant with my father later on in her life. She had to get surgery so the doctors could scrape off endometrial tissue growing where it wasn't supposed to.

I was beginning to miss school and hanging out with my friends because I was in such amounts of pain.

I rarely wanted to participate in cheer practice or even in gym class because I felt like I was going to hurl with each movement. Thankfully, I went to the gynecologist and she told me we would try a low-dose birth control pill to see if it could ease my cramps before testing for endometriosis. That's right boys! Birth control isn't just used to not get pregnant, it helps with menstruation as well! Two years later, I can actually live through my period without wanting to curl up into a ball and cry. Some months I don't even get a visit from Aunt Flo. Although my body is becoming accustomed to the birth control and they are hurting slightly more with each month, I can get a higher dose of my birth control to ease the pain.

So there you have it! Girls have periods, they can not stop their periods, and menstrual pain can affect the everyday life of a woman.

Unfortunately, not every girl's cramps can be aided in birth control as mine has. Birth control has negative side effects such as weight gain, acne, mood swings, and even blood clots. I know being kicked in the balls does hurt and some guys understand periods extremely well, but I feel that this had to be said. Don't get me started on men's views of women's rights to their bodies.

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This Is What Happens When You Give Up Masturbating For Four Days

The results probably won't shock you all that much.
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So recently "Brohit," a guy on Reddit, gained a lot of attention by describing the amazing things that happened to him when he quit masturbating for 700 days. He apparently also gained an increased attention span, more energy, and found it easier to have actual sex. Well, this intrigued me. I mean, look at how many news outlets ran stories about this. I sure wouldn't mind that level of attention. Because of this, I decided to try and recreate his experiment to see if I could replicate his results. Now instead of just telling you the results I will be giving a detailed description of my experience throughout my endeavors, and although I didn't quite make it to 700 days I still think that the results of my experiment are worthy of at least one article from questionable websites, looking at you "Bro Bible."

Day 1:

So the first day I woke up and immediately started masturbating. I was about halfway through when I remembered that I wasn't supposed to be doing this, but it was kind of too late at that point so I just finished up and decided to try again the next day.

Day 1 (Take 2):

This time, it took me until after I finished to remember about my experiment, it seemed as though I was making negative progress. I decided I'd do everything I could to prevent this happening again.

Day 1 for Real:

It's true what they say, third time is the charm. That, and my plan to teach my phone to auto-correct "porn" to "don't do it." I made it through most of the day pretty easily, just avoided most media. Especially anything with Emily VanCamp in it. Or Chris Evans. I was actually good right up until I went to bed. Here's a fun little psychology lesson, if you do something repeatedly in the same place all the time, your brain associates that activity with that place. It's why they say you shouldn't do stuff in your bed besides sleeping. I do stuff in my bed that isn't sleeping. Mainly masturbate. It's pretty hard to go to bed with an erection.

Day 2:

I woke up pretty frustrated, and equally as erect as when I went to bed. I was pretty committed to keeping going, though, otherwise, that first day would've been for nothing. However, I knew that I couldn't go through another day like that. I decided to try exercising as an alternative for masturbation. I went for a short run and when I got back I felt pretty good. I was starting to feel some of the symptoms Brohit had mentioned actually, mainly the increased energy. This was either the endorphins released from the run or the no masturbation. Since it fit my hypothesis better I decided it must be from the no masturbation. The downside was all this new found energy just made me want to masturbate more. I mean, I had already exercised what the hell else am I supposed to do with my day? I was pretty sure exercising was out after that. Back to the only thing I could do to not get turned on, watching the pilot of Kevin Can Wait on repeat until I fell asleep.

Day 3:

Enough was enough at this point, I had to do what Brohit said he did: Join dating apps and obsessively check my phone waiting for a response so that I could have sex. Seriously, that's something he said he did. I was starting to think this "healthy" alternative to masturbation was a bit off, but at the same time, I still had 697 days left until reaching the ultimate goal so who knows, maybe things would change. I learned two things from dating apps. One, Farmers Only takes the "Only" part very seriously, and two, if you right swipe everybody it's pretty easy to find someone who's up for pretty much whatever. I made it clear what I was looking for so there were no mixed messages, I just wanted someone to come to my room, sit behind me and jerk me off with their left hand so I could go to sleep.

Day 4:

I started off the fourth day pretty optimistically. Apart from being the single most awkward human interaction I'd ever had, the silent dry handjob administered to me by a stranger had really done the trick in helping me get a good night's rest. It did raise a question, though, what was so bad about jerking off? I mean, why was it better for me to stress out checking my phone "every few minutes," like Brohit had, to get a stranger to come and rub one out for me instead of me just doing the five finger shuffle at bed time? So I decided to look up why it was so important for Brohit to have given up masturbating in the first place. I checked it out and according to Planned Parenthood, there's actually quite a few health benefits to masturbation. For those of you who don't trust Planned Parenthood, because you think they are exclusively in the business of baby murder, here's one of those questionably sourced websites that I'm sure you like saying pretty much the same things. Masturbation can, among other things, help improve sex with others, help you feel better about yourself and even make you feel better about your body image. In men it can increase sperm quality and in women it can help reduce menstrual cramps. It turns out masturbation isn't something to quit, it's an activity that may help improve your sexual health and even your overall health. After reading this I opened up a nice incognito window and made God cry with the things that I did to myself. It's a shame Brohit didn't take the time to research masturbation a little bit before deciding to go without for 700 days. At least he got semi-internet famous, though, and in the end isn't that worth it? Well no, probably not.

Cover Image Credit: Tissue

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Fan Fiction Teaches Your Kids About Sex, And That's A Good Thing

Finding a healthy way to express your sexuality is vital for getting through your teen years

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I read my first fanfiction when I was about 12. By my current (and most avid fanfiction reader's standards), it was an amateur fic that was cliche and the storyline was mostly author self-serving. However, my 12-year-old self found happiness in the story, surprised something like it even existed.

As I grew older and entered fandom culture and became more familiar with the Internet, I began to read more fan fiction in various fandoms and even began to write fan fiction. Currently, I have probably read and written millions of words worth of fan fiction.

When I first started out, I avoided fanfictions that contained overt sex or smut. In my early and mid-teenage years, I was uncomfortable reading about sex. However, I naturally began gravitating towards more mature storylines and themes, which in turn, led later to sex.

Now, nearly everything I read contains at least some explicit sexual content. Sometimes it's just glossed over, or simply sexually explicit in dialogue or language. Other times, it's porn in written form. However, I am an adult and it is not necessarily considered inappropriate to read and enjoy these sorts of things (probably taboo and trashy), but among the fan fiction community, it is well known that it isn't just adults reading explicit sexual content.

Despite most fan fiction hosting sites filtering explicit content differently, it is not hard to come by if you know how to search for it. Some parents may find it alarming that their children are accessing such sexually explicit content as a teenager, but after having spent time extensively within the fan fiction community, I think it is, for the most part, healthy and normal.

In the early days of fanfiction, sexual content wasn't really monitored or filtered in any way. As it slowly became an issue (people who chose not to read such content being exposed to it, unhappy parents, etc.), sites like Fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, and Wattpad all have mature filters or ratings that filter out mature-rated or marked books from a typical search unless specifically searched for.

This works for the most part, however, not every author marks their works as mature (whether due to ignorance or consciously to reach a larger audience). If found out, this usually ends up with a warning and/or the book being taken down (and usually re-uploaded with the proper identification).

While smut and sexual content has served as entertainment and fantasy fodder, the smut and sexual content in fanfiction has taken on another, unexpected duty — sex education.

It's not a secret that sex education in the US and around the world is lacking, wrong, or biased, so, oddly, fanfiction authors took it upon themselves to educate the younger readers reading their work. In my time, I've read or written explanations/ analogies of consent, condom use, birth control, sexual assault/ harassment, unhealthy relationships, pregnancy, signs/ reds flags of abuse, LGBTQ relationships/ sex, STIs, STI testing, and more. The list could go on and on.

While obviously unhealthy elements of relationships and sex are sometimes romanticized or glorified, oftentimes readers go into a fic knowing this and either criticize it or enjoy it understanding the cognitive dissonance (this cognitive dissonance could be a whole article topic in itself).

I have learned more from fanfiction and finding my own reliable sex education sources (such as Sexplanations) than I did in my high school sex ed class. Fanfiction taught me about kinks and which ones applied to myself. It gave me the opportunity to figure out my own sexual preferences and biases without actually having sex. It helped me make informed and healthy decisions regarding relationships and sex. It helped me decide what was best for myself and my body, rather than having no idea about my own sexuality, preferences, or body.

Fanfiction gave me permission and freedom to explore facets of myself that I was hesitant or scared to without judgment or the opportunity to make a mistake that could impact the rest of my life. It allowed me to explore my sexuality in a healthy way that allowed me to mature and figure out things about myself that many people don't know even after they have had sex!

Exploration, discovery, and doing both of those things in a healthy way is vital for personal and sexual growth. Reading fanfiction and other sexually explicit material isn't always just a way to get off in your teenage years, it can be a healthy way to express and discover your sexuality.

Before ending this article, I would like to clarify that I'm not trying to advocate for abstinence with this article. Everyone has the right to make that choice for themselves and reading and learning from fanfiction and other sexually explicit material can supplement whatever decision is made. I only want to advocate for fanfiction and how it can contribute to a healthy sexual maturing and growth.

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