By Rebecca Drew
THIS WOMAN spent years being embarrassed of her period but now sees it as a “magical” time to connect with herself and shares pictures of her menstrual blood smeared over her FACE AND BODY to show that periods are “beautiful” and “powerful” even though some people have compared it to “poop” and stopped speaking to her because of it.
Sex and story coach, Demetra Nyx (26) from Los Angeles, California, USA, had her first period when she was 12-years-old but never experienced pain with it until her twenties.
Through her teens Demetra felt embarrassed of her time of the month, something which she viewed as disgusting, and would try to hide it from boyfriends whilst being paranoid that blood would stain through her clothes or onto sheets when she was sleeping.
When she was 20, Demetra had the copper IUD fitted for contraception purposes as the pill wasn’t suitable for her after it gave her panic attacks and reduced her libido. After it was fitted, Demetra started to experience very painful, heavy periods that would leave her bed bound for the first two days of her cycle.
A year later, she had the IUD removed after partially pulling it out whilst using a menstrual cup and started to track her cycle using fertility awareness methods and using condoms whilst ovulating instead.
Demetra started to feel more in tune with her cycle and grew to love her period and started to play with and explore her blood after collecting it, something she says has helped her become closer to herself by being able to love something that society considers disgusting.
Since this, Demetra has been inspiring women to no longer feel ashamed of their periods by posting inspirational pictures of her blood smeared over her face and body to show that menstruation is a thing of beauty and power that should be honoured and celebrated.
“My period was never painful before my IUD, so the pain didn’t bother me during my teenage years. I was simultaneously embarrassed and fascinated by my period. I felt apologetic about it a lot and tried to hide it from boyfriends,” said Demetra.
“Our society teaches us that periods are dirty and inconvenient. Ads about menstrual products talk about smelling ‘fresh’ or making us cleaner, implying that our bodies’ natural functions are gross.
“Women who complain about cramps are seen as weak and pathetic, even sometimes by other women – we’re expected to suck it up and basically pretend it doesn’t exist. In the US, we have a president who negatively described a woman as having ‘blood coming out of her whatever.’ It’s a belief that’s forced upon us.
“My work as a sex coach largely focuses on where we hold our stories in our bodies. What society taught us about ourselves, what we learned about being women, assaults we may have experienced, what we learned our bodies are capable of during sex.
“We hold so much shame in our bodies, and most of us do not realise it until we intentionally explore it. Our periods are an incredibly magical time of month that holds immense power, and our society keeps us away from that as much as possible.
“I am endlessly fascinated by my body and its patterns. Many people talk about the parts of the cycle being like the seasons, with the energy of ovulation being like summer, and the energy of menstruation being like winter. I think that’s generally true, but I’ve also found it’s very individual.
“For me, for example, I have a very particular mood that comes around day 20-21, where I feel like everything in my life is wrong and feel deeply insecure. It’s different than how I feel on day 24, when I’m extra sensitive to light and sound. You don’t realise it until you start tracking and can look back to see patterns, but we all have these days throughout our cycles.
“Sharing pictures of blood on my face and body was just an impulse – I was creating a series to help women connect with their menstrual cycle, and I thought it would be fun. We can also do things like paint with it or pour it into the earth. I believe it’s a beautiful thing to get comfortable with touching your own blood.”
For Demetra, her periods are still painful as she has some symptoms of endometriosis, but she says she finds a strength in loving her time of the month regardless of how it makes her feel.
Since sharing her images celebrating her period on Instagram, Demetra has received both positive and negative comments, with some people telling her she may as well be wiping poo on her face, something that only encourages her to keep posting honest pictures of her blood.
“My energy levels vary by month, but usually I spend a lot of time resting and caring for my body and listening to what it needs, and sometimes I do rituals to honour my bleeding,” she said.
“There is a tremendous amount of power in learning that we can experience pleasure from the parts of our bodies we deem in society as ‘disgusting’. If we can love the unlovable, all of life opens up to us. We spend a lot of time learning to control our bodies; instead I believe in learning from our bodies.
“My blood to me has become fun, beautiful, and powerful, and playing with it brings me closer to myself.
“Something I get a lot is women saying, ‘I was so triggered by your period posts at first, but eventually I became inspired, and now I love my cycle too’. I receive a lot of DMs on Instagram of women with their blood all over themselves. They just don’t feel as comfortable to share it publicly.
“A really common comment I get is, ‘oh, you should just wipe poop all over your face then, it’s the same thing’. I also heard from friends and family that it was ‘weird’ and ‘disgusting’, and some people didn’t talk to me because of it.
“That encourages me to keep posting them – if it wasn’t having a necessary impact, people wouldn’t be so bothered by it.
“I receive way more positive comments than negative. I think women are at a point where we really want to be able to love our bodies and bring these taboo topics out into the light. It amazes me how uncomfortable we are with sharing our full selves with the world, and I want to be a messenger for that.”
Finally, Demetra shared her words of advice to other women.
“I think it begins by recognising that our disgust towards our bodies is not innate – it is a learned societal behaviour,” she said.
“Our bodies want to protect us, and when we learn that having a certain view might get us rejected socially, we do everything we can to prevent that from happening. But since it’s learned, we can unlearn it.
“It can begin with just tracking your cycle or using a menstrual cup to collect your blood. No one has to put their blood on their face, though it’s seemed pretty liberating for women who have.”