I wonder if the incredible senses during menstruation have to do with a bleeding primate being vulnerable to predators in the wild
i tried googling why my senses are heightened before a period but
there is a very very good article by a genuine scientist (here is a very similar article) that breaks down why humans have such a mind-bogglingly difficult menstrual cycle, one so bad that it is essentially unique among animals. there are a few other mammals that have bleeding uterine slough, but very few—and nothing like what we go through. probably because splashing blood around everywhere you go is a good way to get fucking eaten, although that thing about bears and sharks biting menstruating women is apparently a myth.
anyway, the reason our periods are awful is that the human uterine environment is a battlefield: the embryo is a hostile parasite that operates outside the safe bounds of the mother’s bodily functions, making its own rules.
i will post this article later if i can find it, it was fantastic, but for now i’ll try to nutshell it: it explained that human development is front-loaded: human embryos need an incredible amount of resources from the mother, more than in any other species, both in the womb and postnatally. human fetuses routinely kill their mothers or seriously disable them, which would seem like an evolutionary branch that would trashcan immediately, but it turns out humans take care of each other. this isn’t a dealbreaker in terms of survival because we take care of each other’s children: your chances for survival go down if you suck all the lifeforce out of your mom, sure, but as long as you’re successfully brought to term and birthed, your aunts, father, grandmother, uncles, or older siblings will probably take care of you. it takes a village, someone is probably lactating anyway, etc. so unlike dogs, hamsters, cats, rats, and so on—animals which absorb embryos when pickings are slim, or who will shrug and eat babies if winter is harsh, or who have to give birth to a dozen at a time and hope a few aren’t felled by opportunistic predators—each human baby takes such an incredible investment of time, resources, and personal discomfort that it has evolved to fight tooth and nail to come out as well fed and viable as possible, so the uterine lining we develop (which turns into a placenta) is thicker and more defensive than in the majority of other mammals.
this incredible buildup of tissue, the article explained, and then the ejection when pregnancy does not occur, is necessary to keep us from being eaten from the inside out by our own children. i’ll explain it to you in television: it’s like Dexter tarping a room before murdering someone in it.
we are beginning to realize that modern women are menstruating far, far too much. lack of exercise, unimpeded access to calories, and birth control has forced us into a monthly cycle which, in the “wild”, would be relatively rare. it takes 9 months to bring a fetus to term, and during that whole time you aren’t menstruating. you also dont (usually) menstruate (or ovulate) during lactation, which in gatherer societies can last 2 or 3 years, or longer. in a theoretical “”“natural state”“” (please forgive my use of the term, and notice my scare quotes, just bear with me) you start being pregnable in your early teens, depending on caloric access, and are probably going to stay pregnant, lactating, or exercising enough not to menstruate most of the time your are theoretically fertile. birth control in prechristian societies varied, but leaned heavily on abortion and infanticide, which is one reason it’s such a taboo now, and why “sacrificing babies” is associated with “satanism” and “paganism” by godbotherers, but that’s a whole other article (read Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture).
this obsession with the “all-natural period” is completely fabricated. there are few things less natural to the human animal than being put through this fucking wringer every single month between the ages of 12 and 50.
tldr: human menses are a mess because human embryos are vicious, and every month your womb is becoming a tiny prison for that hypothetical jerk. to quote nabokov, “the tiny madman in his padded cell”.
as you can undoubtedly tell from my prose, this shit terrifies and disgusts me. i spent this morning in a clenched fetal position on the floor because i was in so much pain. but it was vaguely comforting to know why!
anyway my best armchair bullshit guess would be that yes, a menstruating monkey is going to be easy leopard pickings if her senses of smell, sight, touch, hearing, and intuition aren’t cranked to 11.
as a personal aside, the wikipedia article on premenstrual dysphoric disorder notes that in a study of people of color with PMDD, ability to sense racial and gender discrimination went through the fuckin roof during the luteal phase of their cycles. which is incredible.
General life stress is also associated with the prevalence of PMDD and the severity of symptoms. Research shows that perceived discrimination is a stressor associated with the lifetime prevalence of PMDD. The experience of subtle forms of gender and race discrimination is correlated with PMDD among ethnic minority women.
there is no evidence that people experiencing PMDD or PMS are “less rational”, but there is a lot of evidence that they have heightened reactions to injustice, which i think is fascinating.