Menstruphobia is real, and it can have far-reaching effects on women's lives. In the latest episode of R29's Soapboxing, Jacki Huntington and Brennan Full enlist Akilah Hughes to help them break down how and why there's so much stigma around periods. First and foremost: Periods themselves are a normal bodily function, which should go without saying. But they're often treated with such disdain that having a period becomes both a personal and/or financial burden for many women. In the video above, Hughes traces this feeling of shame back to religions that prevent women from practicing while they're menstruating, as well as other cultures that discourage or prohibit women from physically touching their partners while on their period. Then, of course, there's the cost of purchasing tampons, pads, and other menstruation-related products, which can certainly add up. According to an estimate by The Huffington Post, the average woman will spend nearly £14,000 on her period in her lifetime. Perhaps the most poignant point Hughes, Huntington, and Full make is that, hey, we're all here because someone had her period. So let's give our cycles the respect they deserve. Watch the video above, and let Hughes and the Soapboxing hosts school you on periods.
The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once.