DesiPundit has a link to a post by Philobiblon, which is pertinent to the way we deal with the issue raised in this post - menstruation. This passage, in particular, struck a chord with how we deal with, or rather, evade the whole issue.
Mum told me carefully that I had to make sure Dad didn't see my sanitary pads. (I don't recall any explanation being given, there was just an air of this being something shameful and dirty.) And this wasn't surprising when I read the sex education books that she'd had at my age, which still referred to "clearing out impurities" in the body and similar.
Now, to the title of this post: the goddess of Chengannur, a small township in Kerala, actually menstruates - this is a small festival at the temple, in fact. The temple in question, the Chengannur Bhagavathi temple, is a Shiva-Parvathy temple, though Parvathy is the 'stronger' deity in this temple.
The legend behind the temple goes this way: while Shiva and Parvathy were getting married, there were such huge crowds for the marriage that the earth began to tilt - apparently, the gods love a free meal every bit as much as we mortals do! The alarmed Shiva requested Sage Agasthya to use his powers to correct the imbalance, and promised him that the first stop after their marriage would be at the seer's abode. Lord Shiva kept his promise, and was forthright in visiting the sage after their holy union. However, it was 'that time of the month' for Parvathy, and she stayed at the place for 28 days after the purificatory bath. It was thus that the temple came to be built there.
Devotees believe that this phenomenon continues even today; the belief is that the holy idol of Parvathy has her periods 3 or 4 times a year. During this time, the idol is closed to the general public, and all daily poojas are performed on a different idol. On the 4th day, a female elephant carries the idol to the nearby Pampa river for the purificatory bath. After the purificatory bath, normal worship is resumed, and the idol is once again open to the public.
I am not about to argue with the truthfulness or the relevance of this ceremony - to each their own. However, I did find it slightly ironic that on one hand, the menstruation of a goddess is actually celebrated while on the other hand we shun the open mention of the very word. But then, it struck me that even at this temple, the idol is not open to the public until after the purificatory both - the antediluvian association of menstruation with uncleanliness raises its ugly head even here.