5 Nigerian Men Share Their First Encounters With Menstruation

May 28, 2021

Menstruation is a very normal female experience. But in many societies, people are tight-lipped on the topic, causing a huge knowledge gap. Some women never find out about it until their first period is upon them. It is hardly surprising that many young men have little to no awareness of menstruation until they get into the bigger world. In commemoration of Menstrual Health Day 2021, five men share stories on their exposure to menstruation.

Awwal, 22

When I was about 10, my aunt who was living with us at the time would go out sometimes then return with a black nylon bag later. She did this very often. Each time, she held the content of the black nylon close. That got me curious. I would disturb her to show me what was inside, but of course, she always ignored me. One day, I got to press the nylon, and it felt soft,  like bread. I got more confused. Why was this bread so colourful? Why was she secretive about the bread? It was later, in senior school, I got to understand menstruation and pads properly.

Tosin, 21

The first time I heard the word “menstruation” was in maths class. When the maths tutor introduced us to mensuration (the part of geometry concerned with measurements) and asked us to repeat it after him, some of my friends were saying menstruation instead. And it wasn’t a mispronunciation. I remember girls being uptight about the whole thing. They were not happily chanting menstruation the way boys did. After the class, I looked up the meaning and saw that it meant the flow of blood. I couldn’t imagine why and how someone could bleed when they’re not dying.

Yusuf, 23

That day, I caught my sister sneaking food to her room when it was supposed to be the Ramadan fast.  I, thinking I was a detective, ran to report to my father. After I finished narrating everything to him, all he said was “okay”. I was confused and angry. I narrated it again and he told me to leave. I was convinced that my father loved my sister more than me. She wasn’t praying too. He’d have flogged me if I ever did that. It happened the next day again and my father saw her do it this time. Of course, there was no need to point it out anymore. After Ramadan, he sat me down and explained menstruation the best way he could and that women on their periods were not supposed to fast or pray. I didn’t fully understand it then— neither do I now —but I know not to harass a Muslim woman not fasting or praying.

John, 19

My first exposure to menstruation was in Primary 4. A girl in my class was stained and it was very obvious. Many of us were scared for her. I can’t forget how much the girl cried that day. It must have been her first because she didn’t know what to do. The school nanny removed her from the class to clean her and she returned wearing the school’s sportswear. After the lunch break, her parents came to collect her and our teacher told us she was taken to the hospital. For the longest time, I viewed menstruation as a severe illness that affected girls.

Ope, 25

My mom used to send me to buy pads for herself and my sister. I would go get it without asking what it was. Sometimes I wondered what it was that they never gave me a share of but it wasn’t a priority. I didn’t even know it was considered shameful by boys my age to be seen with a pad until one day in school when a friend told all the boys in my class that he saw me buying a pad. They mocked the hell out of me. The whole time, I had no idea why pads were a shameful object or what menstruation was. After that incident, I stopped buying pads for them at home. When they eventually taught menstruation in my school, they sent the boys out of the class but told the girls to remain. It was my first girlfriend that later explained everything to me.

Read this too: 5 Nigerian Men Talk About The Best Part Of Being Married

Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount


Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

July 1, 2021

Buying men’s jeans in Nigeria can be such a drag. Apart from dealing with the stress of going to the market, here are seven struggles men face when trying to buy jeans срочный займ онлайн на карту. 1. The stress of knowing you have to go out to shop This is you in bed in […]

April 21, 2021

As told to Femi A couple of weeks ago, I put out a tweet looking to speak with young people dealing with hypertension. Ehimen reached out to me. Our conversation spanned beyond hypertension to other issues. Here’s his story. It all began in my final year at the university when I was 19. I think […]


Now on Zikoko

girls with curly hair and hoop earrings
October 26, 2021

We used clothing items to express ourselves. When you pick an outfit, you are telling a story about yourself. Here’s what your earring choice says about you.

Read here:

Recommended Quizzes

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

October 30, 2019

2010 was a game-changing one for Nollywood, with our movies making serious cash and getting international acclaim. So, which of these hits released between 2010 and 2019 — from the pace-setting The Wedding Party to the divisive Trip To Jamaica — best suits your personality? Well, that’s what this quiz is here to answer:

how tall are you
March 11, 2020

Did your parents give you enough beans when you were growing up? If they did, then you’re probably around 6’0″ and above. Either way, we created a quiz that can guess your current height (pretty accurately, if we do say so ourselves). Take to see if we nailed it:

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

More from Man Dem


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.