More than just a punctuation mark: How boys and young men learn about menstruation
Parents, peers, schools, and the media are the primary contexts for educating young people about sexuality. Yet girls receive more sex education than boys, particularly in terms of menstruation. Lack of attention to how and what boys learn about menstruation has consequences for their private understanding about the biology of reproduction and also for social and cultural ideologies of gendered relationships. In this qualitative study, 23 written narratives from male undergraduates (aged 18-24 years) were analyzed using grounded theory methodology to explore how young men perceive their past and present learning about this uniquely female experience. Findings suggest that most boys first learned about menstruation in their families, primarily through their sisters' menarche; menstruation is experienced-in boyhood at least-as a gender wedge; and most men described a developmental process of moving from a childish attitude of menstruation as "gross" to seeing themselves as maturing through the experience of an intimate relationship. © 2011 The Author(s).
Journal of Family Issues
Allen, Katherine R.; Kaestle, Christine E.; and Goldberg, Abbie E., "More than just a punctuation mark: How boys and young men learn about menstruation" (2011). Psychology. 407.