Period Pieces: Middle School Myths

Welcome to Period Pieces, our journey through the bizarre and beautiful cultural history of menstruation. Inspired by #throwbackthursday, we serve up our favorite ads, images, and factoids about periods throughout the ages.

This week’s Period Piece was inspired by this reddit thread, titled “What’s something you didn’t realize for years members of the opposite sex do?” (link is NSFW, unless you work at GladRags), which was chock-full of confusion about the menstrual cycle. It brought back my own memories of middle school, and the rampant misconceptions boys had about how periods worked.


For example, I distinctly remember sitting in gym glass and talking about periods with a few friends. One boy said something about tampons that didn’t make sense, so we asked him to explain. “You know, ” he said. “When you pull the string, the tampon just shoots up in there, right?” He was beet red by the time we finished explaining that the string is not a trigger that propels the tampon forward.

Here’s a few of our favorite menstruation-related comments from reddit–sadly, some of these seem to have persisted LONG past middle school! We’d comment, but we can’t stop laughing:

  • “In my freshman year of college, one of my guy friends was horrified to hear that girls’ periods last a week. He thought we have symptoms for a week and then let all the period blood out at once- like going to the bathroom. He thought that pads and tampons were for if you knew you wouldn’t have enough time to go to the toilet to let it out.”
  • “Took me the longest time to figure out why laundry detergent ads bragged about getting out grass stains and blood. I’m like, you gotta hit the grass pretty hard to draw blood…”
  • “Until I was about a sophomore in HS, I didn’t know whether girls bled out of their vaginas or their nipples. Sex ed classes always said “privates” so I wasn’t sure which set. A reason that made me more confused was I saw my friend lean over and I saw some toilet paper/gauze looking stuff in her bra, so I thought she was on her period… guess she was just stuffing her bra.”
  • “I worked with a 25 year old gentleman, let’s call him Paul because that’s his real name, who believed every woman in the world had their period at the same time. When he told me this I burst out laughing because I imagined that he saw women’s period’s as a werewolf change brought on by a full moon or something.”
  • “My husband thought for years that cotton balls were a feminine hygiene product. I’m still vague on exactly how he thought we used them.”

What’s the silliest misconception you’ve heard or even believed about periods? Let us know in the comments!

About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.