The Podcast Diaries: The Crimson Wave E14

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The Transcript: 


Welcome to The Crimson Wave.

Wave... that was new and fun. 

That was [crosstalk 00:00:28] interesting.

Oh my God, we're in a quirky mood, we're drinking some light tea here, having a blast. I'm all fired up, I talked about feminism for about 45 minutes with my roommate. They didn't want to, but I made them right before you arrived, so I'm Shandy Caffey. Hi, I'm Jess Beaulieu.

I'm Natalie Norman. 

You're usual hosts.

Yes, and our guest today is the lovely...

Arianne Shaffer.

I let her say the name because I would have butchered it.

I knew you would.

You guys did great.

Thank you. Welcome Arianne.

She did great.

You did, yeah.

Arianne's an incredible storyteller-

Unbelievable... You know when I talk about storytelling, I talk about you.

That's baloney. 

No, it's not.

No, it's not. Oh-

It's not at all, not at all. I literally say, "You have to see Arianne perform."


That's very nice.

It's so, yeah.

Yeah, it's true. I was going to say, it is so nice. And how do you say that? And I was like, "Okay lets..." It's so rude that I just- 

Arianne has a lovely project called Letters.

No. Love Letters to a Friend.

They're dot com.

Love letters?


Explain the project please.

Yeah, what is it?

I've been collecting love letters from friends and strangers for about three years. 

Holly shit.

Often anonymous. Like people can send it in online. So every now and again, I get someone sending in a love letter to the project. I don't know who they are or their story or anything, but it's a love letter that they want to share and put out in the world, and so it's not just romantic love letters, it's all kinds.


That's beautiful.

Yeah, it's really nice. It's been a real big honor. Actually, I watched it finally into the world in December, and it is amazing.

You had a big show, right?

Yeah, I had a big show and a ton of people came out. It was amazing to see the people who really got the project were responding to it, spending a lot of time on the website, reading the letters, sharing them. 

It's just been really awesome and it's such a gift. People hand over, sometimes even boxes, a couple of times people have handed over boxes of love letters being like, "I'm getting married," or, "I don't want this in my house in my life anymore, but I don't want to burn it or throw it away," like, "It's yours."

That's so cool.

Yeah, it's so epic. It's like I have yet to figure out how to work with epic love letters like 100 pages of emails back and forth that have been transcribed-

Wow, [crosstalk 00:02:35].

... that you'd read like a novel, it's unbelievable.

That's so funny. Because when you were talking about letters, I literally was only thinking about letters-

Yeah, [crosstalk 00:02:42].

And I was like, "Wait a minute, who sends handwritten love letters?"

Some people, but not a lot. Yeah.

Some people, not a lot.

If I want more to do that.


We have the love letters to write, so that's the purpose of the project, to write more love letters.

Holy shit! Sometimes I do look back at ex-boyfriend's emails and it is dangerous. Let me tell you.

Yeah, yeah. It's a slippery slope.

It's a slippery slope.

You should see the text I sent Matt.

Oh my God. I do need-

I would like to.

They're completely spelled incorrectly.


But their point gets across, I think.

No, a lot of times [crosstalk 00:03:17], yeah. 


I don't know what you're saying most of the time. If you're trying to talk to me...

I understand.

I delete a lot of text though. I will delete an entire text throughout from an ex, but emails are harder. You can't go through and delete every email, right? 

You can search.

You can try, yeah.


I've got to send you one.

Yes, please.

It's epic.

You should just screenshot it, and [crosstalk 00:03:36]-

Oh, I will. I've already screenshot it, and sent it to other people.

Oh, so you have it in a file.


It's ready to go.

Oh, it's a rip-rawring ready to go.

I look forward to it.


We're here to talk about periods though.

Yeah, interesting.

[crosstalk 00:03:49] we like text messages, Natalie's text messages. Which we should read out one day. That'd be a fun little project.

Yeah. Everyone's got a classic Natalie Norman message.

That's for sure. I've got them about your period, many times.


Updates on Natalie's period and where she's at. 

And what's happening.

And what's happening.


So, we're just going to start asking some questions.

Ask away.

So when did you get your period?

I was a late bloomer.


15 or 16 I think.

15? That is late.

Yeah, I was late.

16, maybe.

I think one time when I was 12 or 13, I had spotting for one second. I was like, "This is definitely my period and I'm telling everybody that I got my period". But I talked because I didn't see it again for a very long time.

So did you just pretend this lie for the next few years from the age of 12 to 13?

Well, I didn't want to feel left out. So I was just like, "Oh, I get my period. I just haven't had it for a really long time."

Why were you spotting, I wonder?

It was like a one day.

Why though? I wonder.

[crosstalk 00:04:51].

I don't know. I don't think so.


I maybe invented all of it. I don't recall exactly.


I don't think so. But I know my public story as a youth was that I got it at, but I actually just got my period at 15 or 16.


On a canoe trip.

On a-

No, oh my God! [crosstalk 00:05:08] too perfect.

On a canoe trip. I've been waiting years for my period to come and enter womanhood and be part of the tribe, and then it happened on a really intensive, rained out-

Oh, no.

... canoe trip, where I had a full blown meltdown in a tent when I realized what was happening, and I just screamed and I screamed at the boys. I was like, "Go to the first aid kit and fucking find me one of those pads that we're supposed to use for big cuts!" You know when you-

Like a gauze?

No! When you go on canoe trips, you always have pads with you-


... because if somebody gets a bad cut, it's the best thing to use. You just wrap it around the cut because it's meant to absorb blood.

Oh my God.

So it's in a lot of first aid kits. I know I don't look like it, but I used to do a lot of canoeing-

I believe it.

... and hiking items. 

Oh, yeah.

Now I don't even know how to call anymore. But-

That's crazy. I didn't know that.

Yes, they got me one of the shitty first aid pads, [crosstalk 00:06:10]-

Is it huge?

Yes, and everything was just dirty and wet.

Yeah, ooh.

It was so gross. It was so gross, so I felt like it was my first entitled female blowout.

Great. Wow. 


Were you in a canoe? When it... No, you were in a tent.

I was in a tent. 

Oh, I wish you'd be in a canoe. That would've been-

Did you wake up?

No, I was changing into the other wet piece of clothing.

And did you just see all the blood?

Yeah. I was just like, "This is happening."

What did you think at first? Did you know it was your period right away or did you-

Yeah, I did. I had been waiting. At first I was like, "You're really dirty" and then I'm like, "No, you're on fucking period." And I wish I didn't say any of that out loud. I'm filled with regret. 

No, why? That's hilarious!

No, but we were so dirty. We were so dirty.

Yeah, off course. 

And I think the canoe trip went so bad. It was such a fail, and we were so rained out. All of our food got moldy and it was bad. It was a bad trip.

I feel for you right now because I hate canoe trips, period. I really hate them. I used to avoid going... did you go through summer camp or was this a whole other kind of [crosstalk 00:07:20]?

No summer camp. But then I went onto lead those trips too. I liked them.

Okay. You're a tripper?

Yeah, I was.


I know.

A tripper?


Okay, so you used a pad?

Oh, yeah. 

Did you continue using pads for a while or...


You did.


Forever? Okay.

Basically, until last year for the first [crosstalk 00:07:40].


Oh, yeah.


Yeah, I thought you might like that little piece of information.

I do.

Yeah. No, I try anything-

Tell us more.

No, I tried using tampons like a bunch of times, and it was like my body just rejected them, and I also feel like, and I'm sorry for outing this, but most of the women in my family don't use tampons either. I don't know what's happening.


Like, thanks for the bear, everything's fine, but it's like, I just-

Dicks fit up there.

Big dicks totally fit up there. 

The dicks fit up there.

[crosstalk 00:08:08] like a big one [inaudible 00:08:09]. Yes, it's fine. But I could never get it and it freaked me out.


And then last year I was in Cuba, and I got my period and I was there for one week and I was like, "Oh, hell no! Today's the fucking day, wear something, like a tide is going to change."

And how did it feel? Have you been using them ever since?

On and off. Sometimes, I still have a psychological block because I'm like, "I don't leave a fucking q-tip in my ear all day." Why am I going to have some cotton up inside my body all day? It's so crazy to me and I know I've had lots of conversations about this, and I know other women that are like, "Why would I want to sit in a diaper all day too?" But I'm like, "I don't know, technology is pretty fucking good now." You don't need to... It's not like those old fashioned ones with the belt. You know what I mean?

Yeah. Oh, I agree. I use pads-

You do, yeah.

... really exclusively. That was because of issues with my small vagina years and years ago. But, now I just... I don't know, I'm accustomed to it, I guess? 

Me too.

I don't know. I haven't used a tampon, I haven't even tried in years. 

See, I use-

It's comforting. I feel like I'm on the fringe of-


... menstrual society.

No, no! I feel that way. Every time we talk about this, the people are always like, "What do you use, Jess?" And I'm like, "Pads all the time."

"It's so much dirtier, you're so dirty..." I'm like, "I'm an adult." I know I'm not hygienic [crosstalk 00:09:36].

Yeah. Absolutely. And sometimes I buy boxes of tampons just to have in my bathroom so that when girls are like, "Do you have a tampon?" I'm like, "absolutely!" Like, why wouldn't I have one?

I just have one in my purse.

Yeah. I carry it in my purse. [crosstalk 00:09:52]-

I bought it in the year 1999.

It's like those old condoms that you never use and mine's all torn and the wrapper's dirty.



Covered in crumbs.

... that's so fucking [inaudible 00:10:03].

Oh, I've done that.

I've done that. I've absolutely done that.

So, many times because I have this weird and crazy shame in wearing pads.

Me too!

It's so bizarre.

What good is this? Why do you think it's shameful? Because people tell you it's dirty?


Because no one likes wearing pads, and yes, because it's dirty. And it's not really as accepted in a way, I don't know why.

Because I'll tell you. When I think of a pad, first of all, I didn't start using tampons until I was 21.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

And it's because my roommates thought it was gross. Girls are like, "Why are you still using pads?" And I'd tell this at on stage, "I used a tampon, many times, very incorrectly." I thought of it as a pad, so instead of putting it in, I would insert it and my vagina would seal around it. I literally thought it was just a tiny pad. Just an itty bitty teeny weeny, that-

How did that work out?

Not well. Not well. And it was painful! It was very painful-


... and sometimes I'd get it halfway through... My sisters used to use o.b., right? So still to this day if you gave me an o.b., I would rather just use a pad because I find them very painful to use.


Because you have to put it up and it's-


I used plastic applicators, which I know are very terrible.

As opposed to cardboard?


Yeah, I have always found... Oh, you found plastic more painful?

No, easier.

Oh, easier. Yes. Cardboard is brutal.

So dry. It's so tacky.

It's so fucking dry.


[crosstalk 00:11:29].

So I'm never having to use cardboard and I'd get the tampon halves. Stuck it, like half-stuck in my vagina and I'd be like, "You know what this month? This is good." [inaudible 00:11:37].

Oh, yeah.

It's just a disaster, but I get though, at the same time been like, once I start turned over, I'm like, "Oh, I feel cleaner in a sense that I was never good at changing my pad. 

Well, that's [inaudible 00:11:52].

That's a big thing. You know what I mean? I never, still to this day, I'm not good at changing tampons. 

[inaudible 00:11:57], yeah.

And I never have them on me. This last year, I- 

[crosstalk 00:12:00].

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Stocked up. The extra large hallways, ones with wings, I always make sure to get the wings.

I don't understand what it is without wings. What the fuck is that?

Yeah, though I have made the mistake before and bled all over the place. The wings make a big difference.

They hold it in place.

Yeah! Hold it in place. 

I just want to say, I've ruined three panties this past period, which was a few days ago, because-

I haven't gotten my period yet.

That's nerveracking, we were on the same cycle.

I'm so late.

Maybe you're going to get it with the full moon. 

Oh, I hope so.

Next week.

That's something we would like.



Do you know the moon cycles?

Not that much. I just know that a lot of times in my life, my cycle has been in line with the full moon.


Oh, yeah. And sometimes the full moon wakes me up.


Wait, what? 

Yeah, check this out.

What do you mean?

I mean...


I wanted to check it out. Let's check it.

I'm a very good sleeper. I don't wake up in the night, I could fall asleep right now in 30 seconds. 

Me too.

And like really easy like that, and-

Look at the two of us, so much in common.

Pads and sleepiness.

[crosstalk 00:13:06]. You know, we're like twins.

Yeah. No, often times, when it's the full moon, this has happened many times, I'll just be sleeping like normal and I'll wake up in the middle of the night and be like, "What is this? Why am I awake?" And then I just go the window for unexplainable reason, like a creepy Mist Babylon character. I'll open the curtains and I'm like, "Hello." And it's the full fucking moon, just like-

And then you go back to bed?

You'll look at it for a bit. Be kind of freaked out, and be like, "Oh, you're like a woman. You are a woman, and that's the moon." And then I'll go back to bed and feel kind of magical. I don't talk about these things a lot, yeah. 

Have you ever gotten your period and then seen the full moon. Have you ever woken up, gotten your period and seen the full moon?

No! Oh my gosh. Come on! Come on!

Feel like, "Oh, what's that? Full moon and my period? No!"

Yes, and then I go directly to my red tent where I spend my days of menstrual [inaudible 00:14:13].

That'd be so funny.

Yeah, [crosstalk 00:14:18].

I have to ask, when's your birthday?


December 2nd.

Okay, you're a Sagittarius.


Sagittarius. Interesting.

It's all kinds of crazy. 

Is it?

I love it though.

I feel like you're usually Even Stevens Sagittarius-

They like to travel.

They like to travel. They're very [crosstalk 00:14:30].

We do.

That's the period.

That's the period. Okay, so how did your mom, how did your parents or your mom specifically react to this?

Well, I was at the canoe trip-

So you were at the canoe trip, so you told her?

And then I guess I told her later, so it was not a big deal. She was like, "Well, yeah. You know that's going to happen." So, that wasn't a big deal. My mom's chill and I have a whole tribal family of women and it didn't feel like-

How many sisters do you have?

I have zero sisters.



Yes. But I have one older brother.


I don't think we've ever spoken about my period. However, the first day I had the worst menstrual cramps of my life, the first time I understood what was happening with these cramps, I was doubled over in the Principal's office. I thought I was dying. You know, like the knives in the hole thing. 

Yeah, absolutely.

That was the day, and it was the first time I ever felt pain like that, my brother got into a bad car accident that same day. It was really weird. I was calling him and my mum. I was like, "Nobody loves me," and then they were dealing with something a little bit more serious. He was dying. 


Anyway, so sort of like the moon. No.


No. I was feeling that right away.

You were.

The connection, right away. 

Yeah. We're connected. Sort of. And I have lots of cousins and aunts, so there's just lots of women.

Did any of them give you any advice when you got your period?

I don't think so. We've talked a lot about it since. We talk about our periods all the time and it's interesting to find out over the years that a lot of members of my family never used tampons.


But my dad, is a special creature who is also a Physician. So growing up, all those years where I had my pretend period, my dad likes to talk to me about serious things only when we're trapped in confined spaces like automobiles or elevators. And so many times I cannot tell you we would be in a, I don't know why we were in elevators often but we were... Oh, it's because I'd used to go with him to the hospital. I'd volunteer and go with him on his rounds or whatever, and he'd pull out of his breast pocket of his jacket, his secret pocket. He'd just hand me this pamphlet, and be like, "You know, Arianne. Your body is about to begin changing." I'd be like, "Oh my God dad, I know!"

"You are going to start getting hair in," I'm like, "I want to die." Like all the boiler-played puberty things, "Soon you will get your period for the first time." I was like, "It was just a mess of awful." I was like, "Stop talking." 

But I like that he... It's really stereotypical in a sense that he's a doctor and he approached it like a doctor.

Oh, totally. He gave me pamphlets, there was lots of pamphlets. And then as the years passed, he was the birth control dispensary. 


It's like M&M's. He would just give me that shit-

And did you go-



... did you go on birth control to have sex, or did you go on because you maybe you have-

For my period


Because my cramps were still bad and all that, yeah.

Right... And it made a difference [inaudible 00:17:22]?

It did make a difference, and then I went off years, I haven't been on for a really long time.

So you went on pretty young then I guess. How old were you?

Probably the end of high school. 

Oh, okay.

Which I also thought was kind of cool. It's like having tampons I don't use. I'm like, "Yeah I'm on the pill." Like for sex.

"Yeah, you need a tampon? Yeah, here you go." "Oh, sorry-"

"Do you still have birth control pills? I have extra. My bad."

He's really cool with me having being sexually active.


Yeah, no wonder she can use tampons so well. She's having so much sex! All those dicks in her. Oh my God, that's so funny.

Shattered Lyceum.

That's an insult to hear about how your family yelled that women can't use tampons. I'm really curious about that. I wonder why-

When they can, but you know. 

What did they say or they choose not to, what do they say? Like what is-

How did this come up in conversation?


No, I think that... Well, because when you get a bunch of women together, you talk about body/hair relationships, ourselves, our family, our periods, and I think I probably ask them over the years. They use tampons and some of them do, totally religiously, and others don't at all. I don't know, it's like a preference thing. I really think about it as like a-

A genetic family trait?

I do. I'd like to think of it as that. I'm like, "It's not my fault," and it's in my blood.

Yeah, yeah.

But also, I just think that there is pressure around using tampons. So to hear people talk about it with them and be like, "You don't either?"


It's like, "It's very helpful."

Yeah. Yeah, I feel that pressure as well.

Did you ever think about using the DivaCup?


I feel like you're [crosstalk 00:18:56]-

Oh, Lord have mercy, the DivaCup. Not because of the moon, I'd be into it?

No, I mean in general. 


Something about you says, "DivaCup".

Oh God!

Not even in a bad way!

In a great way.

The DivaCup is wonderful.

Can I be like the spokesperson for the DivaCup?

Yeah, I can-

I can't, because my body also rejected it. I tried. 



I tried, I tried really hard. I was in a swimming pool situation, and I knew I was going to get my period on this holiday and I was just like, "You're going to get that cup in there," because I believe in the DivaCup. I think it's super smart. I mean, all the great things you can say about it, I'm on board with and the whole, it's disgusting, I mean that's just garbage to me. 


It couldn't be more intelligent and there should more things like that and I wish that I could get, I use all the organic pads and all that shit, but the DivaCup? 


Oh, yeah. The DivaCup is like, I can't, it was almost cartoon-esque. 


My body just popped it right out.

Oh my God.

That's amazing.

Yeah, it was just like, "Nope, nope! Nope. Reject."


Do you-

And maybe I'll... I just don't think I want things up there for that long, that aren't for fun times.

Those muscles are strong.

I don't like it.

They are strong.

Yeah, you told me.

Are you like that when you get a Pap done as well?

Oh, yes. No, my-

Yeah. Like a fucking speculum?

Yeah, they're like, "Are you sure you..." I have one brilliant, I mean if you have another show about gynecological visits-


I've had some trauma there-

I've had some big time trauma.

Well, it [crosstalk 00:20:28]-

It's intense!

It takes time, it's intense.

I don't know if I mentioned but my first and only Pap smear because my doctor never offered me any.


But my first one, and only one, she talked into my vagina.

Like a microphone?

Yeah, she was like, "You're going to!" I know I can't do this, but she basically opened my legs and doesn't look at me, and just talks into my vagina and be like, "You're going to Florida soon?" And I'm like, "Who do you think I am? First of all, I don't go to Florida, ever. And my face is up here." It's not that far away from my vagina. At this angle, it's relatively close.



But Gynecologists get annoying I feel. I've been in situations were they are like, "Come on, relax. Just breathe," and it won't go in because fucking vagina muscles are just clenching.

No, it's like being, "intruder!"

Yeah, yeah. They're freaking out.

More cold.

It's cold. And you're just nervous, you're in an exam, you're not aroused. I mean when you're sexually aroused, naturally things loosen up, right? You're relaxed.


It's the complete opposite of you-

Having sex.

... having steel slammed into you.

I went to ask my doctor if she would give me full body anesthesia for my Pap smear. I was like, "Just hook me up, just knock me out, just do it," and she's like, "We don't do that." I'm like, "Maybe you should. Because, then I'd be relaxed." She's like, "Your blood pressure's a little high," I'm like, "It's because a terrible thing's about to happen."



Which I also appreciate because it's medical and it's helpful and all those things. But-

Absolutely. Me too.

Yeah, I was thinking recently at the doctor I'm like, "Is this speculum," like I'm so interested in the history of it, "What a helpful device." But-

Who thought of it?

... but who thought of it, and how can we make it better? We made DivaCups as humans, we've got to think of some other way.

I agree.

I imagine they could use plastic.

There are plastic ones.

Okay. There you go.

Still. You're still like-

Yeah. It's aargh as cold.



Intruder, like the intruder factor.

So, your dad being a doctor, how soon after your period and whatnot, did you have to go for that Pappy?

Oh, I don't think I had my first Pap smear until I was, after I had sex for the first time, which I was 21. So it was a long time later. 

21 for me too.

Oh, hello soul sister.

What the hell is going on here?

Yeah, a lot.

Is there a full moon or something?

Coming up!

Alright, that's right, we talked about that but we forgot!

I wish everyone can see what's going on, the two of you are famous.

Yeah, we are falling in love, just making cutesy faces over here.


There's stardust glitter falling out of the sky.

Yeah. Stardust glitter falling from the sky.

Maybe a menstrual pad view, yeah.

That's right. Oh my gosh! But you use organic pads.

Oh, yeah.

Do you ever use reusable pads?

I have before. 


I really wanted to be the person who was such an advocate.


Because I think it's a great idea.


And it's kind of awful in practice for me at least. I'm like, "That shit is messy," and you're a woman on the go. I'm not in a hut-

That's tough.

... with the hay. It's like, "What am I going to do with that thing?" And so I've used them sometimes just at home, but I didn't...


There was not the technology there when I needed there to be, and I did feel like I was wearing a diaper, and I did feel like I was stepping backwards in time.



I'm like, "If the Apocalypse comes, and I got to go back to that, I can manage that." We can figure that out.


But I don't think that day needs to be today.



Well, it's like-

I wasn't into it.

Yeah, I mean it's like anything else, it takes a lot of preparation. It's like bringing your lunch to work with you. You know you got to get the fucking Tupperware and you got to prepare before-

It's just not like a bloody [crosstalk 00:24:01]-

Expect that it's not a... Yeah, but you know how much you need, you [crosstalk 00:24:04]-

... that have prints on it. They would have these charming prints and I'm like, "I don't need a... You don't need to make it cute." I don't need that, I just-

Right. You're not a child, you are a woman.

I'm not a child, yeah.

You'd want yours to be cute. 

Oh, 100%. 

Oh, me too.

Mine would be glitter-fied. 

Well, that would be different, but these were ugly prints. They were daisies.


Oh, daisies.

And you felt like you're ruining the daisies.

No. I thought that the daisies couldn't handle me.

That's more appropriate.

Oh, that's hilarious. Have you ever had sex on your period

I have. I don't particularly like it. The last time it happened, I didn't realize that my period was ending, and you know when it does that trick where you're like, "Yay! Your period is done," and then it comes back a day later. 

Oh, yeah. That [inaudible 00:24:51].

So there's a white bed spread ruined and a lot of feeling of shame that occurred from me-

Oh, no.

... and I never talked about it with the dude because it was a-

One night stand?


It was his bed.

No, mine.

Oh, your bed.

Oh, if it was his bed, I don't think I'd liked that as much, and I was trying to talk myself down because I was so mortified when he left and I saw that it was all bloody. Also, I was just upset that I ruined this nice white bed spread, but not even the sheet, the top.

Yeah, everything.

Yeah, and I was so embarrassed. The amount of shame that I felt was really intense, and I was trying to think like, "What would I do if a girlfriend was telling me this?" And they'd be like, "Dude, who fucking cares?"


You get your period... It's fine.


It's totally fine. But it was interesting to see that happen in myself. Be so accosted by shame.


So why do you not like it though usually? Is there a reason you just feel...

There's a few different reasons. I think if I was with somebody who was like, "Really, I don't care. Let's for it," that'd be different. I've have had one partner like that, but it didn't, I just still, the mess factor is something challenging to manage for me. I'm like it makes sex less spontaneous, I feel like I have to put down a sheet of some kind. 


Yeah, yeah.

I like my sheets. I don't like, there's still some shame about it too. And I also feel like sometimes when I'm on my period, I don't want to be touched in that way. 

Fair enough.


It's like the... I don't know, I oscillate. It depends on my mood basically, or the moon. I've had some dudes be like, "Seriously," there're some times when I have my period and I'm really horny and I want to have sex and I feel like it's frustrating that shame or lack of willingness from a partner is there, but sometimes, I feel like it is like a time just to be a woman, on my own. Not having sex, if it's okay to have five days out of a month where I'm just not going to have sex.

Sure, yeah.

As if sex is available [inaudible 00:26:52].

I know. I say the same thing. I'm like, "I don't want to have sex on my period," and I'm like, "I'm not really having sex at all."

Do you find you get hornier during your period or before your period?

Definitely not a few days before. Because then I just feel like I am a bloatation device.


And I don't like it. I get very horny when I'm ovulating. That's like-


I feel like I have, and this is something my mum would laugh at this, she's like, "You're always something with your period, or you're ovulating," or something like that. I feel like I have four good days a month where I'm just like, "Arianne: Person not affected by hormones." And if ovulation is really intense, period's really intense.



I think that's both of us. Both of us, ovulation, we get crazy. 

Oh, yeah.

We just want to be touched by everything.

All the time.

But yeah, I don't know. Do I get horny or we always talked about this? I don't know if I do, because I'm always horny.

Yeah, baseline.

I'm always horny and yet I don't, I don't really have period sex very much, but I always want to have sex. I don't think I've ever been in a situation where I've had my period and really wanted to have sex and not done it. But I don't have sex very much regardless of that. But I am horny all the time-

Me too, yeah.

... regardless if I have sex or not because I got couple of long periods without having sex, but I always want it and I masturbate all the time.


Yeah. And I will do that on my period. Oh, no problem.

Well, it's different, right?

It's different.

It's just like, it's more contained.

It's private space. 

Well, I don't know how it is for you guys, but I'm curious actually. Because you're using Paps, right?


So when you masturbate...

Oh, I just shift it down I guess. Right?

Yeah, I don't know.

Or I hold it up and-

Like a tent? [crosstalk 00:28:34].

... put a vibrator in?

See, because I have a tampon in, it's never an issue.

It's never an issue. I have to do some rearranging down there.


Yeah, to get in, and I got to wash off the vibrator sometimes. But I mean-

Maybe all the time?

All the time.


You sure [crosstalk 00:28:55]?

Oh right. Yeah, I wash it a lot.

You have it running in washing [crosstalk 00:29:01] wherever you go.

It's waterproof, so...

No shame here.

No. Yeah, but I felt I've definitely have had sex on my period many times and...

It just makes me think so much about religion. I can't take it away.


What about religion?

There's something, in Judaism, I have some friends who are, whatever in to Orthodox Judaism. There's, and I'm not an expert on this so don't make any quotations. 

You are going to be the best sex expert that we have, so let's here it.

Great. Well, you don't have sex when you're on your period. And in fact, if you're very religious, you might not even touch, like you might not even cuddle with your partner.

Holy shit!

Yeah. It's like-

That's so sad!

Maybe. I mean for some people, yes.

For some people-


For some people, no. For me, I want to be touched all of the time so I wouldn't be interested in that. But thinking about it from that perspective, that's sort of why my brain trailed off because there is something, there's lots of different arguments about it. 

If it's about being dirty versus clean, which is a bullshit argument to me completely. So I put that one aside, but there is something reinterpreted of that ritual of having women's time.



So, it's time for you, as a woman, it is now time to engage whether you're heterosexual or not, it is not a time for sex. It's a time for being in yourself as a woman and being in that company and paying attention to that.



That's an interesting interpretation. We've never looked it that way actually.

Yeah. And we never talked about it, and actually it's why I want to ask you because I feel like you have a lot to say about media... 




Media and periods and I want you to just go. Tell us. Tell us your thoughts about the media's perception of menstruation and periods, and I feel like for sure you've read The Red Tent.

Yeah, I actually figured out the other day, I had two copies so I gave one away.

That's amazing.

Yeah, The Red Tent. Yeah. I think The Red Tent was an important book. And then I got kind of over it. But I still think it was important, and I had this incredible professor. I used to study Religion in university and she talked about, before The Red Tent came out, she would talk about this biblical times for women. This Red Tent business was being like, she used to call it "The Club Made For Women" and [crosstalk 00:31:21] which was kind of awesome. This idea that women got to have their break then.


Right. Interesting.

Which I do think is, I think that is legit. I think that it is a tiring thing.


But about media... I mean, I could go off, you're right.

Well, just go off.

Go off!

That's why I know [crosstalk 00:31:45].

Yeah. Okay, okay. Well, I think that there is something for me that is tied between how the media is hyper-sexualizing women in general and especially young women, that is directly correlated to shame around periods.



So I don't know what that is yet exactly, but it's really fucked up to me. You have this postcard of a Frida Kahlo painting and I'm just like, "What the hell would she think of all this mess?" I'm really, really concerned about the next generation of women and how they're relating to their bodies, and it's not just about periods, for me.

It's about just over-sexualization in general, so talking about having sex when you're on your period, I'm like, "I don't know. Maybe we need to bring back a five day abstinence period or something." 

Yeah, right.

So I'm thinking about being able to reconnect to yourself as a woman.

And to evaluate and see if you're okay with a check in all of this.

Yeah! Just fucking check in. There is a pressure to be sexualized all of the time. 



And so maybe I'm sounding like an advocate for abstinence or something on your period-

No, no.


... but it's not that. It's about taking a fucking minute, and not having that be perceived as hysteria. Like, "I'm so connected." 




That's interesting. Because hysteria back in the day, I have a long joke about the invention of vibrators that I've been talking about recently. Back in the day, women were called hysterical frequently because they craved sexual stimulation that they were not receiving from their husbands. But back then, they didn't know what that was because the female orgasm didn't really exist.


I'm doing quotations with my hands right now, but, anyway that's funny because all these women were super horny and they were like, "I can't sleep, I'm so anxious," and like, "I can't think of anything else," and-

Mostly because of your ladyhood.

Yeah, and doctors then invented a vibrator and stuck it in them, and that was the cure. It's just a cure, but it wasn't really a cure. But interesting.

It is. Have you seen this show Masters of Sex?


Of course!


Of course.

Of course!

I was obsessed with it for a while there.

Yes, that first episode was hot. 

Oh, yeah. A lot of it is hot. 


A lot of it is hot, hot, hot. But that's interesting that you're saying that because, I mean from a feminist perspective, it's so much about choice, right? And if you want to-


... if you want to be really sexually vocal or sexually liberated, then go for it. If you don't, you don't. I mean, you shouldn't be forced either way, and I feel like there are some times when women feel like they're expected to be. I guess they're expected to crave sex all the time, and if they don't, they feel something's wrong with them?

And that [crosstalk 00:34:35]-

Well, if they do they feel there's something wrong with them.

... and if they do, they feel-

There's something wrong.

.. either way it's like you can't win.

You can't win like you're judged, you're prude or you're a spinster, if you don't [crosstalk 00:34:47]-

Or you're a slut or a whore.

There is basically no options and we have four non-hormonal days a month. 


It's like we're fucked.


It's weird, right? You're kind of held to these expectations either way.

I just think it's interesting that you said, because I read a lot about menstruation and it's proven that girls are getting their period younger and younger.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

And we're sexualizing them younger and younger. So the start of womanhood is when you apparently when you get your period, right? That's the stereotypical view, you become a woman. But when you're 10 years old, are you really a woman just because you have your period? 


Yeah. No, it doesn't... That whole notion of "start of womanhood" happens the minute, and I don't know enough about this, but I think it happens the minute you're born this gender. 


And then how you're raised with the projections of that gender. 



Like it's all built in.

Also that's-


And then these bodies to deal with. Why the hell were those developed?

That's also a super old fashioned perspective in a sense of girls were married when they were 12 years old and pregnant when they were 13 back in the day. So-

And still are in a lot of place in the world.

Yeah, and I'm watching Game of Thrones right now, and I'm on season two. Do you watch Game of Thrones?

No, I don't really understand what that is.

No, me neither.


There's no [crosstalk 00:36:07] for me.

Well anyway, one of the girls, the Queen got her period and they're freaking out because she's going to be able to have kids now. They were just waiting for her to have her period and she's 12 years old. I mean for God's sakes, it's a different time. It isn't like a 12 year old girl's not a woman these days. No, sorry, not an adult, she's not [crosstalk 00:36:29]-

A 30 year old woman is not an adult.

Yeah, you're right, you're right.

Yeah, you would not think- 

She's not a women, like she's not completely grown. It's like ready to-

I think when I think of womanhood, it's the capability and the knowledge to consent to things, and to make the right decisions. 

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

When you give the label of womanhood to a 10 year old, that kind of allows people to scape goat and say she had sex when she was 10 and she got pregnant, did she make that decision because she's a woman, because she has her period?


Or did she have the proper mindset with age and knowledge that as you get older and you learn new things, you learn about different things. So what is a womanhood and what does the period really relate to it? It's your body developing. Does that make you more intelligent? Does that it make you more aware of what's going on?

Or mature? Or-

I mean, I sometimes do think it does. But a 10 year old is a 10 year old. You've been on Earth for 10 years.


And maybe you've seen a lot and have the capacity to make decisions, and likely, you shouldn't have to do any of that shit. 


But I do think it's totally insane that women have the capacity to grow humans inside of us. That's so fucking nuts!

No, I agree.

That's mental, and so I do think that there're special powers that come with being a woman and the fact that we have our periods and they're this dreaded thing.

Yeah. When it should be a celebrated thing because it means your body is working completely-



There's birth control where you can get these shots and not get your period for six months. I'm like, "That sounds awesome, and I'm like, "I'm not sure I want that," and I don't judge. There's a lot, it's so complicated.

It's so complicated.

No wonder you guys need to do this every week, it's so-

Well, there are different signs to everything.


Yes. And I-

Even as I say, "Oh, a 12 year old isn't an adult," but if a woman gets pregnant when she's 12, I wouldn't want to judge her for that.


It's this weird...

And she could be a great mom.

And she could be a great mom! There're also great teen moms, are you kidding me? Wendy Davis, not at 12, but she had her kids so young and look at her now for God's sakes.


Hero. It's just an interesting perspective to think of, what your period really means. We've never really discussed this.


It's very sensitive too. 

It's very sensitive.

I was thinking about since you asked me to come on and I'm just like, "There is so much shit talking I can do about my period and how much I hate it and how much I feel like it complicates my life and doesn't make things convenient and makes me moody, and I've worked with homeopaths to deal with hormones. All the shit that goes along with it-


And there's so much shit talking I could do about it, and I could complain about it all of the times. And I've thought about it. I'm like, "Do I want to continue?" And I've already done some of that. But do I want to continue that conversation though? 

That's fine. You're allowed to.

Because there are other parts of the conversation that I don't deal with on a monthly basis. I'm just like, "What the hell does this mean?"

I'm just thinking back to when I got my period. In no way did I feel more womanly. No, in this sense I was 10.


So I was so young and to me, it was just, "Well here's this thing." I don't feel like it made me more aware, maybe slightly more aware of my body. But... it wasn't-

I definitely started looking at my vagina a lot more after I got my period. 

I [crosstalk 00:39:49]-

I wasn't looking at it that much before. I'm trying to think of when I started masturbating because I feel like I got my period before I started masturbating. So...

I started masturbating way before my period.

I didn't kiss boys very much. I didn't really think much about sex, or anything like that, and then probably when I was 13, I started masturbating. I think I had already gotten my period at that point. So, yeah. I guess my period made me aware of my body a lot more.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Especially those parts. I didn't really groom down there or anything.

That's a whole other-

Oh, boy.

... ball of... It's fur?

Yeah. Alright. Well, you know what? We're at 40 minutes here. 

Do you have a story you want to share?

You want to share any kind of story? I don't talk a lot-

I can talk about this for 12 straight hours with the two of you.

I know.

I know. We could too. We have! We have.

You have.

It has been around 12 hours of fourteenth episode. So probably about there.

Oh. Do I have a story? I told this little bit of a story, I think when we did The Periods Show, which was such an awesome endeavor, I hope we will do it again. But then I had this boyfriend one time who was a little bit disturbed, I think, by my PMS and by my, air quotes, "Hysteria".


And so he gave me this passage from a fucking Eckhart Tolle book.

Oh, no.

Fucking garbage written by some dude, and he was so earnest and sweet and he was like, "I was reading this book and I thought you should read this part," and it was all about how PMS was invented and that it's a construct of the woman's mind, and if you just meditate out of it, you can bet I fucking launched that book across the damn cabin. I was just like, "Nope. Irrelevant!" So that was a really big moment for me [crosstalk 00:41:48]- 

Did you end the relationship?

Eventually. But it should have been a bit more of a flag. Poor guy, he thought that I was suffering because I was so hormonal.


You know I was suffering so much and couldn't control it. I was in my early twenties, I was like a shit storms of up and down way more than now, and so he was trying to be supportive, and I rejected all of it, which I think I have every right to personally. I'm like, "Don't hand me a book."

I know. Sometimes support doesn't come across as support though. It is-

Especially not when it is an old German man who I don't know, The Self-Help book, Hour of an Hour, some shit.

Yeah, absolutely.

I'm like, "Save that for Oprah, asshole." I cannot... No. No. No. 


How about you step inside this body and tell me you don't want to fucking cry and yell, and then bake a cake and destroy it.

Yeah. I-

I [inaudible 00:42:40]. When I got my period this past weekend, all I kept on saying to myself was, "I just want a bunch of cupcakes, and I just want to put my face in the cupcakes." [crosstalk 00:42:50]-

Did that work?

No. But I didn't even want to eat them. I literally just want to-

[crosstalk 00:42:54] Instagram that photo today. 

I just wanted to be like this, "Boom!" And just have the icing on my face for some reason.

You should have done it.

[crosstalk 00:43:01]. I sent a photo of cupcakes to Natalie today and Natalie was like, "I want these in my mouth."

I love cupcakes.

Now I want a cupcake.

Me too. Dairy-free one though for me.


Anyway, this has been a blast. We're out of time. 


We could talk forever.

So check out Arianne's website.

Thank you so much.

Thank you. So can you just list, what's all your information? What's your Twitter handle?

My Twitter handle, I think is, my name is Arianne Shaffer. There's maybe an underscore in there somewhere.

Yeah, just Google her.

Yeah, you can Google me and you can go to  to check out the Love Letters.

And if you want to see her perform...

Yeah, I'll be performing next week at the 3rd anniversary show of Rack Hunters, which is such a great storytelling show.


Wednesday night, right?

Yeah, next Wednesday night. Whenever that, the 12th-ish?

When is that? Today is the... yeah, no.

The internet will tell you.

Yes, and it's at the Tranzac? 


At the Tranzac, which is Bloor and Brunswick in Toronto.

In Toronto, Canada.


It's going to be a blast, and you can see my storytelling videos at

Oh, great.

There you go.

Very cool.


Well, thank you so much for being here.

Thank you so much for doing this great show you guys, and-

[crosstalk 00:44:14].

... taking the shame away from the fucking menses. And The full moon, it's going to call to you next week.

I look forward to it. So I'm Jess Beaulieu.

I'm Natalie Norman. And...

If you want to learn more about The Crimson Wave, you can follow us on Twitter @TheCrimsonWave, or like us on Facebook, You can also follow me @msjessbeaulieu.

And me @stalkingnatalie-

On Twitter, on Twitter.

... on Twitter, and-

That's it I think. Ovu-later!


Show Notes:

On this week's episode of The Crimson Wave hosts Jess Bealieu and Natalie Norman welcome storyteller and all around amazing women Arianne Shaffer.

We discuss wearing pads over tampons!

Canoe trips !

Having a strong female support syste !

Religion !

And what it means to be a women!

For more on Arianne


For more on The Crimson Wave

@msjessbeaulieu and @stalkingnatalie

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