book review | non-bookish

Sex, periods & why we should normalize talking about it (feat. Blood Moon review)

03/07/2020

*WERBUNG/ADVERTISEMENT | I received a copy of Blood Moon from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

*note: TW for: sex, blood, bullying, body shaming*

Hoohoo, guys!

Now, this is something I’ve never really done before. A review and a discussion in one post? Let’s try how this will work out. Let’s start with saying that this has been a topic that’s been on my mind for quite a while. It’s something that affects me and my body and also the bodies of every other person on tis planet as well. What I want to talk about today is this: why we perceive periods as disgusting, why sex is a taboo to talk about and why that’s just stupid and why we should definitely talk about it.

I think I should start with a little story. I read Blood Moon, a verse novel about a girl getting on her period while she has her first ever sexual contact. The two of them decide that it’s only blood. But someone else thinks differently and makes a meme out of it. The girl gets publicly shamed and starts wondering if she really is disgusting. She gets harrassed on the internet and in school.

And the thing is: I would have said „nah, that’s not real. Nobody would make a meme out of this.“ But I’m 23 now and I’ve been super open about sex and my period with my friends. It’s just blood. It’s just me and my body being natural doing normal things and that’s okay. Why should I not talk about it? Why should I not get to listen to others‘ experiences?
But I also remember going to school. Being 13, not 23. Getting on my period and feeling disgusting, uncomfortable, hating my body for what it’s doing. Not ever talking to my friends about it. Panicking in the school bathroom because there was a red stain where the pad or tampon wasn’t enough. Still thinking that my body was weird and this was something unnatural while the boys were constantly joking about it. Joking about sexual activities and periods and girls‘ bodies. Us, having „sex ed“ in school and everyone just giggling away, learning next to nothing.

blood moon, sunset

Basically my point is: talk about bodies. Talk about different types of bodies. Talk about what can happen to bodies. Talk about sex. Talk about what can happen during sex. Talk about sexuality. Talk about people not wanting sex. Talk about consent. Talk about periods. Normalize talking about all of this. Something that always, constantly can make me angry in about 3 seconds is the German educational system, or systems since it’s different from state to state. I don’t know about other countries, but especially when it comes to biology (of the human body) and sports… it’s so fucking flawed. We learn how a man a woman have sex and then the woman gets pregnant and also here, have a condom to put over this cucumber, stop giggling or leave the room. What we don’t learn about is anything else, really. How does sex work if it’s not between a man and a woman? What are the dangers of unprotected sex (except pregnancy and AIDS)? Is it normal that my period is heavy? How can we read the signs our bodies give us? How do we check ourselves for diseases? How do we do literally anything? Is it okay to be fat? I don’t think I like sex, am I unnormal now?

No, we don’t learn much. And while I think it’s impossible to teach everything at school, we should definitely talk more about bodies. Outside of schools, too. Why is it weird to talk about periods with your friends? It shouldn’t be. It’s not disgusting. Is it, because it’s blood coming out of your vagina? Well, your vagina isn’t disgusting either. It’s a wonderful part of your body that once a month has a bit of blood flowing out. It’s normal, nothing weird or unnatural or disgusting. Just your body being your body. We should talk about it, not only we as people having a period, but everybody. People not having them should know about them, too, instead of shaming us for getting them and being weird about them.

me, holding blood moon at the lake

Wow, there would be so many problems that could be avoided if society would just talk. Stop seeing sex as a taboo. Sorry, but it’s a normal thing of evolution and almost every person has it at some point in their life. There are things that could go wrong. There are things that you can learn to make it better for your partner. But if you don’t do it by yourself in your room, you’ll never learn because people will think you’re weird if you start talking about it. People will also think you’re weird if you say „I don’t like sex“ or that you don’t want or need it. But you know what? That’s okay. You’re great and valid, no matter how you feel about sex. Why is sex so important to society and so many aspects of it, yet something you should never ever talk about? That just doesn’t make sense. Shouldn’t we be able to talk about it especially because it is such a huge part of our lives, wether we want it or not? Sex shouldn’t be something that we only talk about in jokes. Especially when it comes to younger people. We should normalize talking about these things with them, we should tell them what’s normal and we should try to get away from only learning about straight couples that have sex after marriage with the sole purpose of getting pregnant. But going into that is probably a topic for another day. I’ve already started rambling and I haven’t even talked about Blood Moon yet.

So, let’s get back to that, shall we? I enjoyed this book a lot. There were some minor things I wished would have been better executed (like discussing slut shaming), but the main topic, periods, was very well written and portrayed. The book really shows how a girl thinking „it’s just blood“ (which it is!!) getting crushed by a society believing that it’s something to be disgusted about. But I really, really liked how she pulls through it, how she’s doubting herself but still not finding anything weird about her. She informs herself and starts talking to others. She shows that periods are something normal.
I also loved the main interest. He’s such a soft boy and even though he’s weird about the situation (not the period but the backlash), he always tries his best. I would really, really recommend reading Blood Moon!


Book: Blood Moon | Author: Lucy Cuthew | Publisher: Walker Books | Published: 02.07.2020 | Pages: 416 | Genre: contemporary YA | TW: blood, sex, rape mention, bullying, cyber bullying

blood moon, spine


Oh, and if you speak German and want to read more on periods or know young girls who should get informed, have a look at Lucia Zamolo’s book „Rot ist doch schön“.


I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic!


Until next time,

  1. Great post! You’re absolutely right. I don’t easily talk about it, but I definitively think it should be normal to talk about sex or periods. It’s strange that things our bodies just do are taboo topics. Schools could help normalize it: to help to make us feel comfortable in our bodies and to make it normal to just talk about them.

    1. Thank you <3 It's okay for you if you don't feel comfortable talking about it. I think it's important that we begin at an early age, when theses things get relevant for us, start to learn about them and normalize them. I don't think we should always talk about it, but we should definitely feel comfortable and normal talking about it, and also not feeling weird when we might have questions. It's something normal our bodies do and we should be able to talk about it and discuss what's happening and if we need it, to get help too. Without anyone telling us it's weird or disgusting.

  2. Hey Kat,

    I feel like repeating myself but this is another great post of yours and I totally agree. It’s kind of funny because only two days ago I ranted with a friend of mine about sex ed (or rather the lack thereof) in Germany. I feel like we need a whole subject, at least for a year, on this topic, not only some sessions in biology class. To really talk about periods, sex, sexuality, different orientations and genders, deseases – and a lot more, basically everything you mentioned.

    I was kind of lucky when I was 13 to having had friends with whom I spoke about period. Like it was super secretive and everything but at least we did. Unfortunately, it was also the time we did swimming in P.E. and no one openly talked about it which made everything embarassing and hard to deal with – in the end, some girls had a „cold“ every few weeks and everyone knew what was going on but no one f***ing talked about it.

    Your discussion on speaking of sex in general reminds me of „Untenrum frei“ which I read recently and which also discussed sexuality a lot. And I totally agree with you. It’s werid, sex being everywhere but not spoken about.

    Have a wonderful week-end!
    Dana

    1. Hoohoo!
      Yes, that exactly! 2 weeks of sex ed in class is just… not enough. We learn nothing except that’s it’s really funny to put condoms on cucumbers. Yes, we should really, really talk about it properly and make it something normal.
      It was exactly the same for us. We acknowledged that all of us had their periods but we never really talked. It was just a „Mh ok“ and that was it. And yup, swimming lessons. There were always about 4 of us being „sick“ per lesson and our (female) sports teacher once had the gut to say „stellt euch nicht so an“ and we were all like ?????? But nobody can know ????? At that time, most of us weren’t even comfortable with tampons yet, how were we supposed to swim?!
      I haven’t read „Untenrum frei“ yet, but it already sits on my shelf and I hope I can get to it soon 🙂
      I feel like the world kind of evolves around sex but on the otherhand it’s not a topic really discussed in society.

      Have a wonderful rest of the sunday and a good start into the next week! 🙂

      Kat

      1. Sex ed is about so much, you just can’t put it into two weeks of class and I feel most teachers don’t even take it seriously …
        Oh my god I just remembered having had one session of swimming class when I got my period like two minutes before class and freaked out because none could know but what was I supposed to do? So in the end I came up with a really dumb explanation – „my swimsuit tore“ – yeah I wore exactly the same one week later and yeah probably everybody knew what was going one and some made silly comments IT SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS
        It’s also kind of weird how pretty much everything seems to be evolving around sex but most people just don’t speak about it which just leads people to feel anxious or unsure …

        Thank you, you too! ♥

        1. yes, exactly!! Also, I personally never felt comfortable with my 64 years old man as a biology teacher in sex ed. I could never have asked him anything personal? It was just really… weird.
          oh god, so uncomfortable! But also, I understand!! I probably would have come up with an equally silly excuse 😀 but what are we supposed to do? tell our teacher we’re on our period???? (in theory, the answer is, of course, yes. But practically?? Nah, no way.)
          Yeah. I felt really weird during school and now discussing sex is such a normal thing for me to do. For me, internet friendships really helped in becoming more open about myself and to ask questions. Also, getting older and not giving a shit anymore 😀

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