period pain, men have periods, period simulator

Men try a period simulator.

Imagine how different the world would be if cis-gendered men had the ability to give birth? Would the state of Texas attempt to ban abortions after six weeks or would they be available on-demand?

Would we live in a country without mandatory paid maternity leave? How much more affordable would childcare be? Would there be a tax on period products? How would we treat people experiencing period pain?

A few brave men decided to see what life was like for people who have periods in a funny but enlightening video that's gone viral on TikTok. In a video posted by Benz Trap House that has over 1.4 million views, a group of guys tried a period simulator to experience what menstrual cramps really feel like.

Period simulators are essentially the same as labor simulators. They're called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machines that are designed to relieve pain. But when turned up a notch can create intense, debilitating discomfort.


The group took a semi-scientific approach to the experiment with a woman acting as a control subject. At the beginning of the video, she attaches the simulator to an area near her ovaries and turns it up to ten, the highest setting. In the clip, the group looks impressed as she endures the extreme setting without showing any discomfort.

The men would not do as well.

The boys tried a period simulator #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #funny #periodcramps #periodsimulator #viral

@benztraphouse

The boys tried a period simulator #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #funny #periodcramps #periodsimulator #viral

When the first guy attempted to wear the period simulator he was shocked by the discomfort. "Is it supposed to hurt like that?" the second guy says before erupting in nervous laughter.

The third guy said that he felt the pain all the way down to his knee caps.

At one point in the video, the period simulator is attached to a woman and a man at the same time. When the device is turned on, the guy is in extreme pain while the woman stands still, claiming the feelings created by the machine are "not even as bad as a cramp."

"Yeah, my cramps hurt worse than this," she added.

A lot of people who menstruate felt validated after seeing the guys experience their first period.

"'You feel that in your back, boi?' every month, friend," a commenter named Crystal said.

One of the most popular comments was from Candyce, who said: "I'm convinced if men could get pregnant they'd have abortion clinics on every corner and paid maternity leave the whole pregnancy."

Another commenter, S DeMarco, pointed out that women have to go through an entire day in pain without a break.

"When he said 'it's stabbing me what do I do?' You go to work, clean the house and continue on bb," she wrote.

Shellz took reality up a notch. "Let's add headaches. And period poops. And bloating. And the feeling of blood leaving you. And the nausea," she wrote.

It's cool that the lighthearted video has gone viral because it'll give some people newfound respect for the pain that people who have periods go through. Some who watched the video thought that period simulators should be mandatory in sex ed classes.

Imagine how different the world would be if everyone experienced menstrual pain just once in their life?

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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