33 Experiences Of Womanhood That May Just Blow Mens' Minds Wide Open

Reddit user u/Unfair_Quantity1413 posed the question: "What are some things that are normal to women, but mind-blowing to men?" The thread quickly filled with women opening up about the various facets of their lives that many men don't even seem to know about. Here's what they shared:

Warning: Post contains mention of sexual assault and harassment.

1."That women know a lot more about men’s health than men do about women’s health because men’s health is the standard. Most people know the signs of a heart attack for men, but don’t know that it’s different symptoms for women. Women need a different amount of sleep per night, different amount of calories per day, different healthy BMI levels, etc. But, common knowledge is all about MEN’S requirements because that’s what researchers focused on most when a lot of studies first established what we know about health. Men get to be ignorant about the needs of 50% of the world's population because they find it 'icky,' but women don’t get the same option."


2."IUDs are inserted without any kind of anesthetic. If you're lucky, they warn you to take some Advil beforehand. Then, they grab your cervix with metal tongs and force it open."


"I was swearing uncontrollably during the procedure, cried, was close to passing out for 30 minutes, and felt sick for the rest of the day. It was the most pain I've ever been in. I remember being so mad at the doctor for downplaying how painful it could be during our original discussion about getting one. 'A pinch and some pressure' my foot."


Healthcare professional holding an IUD contraceptive device
Science Photo Library / Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

3."Feeling a fart roll up your vulva in the front."


4."Discharge can bleach underwear. Not stain, actually remove color."


Two pairs of women's underwear hanging from a clothesline against a blue sky
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

5."Going to the doctor for a legitimate problem, only to be treated as dramatic, lying, attention-seeking, depressed, or overweight, then outright dismissed because you are female, and not getting the help you need."


6."You're standing in a busy bar and someone wants to pass you. If you are a guy: 'Hey, excuse me,' little tap on the shoulder, friendly smile, and request to move. If you are a girl: Someone puts their hands on your waist and tries to move your body away."


Crowded bar
Godong / Getty Images

7."Constantly being asked if you're pregnant before every little bit of medical care (often multiple times in one visit, if you're in the hospital, just to be safe) and before getting a treatment that's definitely unsafe during pregnancy (like an X-ray or a medication). Often, even your 'no' answer isn't good enough. I haven't had a uterus for 21 years. Doesn't matter, I'm still getting a pregnancy test because 'patients lie.'"


8."Locking your car immediately when you get in it, before fastening your seatbelt or putting the key in."


Person using a car key remote to unlock a vehicle
Twenty47studio / Getty Images

9."The number of women who have suffered sexual abuse at one point or another in their lives. It is absolutely unbelievable to me, although I know it’s true."


"Came here to say this. EVERY SINGLE GIRL I know has been touched inappropriately by a man, yet somehow none of my guy friends know anyone who has done it?? The math ain’t mathing. Trying to explain this to most men I know is baffling. They absolutely do not believe me. And, people wonder why so many rapes go unreported."


"I’d like to add sending D pics to this. The servers at my restaurant get random D pics all the time. I even had to remove a regular customer and old friend from grade school because he airdropped a pic from the bathroom. Where does this inclination come from?"


10."Cuddling/physical affection from our platonic friends. Some of the men in my therapy group are so touch-starved and it makes me sad that they can only get that from a romantic partner. I have easily 10 friends who, if I really needed a hug, would drop everything to come hold me. Regardless if you crave non-sexual/affectionate touch, I hope you find it and that it is healing to you. Friendship is so important, and if you can/have the chance, I encourage you to nurture and cultivate those relationships with the same fervor you do romantic relationships. It will make your life so much richer in a multitude of ways."


Three friends wrapped inside a blanket as they stand and look out at the beach
Jordi Salas / Getty Images

11."Women and their girlfriends having to track each other on apps after nights out, going to the gym, or almost any activity in public just to make sure they all get home okay."


"Sharing the Uber ride is another one. I once had a driver really bungle the instructions and go a weird way to get me home. I had location share on with my friend out of habit, and she called me to ask why I was on such an unusual route."


12."Professionally speaking: getting dismissed, ignored, or overlooked, usually in favor of a man. I work in IT and was trying to set up a new phone system. My boss (a male) put me in charge of it because I had just done something similar at my previous job. Anyways, I kept telling him that my contact at the company we were switching to kept ignoring me and basically calling my questions stupid when he would answer me. My boss heard me, but didn't fully understand what the issue was...until he actually saw it happen. I sent an email asking a question and it was ignored. He sent an email asking the same question and received an immediate answer."

"My boss's jaw just dropped. He immediately apologized to me and said that while he knew it happened, he'd never actually seen it done before. He was mortified and actually sent an email to that contact at the phone company saying, 'When she asks a question, she better get the same attention and response that you would give me.' Until that moment, he thought it was something that only happened in theory. It actually blew his mind that it was real."


Person at a desk appears stressed with hands on temples, eyes closed, near a computer
Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

13."Emotional labor. We aren't super-human in our ability to locate things or replace something before it runs out. It's from years and years of training and conditioning. Everyone is certainly capable of it, but the responsibility is largely set on women."


"Yeah. We get forced to do this stuff from an early age, just to be told, 'Well, you’re better at it!' when we get older, as an excuse for why we should continue to do these things."


14."Men can say, 'I want a baby' or 'Let’s try for a baby!' and only have to orgasm for that to happen. His partner will then carry the weight of a growing fetus in her uterus, which is painful, scary, uncomfortable, and can have permanent affects on her health and body. Some moms don’t lose the pregnancy weight. Some moms have severe PPD. Some moms’ bodies never fully bounce back. And, there's way more after the baby is born."


"Related: how common miscarriage is. My husband wasn't worried at all and then we went in for our first ultrasound last week and there was no heartbeat. We were almost in the second trimester."


Person sitting with ultrasound photo in hands, legs forming a triangle shape on a bed
D3sign / Getty Images

15."Having to be cautious and having coping skills for so many daily situations. Like, walking home at night and changing the street because someone is walking behind you. Having your keys between your fingers in case you have to defend yourself. Faking or actually making phone calls. Avoiding certain areas that are too dark. Going different ways to avoid people. Packing an extra oversized shirt for the way home from a party or club. Telling a friend and sharing your location when going on a date with someone you don't know yet. The list goes on and on..."


16."Women have to approach every first date as a potentially life-threatening event and go in with a variety of exit and self-defense strategies in case things go sideways."


Woman in a coat using smartphone in a doorway with kitchen visible in the background
Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images

17."Realizing men want you sexually when you’re a child. I was about 8 or 9 when my and my friends began to get catcalled, followed, stalked, etc., often by old men. I think most women realize at a very young age that men see you in a sexual light."


18."Loss of bodily autonomy by government action."


Gavel on a sound block, commonly used by judges, symbolizing law and justice
Seng Kui Lim / Getty Images/500px

19."Recently, a guy friend didn’t get why I got my ID out of my wallet and put it in my pocket to go out for a walk. I said I always have my ID on me if I leave my apartment. He didn’t understand why I needed to do that just to go for a walk. So, I explained it would make it easier to identify my body. He thought I was being morbid."


20."Nonexistent or useless pockets in clothes."


"How often we would rather have pockets than carry around a purse."


Person struggling with a stuck zipper on jeans
Oleksandr Shatyrov / Getty Images

21."A lot of us can't orgasm without external friction. A penis or toy going in and out means nothing to us, but a vibrator just touched to the outside will do the trick."


22."How radically menstruation can mess you up mentally. Like, your brain can go down to some really dark places and you are 100% convinced that all of those things you're thinking are real, valid, true, your new normal, but then your period starts, and it's like,' Oh, haha, never mind. It was just my period, actually.'"


Feminine hygiene products including a tampon and sanitary pads on a dark background
Mikroman6 / Getty Images

23."A dress that is XXL is an entirely different size than 2X."


"XL, XXL, etc. are measured by sizing up from straight sizes. In other words, they’re taking a regular size 6 and adding a certain amount of fabric to get to each next size up, all the way to XL, XXL. But, 2XL, 3XL. etc. are plus sizes and are measured up in size from a plus-size fit model. Like, they take a plus-size 16 and add a specific amount of fabric to go up each size. You can tell the difference between XXL and 2XL pretty clearly, especially with XXL being shorter (shirts) and smaller arm holes. BUT, if you order from Amazon, none of that matters. If you’re a 2XL in real life, order the AMAZON 5X and it’ll still be too small. IYKYK."


24."The effort that it takes to look 'effortlessly' good. There are far more women than men who have a skincare routine, have a hair routine, shave their legs/armpits/arms, wear makeup (light makeup can be skillfully used to appear natural), use daily UV protection, know the exact silhouettes/colors/shades that flatter them, shape their eyebrows, etc."


Assorted makeup products and tools spread out on a bathroom counter
Meaghan Skinner Photography / Getty Images

25."That most of us are trained from childhood to view all circumstances and interactions as potentially dangerous, and many of us arrange every day around minimizing danger from men."


26."Getting approached and commented on near constantly. My husband always thought I was exaggerating until we were on our honeymoon. I was approached and people said gross things to me several times over the week, even with my husband standing right there. He was both shocked and disgusted. It was like any other vacation to me. Honestly, it was one of the better ones in terms of encounters, but I didn’t tell him that."


Man reaching out to upset woman in a park, both sitting. She appears to be ignoring him
Praetorianphoto / Getty Images

27."That straight men begin making disgusting comments about young girls’ bodies or saying sexually inappropriate things to young girls at a very early age, like in grade school. These casual predators are everywhere, but somehow, no men know anyone who would ever do anything like that."


28."How you're constantly underestimated. I had a partner where he thought being a woman was so much easier because he said, 'Women get a lot of help.' I had to explain that most of the time, it's because women are being underestimated, even when you're good at what you do. Most of the time, men help because they either want something from you or just want to feel smart. It gets tiring sometimes."


A man in a business meeting gestures while speaking to a woman, who is seen from behind, in a bright office setting
Tetra Images / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

29."Not being able to be as friendly as you want. I love people, but I’ve had to learn to tone down my natural warmth because a lot of guys take it the wrong way. I wonder if men ever worry about a 'good morning!' or a smile being misinterpreted."


30."Needing completely different-sized clothes depending on the shop you buy them in. My boyfriend just orders stuff knowing it will fit perfectly every time!"


Person's hand browsing through a variety of clothes on hangers
Snapper / Getty Images/RooM RF

31."A friend of mine once said: Men have to assess IF there is danger. Women have to assess HOW MUCH danger there is."


32."How busy our mind stays. I feel like most of my friends agree. You’re always in fight or flight when you’re out and about, especially at night. I’ve tried to explain to my boyfriend how nice it is to just turn off my brain with him. I still don’t think he fully understands what I mean."


Person lying in bed with hands over forehead, appearing stressed or unable to sleep
Maria Korneeva / Getty Images

33.And: "I think a lot of men would be surprised at how their guy friends act when they’re alone with a woman. How they pressure, whine, beg, and wheedle for sex. How many of them try to stick it in without a condom. How many of them care so little about a woman’s pleasure that they’re bad in bed and women have to pretend to be okay with it to get it over with and avoid a fight or a tantrum or a sulk."


What are some other experiences of womanhood you'd like to highlight? Tell us below!

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.