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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bad Cramps

My period started this morning.

If you were watching me on my spycams today, you'd have seen me writhing in pain in my bed, doubled over on the toilet, rocking and shivering, and on all fours on the parlor floor moaning and shaking. It's been years since I had cramps that bad; I'd almost forgotten how horrid they could be.

I've been asked by guys who are fans of (or curious about) menstruation to describe what cramps are like. I don't know if I've ever tried to explain how period cramps feel, so now seems like a good time to do it with the memory fresh in my head and body.

When I was younger my period would usually start in the very early morning or middle of the night; I'd wake up to pain and feel even more bowled over by it due to lack of sleep. Fortunately, this bout today hit me well after I'd gotten a full eight hour dose of sleep. I didn't hurry to take pills this morning when I woke up with wet blood on my fingers (when a woman is asleep she often knows or dreams that her period is starting or something is going on between her legs; it's not unusual to paw at yourself before you're awake and get your hand all bloody); like I said, it's been a long time since I've had really bad cramps so I didn't feel I needed to hurry and stave them off by medicating right away.

I got up, peed, picked out a pair of see-through panties to wear with a pad in them (in case we wanted to shoot pad/period porn later). I filled up two hot water bottles to bring to bed with breakfast: one for my feet and one for my abdomen (the heat helps soothe the cramps). I boiled some water, brewed some tea, and smeared peanut-butter on toast. I crawled into bed to happily enjoy my period with all of my provisions, waiting until AFTER I'd eaten to take one single ibuprofen (not my period pill of choice, but I couldn't find my bottle of Aleve; regardless, I wasn't too worried about it). Those pills are all hard on your stomach so you're not supposed to take them on an empty stomach.

I started getting crampier and more uncomfortable as I rested in bed reading my book. Pretty soon I couldn't really concentrate on reading because I'd have to stop with each little squeeze of my uterus, rocking my legs back and forth and rubbing my hot water bottle on my belly. A lot of the motions I instinctively go through when I have cramps don't really do anything to alleviate pain, they just provide a distraction or come from a compulsion to MOVE since sitting still is difficult AND only gives you too much stillness to focus on the pain. Period cramps aren't like air bubbles or sharp pains that make you AFRAID to move; they are the kind of pain that make you want to rock or roll or even bounce. Cramps are contractions trying to expel the fluid and tissue from your uterus; when you feel something tightening inside you, you naturally seek to loosen it with motion. Movement really does help, if you can manage it. Your other instinct, though, to hold your breath during the tightening, is NOT so helpful. When I'm siezed by the pain of a contraction/period cramp, I suck in my breath sometimes with the shock of it and can't help holding it waiting for the squeezing to release. When it gets even worse, there is the panting, which leads to hyperventilation. I did a lot of that today and it sucked.

I think a lot of guys imagine period cramps are like really bad gastrointestinal distress. Being lactose intolerant and having been woken with my fair share of really nasty, painful squeezing bowels I can say they are not the same, though I'm sure they're among the more comparable painful sensations. I've actually been more scared by the pain of gastrointestinal problems, though; it is a sharper pain and less predictable than the waves of period cramps. Period cramps don't feel like something is going to burst or explode; they feel like you're being squeezed inside and ground down by a very steady, meaty, man's hand. It's like someone is making a fist and grinding his knuckles into your cervix and lower back; it's a very visceral steady wearing-down inside. As it goes on, I start to feel like my body is trying to squeeze my organs out of my vagina and ass, like everything will be turned to pulp and squeeze hideously out of my cunt and hang by ligaments down to my knees.

I've read fetish stories/fantasies of women who want to be fucked anally while they're menstruating. I can't speak for other women, but when I'm having bad cramps like today's, the thought of having my ass penetrated or even TOUCHED makes me want to shriek bloody murder (though I *have* masturbated when I had MILD cramps using a smaller-than-penis-sized anal toy and had really delightful results). Today I sat on the toilet, rocking and squeezing and dripping and peeing and SHITTING, eventually uncontrollably, and the pressure on my lower back and asshole was just a nasty feeling. Like the most annoying voice whining in your ears in a way that penetrates you until you want to vomit. Imagine a giant somehow being able to pinch a nerve in your butt along with your rectum and just roll it between his fingers. It's like that. On top of that, my labia feel swollen and PINCHED at the same time, like someone has clamped each of them between dull flat thumbs and big forefingers and is SQUEEZING them. Honestly, I could barely even wipe my ass because the friction and pressure against me was so intolerable; it already feels like there's pressing and prodding from the inside-out, so countering that with pressing and prodding from the outside-IN only intensifies the whining, pinching feeling. And when I say "pinch" it's not like the sharp, sudden squeezing of a tiny fold of skin when a friend notices you forget to wear something green on Saint Parick's Day, it's like having your whole thigh in a vise that's being slowly tightened. That's the kind of pinching I'm referring to. While I find pressure on my rear anathema during these cramps, I do like firmly cupping my pubic mound sometimes when I'm having cramps, laying my fingers flat against my labia. Holding it all together so it doesn't fall out (that's what it feels like).

I'm beginning to wonder if I feel my cramps more towards my posterior because I have a tipped uterus (instead of curling forwards towards my bellybutton, it stands straight up over my cervix/tips back towards my spine). Once I started thinking of that today is when I decided to get on all fours on the floor to try to take pressure off of my backside. I don't know if I was just done being crampy or if the additional pills I took finally started working, but after about fifteen minutes in that position alternated with a child's pose, I got total relief and fell fast asleep on the floor.

In terms of the severity of pain, I would put today's at a six or seven out of ten with ten being the highest/the point where anything beyond can't even be measured as an increase. While I got to the point where I was shivering and my neck, arms and hands were tingling (I'm assuming because I was hyperventilating), I could still think straight and realize there are all kinds of torments that are far worse than what I was experiencing. The fortunate part about it, too, is that I know what is causing the pain and that eventually it will stop. I would rather go through four more hours of today's period cramp torture, for example, than have another anxiety attack on an airplane. I would rather go through twenty-four hours of today's cramps than have a tooth pulled without anaesthesia (though 24 hours of today's cramps all in a row would probably be really unhealthy since I wouldn't be able to eat or sleep and would probably pass out and/or start vomiting).

There have been times, especially when I was younger, when I would actually *miss* my cramps when they abated. Today was not one of those times -- maybe I'm getting too old to "miss" pain -- but when you spend hours focusing all of your mental, physical, and emotional energy on experiencing pain, tolerating pain, and wondering how long it is going to last it can be like a spiritual experience where you're transcending the humdrum of everyday life and living on a totally different plane. You can't think about anything else. When that focusing pain is gone, you feel emptied out and lonely, almost as though you were having a great eye-opening conversation with a friend only to suddenly find the line go dead two hours later and when you call back, it says the number isn't even in service; I actually feel like I'm hearing dead air. I am someone who HATES pain and I do everything in my power to avoid experiencing it, so I kind of appreciate menstrual cramps because it's a wacky experience and they've given me the opportunity to understand just a little bit about what pain junkies get off on. Otherwise I would probably never find out. It really is true that pain can make you feel more alive and more aware of parts of your body/internal organs you'd otherwise ignore.

Next entry: my perspective on treating cramps with orgasms and other forms of pleasure.

Also, I would love to hear how other women describe their period cramps.

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