Explain menstrual periods to me like IAMA [cis] man (Kevin McGowan)


Some time in early 2013, I wrote a response to a post in the subreddit r/explainlikeIAmA, which asked for an explanation of periods that [cis] men could understand. As a man who has experienced heavy periods himself, I thought that my contribution might prove interesting.

[Play Online]


  1. I’d like to play this but the title puts me off of doing so. To play would be to consent to something being explained to me “as though I were a man.”

    Which is, well, a highly upsetting prospect for me.

    • (If it helps, there’s nothing in the piece itself that suggests it’s being addressed to a man. It’s written in a second-person voice, but feels like a first-person narrative. ‘You are sitting on a barstool.’ The gender of the addressee is never alluded to apart from the fact that s/he’s menstruating. It would be a shame to skip this just because of the pun in the title.)

    • i think i’m okay with this game having an intended audience.

    • or you can think about it like it’s written with cis men, trans women, or those without a uterus in mind; anyone else who may be incapable of biologically experiencing menstruation. it’s an interesting game. thank god for the pill.

  2. HAH! This is excellent.

    I have third-party independent verification that this depiction is accurate. I found it pretty shocking how bad (in the practical sense) periods were. BRB posting to facebook.

  3. I understood (and appreciated) everything about the physical pain and the more psychological side of things, but don’t women tend to be a bit better prepared, towel- and tampon-wise, for their monthly period? That took me a bit by surprise, given that the first thing I thought the protagonist would do on the day following the “makeshift padding” incident would be to procure some basic necessities (unless money is a concern).

    • I’m totally guessing here, but from the protagonist’s point of view waddling awkwardly to the till in a shop to obviously buy menstruation stuff sounds like 100% the worst thing ever.