We’ve heard it our whole lives: period blood is dirty.

We’re taught to think of period blood as waste, something that should never be seen, touched, smelled, tasted or celebrated for how it empowers us and our wellbeing.

As someone with PCOS, regulating my period is a desperate endeavor. The Pill worsens my depression, and so far my attempts at natural regulation have been unsuccessful. So just the thought of being able to peer into my panties and see that glorious red spotting makes me emotional beyond words. It’s been four months since my last period and the absence made me conscious of the way period blood acts in my life.

Of course, many people experience menstruation differently. Some menstruate painfully while others do not menstruate at all. Transgender men and women also have different, sometimes emotionally difficult experiences with menstruation. For this reason, menstruation is not an experience specific to cis-women only.

But what I want to address is the alternative conversation we can have around period blood. To deny the narrative that it’s disgusting and makes you unclean, but rather focus on its, frankly, anticolonial qualities.

1. Your period blood is an act of sovereignty.


Our bodies are countries under attack.

Menstruating people are expected to conform to the standards that western, capitalist, patriarchal society places on us; be silent, be invisible, be afraid. to reclaim something like our period blood, a fluid typically thought of as dirty, impure and even toxic, is to reclaim our sovereignty.

In other words, to take our bodies back from state control.

2. Your period blood is a source of pleasure.


Whenever I have my period I feel horny, to put it plainly. But because mainstream education teaches us to hide away our period blood, not to touch it and use it for pleasure, we feel confined in our sexual desires, even embarrassed by it.

But period sex and period blood can be orgasmic. Period blood, because of its consistency and volume, can be used as lube for different sexual play, whether masturbatory or with a partner or partners.

3. Your period blood is a source of healing.


Yup, it turns out that your period blood is a source of stem cells. New Scientist states that period blood is rich with endometrium stem cells. One study showed that the cells could even be “coaxed into differentiating into nine different types of cells, including fat, muscle, bone and nerve.”

There are even banks that have opened to collect and preserve period blood. Banks like LifeCell Femme and CryoCell International offer such a service.

4. Your period blood is not connected to ‘femininity.’


It’s true, for some people menstruating makes them feel more connected to their womanhood and ‘femininity’. But this is not the case for everyone. For genderqueer, gender non-conforming and transgender people, the act of menstruation is something that belongs to them and them alone. Branding menstruation as a feminine and cis-woman-only experience is not only plain wrong but also oppressive and violent.

As we know, transgender, genderqueer and gender non-conforming people experience gross human rights violations on a daily basis, from being told that they don’t exist to fatal public attacks by both civilians and police.

In this way, menstruation can alternatively be called ‘moonstruation’, ‘mxnstruation’ or anything else that is deemed more gender-inclusive.

And to all the TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) out there: this is a valid form of thinking about periods.

End of story.

5. Your period blood is celestial.


Remember I mentioned the term ‘moonstruation?’

Well, your menstrual cycle is believed to be connected to the phases of the moon. Many people track their cycles through watching and noting the phases of the moon according to their reproductive health. This can be done by looking at what phase the moon is currently in, and how you are feeling that day; down there, emotionally and physically.

Many people who follow this are pushing the belief that you have to sync your cycle with certain phases of the moon, but this is simply not the case. Your cycle will change with your body and your situation and even your exposure to moonlight.

I know many people will dub this kind of belief as strange, ‘shamanistic’ and not scientifically-backed, but my belief is that science cannot answer all our questions. There are many indigenous cultures around the world who, before colonization, had their own way of understanding their bodies. Western society has taught us to believe that these people are backward and barbaric and even unintelligent for still following these beliefs, but of course, that kind of rhetoric is inherently racist and Eurocentric.

If you want to learn more about periods, both for menstruating individuals and non-menstruating individuals, I highly encourage you to check out La Loba Loca’s Online Knowledge Share. The course taught me to understand my body and my situation deeply, and to respect every step of my journey with love, kindness, and power.

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  • Ariana is a graduate from the University of Cape Town with majors in Gender Studies and Anthropology. She is a plant-lady artist, writer and poet, who has been published in Prufrock & Type/Cast Literary Journal. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, retweeting and playing Skyrim.