We may be living in the digital age, but menstruation still remains a topic that not a lot of people want to discuss. Some girls I know continue to be discreet when they buy sanitary pads, and a colleague once expressed her surprise when she saw me carrying a sanitary pad openly while walking from my table to the toilet.
I, myself, have been guilty of being overly discreet about the issue when I talk to a female colleague about it in front of our male Production Editor—and I work in a women’s magazine. A survey done by a group of final year students from Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University supported this observation: 75% out of 200 respondents aged between 18 and 25 agreed/somewhat agreed that menstrual shame exists in Singapore.
The survey was done as part of a campaign spearheaded by the NTU students. Titled “Pride In Our Tide”, the menstrual health campaign aims to raise awareness about menstrual health among young female millennials and “kickstart an inclusive community where females can openly share their personal menstrual management tips and tricks”.
And this hits close to home because menstrual health is something important to every woman—it’s not just about how to deal with it, but also how to overcome stigma. A good point to start? Your boyfriend.
Sure, period sex is one great way to help him look beyond the stereotype, but if he’s not ready, he can start slow by supporting you through menstrual pain. Yes, menstrual pain is real, and it can range from cramps to mood swings and a whole lot of baggage.
Some guys, however, are already on it and supporting their girlfriends through those tough times. We asked eight Singaporean couples, and the girls reveal the sweetest thing their boyfriends have done for them when the red wave comes. Scroll through the gallery to find out more.
Seetoh Joey, 26
Royston Lee, 26
“There are times where he would try different methods to make me feel better when I am having cramps, such as buying chamomile tea because he read that it helps with it, getting heat packs for me and also helping me to apply medicated oil. (Although it won’t help, it does make me feel comfortable.)” — Joey
Victoria Chan Munn Cheng, 23
Leong Jun Jie Fabian, 25
“I get bad cramps sometimes and I didn’t know a hot water bottle would help with cramps till Fabian suggested it and prepared one for me. Now whenever Aunt Flo’s in town, he knows what to do.” — Victoria
Faith Wong Soke Yee, 24
Daryn Tan Fu Ern, 25
“I often get cramps, backaches and bloat during my period, especially on the first day. Every month, he’ll check my Clue app and be sure to buy me soup (because it’s the only thing I’d have on the first day of my period) and give me a back massage.” — Faith
Amanda Lim, 26
Alex Goh, 26
“We had been dating for three months when my period came unexpectedly early during a date. He walked for 20 minutes to find the exact brand and type of pads I use. No questions asked.” — Amanda
Mariana Chong Chun Min, 22
Jonathan Koh Mui How, 22
“Periods are always the most painful time for me [because I get] migraines and cramps. My dearest boyfriend would patiently accompany me through the whole day and hug me through the pain. His presence and selfless love always make it all feel more bearable!” — Mariana
Lim Kai Xing, 23
Jonah Goh Hui, 26
“I was feeling stressed out because of mid-term tests back in Year 2, and having my period made my mood a whole lot worse. After hearing my rants, my boyfriend decided to surprise me by coming by my dorm with my favourite matcha latte and wrote me a card. It was a simple gesture but it was really sweet!” — Kai Xing
Moo Min Min, 22
Muhammad Haiqal bin Abu Kassim, 24
“I think the sweetest thing my boyfriend did for me is to tolerate my mood swings and satisfy my cravings—you won’t want to mess with a girl’s mood swings.” — Min Min
Low Jian How Leon, 26
Wong Yun Ru Racheal, 24
“The sweetest thing he did was when he went around Munich looking for my favourite chocolate as it helps relieve my cramps (the chocolate was actually not available in Germany lol).” — Rachael