In our last post, “Can a Woman’s Cycle Affect Her Relationships with Men?” we


looked at how a woman’s cycle impacts her most intimate relationships. It’s clear


that a woman’s menstrual cycle does affect her male partner. But are men really


interested in understanding how a woman’s cycle works? What do they already


know? And at the end of the day, does a guy’s knowledge of the menstrual cycle


affect a couple’s relationship?


We had to do some digging to come up with answers.




After reviewing surveys and conducting our own interviews, we have been


pleasantly surprised to learn that many men believe they should be


knowledgeable about a woman’s cycle regardless of what family planning option


they use. They believe such knowledge would lead to better communication with


their female partner and to a more “harmonious” relationship. We were surprised


to hear this. One man we interviewed said, “It is very important. Men should


know about the whole cycle.”




But it turns out men also think that “other men” are generally not interested in


learning about a woman’s cycle and do not usually take the time to do so. “Most


men probably think it’s not their problem,” was a frequent response. “A guy


figures, if he’s got condoms, he doesn’t need [to know] anything else,” said


another interviewee. Of course its interesting that most of the respondents said


that they themselves were interested, it was just “other men” who wouldn’t be.


Indeed, whether they are interested in learning about it or not, studies show that


men usually have incomplete and inaccurate knowledge about a woman’s


menstrual cycle.




A lot of men also have a negative attitude about the menstrual cycle. Women are


probably partially to blame for this as most men learn about women’s cycles from


their girlfriends and wives. There may be a tendency in those conversations to


complain and focus on menstruation and the negatives. One respondent summed


up in a single word, a common attitude among men when they hear “menstrual


cycle”… “Eww.”






So why do men want to know about women’s cycles? Two reasons – peace and


sex. On the peace front, men feel that if they understand their partners’ cycles,


they’ll be able to better cope with some of the emotional turmoil that they


associate (accurately or not) with the menstrual cycle. One man quipped “men


need a support group for dealing with their partner’s PMS and learning strategies


for working around the woman’s irritability…or at least to know when to leave the


house!”. As for sex being a reason that men wanted to know about women’s


cycles, one male respondent put it most succinctly, “Her Period = No Sex”.




A dubious solution, and perhaps a fantastical one, is to eliminate the cycle all


together. In a recent interview with The Sexist Blog, a young woman described


her boyfriend’s glee when she explained to him that she takes her birth control


pills continuously without the normal 4th week break. He told her, “I was thinking


you were just magical … a cool chick with no period drama that has sex all month




Of course, most men do not have “magical” partners and the reality is that conflict


arises when a couple is not on the same wavelength sexually. An interviewee put


it this way, “When a man wants to have sex and the woman says no, he doesn’t


understand why she’s not sexual. It can cause tension.”




Happily, many studies show when women communicate information about their


cycles to their partners, it can have a positive affect on relationships. The men we


interviewed seemed to intuitively understand this even though their reasons for


wanting to know might be different from their partners’ reasons for telling them.


This type of communication could help a man feel more in tune with his partner


and also address a belief expressed by an interviewee, “The man knows he is not


in control of anything [in regard to her cycle], but understanding it makes it seem


less precarious and mysterious.”


No doubt, it takes the willingness of both sides to communicate and do so


effectively, but if both partners are in tune with the cycle and able to plan


together for their sexual expectations, it could well diminish a source of stress in


the relationship.