Most people who menstruate learn that they’ll need to buy menstrual supplies pretty much as soon as they’re living on their own. But traditionally, many people who don’t menstruate, especially cisgender men, have been permitted to remain blissfully unaware of periods or the needs of menstruating people. However, as more people embrace period-positivity and men work on becoming better feminist allies, many have made a point to carry menstrual supplies themselves.
These Cis Guys Carry Period Supplies: Here's Why
Men have been sharing that they purchase pads, tampons, and other supplies and calling on other men to do so on social media for a few years now, but the conversation was recently reignited through a viral TikTok video by chrispetrone, where he says, “I wanted to make sure everybody who’s a guest in my apartment — where it be a friend, family member, or hookup — feels taken care of and comfortable.”
Given how much stigma there exists around menstruation and how much fear women have around men in particular being put off by their periods, a simple gesture like keeping menstrual supplies in your home or car can go a long way toward making everyone feel comfortable in this world, no matter what their reproductive organs do or what time of month it is.
Read: 5 Supposedly Empowering Things We Need to Stop Telling People About Periods
Here are some stories from cis men about the steps they take to make menstruating people feel comfortable and why think believe this is so important.
“You never know the timing of someone’s bodily functions”
“I happened to come across an article about just simply being prepared if you had an overnight female guest. I started with the most obvious, a toothbrush and toothpaste. But after I did a little more research, it made sense to be better prepared because you never know the timing of someone's bodily functions! I bought tampons and pads at first. But after an early experience where a female companion was over during her period, she asked if I had anything, and the pads were too big. I hadn't thought of panty liners, so that was my next addition.
Another female I was seeing had really bad UTIs and other issues with her vagina. I was familiar with the Good Clean Love brand of lubricants but also knew they sold vaginal care products. I bought the pH-balanced wipes for post-intercourse or even post-bathroom use, as well as the pH-balanced wash. In addition, I bought fragrance-free soaps, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner, just in case some of the fragrances were an issue.
Today, I have all supplies in my home, including tampons, panty liners, pads, and pH-balanced wipes. I also have on hand makeup remover wipes, lotion, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. I never know when someone will spend the night, or even if it's planned, they can forget toiletries! The feminine hygiene products have been useful several more times, including in the last month!”—Ken, 54, Kansas
Read: Period Brain: Is It Really a Thing?
“I had female roommates and a sister (and, of course, mom)”
“I just thought it was polite and expected in good company. I had a couple different tampon/pad options when living solo. I had female roommates over time and a sister (and, of course, mom), so didn't think twice. Plus was a great convo starter with the checkout ladies.”—Paul, 50s, Napa Valley, CA
“So people would feel comfortable when they came home with me”
“Situations would come up where people would need tampons. I’ve had a lot of female roommates over the years, and they could borrow them. But when I didn’t have a female roommate, I made sure to have them in case of emergency. I’d also always keep the toothbrushes my dentist would give me and a small thing of contact solution so people would feel comfortable if they came home with me randomly back when I was going out to nightclubs a lot.”—Nate, 42, New York City
Read: For the Love of Period Sex
“I’ve heard enough stories of women helping women”
“I've carried around menstrual products for about seven years now. I have a few tampons that are hidden in the glove box in my car, and I used to toss a few below my sink. I've done this because I've had lots of friends who used to flow in and out of my house, and sometimes a woman's period starts at an inopportune time.
I've heard enough stories of women helping women out when the time strikes, so I thought I would help as well. I've gotten praise, as I've mentioned it to every woman that comes through, and a few times, it was necessary to be discreet about it. I am now dating my girlfriend long-term, so it's more than necessary to help when she forgets to bring menstrual products herself.”—Rob, 30, Ann Arbor, MI
“My wife is pretty busy”
“I learned long ago that getting menstrual supplies myself is essential. My wife is pretty busy, so sometimes, she completely forgets when she needs to get them. That's why I do it. I purchase her pills, towels, tampons, menstrual cups, and similar items. This way, she doesn't have to remember, and we don't need to go to the local pharmacy if something unexpected happens. I believe that all gentlemen in a relationship should have this habit. You will be helping her, and she will truly appreciate it. This also applies if you have many female relatives or trusted friends.”—Steven, 27, Ireland
“It seemed like it was one of the biggest favors someone had ever done for her”
“I saw a YouTube video where a female streamer told a story about having her period in the car with a male friend driving. She was very uncomfortable and told him to stop at a gas station so she could buy menstrual supplies. He told her he had supplies in the car. Her reaction was surprise and huge relief, and the way she told the story, it seemed like it was one of the biggest favors someone had ever done for her.
I tried it myself and bought tampons and put them in a visible spot in the bathroom. I also attached a sticky note that said "for guests.” A week later, I had some friends over for Mario Cart. This one girl came out of the bathroom with her eyes wide in surprise and was like, ‘You have guest-tampons in your bathroom??? I have never seen that. That is so cool!’ Girls, spread the info and how grateful you are for it. Guys will listen.”—Markus, 25, Dresden, Germany
Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and sex/love coach. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more.