Hollywood has a horror of the twin taboos of intercourse and menstruation. But female writers and directors are starting to change the way women’s bodies are portrayed on screen
When it comes to taboo subjects on screen, period sex serves up a double whammy. Intercourse and menstruation – who wants to see that, right? Certainly not Hollywood. In the history of cinema, the vanishingly rare instances of sexual flow-down are portrayed with more focus on the horror of women “surfing the crimson wave”, as Cher from Clueless puts it, rather than reducing the stigma.
Who can forget the moment, in both the original 1976 Carrie and 2013 remake, when the titular heroine is terrified when she discovers blood coming out of her vagina in the school showers? A similar scene of fright occurs when Brooke Shields’s young castaway Emmeline gets her period for the first time in The Blue Lagoon (1980), while Ginger Snaps (2000) wraps a teen’s transformation into womanhood with becoming a werewolf. It’s even implied that Ginger gets attacked because the wolf, to quote Brick Tamland from Anchorman, “can smell the menstruation!”