Lux Perry is a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Vancouver, Canada, and their period pain-relief company somedays is currently going viral on TikTok for bringing a device that simulates some aspects of period pain to a rodeo to "teach these cowboys a lesson about what tough really looks like."
In one clip that's been viewed on TikTok over 8 million times, a pretty cool cowboy takes the period pain challenge all the way up to level 10, which Lux says is similar to some of the pain they experience living with endometriosis.
At first, he's just chilling and acknowledges that at level two he can feel it. By level four, he's making some noises, and at level five, which Lux says is about the pain of "typical period cramps," he says, "This is not fun." Lux asks, "Do you wanna go to work?" and he quickly replies, "No! I'm hungry."
At level seven, he asks, "This is, like, constant?" and at level eight, he says, "It's, like, in my legs! This is awful." By the time he gets to level nine, he's actually sweating, and they give him a paper towel for his forehead. He stands up at level 10 to give them a "yeehaw," but he can't stand up straight for more than a few seconds due to the pain.
In another clip, a couple tries the simulator together. The man is super surprised by the sensations. At level five, he says, "It's like a charlie horse!" and at level seven, he asks his partner, "How do you do things???" He ultimately taps out at level eight.
And in the comments, people are talking about how much they love this idea, how validating it feels to see men experience a small taste of period pain, and where they want to see the simulator turn up next.
I couldn't stop thinking about these TikToks, so I reached out to Lux to learn more about the period pain simulator and why it's so important to build up more empathy and understanding around menstrual pain.
Lux told BuzzFeed, "Our period simulator works by causing the muscles in the lower abdomen and thighs to contract in a similar way that menstrual cramps do." The device they're using to do this is called a TENS unit. "When used at very low settings they can distract from pain, but on higher levels and when placed in the right area they can cause the muscles to cramp similar to a period cramp. Many TENS machines have different settings and different sensations, so we tested over 40 machines to find the one most similar to a period cramp."
And they said that though the online reaction to this project has been super positive, people weren't quite as welcoming when they first arrived at the rodeo. "At first, we were getting a lot of side eye. There is still so much stigma associated with periods and period pain, so a lot of people see the word 'period' and then instantly want to look away."
"Now we have hundreds of people lining up with their partners just so they can get a feel for what their partner with a period experiences each month. And the vast majority of participants have been so humbled by the experience that they end up thanking us afterwards for the opportunity to learn more about period pain and usually end up purchasing some of our period pain relief for their partners. We've even cried a few times — the genuine empathy is just so moving to witness."
They also shared how much it means to them to be the CEO of a company selling period pain relief products. "As people with period pain who have been routinely dismissed our entire lives, it is truly moving to connect with others experiencing the same thing."
"It's such an honor to be able to educate more people about the absurd amount of suffering people with periods are expected to endure on a regular basis and an even bigger honor to be able to help people find relief from that pain with somedays."
Finally, they said, "Period pain is not normal, and it's about damn time people start believing that our pain is real and that we are worthy and deserving of relief."