Sex Roles

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 3–13 | Cite as

American menstrual expressions

  • Virginia L. Ernster


Girls tend to learn menstrual euphemisms at menarche, usually from mothers and female friends. Boys usually report learning them in high school or college from male peers. Women often view the terms as a secret language for use in the company of males or others in whose presence a straightforward statement about menstruation is deemed embarrassing. Among men, menstrual euphemisms tend to have sexual and derogatory connotations. Interpretations which accompany these folk expressions are presented to illustrate general aspects of menstrual and sexual socialization.


High School Social Psychology Folk General Aspect Female Friend 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginia L. Ernster
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Sociomedical SciencesColumbia UniversityUSA

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