Nearly 1 in 3 women were confused when they got their first period, and we need more menstrual education ASAP

I was lucky enough to have Sex Ed, or what they called “Human Growth and Development” class, before I got my first period — so I was prepared for what was to come. I learned how to put on a pad the right way and how tampons should be inserted, and I learned these things months before I ever actually needed to use the knowledge.

But that’s unfortunately not the case for a lot of women in America today. OnePoll and Diva International Inc., the makers of the DivaCup, recently conducted a survey of 2,000 women over 18, and what the researchers found is pretty startling.

According to the study, 30% of women said they were “confused” when their periods arrived for the first time.

There’s no doubt that getting your period for the first time can be surprising. You never really know when it’s going to hit. But confused? That’s kind of a problem. Of the study participants, over 40% said they were actually “scared” by the experience, and more than half said they felt embarrassed.

Getting your first period is a big deal, and it can be pretty scary if you don’t know what’s going on. After all, bleeding anywhere can cause you to panic. But the anxiety a young girl can feel over this is totally preventable. Unfortunately, one of the most normal things that can happen to a woman’s body is something that’s considered “taboo” and isn’t talked about often enough. According to the study, 48% of women never had a conversation about their periods and what to expect before it happened, which left them feeling totally unprepared.

“When you get your period for the first time, you should feel a sense of empowerment, Carinne Chambers-Saini, CEO and co-founder of Diva International Inc., said about the study. “That feeling isn’t going to happen if we do not provide the education, resources and experiences needed. Let’s talk periods — with everyone.

Despite all this, there is good news: things do seem to be changing. While only 44% of women surveyed felt comfortable talking about their period when it happened for the first time, over 70% said they’re a lot more comfortable discussing it now. In fact, 82% of 25- to 34-year-olds have no problem talking about menstruation with others.

One in four women even said they’ve attended a “first period party,” and one in 10 said they wish they could’ve had that kind of celebration when they got theirs.

The need for better sex education is no joke. Just think, if young girls aren’t learning about what’s going on with their own bodies, how can they know about other important things, like having safe sex? We need to be okay with opening up about topics that are deemed taboo so that young girls can start to feel comfortable about their bodies early on in their lives.

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