What It’s Like Having A Period When You Live On The Streets

What It’s Like Having A Period When You Live On The Streets

“You just feel disgusting and there’s nothing you can do.”
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There are moments in life when you hear or read about something that makes you appreciate the things you usually take for granted, like having access to a bathroom and enough money to buy menstrual products every month.

I’ve admittedly never even thought about what I would do without tampons or sanitary pads because I’ve always been able to afford them, but I know it would be extremely hard and embarrassing if I wasn’t.

The sad truth though, is there are thousands of homeless women who find themselves in the devastating situation in which they have to choose between buying something to eat or purchasing sanitary pads each month. Twenty-one-year-old Zoe, who lives in a housing center in London, is one of those women.

“When I was on the streets, I actually found it easier to get food or toothbrushes than stuff for my periods. There was nowhere to find that stuff and I was obviously too embarrassed to ask strangers for it.”

Another woman, Jill, a homeless woman in her late 20s, explains how challenging menstruation was when she first became homeless.

“I used to just get loads of tissues from public loos, instead of pads, but it’s a mess. And you’ve got no clean underwear. You feel dirty anyway, don’t you. But you just feel disgusting and there’s nothing you can do.”

While most homeless shelters receive government funding to provide condoms and certain medication to distribute to the less fortunate, they don’t receive any financial assistance to provide sanitary products.

The consequences of not having necessary sanitary products are far more serious than just stained underwear. Women without access to a clean bathroom or laundry facilities risk their health by using unhygienic rags or other pieces of old fabric as pads. Moreover, they feel helpless, isolated and ashamed, leaving many resorting to theft as a means of having a dignified period.

It’s a largely ignored issue that’s sparked petitions and crowdfunding aimed at giving women living on the street access to menstrual products free of charge. One such campaign is The Homeless Period, a movement that offers information on how to help through donations to your local shelter, and signing a petition asking for government funding of sanitary products. To draw attention to the issue, the group launched a video last year made up of a montage of cardboard boxes with messages scrawled across them aimed at highlighting the struggle menstruating women on the streets face every month.

There are currently an estimated 200,000 women braving the streets each night in the US alone.

Buying tampons or pads simply cannot be a privilege reserved for women who can afford it. With a box of tampons easily setting us back $6 or more, it’s not hard to see how it becomes a luxury product for a lot of people, especially considering the disposable nature of it.

This makes the fact sanitary products are t axed in most countries seem all the more ridiculous. Paying an extra five to 10 per cent for a product that’s an annoying necessity for women – not a product we buy for pleasure – is unfair and sexist. Regardless of tampons being taxed or not, women who can’t even afford food most days can’t be expected to spend money on tampons.

It’s another reason we need to lift the taboo of talking about women’s periods. We’ve been made to feel ashamed about one of our body’s most natural, basic functions for decades, so much so, that eve n the idea of displaying a box of tampons on our desk at work seems crazy.

The women who suffer most while we continue to punish women for menstruating with inaccessible resources and hushed voices, are the ones who don’t have a voice. Homeless women are trying their best not to lose the one thing that shouldn’t require money, their dignity. Isn’t that something worth fighting for?


This story originally appeared on SHE'SAID', a global women's lifestyle website, and was written by Nadine Dilong .

Nadine is a beauty writer who's always on the hunt for the perfect nude lipstick and the best Instagram filter. She has a weakness for handbags and never says no to a cup of strong coffee.

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Tumblr Is Specifically Targeting Women By Banning Porn

Tumblr's male CEO Jeff D'Onofrio belief that, "there are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content" is just as privileged as he is.

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If you've logged into your middle school Tumblr recently, you'd notice that Tumblr is still the same place you remember. Perhaps stuck in a bit of a time warp, it's still full of fanfiction, fan pages, basic white girl stuff, and porn. A lot of porn.

Tumblr announced Monday, December 3 that all adult content AKA pornography will no longer be allowed on the site.

Excuse me. What?

First, Tumblr have you forgotten that porn and thinspiration blogs are what made you famous? Tumblr has always been the "legit" version of the dark dim part of the internet.

Jeff D'Onofrio, Tumblr's white, male CEO said this in the announcement blog post:

"Bottom line: There are no shortage of sites on the internet that feature adult content. We will leave it to them and focus our efforts on creating the most welcoming environment possible for our community."

Jeff—I'm here to tell you that you are incorrect.

As a woman, I never felt like it was acceptable to view porn. PornHub and sites like it were not an option.

It was Tumblr that introduced me and many of my friends to "tasteful," soft pornography. For myself and many other women I know, they still felt safe viewing porn on Tumblr.

Tumblr does not fill the same niche as PornHub.

Adult content on Tumblr is as wide-reaching as the mind. D'Onofrio said himself, "Tumblr has always been a place for wide open, creative self-expression at the heart of community and culture."

I hate to break it to you, but adult content is culture.

Tumblr was a place where folks could find their sexual identity. Stumble into kinks and fetishes that they never knew existed.

Tumblr is shamming every woman that found their sexuality on the platform.

By banning adult content, Tumblr is saying, "Hey Women! The content that you found sexually freeing is wrong, it doesn't belong here, and you should go find it somewhere else. We don't care if we're taking away your community."

Sex workers are concerned about the impact on their lives as well.

To be clear, Tumblr should do its best to limit illegal and underage pornography. But, let's not throw out the champagne with the cork.

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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Is More Common Than You Think And It's The Reason Sex Can Be So Painful

Pelvic Floor what?

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Losing your virginity comes with a flood of different emotions like excitement, fear, happiness, oh, and pain. Wow did you not expect the pain, but you heard it's supposed to hurt a lot less the second time, and every other time after.

Only, for you, it's painful every single time, you tense up and don't know why. Your partner tells you just to relax, but it's not that easy, and it feels like it's something you can't control. Why does this happen? I might just have an answer for it, and a way to make it better.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Pelvic what now?

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, according to a blog written by the Florida Hospital, "refers to a wide range of disorders that occur when muscles of the pelvic floor are weak, tight or torn." Ouch. The pelvic floor muscles keep your organs in place, and when they are weakened, you can develop PFD. The range of symptoms can go from the strong frequent urge to urinate, painful periods and difficulty with going a number two. The symptom I found most surprising was painful intercourse.

This isn't something my gyno ever talked to me about or even my regular doctor. I literally just found out this existed, and it makes a lot of sense in terms of the issues a lot of women, in particular, have with their sex lives.

Definitely do not pull a me and self-diagnose, talk to your gyno. I have researched a good chunk of ways that this issue can be fixed, or at least made more bearable. We deserve a sex life that doesn't involve pain to the extent we experience it, it's time to be liberated ladies!

Try doing yoga. Three out of four women surveyed said their sex lives improved in all aspects due to doing yoga. Yoga relaxes you, which is where the benefits of a better sex life come from. You can try yoga in a class, or even watch a video on Youtube and teach yourself.

Kegel exercises are another thing to try. Kegel is when you contract and relax the muscles of your pelvic floor, where your uterus and bladder are held in place. The goal is to give your muscles a toned effect, and this can result in reducing pain (yay) during sex, being aware of yourself climaxing/ having a better orgasm (HELLO) and helping with urinary incontinence too. The basics are pretending you're holding your pee when you really have to go. Do this for two to three seconds on an empty bladder and then release. Once you get the hang of it, do about five sets of ten reps a day, and await the improvements.

There is also pelvic floor physical therapy you can try. The International Society for Sexual Medicine says you are "taught how to contract and relax pelvic floor muscles in relation to other muscles and breathing and timing techniques to make the exercises more effective. These exercises can stretch tight muscles, strengthen weak ones, and improve flexibility." Other forms of therapy include self-education, manual therapy, pelvic floor biofeedback, electronic simulation, and vaginal dilators. I know some of those terms sound like a foreign language, so I'm linking the website for you all to check out.

In terms of sex positions, it's honestly up to you and how you feel. Experiment with what feels good and what doesn't feel so good. If you have a solid man in your life, he'll do whatever he can to make sure you feel the best you can. Use a pillow under your pelvis and have him hit it from behind, because sis, it makes the world of a difference compared to the lovely standard missionary. That's something I've heard helps. Cosmopolitan has done a fabulous job of listing five positions you should try if sex hurts, and I hope they work and feel as great as they look.

To all my ladies who experience painful sex on the regular, I feel you, and we deserve better. Talk to your gyno about what you're experiencing, and don't let any guy tell you to "relax and stop tensing up." Have some great sex!

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