Why Free Bleeding is Not Disgusting, Unclean or New Age
Articles are popping up all over the internet about a trend that is recently coming into the publics’ eye: free bleeding. This term refers to menstruating without the use of sanitary products like pads, tampons, menstrual cups, etc.
While many women have celebrated the idea of allowing your body to simply flow as you menstruate rather than obstructing the process with the insertion of something like a cup or tampon, some have also shared their concern (and disgust) with this option.
And this is fucking sad.
I’ve been shocked over the last week to see women I know online bash the idea of free bleeding as well as women who participate in it, and it’s allowed me to see the greater problem that is occurring within femininity in general.
So many of us have rejected our cycles for so long that the mere idea of bleeding the way our ancestors have for thousands of years disgusts us, and this shows just how deep the wounding goes with menstruation. We are horrified by a process as natural as sleeping and eating, creating a well of shame deep within us.
If you have felt concerned by the idea of free bleeding, I lovingly and genuinely ask you to ask yourself WHY. Why is it that the idea of menstruating is uncomfortable for you? Do you feel the need to shame other women’s decisions? Can we all agree that as women we need to rise up and support one another rather than disempower each other?
There seems to be a number of misconceptions about free bleeding so i’m going to touch on the biggest ones below.
Free bleeding misconception #1: It’s a new age hippie thing to do
While it’s being touted as a new age thing to do, free bleeding is how most women around the world have menstruated for thousands of years. For centuries women didn’t have the modern day menstrual cup or tampon and instead would roll pieces of cotton or use certain herbs like lamb’s ear and bleed directly onto that. Other cultures wouldn’t use any sort of cotton or barrier and would instead bleed completely free and let the blood cover the inside of their thighs.
It is only in recent years that we’ve been taught to be “clean” and keep our blood secure in a pad or tampon. It is not a new age hippie thing to free bleed and rather it’s likely what your ancestors did for many, many years.
Free bleeding misconception #2: It’s unclean
There seems to be a misconception that menstrual blood itself is dirty, unsanitary and gross and this is simply not true. Getting a little bit of blood on your thighs isn’t going to kill you and certainly isn’t on the same level as something like feces.
It’s powerful to reexamine our beliefs around menstruation and what shameful ideas may live underneath the surface. Menstrual blood itself is not dirty and you can gently wipe away the blood with a warm wash cloth or in the shower each day to stay fresh.
Free bleeding misconception #3: It will destroy all of your underwear and pants
This seems dramatic to me, but I will address it. You can either simply buy black underwear or you could opt for period panties that have built in pads so you get the act of free bleeding without actually leaking through your clothes.
Keep in mind that many women will free bleed for part of their cycle but not all of it. You can read more about my free bleeding story below.
If the whole idea around free bleeding is still foreign to you, that is okay! Maybe it isn’t the right option for you and that is absolutely valid. What does need to change is how we connect with other women who choose to free bleed, use a cup, use a sea sponge, bathe with her blood, etc. Rather than shaming or disempowering each other, LET’S EXTEND KINDNESS AND COMPASSION TO OUR SISTERS.
While I had not heard the actual term free bleeding until the last few years, it’s been part of my monthly practice for a long time. Generally on the first and last day of my cycle, I prefer to free bleed. I will opt to wear black underwear and black pants and let my body begin and end the cycle without any obstruction. On my heavier days, I will use my menstrual cup. This is the flow that has worked well for me and allowed me to find love and appreciation for my cycle.
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Have you tried free bleeding? What was it like for you? Comment below and let us know!