Women have been historically neglected in medicine and research, so it’s unsurprising that sufficient research has not been done on treating persistent period pain. Female sexuality and reproductive health, especially masturbation and menstruation, are still considered taboo subjects – the full anatomy of the clitoris for example, was only discovered in1998! To help close the so-called “Gender Health Gap”, and in honour of May’s National Masturbation Month, premium sex toy brand Womanizer launched the Menstrubation Initiative ((Menstru(ation) + (Mastur)bation) at the beginning of May. This global clinical study will attempt to answer the question: can orgasms reliably relieve period pain?
Johanna Rief, Head of Sexual Empowerment at Womanizer: “The lack of studies on women’s health motivated us to take matters into our own hands. We know that a fulfilled sex life, whether solo or with another person, has many positive effects and now it’s time to expand this knowledge to menstruation and pain-relief”. She adds: “Our products are ideal if you want to masturbate during your period because most Womanizer models aren’t inserted inside the body. This is especially helpful if people are wearing something like a menstrual cup or tampon.”
At the beginning of May, Womanizer announced the Menstrubation Initiative, combined with a public call for interested parties aged 18 and over to register for the study via a designated website. Within the first 24 hours, 6,000 people had already registered, and by the end of the deadline on May 31st, there were nearly 20,000 registrants. People from over 100 countries signed up for a chance to participate, from Afghanistan to Uruguay.
The final 1,000 participants will be selected in a randomized procedure and over the course of three months, will be asked to masturbate to counteract their menstrual pain and document their experience. In return, all participants will receive a Womanizer Starlet 2 (total value of about 70,000 euros). In addition, they will also receive products from the Menstrubation Initiative’s partners Lunette (approx. 30,000 euros) and The Female Company (approx. 10,000 euros). Both are internationally recognized companies that specialize in period products.
Finnish company Lunette will be supplying menstrual cups to participants in North America, Australia, Asia, and most of Europe. Lunette has been selling menstrual cups since 2005 and are committed to both sustainability and breaking down social stigma associated with menstruation. In German-speaking countries, Womanizer is working with The Female Company, a German start-up which produces sustainable period products made of organic cotton and has attracted worldwide attention with its “Tampon Book” and international PR awards.
The global study is being conducted by leading experts who will ensure that it meets scientific standards. One such expert is American psychologist and sex therapist, Dr. Christopher Ryan Jones, who currently teaches at the University of Mainz. He says: ” We know that masturbation can have different positive effects on health and general well-being. This includes pain relief from migraines2 and menstruation for example. While there are studies that casually document the benefits of masturbation for period pain3, there have been no studies that are fully dedicated to this goal. The Menstrubation Initiative will be the first global survey of its kind and will provide us with valuable results. Womanizer and their partners are truly providing an incredible opportunity by initiating a long-overdue study like this.”