Female Periods and Behaviour, Is it a Myth?

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Post by Jayce on Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:23 pm

I have always heard jokes about "is it that time of the month?", and people saying (mostly men) that women's behaviour and personality changes randomly due to having periods. Is this a myth or is there actually some validity to it? I have thought about it because I'm interacting with this woman who was super warm to me, then next week she was quite distant, and a few days ago she became warmer. I know there are 5 billion other reasons this could be happening. But could menstrual cycles really be a thing that affects behaviour? Cause I think it is a myth and its a ridiculous and sexist theory that some guys come up with because they believed women were irrational (all those female logic jokes out there), but I'm not 100% sure since I'm male.

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Post by Prajnaparamita on Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:30 pm

First, I found this very persuasive: http://theconversation.com/the-myth-of-premenstrual-moodiness-10289

I've never experienced what felt like PSM (but then again I'm prone to mood swings all the time, and always have been) so I don't want to diminish the experience of those who feel that it is a real thing for them, but I've always been skeptical.

Also, out of all reasons why did you jump on her PMSing as the reason for her change in behavior? Just curious, because something major and obvious in interactions like that (as opposed to mild crabbiness or irritability I've heard from other women describing how it feels to them) sounds a lot more likely to be something like her having received some bad news and being overwhelmed didn't have it in her to engage socially with those around her as much, or something external like that. (It happens.)

Women are pretty damn similar to the rest of humanity in this--if we act a certain way, it's usually for a reason.

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Post by jcorozza on Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:32 pm

I'm mostly with Prajna on this - It's usually not going to make me irritated for no reason, but I've noticed that things that would only be mildly irritating might move up to medium-level irritating. But there's still going to be a cause.
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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:57 pm

I think some of it is a myth, and some of it is due to a general tendency to deny or downplay women's physical discomfort and instead attribute any related symptoms to psychological problems. When I wasn't using hormonal birth control, I was crankier before and during my period, but wasn't due to PMS. It was because my periods were much more severe than average, so I was dealing with painful cramps, soreness, and worries about leaks in addition to all the other annoying stuff life throws at people.

On the point of hormonal birth control, I would point out that many women don't ovulate and more than you'd think don't have any sort of a period. Because of both this and what I mentioned above, PMS would be the last thing on my list if I was trying to figure out why a woman was colder than usual to me.
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Post by Guest on Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:22 pm

I am definitely affected in a really strong way.

I don't track my period well at all, but I will frequently find myself in a place where everything is getting to me. I am crying easily, and I can't sleep, and I feel like hiding under a rock. And after a day of this, it will hit me: "I wonder if my period is coming?" And I'll do the math (frequently going back a few months, as in, "well, I had it the week before Christmas, and every four weeks from then means... yeah, okay"), and then the next day, my period will start. I actually use my weepiness as an indicator to start wearing "any day now" pantyliners.

But I don't think my experience is anything like universal.

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Post by kleenestar on Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:44 pm

It's a myth. This doesn't mean that some individual women don't experience it - just that it's not applicable at a population level.
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Post by StrangePanda on Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:25 pm

Nah I'm no different when I'm having my period from the normal me. The only moment when I can be less nice to others is if I'm having cramps and forgot to take some tylenol. The older I get the less painful it becomes but sometimes it is painful and it's difficult to really be cheerful when you're in pain.
I noticed that I was more affected when I was younger. When you're a teen and just started to have your period it's weird and foreign and you're annoyed. Now I guess I'm used to it.

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Post by BasedBuzzed on Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:59 pm

There's also the joke about higher testosterone levels thus if a woman acts cranky or irrational during her period she's behaving more like a dude.

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Post by Caffeinated on Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:25 pm

Wait, this thread wasn't an April Fools Day thing?
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Post by PintsizeBro on Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:06 pm

Seems to me that if a person isn't feeling well physically, they might be a little crankier than usual... but that applies to everyone, not just women and certainly not just because of PMS.

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Post by Jayce on Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:01 pm

Caffeinated wrote:Wait, this thread wasn't an April Fools Day thing?

No it wasn't and I was actually asking a question. I live in Australia so April Fools Day is long over by now.

Anyway thanks for the responses as well as the article Prajna, its great to get more information

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