A “taboo” sex act sparked a standoff between a between a MAFS bride and groom – but a Melbourne sexologist has explained why it’s “fantastic”.
A taboo sex act that has been cloaked in a veil of shame for too long became a hot topic on Wednesday night’s episode of Married At First Sight – and it’s fair to say women are rejoicing over it.
Groom Jack Millar was seen becoming awkward and flustered over his wife Domenica Calarco’s request to have sex while menstruating.
Jack wasn’t alone in his discomfort either, with Al and Jackson also showing visible discomfort when he turned to them for advice over the “no-go” bedroom activity.
“It’s a weird thing to get your head around,” Jackson agrees.
While Al described it as “crazy”, telling Jack he needed some “liquid courage” before getting down and dirty.
Twitter users were quick to take sides, some applauding Channel 9 for “normalising” period sex, as others slammed the move and labelled it “disgusting”.
Chantelle Otten, a Melbourne based Psycho-Sexologist, told news.com.au sex while menstruating is sadly still seriously stigmatised despite it being perfectly normal and healthy.
“I think for a lot of people blood really freaks them out,” she said.
“From the beginning of time we have seen blood as a sign of injury or disease or illness and instead of viewing menstruation as a really normal and natural process, people see bleeding as freaky or a sign that there’s something wrong,” she said.
Chantelle, who describes herself as “passionate about normalising sex” and authored ‘The Sex Ed You Never Had’, explained part of the problem comes down to a lack of education for men.
“I think it comes down to the patriarchy a little bit, ‘men are better than women’ and they know the ‘right’ way.
“As well as the lack of education, there’s a lack of empathy and resistance to learning and being curious as to what is going on in your partner’s life.”
Instead of educating men to embrace and lean into the monthly process – that affects most women between the ages of 15 – 50 – “menstruators feel like they need to hide”, she says.
“They feel like it’s shameful. We’ve been taught to hide pads and tampons in our bags and told ‘make sure you don’t wear white clothes’ that kind of thing.
“We don’t get taught it’s a good thing, instead we learn how to hide it away and not get spots in our underwear and clothes.”
This sentiment was echoed in the responses to the episode on social media, with some claiming Channel 9 had “stooped to a new low” in order to boost ratings. It’s no coincidence this reaction came largely from men.
However the conversation was refereshing for females, with many praising the show for trying to tackle the taboo.
Of course, there were some women who agreed they preferred not to do the deed during their time of the month too.
“At the end of the day, half of the population get their period each month so why don’t we make it a non-shameful event,” Chantelle said.
“You can do incredible things on your period – including have a fantastic sex life.”
The sex expert, who runs a sex therapy clinic in East Melbourne, said the key to embracing period sex is about communicating, and helping others understand how to care for someone who is going through menstruation.
“Sex drive can peak or drop during while menstruating – and the shedding of the uterine lining can be painful.
“We don’t educate penis owners enough on this. It’s interesting because when men are in pain it is often talked about a lot more yet when fems are in pain it tends to be hidden and they also have a higher pain threshold a lot of the time as well.”
Chantelle’s tips for introducing period sex into the bedroom
“First of all, I think you need to ask your partners for curiosity because curiosity brings so many amazing things to our lives and our periods are always going to be there,” she said.
“Educate people that sexuality is not just about penetration and orgasm, you can still have penetrative sex during this time of course, you just lay down a towel or have it in the shower, whatever you like.
“But you could have a lot more outercourse as well during this time.”
Outercourse is an option for sexual activity without intercourse where you can focus on other erogenous zones in the body such as nipples, ears and necks, Chantelle explained.
“Buy sex toys for different parts of your body, you can touch yourself on top of your underwear, you could watch porn.
“All of this is part of erotic sensation. It’s just about starting a conversation and having a little bit of fun.”