My tampons are going extinct

Tampons are a great invention. They make my life a lot better. I’ve been thinking about them in a slightly different way since I wrote about how the elvyn women in their magical, pristinely forested world would probably not have any. And it makes me thankful to be human.

But here is where I am not very good at being human: most tampons scare me.

(source)

I’m young, but over the course of the time I’ve had any interest in them, tampons have evolved in dramatic, flagrantly unnatural ways. They went from chunks of fibrous white stuff in a heavy paper shell to sleek plastic tubes that cradle a molded dollop of synthetic cloth. They look like vicious little pink bullets. You’re supposed to shoot up.

The other day, I went to the corner Duane Reade, and they were out. Of the ONLY kind I’m not scared of. O.B. The kind that hasn’t changed at all. The simple kind, that’s just the actual tampon, without a sexy stainless steel machine that catapults it into your innards, or a fuchsia leopard print trigger, or three layers of wickedly sharp plastic shaped like flower petals that peel away from the nose of the missile when you eject it.

There were rows of gleaming Tampax and Playtex and Kotex, and if there are other brands with an “x” at the end, I’m sure they were there too. The boxes were bigger, more menacing, taunting me wide, pearly pink smirks.

I went to the little drugstore a few blocks down. Nothing. ONE BOX of the old fashioned Tampax, with the hulking paper applicators. One of those things is like a particularly grueling visit to the gynecologist.

CVS reserved a spot for O.B. on a top shelf. It was empty. I began to feel angry. The city was depriving me of something incredibly basic. I felt betrayed. And vulnerable. But mostly angry.

I realized I had never noticed how many other tampons had cluttered up the market. Posing, evil, smug tampons with their tricks and their accessories. I felt alone. The only woman left who didn’t mind touching her own body, rather than injecting the tampon through a foot of peach-scented plastic. Which is really too harsh. I’m sure those women are really nice. And normal. And I know plenty of them. And they just don’t want to get any blood on their hands, which is pretty understandable. And they learned somehow how to administer the injections without hesitation or fear. I am the minority, after all. They are the ones who run the world. So what do I know?

I rushed to the next store, a grocery store, desperate now. I was being edged out of the market by a horde of sleek, silent women who loved plastic applicators. If I complained, other women would give me a little pitying smile, and reflexively pat their stylish purses, where their supply of Playtex never dwindled. They’d think to themselves, “What a primitive little thing she is. Might as well be using moss!”

Finally, defeated, I went home.

I told Bear about everything. He was as sympathetic as a guy can be. He said, “Why don’t we just order a lot of them online?”

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that. Online tampons? It really is a new world. We paged through website after website until we found the perfect selection. And we ordered them.

I felt a little safer. And also extremely thankful for pads.

(source)

* * *

Un-roast: Today I love the way I look in red.

Post at Un-schooled, about reading Bird by Bird and realizing I don’t have as much in common as Anne Lamott as I’d hoped.

71 Comments »

Kate on February 1st 2011 in being different, body

71 Responses to “My tampons are going extinct”

  1. fangsandclause responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I hear you, sister!

  2. Erin Block responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    I’m a pad person…all the way…only one thing should go in there…you know? ;)

  3. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    @Erin
    Ha! I wish I could do pads without worrying. But then I’m doing that thing where I stand up from my seat and glance over my shoulder just in case there’s a puddle of blood where I was sitting. It becomes sort of a nervous tic. It’s very awkward.

  4. Tempest responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:20 pm #

  5. Alexandra responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Oh man, I hear you– those applicator things are scary. I remember thinking long and hard about them the day, as a camp counselor, I had to demonstrate to a camper how to use a tampon, using an empty sprite bottle as an example. The applicators are even creepier when you see them in action. :p I have to admit, though, that when I saw the title of this post that you were going to extol the virtues of *my* favorite menstrual care invention– the DivaCup! Seriously, I will never go back.
    Just found your blog through a rabbit trail that began at offbeatmama.com. Love it!

  6. Kaitlin responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Has anyone tried the Diva Cup? I’ve been using one for the past 7-8 months and I’ve loved it and would definitely recommend it.

  7. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    @Tempest
    Oh my god!!! This is ridiculous! I feel so much less alone right now. But also a lot less original.

  8. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    @Alexandra and Kaitlin
    I actually don’t even know what that is. Sorry for being ignorant!

  9. Erin Block responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    It’s like that Seinfeld episode where Elaine’s favorite “sponge” is being discontinued!

  10. B1 responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Kate, this post made me giggle. I’m one of those ones that doesn’t like to get blood on my hands, and hence use the applicators. I find that the O.B. does not go in far enough and ends up hurting me, so the applicator actually gets it in closer to my cervix. But I’ve always been a heavy bleeder, so I use pads at the same time. I have not found a tampon that can truly absorb my heavy days. Kate, you’re also not alone about looking behind you when just wearing a pad.

    Diva Cup? Never heard of it but will check it out and maybe try it too. Thanks Alexandra and Kaitlin!

  11. Mandy responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    The photo of the bandolier filled with tampons made me laugh out loud! Thank you!
    And, yes, I am one of those women who prefer the tampons with applicators, for the very reason you listed. However, I use the organic cotton type by Natracare–which come both with or without carboard applicators. No peach scented plastic or uneccesary chemicals, thank you!
    Why is it most commercial manufacturers deem it necessary to scent “feminine products”, anyway? The only persons likely to notice any “femminine odor” I might have would be me, my husband, and possibly my doctor. Anyone else getting that close would get themselves promptly and thoroughly smacked.
    And, BTW, who decided to put superglue in the sticky strip on the backs of pantyliners? I stopped using the commercial brands when I was unable to pry them away from my underwear without acetone.

    Un-roast: I love that even when I get grumpy, I still have my sense of humor.

  12. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    @ Kaitlin
    I tried Instead which is basically a disposable version of the DivaCup to see if I wanted to invest in an actual DivaCup. …still not sure. It was a bit messy for my preference in a way that even non-applicator tampons aren’t

  13. Jill responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Samantha,
    Instead is not a good replica of Diva. It goes in differently and so pulls out at a weird, messy angle. They are also more flimsy than a Diva, Keeper, or Moon Cup.

  14. Virginia responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Google to the rescue!
    http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/the-case-of-the-missing-o-b-tampons/

    I too have been a big OB fan for years… but I have to say, the image of “a ‘ball of tampon threads was released from the uterus [...] the physician suspected that the ball consisted of ‘little pieces of tampon from over a period of time.’ ” had kind of killed the joy for me.

    Back to pads. Oh and Seventh Generation makes some good, no applicator tampons, FYI!

  15. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    @Virginia
    When will I learn to use Google? Now I’m just embarrassed.
    And wow, that is a horrifying image. Thanks for the tampon recommendation. I’ll check those out. Don’t think I’ve seen them in Duane Reade though…. All of my menstrual needs shopping is going to be diverted to the internet soon.

  16. Cheyenne responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    @Samantha Angela

    I’ve never tried Instead but I have been using the DivaCup for three years. I did a little research in alternative menstrual products before making the switch. Instead has a different design than the DivaCup, giving it a different removal process. Which looked a bit awkward for me, I felt I would cause a lot of spillage if I used it. Maybe you’ll have a different experience with a bell-shaped menstrual cup.

    Though I can say, in my years of using the Diva Cup, I have experienced little-to-none messiness. :)

    @Kate
    I love this post! When I used tampons, O.B. was my favourite by far. I probably would have gone crazy if I couldn’t find them at the store.

  17. Jennie responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Erin, yes, Seinfeld. You beat me to it.

  18. Kerry responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Interesting. I can’t use anything without an applicator to save my life.

  19. Leslie responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    I use the Diva cup. The first few days were a bit rough, but once I got used to it I became a complete convert. It is fantastic! No waste and you never run out of it, because it’s always with you. I’ve been using it for about 7 years now.

    I love thinking about the hordes of boxes of tampons that I have NOT bought (and, just for the record, I used to use the ones with the cardboard applicator). And, also just for the record, I also use reusable/washable cloths for those days (or nights) when the Diva cup is just not enough (Yes, I take my generation of garbage (or lack thereof) very seriously).

  20. Cyndie responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    I love O.B.! They’re so tiny and uncomplicated and comfortable. I was so upset when I stopped at the pharmacy last month and they were MISSING! My boyfriend did not understand my misery at having to buy tampons with an applicator. I hate them.

  21. Christina (Dinner at Christina's) responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I order a lot of stuff from drugstore.com b/c it seems to constantly be pushed out of the stores.

    I ordered 500 tampons online through Amazon b/c of the deal. They ended up being .11c per tampon instead of the .36c I calculated they were at the store! Woohoo!

  22. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    @Christina
    Nicely done!!

  23. Lilli responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I’m only sixteen, and i’ve been using OB tampons for about as long as i’ve had my period. The only thing is, i live in Englad, where playtex and cotex and tampax are ALL there is :/. I go to Germany to visit family ever year and have to stock up for the entire year’s supply of OB tampons while i’m there… not the best experience, especially when i have to cross the airport with a suitcase full of OB tampons :)
    But yes, applicator tampons are just horrid >:|

    Unroast: i love the fact that my zits from my last period have finally faded :)

  24. Lori responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Hi! I’m another Diva Cup user. I’ve been using it for over 3 years now. Between my Diva Cup and cloth pads that I purchased from Etsy, I’ve saved a ton of time and been a lot more comfortable. I can’t speak for the alternatives to the Diva Cup because I’ve never used any other cups (disposable or otherwise), but I do like the money and environmental savings that menstrual cups offer.

  25. Carol Adams responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    You, my dear, are hysterical!!!
    I have never seen tampons described in such a way!
    I too was,and I stress was, as I am probably the only post menopausal person to read your blog, a huge fan of OB tampons back in the day…. I never liked the applicators much either and “back then” the OBs were the most absorbent.
    You have such a way with words… LOL

  26. Michelle responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    I’m on my fourth month using the Diva Cup and I will NEVER go back. An awesome mother and daughter company, an incredible product. I never have to get up in the middle of the night anymore to deal with heavy flow, and during the day I could (almost) forget I’m even bleeding. Check it out!

  27. Audrey responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Another article on the disappearance of OB and environmentally-friendly alternatives:
    http://www.grist.org/article/2011-01-24-ask-umbra-on-disappearance-of-ob-tampons-and-more-sustainable

    I am also a devout Diva Cup user — about 7 years and counting. I’ve only replaced it once about a year ago when my original one started looking a little dingy. It is easy, cost-effective, and the most environmentally-friendly option. I also don’t think it’s very messy — you just pull the cup out, dump it, and rinse it — but it does take a bit of practice at first. Well worth the investment if you ask me!

  28. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    OK, wow. I’m feeling like I have to try this diva cup now, because of all these responses. Where do I get it? Did you all order it online, or can you find it in a drug store?

  29. Audrey responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Oh — and almost forgot — I only have to empty my Diva Cup once a day (twice on really heavy flow days). So I usually just take care of it in the shower, which really minimizes mess, and then I can forget about it the rest of the day.

  30. Audrey responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    @Kate — they sell them at whole foods, or you can order them online

  31. Kat responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    I’m so glad I live in the UK where it seems that the squeamish brigade haven’t driven those of us who prefer not to have a foofie that smells of crushed orchid petals and are pretty OK with sticking things where the sun don’t shine by hand. We have Lil-lets (and a few shop-brand variants that don’t have applicators) here (seem only to be available in Europe and South Africa) which are like OB, but a bit better with the non-shedding of the material and better quality string than OB.

    Don’t get me wrong, OB are great, I ended up having to get some in Walmart when I was last in the US and I’d far rather have those than the leopard print, spring loaded contraptions, but it’s a scary thought that they’re the only option in the US.

  32. Sadie responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I wear tampons a lot and often have to put one on in a public bathroom. I can put in a tampon with a plastic applicator very comfortably while standing up, without getting blood under my nails or on my jewelry or coattails.
    I use “U” by Kortex. They have an expandable applicator, so I can keep them in my pocket or in a clutch. I know, I know! They are multicolored and packaged like some sort of sex toy… but they are actually very practical and streamlined underneath the marketing.
    But I do feel your pain. My favorite pads seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

  33. poet responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    Absolutely! Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of these US brands do not expand the way they should. They expand in length instead of width and lose shape and therefore become unreliable pretty fast… The plastic launcher just serves to disguise that! I am, once again, glad to live in Europe, where even the discount supermarket carries reasonably shaped tampons without applicators…

    Un-roast?: Today I love that despite the presence of other potential causes it took a salad with beans in it to give me stomach cramps.

    Cheers,
    poet

  34. Sarah responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    When I lived in the States, O.B. were the only ones I would use. For the reasons you do, plus they are more environmentally friendly. Haven’t tried the diva cup, but I hear good things! Here in Oz, most of our tampons DON’T have applicators, like O.B. But they all seem to have psychedelic wrapping, which is kinda weird.

  35. Maya responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Sometimes, you don’t have to have a stylish purse or a condescending manner to use tampons with applicators. Sometimes you just have to have a mom you don’t live with, a stepmom who doesn’t think virgins should be allowed to use tampons, and a cousin who offers you what she has and tells you to practice putting them in so you don’t have to throw out a pair of underwear every time you have your period.

    I love you Kate, but sometimes your uncomfortablitity with the conventional crosses over from funny into exclusionary.

  36. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    @Maya– I’m sorry for your bad experiences (the virgin tampon thing is such an incredibly damaging concept) and I don’t have any problem at all with women who use applicators! I was joking. But also, it’s not my mission in writing this blog, or in anything I write, to include everyone. I’m just writing about the world the way I see it.

  37. Miriam Martin responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    What!? Seriously? These are the ONLY tampons I like. Any news? Do we have any news about what happened? Are they gone for good or is this some sort of publicity stunt? Seriously! Well, if they’re gone, I’m trying the Diva cup for sure, because I really don’t like applicators. Devastated …

  38. Christin@purplebirdblog responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    I have totally been wanting to try the DivaCup, but am a pad girl for the moment. Tampons… well… dry me all out in there and I don’t like that feeling!

  39. Liz responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    YES Diva Cup
    http://www.divacup.com/
    and Glad Rags
    http://www.gladrags.com/
    are the way to go! I have been a devout user for 5 years. I will not go back. I love the trees too much!

  40. Alexandra responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    I completely hear you! I use OB or The Seventh Generation tampons precisely because they don’t have those ghastly applicator things. I don’t need those, and they just add to the trash pile because you can’t exactly recycle them as far as I know. If you can’t find OB and/or don’t want to shop online, try Whole Foods or an organic grocery store because they will carry tampons sans fancy plastic machinery.

  41. Sara responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    I agree with Maya that the tone here is exclusionary.

    While I wouldn’t suggest that this blog is written to “include everyone,” I do think that if you’re interested in writing about gender and culture (especially femininity and American culture) you might want to think a bit more about the kind of “female voice” you’re cultivating.

    I think you’re essentially performing a disservice when, in order to establish your own voice, you have to condemn the choices that other women make.

    Then again, it’s your blog.

  42. Kate responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    @Sara
    I don’t think I’m condemning anyone.

  43. Ellen responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    I want to put in another enthusiastic vote for menstrual cups! I actually bought the Lunette (http://www.lunette.com/) because after doing extensive research, I was convinced I would need the extra capacity it provides. (In retrospect, I totally didn’t!) It took me upwards of 6 months to finally take the plunge and buy it, after several friends talked my ear off about menstrual cups, and then another few cycles to really get used to it. It IS a bit different, and it IS a bit messier than your standard tampon- at least at first. But once I got used to it, I couldn’t believe all the money and environmental waste I put up with before!
    For anyone who’s curious, I recommend doing some research here: http://community.livejournal.com/menstrual_cups

  44. Robin Hertting responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    You should really look into the Diva Cup. There’s a slight learning curve with it but WOW…reusable=less waste!

  45. Amy responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    Oh my gosh, this made me laugh because, as a loyal Playtex user for eleventy billion years, I never understood how OB works! LOL I even bought a box once when I was teenager just out of idle curiosity since the box was so small. No applicator? What?? Then again, I’ve always had very heavy, very painful periods, so there’s no way I can go applicator-free or re-usable anything.

    I actually don’t mind all the wild colors and marketing for hipness. I started my period in the days when you were supposed to be embarrassed about being seen in the tampon aisle or carrying a box with you, so if the cheetah print and flash packaging means that those days or over, then fantastic!

  46. Mary responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    I read this post and immediately had to get my vote in for the DivaCup…but then I saw that about 20 women before me have gotten in that comment. I’m on my 5th year (wow! it doesn’t feel like that long) with my menstrual cup (I chose the silicone DivaCup over the natural rubber Keeper because I have an allergy to latex) and spent maybe $30 on it. Over 5 years, that’s approximately 60 periods…that’s 50 cents per bleed. Compared to whatever a box of tampons costs these days, I am super happy to not be spending all that cash in my lean post-college years.

    That said, for me it was a progression for dealing with my period. I started with traditional pads, then when summer came, I started using applicator tampons, and continued until about college when I decided to try o.b. which my mom favored. My mind was blown away by how much better the overall experience was with them! I remember them being so much more comfortable to put in once I got used to it (no jamming anything straight into my cervix anymore) and definitely I appreciated the ability to hide one discreetly in my pocket or even just my hand on the way to the bathroom.

    Once I was comfortable with my finger up my vagina, it was an easy-ish switch to the menstrual cup. I highly recommend it! I love being completely in control of what I’m putting in my body. I know *exactly* how clean it is, and exactly where it’s been. I love not having to wrap anything up in toilet paper to throw it away, or be afraid of clogging toilets…

  47. Wei-Wei responded on 01 Feb 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    I’ve actually never used a tampon in my life. My mom believes it’s unnatural to keep it “all up there” and that you should “let it out” for it to be healthy. I actually kind of agree with her. I use pads, which is rather unfortunate because all my classmates SEEM to be used to tampons already – which seem much cleaner and hygienic compared to pads! But, eh. I’m not ready to stick anything anywhere yet.

  48. Amy responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 6:55 am #

    I don’t use tampons or pads. In college a friend introduced me to Insteads, which are little cups that fold up and fit inside. I like them better. They are more comfortable on all levels, and there aren’t any strings, etc. and if you are so inclined, you may even have intercourse using them! They aren’t exposed the the air, so they don’t smell, and you can leave them in for up to 8 hours. Just empty, rinse, repeat, or, since they’re disposable, then just pull out and dispose, start with a new one. I’ve never been a fan of the ye olde tampon, so this has been great for me.

  49. Mandy responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 8:39 am #

    @Kate;
    I don’t think you are “excluding” or “condemning” anyone, either. Don’t worry about it–there are always going to be some people who don’t get the joke…
    And who knew tampons were such a polarizing topic! (joke!)

  50. Haley h responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Another vote for the diva cup!!! And cloth pads!!!

  51. anna and the ring responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Pads are the work of evil.

    I find the cheaper the tampon the fewer the bells of whistles and therefore wonderful! Own brand from Boots (UK Chemist) or Tesco (supermarket). I love you!

    Although have always been intrigues by a mooncup!

  52. B1 responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Kate, anyone reading your blog should be able to understand that you are writing the way you see the world and for many we see it the same way, not on all topics, because we are all different and have different points of views. I love your writings even when I don’t agree because if I agreed with everything you wrote, I would not be intrigued enough to read more and learn more of how someone else views the world in which I live.

    Regarding the Diva Cup, I did some research yesterday on it and found that the best price is through Amazon. I’m going to order one and see how it works. From the rave reviews, I think I will probably like it much better. Thanks ladies!

  53. Kate responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Thanks, B1. That means a lot to me.

    And I think I’ll try it, too, just to see. I can’t believe how much I learned about menstrual products from these comments! You guys are awesome.

  54. Mimi responded on 02 Feb 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    first-time commenter here!

    I just had to say that O.B. are the best and I totally agree that everything else is scary! Especially those “hipster tampons” in black and neon colors. Plus, after years of O.B., all the plastic in applicators just seems like a terrible waste.

    Your blog is awesome, thank you for opening up so much about your life!

  55. Mere responded on 03 Feb 2011 at 12:59 am #

    I am seriously bookmarking this blog. Love it. Love that we can laugh about something that is such a pain in the…! I don’t want to be ‘exclusionary’ and mention which side I am on (sorry..couldn’t resist..honestly it was a light tease not a nasty snark) but now I am so glad that I read all about the diva cup. I am totally looking it up. Cross fingers it’s somewhere over here in little ole NZ.
    And btw..you may have to put up with comments from me all the way back to whenever you started cos I’m dying to read everything for fear of having missed anything.

  56. N.G. responded on 03 Feb 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Huh. I can only use the tampons with an applicator and my preference is…Tampax…with the hulking paper applicators…

    I used to feel like I should be able to put the non-applicator ones in but I never felt like they sat comfortably in the right spot and then I used to feel as though everyone else could insert a tampon without an applicator except me. Now, I just try to remember that everyone is different and not worry about what other people do, and just do what suits me.

    (I also bought a keeper to try to switch to that, but I cannot seem to get it small enough to insert it without it hurting.)

  57. SKetch responded on 03 Feb 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    You are not alone! I love using pure cotton-no chemical tampons that size! I get mine at the health food store, too. Cardboard applicators be—-canonized. Plastic applicators? Perish the thought! Ew. Ew. I am woman, hear me grunt and insert a cotton wad mine own self. :3

  58. threegoodrats responded on 03 Feb 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Once upon a time I used the wasteful applicator-style tampons, and then I went to Scotland for 5 months and ALL (or most of) their tampons were applicator-less. I started using them and never went back to the old kind. These days I love my diva cup, but use o.b. as a backup.

  59. Just Josie responded on 03 Feb 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    This is riotous. (That’s a word, yes?) I am ashamed to admit that I have a phobia of tampons, and of the Divacup. I sometimes fear it’s only because I’m a virgin, and so I’m terrified of putting anything in my vagina. It’s nothing to do with purity, though, I’m just terrified it’ll hurt, and that it’ll get lost inside of me. And then I feel gross and like a pawn of the patriarchy because that means that, theoretically, I won’t feel okay with putting things inside of me unless a male puts his phallus inside of me first… *And how gross a concept is that? Baaaad Josie. Bad, bad, BAD. :s

    I use Lunapads. They’re reusable, washable pads. Mainly it’s a for-the-environment thing. I started when I went vegan. Which wasn’t long after I starting getting periods, actually. Plus, I’m completely uninterested by like, “mainstream” (?) tampons and pads because they have bleach which one should not be putting down there, and also bleach is tested on animals. Also, I refuse to use anything from the Always chain, because the head of that company is a man, and he has the audacity to say, “Always: Have a happy period.” He is riotous! :D >.<

    *To make a (probably unnecessary) clarification, it's not the thought of sex I find repulsive; it's the idea that I may not be comfortable with placing something inside of my vagina without a male first doing so. That just buys straight into the Big P. *shudder*

  60. Barbara responded on 05 Feb 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I also thought you were going to talk about menstrual cups! :-) I’ve been using the Lunette (www.lunette.com) for half a year now – and I love it! I’ll never switch back + regret only that I didn’t discovered them earlier. Check them out!
    Also, your blog isn’t condemning anyone at all. I think it’d be very boring to include everyone and to agree with everyone…I’m reading here, because I’m interested in opinion and arguments.
    Thanks for writing. :-)

  61. Nadja responded on 05 Feb 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    I had an outright panic attack when that shortage hit me! I have now bought a couple boxes to horde in the event that something ever happens to my precious tampons again…

  62. Laurel responded on 05 Feb 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    @Amy and any others with heavy periods, DivaCup would be excellent for you! It holds one fluid ounce. I have a moderate/light flow, and even on my heaviest days it’s only about half full after 12 hours. It is also way less irritating than changing a tampon frequently, because the DivaCup is silicone, so it never dries you out.

  63. Deanna responded on 06 Feb 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    The diva cup has changed my life! :-) I used to use ob tampons, too, but came across an ad for the diva cup in a magazine. LOVE it! Takes a couple of days to “practice” putting it in correctly but after that it’s a breeze. You don’t feel it, you can leave it in all day and no worrying about being out somewhere and not having a tampon.
    AND, I love that I don’t have to have any back-up panty-lines like I used to with tampons in case of that dreaded “overflow”. Wish I’d had this 20 years ago!! Just think of all the hygiene products I’ve contributed to the landfill…but no more!

  64. Louise, aged 15 responded on 07 Feb 2011 at 3:58 am #

    I know I’m very weird but tampons freak me out!

  65. Heather responded on 07 Feb 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    I started out using Kotex, because it was what my mom handed me, and then consequently had a terrible experience with a cardboard applicator when desperate and in a foreign country- I’m totally okay with my exploding plastic tips. I now use the DivaCup (which you’ve gotten tons of rec’s for now- once I started grad school and got even more absent minded, it was pretty necessary, since I started to worry that I was forgetting to take one out- mine are really light, so I wouldn’t always wear them. And as someone who’s never touched an o.b. and has large boobs, I don’t feel excluded by your blog :) Wanted to let you know.

  66. Kate responded on 07 Feb 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    @Louise
    tampons freaked me out, too, around your age

  67. Kate responded on 07 Feb 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    @Heather
    Thanks for letting me know :)

  68. Pretty Price Check (02.11.11) | Beauty Schooled responded on 11 Feb 2011 at 9:08 am #

    [...] a box of the suddenly scarce OB tampons on the black market (otherwise known as Amazon). Ladies (especially you, Kate) I’ve got six OB tampons left in my bathroom cabinet and I accept all forms of payment [...]

  69. Mindy responded on 22 Feb 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Hear hear! I was equally upset when I found ob was off the shelf. I found some lingering in a Walgreens, but I may just have to try the online thing if I don’t find them again.

  70. Becca responded on 04 Apr 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    I have no problem touching my body, but I prefer the tampons with plastic applicators because my period in generally very light, so changing tampons is very uncomfortable if the cotton is not covered, since tampons seem to remove all natural moisture along with the flow. Also, I work long hours and need to change tampons in a stall. Just because someone prefers the easy and physically comfortable way, doesn’t mean they are afraid of their own body.

  71. Sammy responded on 07 Aug 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    …2 years later we suffer the same fate in South Africa. Ob tampons, how I miss thee!

    Online shopping is my only option.