We’ve been investigating how a woman’s cycle affects male-female relationships and have found that when a woman is accurately informed about what is going on with her body and can clearly communicate it to her partner, it enhances the relationship overall. Sounds easy enough, but what is a good way to accomplish this?
Fertility-awareness methods of family planning provide lots of information about the menstrual cycle and can be a great way for a woman to learn about her cycle. But, simply talking to her partner isn’t ideal when explaining a complicated subject. It’s too easy for one or both parties to get confused, miss key information, forget, or simply get it wrong.
When it comes to explaining a woman’s cycle and identifying the days when she is likely and unlikely to become pregnant, a visual representation is very useful. Family planning professionals and health care providers state that CycleBeads in particular are a great hands-on, visual tool for communicating much of that information.
One might think men would be reluctant to learn about a woman’s cycle in detail, but it has been shown that when men are invited to be involved, the CycleBeads tool is appealing to them. As one CycleBeads user said,
“My husband really understands my cycle now and he wants to be the one to move the ring every day. He likes knowing exactly which day we’re on and whether I’m at risk of getting pregnant. He can also see ahead of time when I’m going to be PMS’ing!”
This presents an opportunity for a male partner to be involved with birth control, instead of making it solely a woman’s responsibility. When he is aware of his partner’s cycle, he is more understanding of whether it is a good time to have intercourse or not. Furthermore, studies show that couples who use CycleBeads are far more likely to use condoms in conjunction with CycleBeads than with other family planning options. Condom use is a communication challenge with which many couples struggle; CycleBeads appear to bring condoms into relationships in a less stressful way.
Sex is not always easy to talk about, even in a committed relationship, where the couple may otherwise feel comfortable. But studies have shown that when using CycleBeads for communicating with the male partner, men feel more confident about taking some of the responsibilities in the sexual relationship and they feel closer to their partner. Some men even described the feeling as “liberating.”
Now those are big benefits!
1) Surveys with CycleBeads users conducted by Cycle Technologies, 2007
2) Surveys with healthcare providers conducted by Cycle Technologies, 2010
3) “Improving Family Planning Services for Women and Their Partners: A Couple-Focused Approached,” Institute for Reproductive Health, 2009.: http://www.irh.org/sites/default/files/OPA%20Couple%20Study%20IRH%20final%20report%202009.pdf
4) Standard Days Method Research: Male Involvement and Couple Communication, Institute for Reproductive Health, 2005-2008.: http://www.irh.org/?q=SDM_male_couple