Is it TMI to let you know I’m on my period?
Probably not, considering social media has created a generation of overshare-ers, and about half the world population menstruates, and if you’re reading this you probably should be able to fathom and accept something as mundane as the menstrual cycle.
But that’s all beside the point.
For the first time in a while, I’m feeling emotional (rt if ur also emotionally ded inside lol !) Choked up at the drop of a hat, irrationally irascible – which is what I want to focus on. I found myself welling up over very little, and immediately blamed it on my period. It got me wondering – do men also experience hormone fluctuations that affect their emotions and moods?
We must stop believing that cis-women are inherently more emotional, especially because of their “””tIMe oF tHe MOnth!!!””” Cis-men, it turns out, ALSO have hormones! Do you know what that means? It means CIS-MEN’S hormone’s FLUCtuate jUST LIKE WOMEN’S!!!! THAT could mean that CIS-MEN ALSO EXPERIENCE mood swings and different emotional patterns!
In fact, psychotherapist Jed Diamond, PhD coined the term Irritable Male Syndrome, and has written a book of the same name. IMS presents symptoms in cis-men such as hypersensitivity, irritability, frustration, depression, mental fogginess, low libido, and others.
Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) is, as it suggests, linked to the menstruation cycle. Cis-men don’t menstruate, but their hormone changes are linked to other cycles. For example, there’s a daily cycle that shows cis-men to have higher levels of testosterone in the morning than in the evening. Testosterone levels also go through seasonal cycles, with higher levels in November than in April. Of course, when cis-men reach adolescence their bodies produce more testosterone than before. And as cis-women experience menopause, cis-men between 40 and 55 experience andropause. The intensity of mood swings and IMS/PMS also depends on extenuating circumstances: how stressful is your life already?
Cis-men can be testosterone deficient, but that’s another condition that can require medical attention.
I’d be remiss (and not a very good liberal millennial) if I didn’t bring up toxic masculinity. This notion that asserts how traditional Western conceptions of masculinity – macho, tough, eschewing emotion – are in fact harmful to all genders, especially cis-men, could play a part in why the chemical (read: quantifiable) fluctuations affecting cis-men’s behavior is not so readily talked about. That’s to say, hormones in all humans naturally fluctuate, affecting emotions along the way. Feeling feelings is not a human failing; it’s a consequence of your changing hormones. So, if emotions have a rational base in hormones, why is sensitivity and a degree of emotional volatility (especially involving sadness) stigmatized when it comes to cis-men?
I now have a few other questions that I’m not going to get into right now, like: how do one’s emotions change when one chooses to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT)? If an AFAB (assigned female at birth) person takes testosterone, how might their menstrual cycle change? If a cis-man and -woman live together, can they “sync up” the way menstruating people might?
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