Two-thirds of Americans say they wish boys and girls had the same curriculum in sex education class

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New research commissioned by DivaCup and conducted by OnePoll reveals the misconceptions women have about their periods (Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash).

According to new research, Americans have significant misunderstandings and misconceptions about menstruation.

A poll of 2,000 people who menstruate found 74% of those polled wrongly think it’s unhealthy to have period sex.

While a further 23% incorrectly think they can’t get pregnant when they have sex on their period — showing there’s still a lot we don’t know about our monthly period visit.

With the myriad of misconceptions around menstruation, nearly a third (32%) falsely believe everyone who menstruates gets PMS.

The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with DivaCup, aimed to uncover the misunderstandings people have about menstruation — and results discovered 42% wrongly assume it’s unsafe to use birth control to skip periods for extended periods of time.

Interestingly, 17% think it’s unsafe to take a bath while menstruating.

These misconceptions may stem from poor education surrounding menstruation and sex during school. Fifty-seven percent of people surveyed said they wish they learned more in sex ed.

Two in five revealed they only learned about menstruation after they had already begun menstruating.

Sadly, 38% didn’t even know where to turn for period products when they first began menstruating.

And instead of their parents or their teachers, the internet was the top source of menstruation information for those surveyed.

It’s no wonder then, that nearly a quarter (23%) falsely believe pads and tampons are the only two options available when it comes to their period care needs.

But changing up how menstruation is taught in schools might help reduce these menstruation misconceptions — and 67% think menstruation education is long overdue for some serious reform.

Two-thirds said they’d prefer girls and boys to learn the same curriculum in their sex education or health classes.

“When it comes to menstrual education, the findings reveal that things need to change,” said Carinne Chambers-Saini, CEO and co-founder of Diva International, maker of the DivaCup.

“Restructuring how menstrual education is taught will address the common misconceptions. From boys and girls learning the same things in their sex-ed classes, to ensuring that people who menstruate are properly prepared for their first period, change is imminent.”

Normalizing and destigmatizing menstruation still has a long way to go. Taking off work or missing school due to your period is still not widely accepted, despite the fact that 65% of those polled have had to miss one or the other for this reason.

Over half said it’s time for missing prior engagements due to period pains to be recognized as normal.

“Normalizing and destigmatizing menstruation is a massive step toward relieving the burden people who menstruate feel. This is a large aspect of the work we do with Diva International’s social impact program, DivaCares,” added Carinne Chambers-Saini, CEO and co-founder of Diva International, makers of the DivaCup.

“Having greater access to period products as well as proper education can help to provide the key resources that people are looking for. This needs to happen both around the world, and here at home in North America.”

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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