The Monthly

Here's Jo, responding to a question sent in by Artemesia. Artemisia, you win a book from me.

"My Curiosity overwhelms me.  A woman's menstrual cycle is seldom mentioned in any historical novel.
Occasionally, in passing, there is a reference to "courses" and only once did I read of the heroine's "padding."

What did they do?  How did they handle this problem?  My own grandmother told me she used newspapers or rags.  I've read that sanitary napkins as we know them did not appear till early 20th century. What did Lady Whatsit use?"

In a Wenchly conclave we felt that we'd covered this. In fact, that I'd covered it. Telling, I'm sure that I was instantly interested in the topic, and yes I had blogged about menstruation in response to a question, but it was way back in 2008 and the question had been about PMS. So I reckoned I could have fun with the topic again.

However, it's really difficult to find relevant images to go with this subject, so I'm experimenting with a non-illustrated blog. How do you feel about that?

 "A woman's menstrual cycle is seldom mentioned in any historical novel."

Is this true? The other Wenches tended to think so, and that it was reasonable. Do you agree? I don't.

In these discussions menstruation is often listed along with urination and defecation, and that's reasonable, because they are all normal, regular, and in the case of the last two, frequent. Among readers and writers, the above are sometimes also listed with rotten teeth, fleas, and sweaty clothing.

There's a huge difference. I can dictate that my characters all have good teeth, because good teeth are possible. I know people who've never had a cavity (It seems to be to do with natural resistance to caries.) I have reasonable straight and even teeth and I've never seen an orthodontist. I can assume that they and their homes are flea-less, and that they wear clean linen every day (many did) and take reasonable measures to freshen their silken finery.

I cannot assume they never pee and poop. Or that a woman who isn't pregnant doesn't menstruate at roughly monthly intervals. So why on earth would I try to banish these normal, healthy events from my books? Why would anyone want them banished?

Question #1 What's your preference. Ignore such things entirely, or include them when it's relevant to the story?

My opinion.

As a reader I often find their absence distracting.

I'm not saying they need emphasis any more than other natural functions, but there are circumstances when I need a mention. Lady Prunella is kidnapped by the rapacious duke, escapes into the woods, where she becomes lost and wanders, afraid of the duke's minions, for a day and a night. Sooner or later, she's going to have to relieve her full bladder. In addition to reality, how she deals with it will tell me a lot about her. Does she struggle on, legs more and more crossed, because she cannot face the prospect of hiking her skirts, and dealing with her split drawers if she's wearing them, and letting it out?

Or, does she face up the necessity with practical common sense and just do it?

It's even more stressful, and thus interesting, if she remains a captive and has to ask the duke to allow her to relieve herself. She might make this a means of escape, but I'm going to think pretty poorly of the villainous duke if he allows her out of sight.

Let's talk about menstruation.

if the couple are having sex regularly and the story carries on for more than a few weeks, menstruation becomes an issue in this reader's mind. Why ignore the reality when it throws interesting light on the characters and their relationship? How do the man and woman deal with this aspect of intimacy for the first time?

Of course if she doesn't menstruate she's probably pregnant, which is important, but which also might be something she wants to hide. It's easier to pretend to have a period than to conceal one.

I have a broader point on this. Why do women treat menstruation as an unspeakable subject? It's a basic part of womanhood, deeply part of our sexuality and fertility, and we should at least accept it, and at best be proud of it, especially in our special genre. Comments?

Question #2. Have you come across romance novels which include menstruation as part of the story? Please share titles where you think it was particularly well done.

How did women manage menstruation in the past?

Clear facts are hard to find. I did find some 18th century health books that dealt with first menstruation, but they dwelt on the importance of preparing girls for the event and dissuading them from being invalidish about it. Fresh air and activity were the key.

So what did women do to cope with the flow?

This site has some information, as does this one.

Both are worth exploring, but I simply can't believe one argument there — that women did nothing; that they simply let it dribble out as they went about their lives. There's more on that here. I hold it generally to be true that people in the past had as much common sense as we do and in general tried to make their lives as comfortable as possible.

The above site talks about staining the shift. What a bother that would be, and it'd get through to the outer clothing too, so she's walking around with a bloody stain on the back of her clothing, probably with all the dogs in the house or village sniffing after her. Believable?

True, some women menstruated rarely, but what about the young girls and other single women?

Female servants were nearly always unmarried. Did they drip around the house every month? I wonder if there's anything interesting to be found in documents to do with life in convents.

Given all the problems, it doesn't take a leap of inventiveness to come up with the idea of rags or wool or other absorbent material that could be held in place by a sling tied to a belt of some sort, and in fact women in various cultures have done just that, either washing cloths or discarding the wool, paper et al.

I am a bit startled by the newspaper mentioned by Artemisia's grandmother. I wonder how that worked.

So for my purposes, I assume that to be the case — that it was the common practice for most women up to the 20th century when commercial pads became available. I found sanitary pads for sale in the 1901 catalogue of Eatons, a Canadian company. "Sanitary diapers. Antiseptic bleached cloth made of specially selected bleached cotton, guaranteed chemically pure and absorbent, soft finish in sealed packages of 10 yards each." It came from 18" to 27", priced from 65c to 95c.

This was fairly expensive, and for a long time poorer women would avoid that expense by using folded rags and washing them for re-use as they probably had for centuries, but the pads were clearly not a new-fangled thing in 1901.

On the subject of rags, oddly, the earliest citation in the OED for "on the rag" is 1967! I'd assumed it was much older.

Just stay home?

Another way to manage the monthly applies mostly to the richer classes — the woman simply staying at home for a few days. This would be particularly welcome if she had cramps. I still think she'd have used some padding to avoid staining clothes, bed, chairs etc. It 1661 Pepys  wrote, "My wife now sick of her menses at home."

Question #3 However, I don't think I've come across a heroine opting out of the story for three or four days. Have you?

Another relevant reference is from Travels Through the Interior Parts of North-America in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768 Jonathan Carver, John Coakley. "The Indian women are remarkably decent during their menstrual illness." They go on to describe a practice of the women retiring to a building when menstruating. Their approval suggests this would be decent practice back in Britain, but also that it's not always the case?

Question #4 How would you interpret it?

Question #5 Do you have anything  data to add to the above?

Cheers,

Jo


 

140 thoughts on “The Monthly”

  1. I read that Indian women collected milk weed “silk”,incased it in deerskin (aborbent?) and use that for periods AND diapers for babies.
    My Period Costume instuctor in college said that women (upper class) used their diapers saved by their nanny or some servant and washed out/bleached by the sun.
    She said the first “sanitary napkin” was made by an Army nurse and her Doctor supervisor for women serving over-seas in WWI ! (cotton gauze wrapped in bandage gauze!
    She also said in her family (when she was teenager) she & her sister used to put their “nappies” out on their tennis court to bleach in the sun but if a suitor came to call-they had to rush out and get them to put inside away from the man’s eyes! (what a picture that makes!)
    My mom used rags (I thought this horrible but much better than newspaper–wouldn’t the ink be poisonous or germ-filled?)
    I often think that in those books where a woman is on a ship (kidnapped of course) what did she do with no supplies of her own?

    Reply
  2. I read that Indian women collected milk weed “silk”,incased it in deerskin (aborbent?) and use that for periods AND diapers for babies.
    My Period Costume instuctor in college said that women (upper class) used their diapers saved by their nanny or some servant and washed out/bleached by the sun.
    She said the first “sanitary napkin” was made by an Army nurse and her Doctor supervisor for women serving over-seas in WWI ! (cotton gauze wrapped in bandage gauze!
    She also said in her family (when she was teenager) she & her sister used to put their “nappies” out on their tennis court to bleach in the sun but if a suitor came to call-they had to rush out and get them to put inside away from the man’s eyes! (what a picture that makes!)
    My mom used rags (I thought this horrible but much better than newspaper–wouldn’t the ink be poisonous or germ-filled?)
    I often think that in those books where a woman is on a ship (kidnapped of course) what did she do with no supplies of her own?

    Reply
  3. I read that Indian women collected milk weed “silk”,incased it in deerskin (aborbent?) and use that for periods AND diapers for babies.
    My Period Costume instuctor in college said that women (upper class) used their diapers saved by their nanny or some servant and washed out/bleached by the sun.
    She said the first “sanitary napkin” was made by an Army nurse and her Doctor supervisor for women serving over-seas in WWI ! (cotton gauze wrapped in bandage gauze!
    She also said in her family (when she was teenager) she & her sister used to put their “nappies” out on their tennis court to bleach in the sun but if a suitor came to call-they had to rush out and get them to put inside away from the man’s eyes! (what a picture that makes!)
    My mom used rags (I thought this horrible but much better than newspaper–wouldn’t the ink be poisonous or germ-filled?)
    I often think that in those books where a woman is on a ship (kidnapped of course) what did she do with no supplies of her own?

    Reply
  4. I read that Indian women collected milk weed “silk”,incased it in deerskin (aborbent?) and use that for periods AND diapers for babies.
    My Period Costume instuctor in college said that women (upper class) used their diapers saved by their nanny or some servant and washed out/bleached by the sun.
    She said the first “sanitary napkin” was made by an Army nurse and her Doctor supervisor for women serving over-seas in WWI ! (cotton gauze wrapped in bandage gauze!
    She also said in her family (when she was teenager) she & her sister used to put their “nappies” out on their tennis court to bleach in the sun but if a suitor came to call-they had to rush out and get them to put inside away from the man’s eyes! (what a picture that makes!)
    My mom used rags (I thought this horrible but much better than newspaper–wouldn’t the ink be poisonous or germ-filled?)
    I often think that in those books where a woman is on a ship (kidnapped of course) what did she do with no supplies of her own?

    Reply
  5. I read that Indian women collected milk weed “silk”,incased it in deerskin (aborbent?) and use that for periods AND diapers for babies.
    My Period Costume instuctor in college said that women (upper class) used their diapers saved by their nanny or some servant and washed out/bleached by the sun.
    She said the first “sanitary napkin” was made by an Army nurse and her Doctor supervisor for women serving over-seas in WWI ! (cotton gauze wrapped in bandage gauze!
    She also said in her family (when she was teenager) she & her sister used to put their “nappies” out on their tennis court to bleach in the sun but if a suitor came to call-they had to rush out and get them to put inside away from the man’s eyes! (what a picture that makes!)
    My mom used rags (I thought this horrible but much better than newspaper–wouldn’t the ink be poisonous or germ-filled?)
    I often think that in those books where a woman is on a ship (kidnapped of course) what did she do with no supplies of her own?

    Reply
  6. I forgot to mention that in some Native American tribes–they felt that women during their menses–would “weaken the warriors” if near them at this time. SO–the women had a lodge that they stayed in till the menses were over then they returned to the regular life and their husbands or families.
    While in the “lodge”–they did mending and making of material things–never idle.

    Reply
  7. I forgot to mention that in some Native American tribes–they felt that women during their menses–would “weaken the warriors” if near them at this time. SO–the women had a lodge that they stayed in till the menses were over then they returned to the regular life and their husbands or families.
    While in the “lodge”–they did mending and making of material things–never idle.

    Reply
  8. I forgot to mention that in some Native American tribes–they felt that women during their menses–would “weaken the warriors” if near them at this time. SO–the women had a lodge that they stayed in till the menses were over then they returned to the regular life and their husbands or families.
    While in the “lodge”–they did mending and making of material things–never idle.

    Reply
  9. I forgot to mention that in some Native American tribes–they felt that women during their menses–would “weaken the warriors” if near them at this time. SO–the women had a lodge that they stayed in till the menses were over then they returned to the regular life and their husbands or families.
    While in the “lodge”–they did mending and making of material things–never idle.

    Reply
  10. I forgot to mention that in some Native American tribes–they felt that women during their menses–would “weaken the warriors” if near them at this time. SO–the women had a lodge that they stayed in till the menses were over then they returned to the regular life and their husbands or families.
    While in the “lodge”–they did mending and making of material things–never idle.

    Reply
  11. A Red Tent by A Diamont was an interesting reading… along with the fact that if women live in close proximity [all girls in the family] they will generally have their periods about the same time….

    Reply
  12. A Red Tent by A Diamont was an interesting reading… along with the fact that if women live in close proximity [all girls in the family] they will generally have their periods about the same time….

    Reply
  13. A Red Tent by A Diamont was an interesting reading… along with the fact that if women live in close proximity [all girls in the family] they will generally have their periods about the same time….

    Reply
  14. A Red Tent by A Diamont was an interesting reading… along with the fact that if women live in close proximity [all girls in the family] they will generally have their periods about the same time….

    Reply
  15. A Red Tent by A Diamont was an interesting reading… along with the fact that if women live in close proximity [all girls in the family] they will generally have their periods about the same time….

    Reply
  16. My mother, who was born in the 1920s, talked of using rags when that time of the month came around. It was the Depression and money was scarce. She and her sisters couldn’t afford anything store bought and had to make due with what was available at home.

    Reply
  17. My mother, who was born in the 1920s, talked of using rags when that time of the month came around. It was the Depression and money was scarce. She and her sisters couldn’t afford anything store bought and had to make due with what was available at home.

    Reply
  18. My mother, who was born in the 1920s, talked of using rags when that time of the month came around. It was the Depression and money was scarce. She and her sisters couldn’t afford anything store bought and had to make due with what was available at home.

    Reply
  19. My mother, who was born in the 1920s, talked of using rags when that time of the month came around. It was the Depression and money was scarce. She and her sisters couldn’t afford anything store bought and had to make due with what was available at home.

    Reply
  20. My mother, who was born in the 1920s, talked of using rags when that time of the month came around. It was the Depression and money was scarce. She and her sisters couldn’t afford anything store bought and had to make due with what was available at home.

    Reply
  21. This comes up every time I teach a costume workshop, and every time I say the same thing: we don’t know what they did, because there isn’t any documentation before about 1850 (when, yes, belts and pads were known to be used). I even discussed it with Janea Whiteacre from Colonial Willaimsburg to see if she’d come across anything and her experience is the same as mine. I’ve seen a lot of theories bandied about on the net, but I’ve yet to see any actual documentation to back them up. And the so-called evidence for ancient tampons is really stretching the truth. What they’re referencing according to all the medical historians I know are pessary (used to deliver medication).
    Personally, I don’t see any reason to include bodily functions unless it serves a plot purpose.

    Reply
  22. This comes up every time I teach a costume workshop, and every time I say the same thing: we don’t know what they did, because there isn’t any documentation before about 1850 (when, yes, belts and pads were known to be used). I even discussed it with Janea Whiteacre from Colonial Willaimsburg to see if she’d come across anything and her experience is the same as mine. I’ve seen a lot of theories bandied about on the net, but I’ve yet to see any actual documentation to back them up. And the so-called evidence for ancient tampons is really stretching the truth. What they’re referencing according to all the medical historians I know are pessary (used to deliver medication).
    Personally, I don’t see any reason to include bodily functions unless it serves a plot purpose.

    Reply
  23. This comes up every time I teach a costume workshop, and every time I say the same thing: we don’t know what they did, because there isn’t any documentation before about 1850 (when, yes, belts and pads were known to be used). I even discussed it with Janea Whiteacre from Colonial Willaimsburg to see if she’d come across anything and her experience is the same as mine. I’ve seen a lot of theories bandied about on the net, but I’ve yet to see any actual documentation to back them up. And the so-called evidence for ancient tampons is really stretching the truth. What they’re referencing according to all the medical historians I know are pessary (used to deliver medication).
    Personally, I don’t see any reason to include bodily functions unless it serves a plot purpose.

    Reply
  24. This comes up every time I teach a costume workshop, and every time I say the same thing: we don’t know what they did, because there isn’t any documentation before about 1850 (when, yes, belts and pads were known to be used). I even discussed it with Janea Whiteacre from Colonial Willaimsburg to see if she’d come across anything and her experience is the same as mine. I’ve seen a lot of theories bandied about on the net, but I’ve yet to see any actual documentation to back them up. And the so-called evidence for ancient tampons is really stretching the truth. What they’re referencing according to all the medical historians I know are pessary (used to deliver medication).
    Personally, I don’t see any reason to include bodily functions unless it serves a plot purpose.

    Reply
  25. This comes up every time I teach a costume workshop, and every time I say the same thing: we don’t know what they did, because there isn’t any documentation before about 1850 (when, yes, belts and pads were known to be used). I even discussed it with Janea Whiteacre from Colonial Willaimsburg to see if she’d come across anything and her experience is the same as mine. I’ve seen a lot of theories bandied about on the net, but I’ve yet to see any actual documentation to back them up. And the so-called evidence for ancient tampons is really stretching the truth. What they’re referencing according to all the medical historians I know are pessary (used to deliver medication).
    Personally, I don’t see any reason to include bodily functions unless it serves a plot purpose.

    Reply
  26. The reason for my question is that sometimes it is a plot point. Is she pregnant or isn’t she? Sometimes it is just the inconvenience that tangles the story. In fact I think it was in one of the Rogues books – they were in Canada on a boat on the river and if my memory is correct, the cloths were held over the side to wash them out? Oh well…I’ve handled a few antique newspapers and the paper pulp and inks were much different from today, but it still must have been very uncomfortable. Our foremothers were much less germ conscious than we are….And it is true that any group of women living in close proximity will synchronize their cycles. Many cultures had the equivalent of the Red Tent….Hmm.

    Reply
  27. The reason for my question is that sometimes it is a plot point. Is she pregnant or isn’t she? Sometimes it is just the inconvenience that tangles the story. In fact I think it was in one of the Rogues books – they were in Canada on a boat on the river and if my memory is correct, the cloths were held over the side to wash them out? Oh well…I’ve handled a few antique newspapers and the paper pulp and inks were much different from today, but it still must have been very uncomfortable. Our foremothers were much less germ conscious than we are….And it is true that any group of women living in close proximity will synchronize their cycles. Many cultures had the equivalent of the Red Tent….Hmm.

    Reply
  28. The reason for my question is that sometimes it is a plot point. Is she pregnant or isn’t she? Sometimes it is just the inconvenience that tangles the story. In fact I think it was in one of the Rogues books – they were in Canada on a boat on the river and if my memory is correct, the cloths were held over the side to wash them out? Oh well…I’ve handled a few antique newspapers and the paper pulp and inks were much different from today, but it still must have been very uncomfortable. Our foremothers were much less germ conscious than we are….And it is true that any group of women living in close proximity will synchronize their cycles. Many cultures had the equivalent of the Red Tent….Hmm.

    Reply
  29. The reason for my question is that sometimes it is a plot point. Is she pregnant or isn’t she? Sometimes it is just the inconvenience that tangles the story. In fact I think it was in one of the Rogues books – they were in Canada on a boat on the river and if my memory is correct, the cloths were held over the side to wash them out? Oh well…I’ve handled a few antique newspapers and the paper pulp and inks were much different from today, but it still must have been very uncomfortable. Our foremothers were much less germ conscious than we are….And it is true that any group of women living in close proximity will synchronize their cycles. Many cultures had the equivalent of the Red Tent….Hmm.

    Reply
  30. The reason for my question is that sometimes it is a plot point. Is she pregnant or isn’t she? Sometimes it is just the inconvenience that tangles the story. In fact I think it was in one of the Rogues books – they were in Canada on a boat on the river and if my memory is correct, the cloths were held over the side to wash them out? Oh well…I’ve handled a few antique newspapers and the paper pulp and inks were much different from today, but it still must have been very uncomfortable. Our foremothers were much less germ conscious than we are….And it is true that any group of women living in close proximity will synchronize their cycles. Many cultures had the equivalent of the Red Tent….Hmm.

    Reply
  31. This is an interesting question to explore, Jo. As a writer, I’ve occasionally mentioned a woman’s cycle when it was appropriate to the plot, which is almost never is. As a feminist, I think it’s been a taboo subject because it’s one of those icky female things that men really don’t want to have to talk about.
    Like you, I find it completely unbelievable that women wouldn’t use some form of absorbent, most likely rags that were washed and reused since in most times and places in history, fabric had value and wasn’t casually tossed away.
    But this still isn’t showing up in my books unless it’s relevant. *G*

    Reply
  32. This is an interesting question to explore, Jo. As a writer, I’ve occasionally mentioned a woman’s cycle when it was appropriate to the plot, which is almost never is. As a feminist, I think it’s been a taboo subject because it’s one of those icky female things that men really don’t want to have to talk about.
    Like you, I find it completely unbelievable that women wouldn’t use some form of absorbent, most likely rags that were washed and reused since in most times and places in history, fabric had value and wasn’t casually tossed away.
    But this still isn’t showing up in my books unless it’s relevant. *G*

    Reply
  33. This is an interesting question to explore, Jo. As a writer, I’ve occasionally mentioned a woman’s cycle when it was appropriate to the plot, which is almost never is. As a feminist, I think it’s been a taboo subject because it’s one of those icky female things that men really don’t want to have to talk about.
    Like you, I find it completely unbelievable that women wouldn’t use some form of absorbent, most likely rags that were washed and reused since in most times and places in history, fabric had value and wasn’t casually tossed away.
    But this still isn’t showing up in my books unless it’s relevant. *G*

    Reply
  34. This is an interesting question to explore, Jo. As a writer, I’ve occasionally mentioned a woman’s cycle when it was appropriate to the plot, which is almost never is. As a feminist, I think it’s been a taboo subject because it’s one of those icky female things that men really don’t want to have to talk about.
    Like you, I find it completely unbelievable that women wouldn’t use some form of absorbent, most likely rags that were washed and reused since in most times and places in history, fabric had value and wasn’t casually tossed away.
    But this still isn’t showing up in my books unless it’s relevant. *G*

    Reply
  35. This is an interesting question to explore, Jo. As a writer, I’ve occasionally mentioned a woman’s cycle when it was appropriate to the plot, which is almost never is. As a feminist, I think it’s been a taboo subject because it’s one of those icky female things that men really don’t want to have to talk about.
    Like you, I find it completely unbelievable that women wouldn’t use some form of absorbent, most likely rags that were washed and reused since in most times and places in history, fabric had value and wasn’t casually tossed away.
    But this still isn’t showing up in my books unless it’s relevant. *G*

    Reply
  36. “On the subject of rags, oddly, the earliest citation in the OED for “on the rag” is 1967! I’d assumed it was much older.”
    I’m very sure it is much older, Jo, but recollect that for word usage to be dated in a dictionary it has to be in print. Given that menstruation was pretty much a taboo subject, more or less right up to the 1960s, it doesn’t surprise me that slang terminology for it didn’t make it into any books until then. Most books were written by men, and wouldn’t go near the topic, I’m sure, unless they were medical texts, and they wouldn’t use slang, and women were taught to be discreet and use polite euphemisms, and probably not put anything in writing anyway, except perhaps very indirectly in a letter to another woman.

    Reply
  37. “On the subject of rags, oddly, the earliest citation in the OED for “on the rag” is 1967! I’d assumed it was much older.”
    I’m very sure it is much older, Jo, but recollect that for word usage to be dated in a dictionary it has to be in print. Given that menstruation was pretty much a taboo subject, more or less right up to the 1960s, it doesn’t surprise me that slang terminology for it didn’t make it into any books until then. Most books were written by men, and wouldn’t go near the topic, I’m sure, unless they were medical texts, and they wouldn’t use slang, and women were taught to be discreet and use polite euphemisms, and probably not put anything in writing anyway, except perhaps very indirectly in a letter to another woman.

    Reply
  38. “On the subject of rags, oddly, the earliest citation in the OED for “on the rag” is 1967! I’d assumed it was much older.”
    I’m very sure it is much older, Jo, but recollect that for word usage to be dated in a dictionary it has to be in print. Given that menstruation was pretty much a taboo subject, more or less right up to the 1960s, it doesn’t surprise me that slang terminology for it didn’t make it into any books until then. Most books were written by men, and wouldn’t go near the topic, I’m sure, unless they were medical texts, and they wouldn’t use slang, and women were taught to be discreet and use polite euphemisms, and probably not put anything in writing anyway, except perhaps very indirectly in a letter to another woman.

    Reply
  39. “On the subject of rags, oddly, the earliest citation in the OED for “on the rag” is 1967! I’d assumed it was much older.”
    I’m very sure it is much older, Jo, but recollect that for word usage to be dated in a dictionary it has to be in print. Given that menstruation was pretty much a taboo subject, more or less right up to the 1960s, it doesn’t surprise me that slang terminology for it didn’t make it into any books until then. Most books were written by men, and wouldn’t go near the topic, I’m sure, unless they were medical texts, and they wouldn’t use slang, and women were taught to be discreet and use polite euphemisms, and probably not put anything in writing anyway, except perhaps very indirectly in a letter to another woman.

    Reply
  40. “On the subject of rags, oddly, the earliest citation in the OED for “on the rag” is 1967! I’d assumed it was much older.”
    I’m very sure it is much older, Jo, but recollect that for word usage to be dated in a dictionary it has to be in print. Given that menstruation was pretty much a taboo subject, more or less right up to the 1960s, it doesn’t surprise me that slang terminology for it didn’t make it into any books until then. Most books were written by men, and wouldn’t go near the topic, I’m sure, unless they were medical texts, and they wouldn’t use slang, and women were taught to be discreet and use polite euphemisms, and probably not put anything in writing anyway, except perhaps very indirectly in a letter to another woman.

    Reply
  41. Forgot to say, like other authors here, I only refer to menstruation if it’s relevant to the plot, and then mainly by commenting on its absence, thus indicating the possibility of pregnancy. I’ve never gone into the mechanics.
    But in general, I tend to think that whatever our grandmothers or great grandmothers did was pretty much what they did for centuries before. We tend to assume things must have changed through time, simply because in our lifetimes they’ve changed a lot, but for centuries many things were done as they’d always been done.

    Reply
  42. Forgot to say, like other authors here, I only refer to menstruation if it’s relevant to the plot, and then mainly by commenting on its absence, thus indicating the possibility of pregnancy. I’ve never gone into the mechanics.
    But in general, I tend to think that whatever our grandmothers or great grandmothers did was pretty much what they did for centuries before. We tend to assume things must have changed through time, simply because in our lifetimes they’ve changed a lot, but for centuries many things were done as they’d always been done.

    Reply
  43. Forgot to say, like other authors here, I only refer to menstruation if it’s relevant to the plot, and then mainly by commenting on its absence, thus indicating the possibility of pregnancy. I’ve never gone into the mechanics.
    But in general, I tend to think that whatever our grandmothers or great grandmothers did was pretty much what they did for centuries before. We tend to assume things must have changed through time, simply because in our lifetimes they’ve changed a lot, but for centuries many things were done as they’d always been done.

    Reply
  44. Forgot to say, like other authors here, I only refer to menstruation if it’s relevant to the plot, and then mainly by commenting on its absence, thus indicating the possibility of pregnancy. I’ve never gone into the mechanics.
    But in general, I tend to think that whatever our grandmothers or great grandmothers did was pretty much what they did for centuries before. We tend to assume things must have changed through time, simply because in our lifetimes they’ve changed a lot, but for centuries many things were done as they’d always been done.

    Reply
  45. Forgot to say, like other authors here, I only refer to menstruation if it’s relevant to the plot, and then mainly by commenting on its absence, thus indicating the possibility of pregnancy. I’ve never gone into the mechanics.
    But in general, I tend to think that whatever our grandmothers or great grandmothers did was pretty much what they did for centuries before. We tend to assume things must have changed through time, simply because in our lifetimes they’ve changed a lot, but for centuries many things were done as they’d always been done.

    Reply
  46. Shortly after going to work as a projectionist, I was sent across the street to the local Woolworth store to buy Kotex…was I embaresed…yes!
    We cut up the Kotex into small pieces to put in the projection machines to absorb excess oil.

    Reply
  47. Shortly after going to work as a projectionist, I was sent across the street to the local Woolworth store to buy Kotex…was I embaresed…yes!
    We cut up the Kotex into small pieces to put in the projection machines to absorb excess oil.

    Reply
  48. Shortly after going to work as a projectionist, I was sent across the street to the local Woolworth store to buy Kotex…was I embaresed…yes!
    We cut up the Kotex into small pieces to put in the projection machines to absorb excess oil.

    Reply
  49. Shortly after going to work as a projectionist, I was sent across the street to the local Woolworth store to buy Kotex…was I embaresed…yes!
    We cut up the Kotex into small pieces to put in the projection machines to absorb excess oil.

    Reply
  50. Shortly after going to work as a projectionist, I was sent across the street to the local Woolworth store to buy Kotex…was I embaresed…yes!
    We cut up the Kotex into small pieces to put in the projection machines to absorb excess oil.

    Reply
  51. I laughed at your comment about convents. One of the first pieces of evidence for human pheromones was the fact that women living in close quarters (convents, college dormitories, Miss Worthy’s School for Well-born Young Ladies, or these days, I suppose Navy ships and submarines) wind up with synchronized menstrual cycles after a few months together.

    Reply
  52. I laughed at your comment about convents. One of the first pieces of evidence for human pheromones was the fact that women living in close quarters (convents, college dormitories, Miss Worthy’s School for Well-born Young Ladies, or these days, I suppose Navy ships and submarines) wind up with synchronized menstrual cycles after a few months together.

    Reply
  53. I laughed at your comment about convents. One of the first pieces of evidence for human pheromones was the fact that women living in close quarters (convents, college dormitories, Miss Worthy’s School for Well-born Young Ladies, or these days, I suppose Navy ships and submarines) wind up with synchronized menstrual cycles after a few months together.

    Reply
  54. I laughed at your comment about convents. One of the first pieces of evidence for human pheromones was the fact that women living in close quarters (convents, college dormitories, Miss Worthy’s School for Well-born Young Ladies, or these days, I suppose Navy ships and submarines) wind up with synchronized menstrual cycles after a few months together.

    Reply
  55. I laughed at your comment about convents. One of the first pieces of evidence for human pheromones was the fact that women living in close quarters (convents, college dormitories, Miss Worthy’s School for Well-born Young Ladies, or these days, I suppose Navy ships and submarines) wind up with synchronized menstrual cycles after a few months together.

    Reply
  56. By the way, ask any male soldier who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever if he had a tampon or two in his pocket when going into combat. He will say, “Of course!” Soldiers male and female have learned that there is absolutely nothing better for emergency plugging of a bullet or shrapnel wound until the medics arrive, particularly since they are so compact and easy to carry. My son-in-law told me that sometimes the PX in Baghdad or wherever ran out, so that in worst cases the female soldiers had to go around cadging from their male squadmates.

    Reply
  57. By the way, ask any male soldier who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever if he had a tampon or two in his pocket when going into combat. He will say, “Of course!” Soldiers male and female have learned that there is absolutely nothing better for emergency plugging of a bullet or shrapnel wound until the medics arrive, particularly since they are so compact and easy to carry. My son-in-law told me that sometimes the PX in Baghdad or wherever ran out, so that in worst cases the female soldiers had to go around cadging from their male squadmates.

    Reply
  58. By the way, ask any male soldier who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever if he had a tampon or two in his pocket when going into combat. He will say, “Of course!” Soldiers male and female have learned that there is absolutely nothing better for emergency plugging of a bullet or shrapnel wound until the medics arrive, particularly since they are so compact and easy to carry. My son-in-law told me that sometimes the PX in Baghdad or wherever ran out, so that in worst cases the female soldiers had to go around cadging from their male squadmates.

    Reply
  59. By the way, ask any male soldier who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever if he had a tampon or two in his pocket when going into combat. He will say, “Of course!” Soldiers male and female have learned that there is absolutely nothing better for emergency plugging of a bullet or shrapnel wound until the medics arrive, particularly since they are so compact and easy to carry. My son-in-law told me that sometimes the PX in Baghdad or wherever ran out, so that in worst cases the female soldiers had to go around cadging from their male squadmates.

    Reply
  60. By the way, ask any male soldier who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever if he had a tampon or two in his pocket when going into combat. He will say, “Of course!” Soldiers male and female have learned that there is absolutely nothing better for emergency plugging of a bullet or shrapnel wound until the medics arrive, particularly since they are so compact and easy to carry. My son-in-law told me that sometimes the PX in Baghdad or wherever ran out, so that in worst cases the female soldiers had to go around cadging from their male squadmates.

    Reply
  61. Jo here.
    Martha, I was trying to remember milk weed. There’s a similar plant in the North that the Inuit used. However, clearly the idea of made pads goes back before 1901.
    It’s certainly true that a menstruating woman has often been seen as unclean, or even carrying a malign force. I wonder if this was a smart idea begun by women to allow their retreat for a few days every month. I bet they enjoyed it, especially if many of them were in sync!
    Yes, Artemesia, that scene was in The Rogue’s Return, when Jancy gets her period on their journey. It was going to happen at some point in such a long journey, and from the time alread passed, I couldn’t put it off.
    LOL, Louis, on being sent for the Kotex. As a teen I hated having to ask for sanitary pads in shops. We didn’t have any serve-yourself type stores in our town then.
    John, most interesting about tampons, but sensible. They are very absorbent.
    Young women may not realize the limited absorbency of pads or tampons a few decades ago. They leaked very easily.
    No one’s come up with good examples from romance novels except for the mention of The Rogues Return?
    Jo

    Reply
  62. Jo here.
    Martha, I was trying to remember milk weed. There’s a similar plant in the North that the Inuit used. However, clearly the idea of made pads goes back before 1901.
    It’s certainly true that a menstruating woman has often been seen as unclean, or even carrying a malign force. I wonder if this was a smart idea begun by women to allow their retreat for a few days every month. I bet they enjoyed it, especially if many of them were in sync!
    Yes, Artemesia, that scene was in The Rogue’s Return, when Jancy gets her period on their journey. It was going to happen at some point in such a long journey, and from the time alread passed, I couldn’t put it off.
    LOL, Louis, on being sent for the Kotex. As a teen I hated having to ask for sanitary pads in shops. We didn’t have any serve-yourself type stores in our town then.
    John, most interesting about tampons, but sensible. They are very absorbent.
    Young women may not realize the limited absorbency of pads or tampons a few decades ago. They leaked very easily.
    No one’s come up with good examples from romance novels except for the mention of The Rogues Return?
    Jo

    Reply
  63. Jo here.
    Martha, I was trying to remember milk weed. There’s a similar plant in the North that the Inuit used. However, clearly the idea of made pads goes back before 1901.
    It’s certainly true that a menstruating woman has often been seen as unclean, or even carrying a malign force. I wonder if this was a smart idea begun by women to allow their retreat for a few days every month. I bet they enjoyed it, especially if many of them were in sync!
    Yes, Artemesia, that scene was in The Rogue’s Return, when Jancy gets her period on their journey. It was going to happen at some point in such a long journey, and from the time alread passed, I couldn’t put it off.
    LOL, Louis, on being sent for the Kotex. As a teen I hated having to ask for sanitary pads in shops. We didn’t have any serve-yourself type stores in our town then.
    John, most interesting about tampons, but sensible. They are very absorbent.
    Young women may not realize the limited absorbency of pads or tampons a few decades ago. They leaked very easily.
    No one’s come up with good examples from romance novels except for the mention of The Rogues Return?
    Jo

    Reply
  64. Jo here.
    Martha, I was trying to remember milk weed. There’s a similar plant in the North that the Inuit used. However, clearly the idea of made pads goes back before 1901.
    It’s certainly true that a menstruating woman has often been seen as unclean, or even carrying a malign force. I wonder if this was a smart idea begun by women to allow their retreat for a few days every month. I bet they enjoyed it, especially if many of them were in sync!
    Yes, Artemesia, that scene was in The Rogue’s Return, when Jancy gets her period on their journey. It was going to happen at some point in such a long journey, and from the time alread passed, I couldn’t put it off.
    LOL, Louis, on being sent for the Kotex. As a teen I hated having to ask for sanitary pads in shops. We didn’t have any serve-yourself type stores in our town then.
    John, most interesting about tampons, but sensible. They are very absorbent.
    Young women may not realize the limited absorbency of pads or tampons a few decades ago. They leaked very easily.
    No one’s come up with good examples from romance novels except for the mention of The Rogues Return?
    Jo

    Reply
  65. Jo here.
    Martha, I was trying to remember milk weed. There’s a similar plant in the North that the Inuit used. However, clearly the idea of made pads goes back before 1901.
    It’s certainly true that a menstruating woman has often been seen as unclean, or even carrying a malign force. I wonder if this was a smart idea begun by women to allow their retreat for a few days every month. I bet they enjoyed it, especially if many of them were in sync!
    Yes, Artemesia, that scene was in The Rogue’s Return, when Jancy gets her period on their journey. It was going to happen at some point in such a long journey, and from the time alread passed, I couldn’t put it off.
    LOL, Louis, on being sent for the Kotex. As a teen I hated having to ask for sanitary pads in shops. We didn’t have any serve-yourself type stores in our town then.
    John, most interesting about tampons, but sensible. They are very absorbent.
    Young women may not realize the limited absorbency of pads or tampons a few decades ago. They leaked very easily.
    No one’s come up with good examples from romance novels except for the mention of The Rogues Return?
    Jo

    Reply
  66. In “The Chance” by Edith Layton the heroine gets her period a couple days into the honeymoon, and has to spend the day in bed with a hot water bottle due to cramps but no other details are given. I have read other books where the woman’s “courses” are talked about but I can’t recall which ones right now.

    Reply
  67. In “The Chance” by Edith Layton the heroine gets her period a couple days into the honeymoon, and has to spend the day in bed with a hot water bottle due to cramps but no other details are given. I have read other books where the woman’s “courses” are talked about but I can’t recall which ones right now.

    Reply
  68. In “The Chance” by Edith Layton the heroine gets her period a couple days into the honeymoon, and has to spend the day in bed with a hot water bottle due to cramps but no other details are given. I have read other books where the woman’s “courses” are talked about but I can’t recall which ones right now.

    Reply
  69. In “The Chance” by Edith Layton the heroine gets her period a couple days into the honeymoon, and has to spend the day in bed with a hot water bottle due to cramps but no other details are given. I have read other books where the woman’s “courses” are talked about but I can’t recall which ones right now.

    Reply
  70. In “The Chance” by Edith Layton the heroine gets her period a couple days into the honeymoon, and has to spend the day in bed with a hot water bottle due to cramps but no other details are given. I have read other books where the woman’s “courses” are talked about but I can’t recall which ones right now.

    Reply
  71. In “Mr. Impossible” by Loretta Chase, Daphne gets her period along with severe cramps. Rupert thinks she’s seriously ill and charges in, then flusters around trying to think of a way to make her feel better. If I recall correctly, he gives her laudanum and a back rub.

    Reply
  72. In “Mr. Impossible” by Loretta Chase, Daphne gets her period along with severe cramps. Rupert thinks she’s seriously ill and charges in, then flusters around trying to think of a way to make her feel better. If I recall correctly, he gives her laudanum and a back rub.

    Reply
  73. In “Mr. Impossible” by Loretta Chase, Daphne gets her period along with severe cramps. Rupert thinks she’s seriously ill and charges in, then flusters around trying to think of a way to make her feel better. If I recall correctly, he gives her laudanum and a back rub.

    Reply
  74. In “Mr. Impossible” by Loretta Chase, Daphne gets her period along with severe cramps. Rupert thinks she’s seriously ill and charges in, then flusters around trying to think of a way to make her feel better. If I recall correctly, he gives her laudanum and a back rub.

    Reply
  75. In “Mr. Impossible” by Loretta Chase, Daphne gets her period along with severe cramps. Rupert thinks she’s seriously ill and charges in, then flusters around trying to think of a way to make her feel better. If I recall correctly, he gives her laudanum and a back rub.

    Reply
  76. We used to have garter belts and there was a similar device for pads. The story I was told was the material used for diapers or cheap cotton fabric were made for this. A girl was told to see her own and after use wash and dry them. They dried outside on the laundry line as a matter of fact each girl in a family kept her own and took care of her own, sewing and washing them. I am sure they had this type of belt device to hold up their pads. It had a hook in front and back like a key hole , large at one end and smaller at the other to hook material through the larger part and secure it by sliding it into smaller part. The pads were not perfect but neither were nappies back then, but they were used. These pads were then boiled for washing dirty nappies and clothes were boiled in a large black pot and washed in usually lye soap. This my mother told me and I saw black pots on the old farm that were used in 1930s to boils clothes. I was told one day my mom was sick, as she had rheumatic heart disease, and my father was set to wash the diapers. He did not rinse them out first, which common sense would require and boiled them intact with poop. The stench hit my mom in the bedroom and she hollered at my father, ” You have to clean them first before you wash them and then boil them. My father realized his mistake and had to take them to the creek and wash the diapers and the boiler and then make another fire and wash and boil them again.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light as Darkness Falls

    Reply
  77. We used to have garter belts and there was a similar device for pads. The story I was told was the material used for diapers or cheap cotton fabric were made for this. A girl was told to see her own and after use wash and dry them. They dried outside on the laundry line as a matter of fact each girl in a family kept her own and took care of her own, sewing and washing them. I am sure they had this type of belt device to hold up their pads. It had a hook in front and back like a key hole , large at one end and smaller at the other to hook material through the larger part and secure it by sliding it into smaller part. The pads were not perfect but neither were nappies back then, but they were used. These pads were then boiled for washing dirty nappies and clothes were boiled in a large black pot and washed in usually lye soap. This my mother told me and I saw black pots on the old farm that were used in 1930s to boils clothes. I was told one day my mom was sick, as she had rheumatic heart disease, and my father was set to wash the diapers. He did not rinse them out first, which common sense would require and boiled them intact with poop. The stench hit my mom in the bedroom and she hollered at my father, ” You have to clean them first before you wash them and then boil them. My father realized his mistake and had to take them to the creek and wash the diapers and the boiler and then make another fire and wash and boil them again.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light as Darkness Falls

    Reply
  78. We used to have garter belts and there was a similar device for pads. The story I was told was the material used for diapers or cheap cotton fabric were made for this. A girl was told to see her own and after use wash and dry them. They dried outside on the laundry line as a matter of fact each girl in a family kept her own and took care of her own, sewing and washing them. I am sure they had this type of belt device to hold up their pads. It had a hook in front and back like a key hole , large at one end and smaller at the other to hook material through the larger part and secure it by sliding it into smaller part. The pads were not perfect but neither were nappies back then, but they were used. These pads were then boiled for washing dirty nappies and clothes were boiled in a large black pot and washed in usually lye soap. This my mother told me and I saw black pots on the old farm that were used in 1930s to boils clothes. I was told one day my mom was sick, as she had rheumatic heart disease, and my father was set to wash the diapers. He did not rinse them out first, which common sense would require and boiled them intact with poop. The stench hit my mom in the bedroom and she hollered at my father, ” You have to clean them first before you wash them and then boil them. My father realized his mistake and had to take them to the creek and wash the diapers and the boiler and then make another fire and wash and boil them again.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light as Darkness Falls

    Reply
  79. We used to have garter belts and there was a similar device for pads. The story I was told was the material used for diapers or cheap cotton fabric were made for this. A girl was told to see her own and after use wash and dry them. They dried outside on the laundry line as a matter of fact each girl in a family kept her own and took care of her own, sewing and washing them. I am sure they had this type of belt device to hold up their pads. It had a hook in front and back like a key hole , large at one end and smaller at the other to hook material through the larger part and secure it by sliding it into smaller part. The pads were not perfect but neither were nappies back then, but they were used. These pads were then boiled for washing dirty nappies and clothes were boiled in a large black pot and washed in usually lye soap. This my mother told me and I saw black pots on the old farm that were used in 1930s to boils clothes. I was told one day my mom was sick, as she had rheumatic heart disease, and my father was set to wash the diapers. He did not rinse them out first, which common sense would require and boiled them intact with poop. The stench hit my mom in the bedroom and she hollered at my father, ” You have to clean them first before you wash them and then boil them. My father realized his mistake and had to take them to the creek and wash the diapers and the boiler and then make another fire and wash and boil them again.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light as Darkness Falls

    Reply
  80. We used to have garter belts and there was a similar device for pads. The story I was told was the material used for diapers or cheap cotton fabric were made for this. A girl was told to see her own and after use wash and dry them. They dried outside on the laundry line as a matter of fact each girl in a family kept her own and took care of her own, sewing and washing them. I am sure they had this type of belt device to hold up their pads. It had a hook in front and back like a key hole , large at one end and smaller at the other to hook material through the larger part and secure it by sliding it into smaller part. The pads were not perfect but neither were nappies back then, but they were used. These pads were then boiled for washing dirty nappies and clothes were boiled in a large black pot and washed in usually lye soap. This my mother told me and I saw black pots on the old farm that were used in 1930s to boils clothes. I was told one day my mom was sick, as she had rheumatic heart disease, and my father was set to wash the diapers. He did not rinse them out first, which common sense would require and boiled them intact with poop. The stench hit my mom in the bedroom and she hollered at my father, ” You have to clean them first before you wash them and then boil them. My father realized his mistake and had to take them to the creek and wash the diapers and the boiler and then make another fire and wash and boil them again.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light as Darkness Falls

    Reply
  81. Jo here. Interesting that cramps come up. That’s probably the author’s experience plus an opportunity for the hero to show his caring side.
    I remember the sanitary belts. In the 1901 catalogue there was a belt that looked as if it might serve the same purpose, but it was in among a number of items to support skirts and ordinary belts, not with the sanitary cloth.
    Jo

    Reply
  82. Jo here. Interesting that cramps come up. That’s probably the author’s experience plus an opportunity for the hero to show his caring side.
    I remember the sanitary belts. In the 1901 catalogue there was a belt that looked as if it might serve the same purpose, but it was in among a number of items to support skirts and ordinary belts, not with the sanitary cloth.
    Jo

    Reply
  83. Jo here. Interesting that cramps come up. That’s probably the author’s experience plus an opportunity for the hero to show his caring side.
    I remember the sanitary belts. In the 1901 catalogue there was a belt that looked as if it might serve the same purpose, but it was in among a number of items to support skirts and ordinary belts, not with the sanitary cloth.
    Jo

    Reply
  84. Jo here. Interesting that cramps come up. That’s probably the author’s experience plus an opportunity for the hero to show his caring side.
    I remember the sanitary belts. In the 1901 catalogue there was a belt that looked as if it might serve the same purpose, but it was in among a number of items to support skirts and ordinary belts, not with the sanitary cloth.
    Jo

    Reply
  85. Jo here. Interesting that cramps come up. That’s probably the author’s experience plus an opportunity for the hero to show his caring side.
    I remember the sanitary belts. In the 1901 catalogue there was a belt that looked as if it might serve the same purpose, but it was in among a number of items to support skirts and ordinary belts, not with the sanitary cloth.
    Jo

    Reply
  86. The only time I remember reading about menstruation is it’s absence in reference to if the woman may be pregnant. Other bodily functions sometimes are mentioned briefly (thank you very much) or to put the characters in a humorous situation. Once in a while some details are given about early condoms (called french letters? – still don’t understand using the word letters).

    Reply
  87. The only time I remember reading about menstruation is it’s absence in reference to if the woman may be pregnant. Other bodily functions sometimes are mentioned briefly (thank you very much) or to put the characters in a humorous situation. Once in a while some details are given about early condoms (called french letters? – still don’t understand using the word letters).

    Reply
  88. The only time I remember reading about menstruation is it’s absence in reference to if the woman may be pregnant. Other bodily functions sometimes are mentioned briefly (thank you very much) or to put the characters in a humorous situation. Once in a while some details are given about early condoms (called french letters? – still don’t understand using the word letters).

    Reply
  89. The only time I remember reading about menstruation is it’s absence in reference to if the woman may be pregnant. Other bodily functions sometimes are mentioned briefly (thank you very much) or to put the characters in a humorous situation. Once in a while some details are given about early condoms (called french letters? – still don’t understand using the word letters).

    Reply
  90. The only time I remember reading about menstruation is it’s absence in reference to if the woman may be pregnant. Other bodily functions sometimes are mentioned briefly (thank you very much) or to put the characters in a humorous situation. Once in a while some details are given about early condoms (called french letters? – still don’t understand using the word letters).

    Reply
  91. Sherrie here. I have 3 editions of a book entitled Dr. Chase’s Recipes, published in America in the mid-1800s, and there is a section dealing with menstruation. Dr. Chase traveled the country treating patients and selling copies of his book, which was basically a reference book used by housewives to look up symptoms/treatments/remedies for medical conditions. My 3 editions were published in the 1860s, and while Dr. Chase’s recommendations for dealing with menstruation are generally practical, he also provides some outlandish advice, such as the stern caution to not bathe in a cold stream during menses or you will go insane.
    Here in the Pacific Northwest sanitary napkins are frequently used to bandage leg wounds in horses. They make an excellent padded dressing.
    I’ve read a few books where menstruation and other bodily functions have been mentioned, but in general I prefer to assume these functions are taken care of “off the page.” *g*

    Reply
  92. Sherrie here. I have 3 editions of a book entitled Dr. Chase’s Recipes, published in America in the mid-1800s, and there is a section dealing with menstruation. Dr. Chase traveled the country treating patients and selling copies of his book, which was basically a reference book used by housewives to look up symptoms/treatments/remedies for medical conditions. My 3 editions were published in the 1860s, and while Dr. Chase’s recommendations for dealing with menstruation are generally practical, he also provides some outlandish advice, such as the stern caution to not bathe in a cold stream during menses or you will go insane.
    Here in the Pacific Northwest sanitary napkins are frequently used to bandage leg wounds in horses. They make an excellent padded dressing.
    I’ve read a few books where menstruation and other bodily functions have been mentioned, but in general I prefer to assume these functions are taken care of “off the page.” *g*

    Reply
  93. Sherrie here. I have 3 editions of a book entitled Dr. Chase’s Recipes, published in America in the mid-1800s, and there is a section dealing with menstruation. Dr. Chase traveled the country treating patients and selling copies of his book, which was basically a reference book used by housewives to look up symptoms/treatments/remedies for medical conditions. My 3 editions were published in the 1860s, and while Dr. Chase’s recommendations for dealing with menstruation are generally practical, he also provides some outlandish advice, such as the stern caution to not bathe in a cold stream during menses or you will go insane.
    Here in the Pacific Northwest sanitary napkins are frequently used to bandage leg wounds in horses. They make an excellent padded dressing.
    I’ve read a few books where menstruation and other bodily functions have been mentioned, but in general I prefer to assume these functions are taken care of “off the page.” *g*

    Reply
  94. Sherrie here. I have 3 editions of a book entitled Dr. Chase’s Recipes, published in America in the mid-1800s, and there is a section dealing with menstruation. Dr. Chase traveled the country treating patients and selling copies of his book, which was basically a reference book used by housewives to look up symptoms/treatments/remedies for medical conditions. My 3 editions were published in the 1860s, and while Dr. Chase’s recommendations for dealing with menstruation are generally practical, he also provides some outlandish advice, such as the stern caution to not bathe in a cold stream during menses or you will go insane.
    Here in the Pacific Northwest sanitary napkins are frequently used to bandage leg wounds in horses. They make an excellent padded dressing.
    I’ve read a few books where menstruation and other bodily functions have been mentioned, but in general I prefer to assume these functions are taken care of “off the page.” *g*

    Reply
  95. Sherrie here. I have 3 editions of a book entitled Dr. Chase’s Recipes, published in America in the mid-1800s, and there is a section dealing with menstruation. Dr. Chase traveled the country treating patients and selling copies of his book, which was basically a reference book used by housewives to look up symptoms/treatments/remedies for medical conditions. My 3 editions were published in the 1860s, and while Dr. Chase’s recommendations for dealing with menstruation are generally practical, he also provides some outlandish advice, such as the stern caution to not bathe in a cold stream during menses or you will go insane.
    Here in the Pacific Northwest sanitary napkins are frequently used to bandage leg wounds in horses. They make an excellent padded dressing.
    I’ve read a few books where menstruation and other bodily functions have been mentioned, but in general I prefer to assume these functions are taken care of “off the page.” *g*

    Reply
  96. If stories are set over longer periods of time, then I do tend to notice if periods are not mentioned (often, this is a sign of pregnancy, but not always, and in those cases just seems kind of sloppy.)
    Another thing that bothers me is when the heroine thinks about how she had her courses that apparently only lasted one day, as they’re finished by the time she mentions them, and the characters never seem to have any qualms about sexual relations. (This was in a book I read recently, although I can’t remember what the title was, just that it bothered me.)
    I read Stella Tillyard’s Aristocrats recently, and she mentions in the book that in their letters, the Lennox sisters referred to having their menses as “being visited by the French lady”. If I remember correctly, I believe they generally stayed home for at least part of the duration, since I think I rememeber a part where one sister was upset over missing some event for that reason.
    Generally, I prefer that a story not dwell on bodily functions (I can assume the heroine running from the duke in the forest relieves herself as necessary, I don’t need to be told,) but I don’t want the menstrual cycle to be skipped over completely. It is quite a bit more significant than urination or defecation, and a significant part of a woman’s sex life. I’ve seen plenty of books where the hero and heroine keep having sex pretty much constantly, yet the heroine is not pregnant and menstruation is never mentioned (or not until quite a ways through the book, when she really is pregnant.)

    Reply
  97. If stories are set over longer periods of time, then I do tend to notice if periods are not mentioned (often, this is a sign of pregnancy, but not always, and in those cases just seems kind of sloppy.)
    Another thing that bothers me is when the heroine thinks about how she had her courses that apparently only lasted one day, as they’re finished by the time she mentions them, and the characters never seem to have any qualms about sexual relations. (This was in a book I read recently, although I can’t remember what the title was, just that it bothered me.)
    I read Stella Tillyard’s Aristocrats recently, and she mentions in the book that in their letters, the Lennox sisters referred to having their menses as “being visited by the French lady”. If I remember correctly, I believe they generally stayed home for at least part of the duration, since I think I rememeber a part where one sister was upset over missing some event for that reason.
    Generally, I prefer that a story not dwell on bodily functions (I can assume the heroine running from the duke in the forest relieves herself as necessary, I don’t need to be told,) but I don’t want the menstrual cycle to be skipped over completely. It is quite a bit more significant than urination or defecation, and a significant part of a woman’s sex life. I’ve seen plenty of books where the hero and heroine keep having sex pretty much constantly, yet the heroine is not pregnant and menstruation is never mentioned (or not until quite a ways through the book, when she really is pregnant.)

    Reply
  98. If stories are set over longer periods of time, then I do tend to notice if periods are not mentioned (often, this is a sign of pregnancy, but not always, and in those cases just seems kind of sloppy.)
    Another thing that bothers me is when the heroine thinks about how she had her courses that apparently only lasted one day, as they’re finished by the time she mentions them, and the characters never seem to have any qualms about sexual relations. (This was in a book I read recently, although I can’t remember what the title was, just that it bothered me.)
    I read Stella Tillyard’s Aristocrats recently, and she mentions in the book that in their letters, the Lennox sisters referred to having their menses as “being visited by the French lady”. If I remember correctly, I believe they generally stayed home for at least part of the duration, since I think I rememeber a part where one sister was upset over missing some event for that reason.
    Generally, I prefer that a story not dwell on bodily functions (I can assume the heroine running from the duke in the forest relieves herself as necessary, I don’t need to be told,) but I don’t want the menstrual cycle to be skipped over completely. It is quite a bit more significant than urination or defecation, and a significant part of a woman’s sex life. I’ve seen plenty of books where the hero and heroine keep having sex pretty much constantly, yet the heroine is not pregnant and menstruation is never mentioned (or not until quite a ways through the book, when she really is pregnant.)

    Reply
  99. If stories are set over longer periods of time, then I do tend to notice if periods are not mentioned (often, this is a sign of pregnancy, but not always, and in those cases just seems kind of sloppy.)
    Another thing that bothers me is when the heroine thinks about how she had her courses that apparently only lasted one day, as they’re finished by the time she mentions them, and the characters never seem to have any qualms about sexual relations. (This was in a book I read recently, although I can’t remember what the title was, just that it bothered me.)
    I read Stella Tillyard’s Aristocrats recently, and she mentions in the book that in their letters, the Lennox sisters referred to having their menses as “being visited by the French lady”. If I remember correctly, I believe they generally stayed home for at least part of the duration, since I think I rememeber a part where one sister was upset over missing some event for that reason.
    Generally, I prefer that a story not dwell on bodily functions (I can assume the heroine running from the duke in the forest relieves herself as necessary, I don’t need to be told,) but I don’t want the menstrual cycle to be skipped over completely. It is quite a bit more significant than urination or defecation, and a significant part of a woman’s sex life. I’ve seen plenty of books where the hero and heroine keep having sex pretty much constantly, yet the heroine is not pregnant and menstruation is never mentioned (or not until quite a ways through the book, when she really is pregnant.)

    Reply
  100. If stories are set over longer periods of time, then I do tend to notice if periods are not mentioned (often, this is a sign of pregnancy, but not always, and in those cases just seems kind of sloppy.)
    Another thing that bothers me is when the heroine thinks about how she had her courses that apparently only lasted one day, as they’re finished by the time she mentions them, and the characters never seem to have any qualms about sexual relations. (This was in a book I read recently, although I can’t remember what the title was, just that it bothered me.)
    I read Stella Tillyard’s Aristocrats recently, and she mentions in the book that in their letters, the Lennox sisters referred to having their menses as “being visited by the French lady”. If I remember correctly, I believe they generally stayed home for at least part of the duration, since I think I rememeber a part where one sister was upset over missing some event for that reason.
    Generally, I prefer that a story not dwell on bodily functions (I can assume the heroine running from the duke in the forest relieves herself as necessary, I don’t need to be told,) but I don’t want the menstrual cycle to be skipped over completely. It is quite a bit more significant than urination or defecation, and a significant part of a woman’s sex life. I’ve seen plenty of books where the hero and heroine keep having sex pretty much constantly, yet the heroine is not pregnant and menstruation is never mentioned (or not until quite a ways through the book, when she really is pregnant.)

    Reply
  101. Jo — At minimum, you mentioned “courses” in the menstrual sense in Dark Champion, Lord of My Heart, Devilish, An Unlikely Countess, The Rogue’s Return, St. Raven, Christmas Angel, Forbidden, The Dragon’s Bride, and Dangerous Joy. Sometimes it was an “Oh, goodness, I have/haven’t had my courses. I must/must not be pregnant,” but it’s definitely a plot point in Christmas Angel, Devilish, Rogue’s Return, and An Unlikely Countess, typically interfering with honeymoons.

    Reply
  102. Jo — At minimum, you mentioned “courses” in the menstrual sense in Dark Champion, Lord of My Heart, Devilish, An Unlikely Countess, The Rogue’s Return, St. Raven, Christmas Angel, Forbidden, The Dragon’s Bride, and Dangerous Joy. Sometimes it was an “Oh, goodness, I have/haven’t had my courses. I must/must not be pregnant,” but it’s definitely a plot point in Christmas Angel, Devilish, Rogue’s Return, and An Unlikely Countess, typically interfering with honeymoons.

    Reply
  103. Jo — At minimum, you mentioned “courses” in the menstrual sense in Dark Champion, Lord of My Heart, Devilish, An Unlikely Countess, The Rogue’s Return, St. Raven, Christmas Angel, Forbidden, The Dragon’s Bride, and Dangerous Joy. Sometimes it was an “Oh, goodness, I have/haven’t had my courses. I must/must not be pregnant,” but it’s definitely a plot point in Christmas Angel, Devilish, Rogue’s Return, and An Unlikely Countess, typically interfering with honeymoons.

    Reply
  104. Jo — At minimum, you mentioned “courses” in the menstrual sense in Dark Champion, Lord of My Heart, Devilish, An Unlikely Countess, The Rogue’s Return, St. Raven, Christmas Angel, Forbidden, The Dragon’s Bride, and Dangerous Joy. Sometimes it was an “Oh, goodness, I have/haven’t had my courses. I must/must not be pregnant,” but it’s definitely a plot point in Christmas Angel, Devilish, Rogue’s Return, and An Unlikely Countess, typically interfering with honeymoons.

    Reply
  105. Jo — At minimum, you mentioned “courses” in the menstrual sense in Dark Champion, Lord of My Heart, Devilish, An Unlikely Countess, The Rogue’s Return, St. Raven, Christmas Angel, Forbidden, The Dragon’s Bride, and Dangerous Joy. Sometimes it was an “Oh, goodness, I have/haven’t had my courses. I must/must not be pregnant,” but it’s definitely a plot point in Christmas Angel, Devilish, Rogue’s Return, and An Unlikely Countess, typically interfering with honeymoons.

    Reply
  106. I was told not to bathe in a tub or wash my hair the first day or the next month you would have horrible cramps.I think the fainting and having the migraines or whatever, the ladies suffered and did the best they could. No one talked about it but were to to ignore it. I find I feel for them more than ever for many a lady had to suffer this too in silence.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

    Reply
  107. I was told not to bathe in a tub or wash my hair the first day or the next month you would have horrible cramps.I think the fainting and having the migraines or whatever, the ladies suffered and did the best they could. No one talked about it but were to to ignore it. I find I feel for them more than ever for many a lady had to suffer this too in silence.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

    Reply
  108. I was told not to bathe in a tub or wash my hair the first day or the next month you would have horrible cramps.I think the fainting and having the migraines or whatever, the ladies suffered and did the best they could. No one talked about it but were to to ignore it. I find I feel for them more than ever for many a lady had to suffer this too in silence.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

    Reply
  109. I was told not to bathe in a tub or wash my hair the first day or the next month you would have horrible cramps.I think the fainting and having the migraines or whatever, the ladies suffered and did the best they could. No one talked about it but were to to ignore it. I find I feel for them more than ever for many a lady had to suffer this too in silence.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

    Reply
  110. I was told not to bathe in a tub or wash my hair the first day or the next month you would have horrible cramps.I think the fainting and having the migraines or whatever, the ladies suffered and did the best they could. No one talked about it but were to to ignore it. I find I feel for them more than ever for many a lady had to suffer this too in silence.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs
    My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls

    Reply
  111. You know what recent book mentioned the heroine on her period–Fifty Shades of Grey! And funny enough, the hero had no qualms about having sex with her (and I promptly Googled to find male reaction to period sex–and was surprised by the number who simply didn’t care). Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect also mentioned the heroine being on her period, and the hero also didn’t care about it when he wanted to sleep with her.

    Reply
  112. You know what recent book mentioned the heroine on her period–Fifty Shades of Grey! And funny enough, the hero had no qualms about having sex with her (and I promptly Googled to find male reaction to period sex–and was surprised by the number who simply didn’t care). Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect also mentioned the heroine being on her period, and the hero also didn’t care about it when he wanted to sleep with her.

    Reply
  113. You know what recent book mentioned the heroine on her period–Fifty Shades of Grey! And funny enough, the hero had no qualms about having sex with her (and I promptly Googled to find male reaction to period sex–and was surprised by the number who simply didn’t care). Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect also mentioned the heroine being on her period, and the hero also didn’t care about it when he wanted to sleep with her.

    Reply
  114. You know what recent book mentioned the heroine on her period–Fifty Shades of Grey! And funny enough, the hero had no qualms about having sex with her (and I promptly Googled to find male reaction to period sex–and was surprised by the number who simply didn’t care). Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect also mentioned the heroine being on her period, and the hero also didn’t care about it when he wanted to sleep with her.

    Reply
  115. You know what recent book mentioned the heroine on her period–Fifty Shades of Grey! And funny enough, the hero had no qualms about having sex with her (and I promptly Googled to find male reaction to period sex–and was surprised by the number who simply didn’t care). Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect also mentioned the heroine being on her period, and the hero also didn’t care about it when he wanted to sleep with her.

    Reply

Leave a Comment