My periods last 4-5 days. I take birth control, so they're shorter than they would be 'naturally'. For me, for the first two days (the day before I actually start bleeding and the first day) I have very bad lower back pain. It feels like if I were to lay onmy stomach and out 200lbs on my lower back. This is the result of straining my back when I was younger. If I worked on strengthening my back more, this would go away and my periods would be relatively pain free. If a girl uses pads, the whole thing can be a bloody, disgusting, smelly mess. If you use tampons, it's much more clean-feeling, and you don't.... Spill? as much.
As fas as what Ssraeshza is saying, he's right. However, the few times I had *** while on my period, the smell was too much of a turn off (I don't know, maybe I'm super sensitive to the smell of blood). I haven't tried the shower strategy.
In my opinion, it's overplayed. It's not party, but whatever, life goes on.