A fifth of British women feel uncomfortable discussing their periods with their friends

Alice Sholl
Contributor
One in three women said they would not feel comfortable discussing periods with male friends [Photo: Instagram/trolopost]

Despite the rubbish reality of having periods as a woman, one silver lining is that we’re at least all in the same boat.

The idea being that, whether it’s cramps or feeling seriously on edge before we know our period is about to strike, at least we can confide in our friends about it.

But apparently, many of us don’t feel comfortable doing this at all and a fifth of British women feel uncomfortable about talking about their periods with their friends.

According to a YouGov poll commissioned by ActionAid, one in five women (20%) under forty years old say they would feel uncomfortable discussing their periods with their female friends, their mums (21%) and their partners (21%).


The survey of 2,140 adults in the UK aged 16 and over also found that there’s an age gap when it comes to understanding our periods.

Younger women are much less likely to track their periods than middle aged women – when asked about understanding the timing and frequency of their period, 37% of women aged 40-54 years had tracked their periods since it started, compared to only 19% of 16-24 year olds.

And importantly, there are a lot of misconceptions to do with how comfortable men feel about discussing them.

Almost half of the women surveyed said they would feel uncomfortable discussing periods with their dads, yet only 9% of men said they would feel uncomfortable discussing periods with their daughters.

Only 16% of women said they would feel comfortable asking a man to buy sanitary products for them [Photo: Pexels]

That goes for male friends, too – while one in three (37%) women said they wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing periods with male friends, only 17% of men said they would find discussing periods with female friends uncomfortable.

Ever wanted to ask a man to buy some tampons while they’re nipping to the shop? Only 16% of women said they would feel comfortable asking a man to buy sanitary products for them.

But the men? 50% said they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable (and stuff the other half, anyway).

These results come just before World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Sunday 28th of May as part of an ActionAid initiative to raise awareness of millions of women and girls around the world who don’t have access to clean and safe sanitary products.


“Millions of girls living in some of the world’s poorest places grow up knowing nothing about menstruation before their first period, or dreading its arrival,” Girish Menon, the charity’s chief executive said.

“Poverty, a wide range of cultural taboos attached to menstruation or being trapped in a humanitarian disaster can mean many women and girls are unable to access affordable sanitary products which can have a devastating and irreversible impact on their lives.”

He added: “It is an unfair and distressing reality that women and girls are held back by a process that is natural; unavoidable and should be celebrated not shamed.”

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Read more from Yahoo Style UK:

The average man knows more about periods than we might think

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Meghan Markle pens powerful essay about periods and equality