Tampon Basics for Men

The weird looks that guys get whenever they stand in this aisle

Hi again, thought I’d get back on track and wrap up the “basics” for the guys and today, I’d like to tackle the topic of tampons in a simplistic male-oriented fashion. Again used products won’t be displayed on here for your sanity and viewing pleasure, lol. The usual disclaimer applies to whatever pictures I may use here are completely by nature of “best fit” and I’m not recommending or suggesting the brand of product that may appear. A tampon is used to absorb menstrual flow right before it exits the body.  Since every manufacturer uses different materials, simply put it, a tampon usually contains an absorbent material intended to absorb the flow and keep it in until the time of disposal. If you haven’t gotten the picture already, unlike pads which are worn on the underwear, a tampon is inserted into the vagina until it is withdrawn and disposed. Each manufacturer shapes their tampons differently to achieve various degrees of comfort and efficient absorbency, however, they can be simply described in the fashion of a cylinder or long bullet as shown in Figure 1.

(Fig. 1) A typical shape/concept of a tampon

The tampon on its own is comprised only in 2 parts, 1) the absorbent portion, and 2) the string. There are two primary methods of insertion and it is also based on the brand/type of the tampon that is used. Tampons are firstly divided into two types, one being an applicator tampon and the other being an non-applicator tampon. An applicator (cardboard/plastic) is usually 2 small tubes which “deposit” the tampon within the vagina allowing for most, easier insertion. To insert an applicator tampon, the entire tampon unit itself (as shown in Figure 2) is inserted half-way (or a comfortable depth) into the vagina.

(Fig 2.) A tampon with an applicator

When the upper half of the applicator is in the vagina, the bottom half of the applicator is pushed upwards (towards in the upper half) causing the tampon inside the applicator tube to be pushed in and “deposited” into the vagina. The applicator is now in a compressed form (tube-in-tube) and can be withdrawn since the tampon has been inserted. If the tampon is inserted properly, there should be no apparent awareness that something is inserted and it should not feel uncomfortable. The applicator can then be thrown away.

In the case of a non-applicator tampon, the tampon is taken out of its wrapping and then carefully inserted into the vagina using a finger (or two). Non-applicator tampons often generate a squeamish factor since a woman’s finger may come in contact with her menstrual fluid due to the proximity of the tampon/finger during insertion. However, with enough practice, one can easily insert an applicator-less tampon without explicit contact. Applicator-less tampons are also considered more environmentally friendly due to the lack of plastic/cardboard required for the applicator portion. They are also easier to carry due to the size (only the tampon portion) and the retail package is small. Figure 3 is typical non-applicator tampon.

(Fig 3.) Compact box and non-applicator tampon

Once the tampon is saturated, it must be withdrawn from the vagina and that is where the string comes into play. When the tampon is properly inserted, the only thing that hangs out from the body is the string. When pulled, the string withdraws the tampon from within the vagina. Tampons can be disposed of by way of garbage/sanitary bin or flushed down the toilet (majority of the APPLICATORS are non-flushable, only the tampon).

Being an internal form of protection, tampons become a gift for those who want to engage in water sports during menstruation. However, tampons are also associated with TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). TSS is a rare, but potentially fatal illness which is caused by bacteria toxins. TSS does not only occur through tampon usage, however, is associated with tampon usage, especially when using higher absorbency than necessary. This is a key point for men purchasing tampons to ensure that the tampon absorbency is only what is necessary – unlike pads since you can use any absorbency without fatal-health risks. While tampons can be used overnight, many women tend often use tampons during the day and pads at night. Tampons should only be left in for a maximum of 8 hours to reduce the risk of TSS. Furthermore, tampons should only be used while menstruating, not for discharge and not for “just-in-case” scenarios. Personally, all of tampon-using female friends still keep a variety of tampons AND pads, because both forms of feminine hygiene products have their merits. For women with heavier flows or those who do not have the luxury of being able to change constantly, a tampon and pad can be worn at the same time to lengthen the amount of time required per change (since the saturated tampon will leak onto the pad).

Many tampons have special properties or features, brand dependent such as Tampax Compak’s where the applicator starts off in a collapsed form and can be extended into its full form and then inserted. The result is an applicator tampon in half the regular size, easy to carry in a purse/bag or even wallet. O.B. tampons come in a regular outer coating and also one that is made from silk, apparently to ease insertion issues. There are many variety of tampons, even within its own brands. The world of tampons is immensely large, who knew that just a simple menstrual product like this could have so many different properties and enhancements that draws girls with different needs to use them. The list goes on and since this is supposed to be “basics”, I’ll stop here. If there are any further questions or comments, feel free to email me or leave a comment here! If I can answer them, I will.. if not, I have plenty of girl-friends who I can ask for more information.

Toodles!

- K

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About Prexus Swyftwynd

Probably not a good idea for you to know anything about me....

Posted on January 14, 2010, in Periodtastic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. This website is such a great idea!

    I’m wondering if you are also telling people about reusable menstrual products?

    For example, I am a big BIG fan of the Diva Cup/Moon Cup/Keeper. Reusable, easy, environmentally friendly, cheap, comes with a warranty, does not irritate the vagina or cause TSS.

    Please let everybody know and spread the good word!
    Thanks.

    -Allison Macbeth
    http://morningquickie.com

    • Thanks for the comment, it’s always nice to hear feedback from my readers.

      I have yet to make mention of reusable products only because the site was geared towards men (thus the “basic” guides) and to give them a more male-oriented understanding of menstruation/products. Nevertheless, this certainly does bring up a good point that reusable products such as cups or sponges as part of a potential menstrual hygiene product. I’m not sure how many females readers get much information out of my site since all the information provided here is very simplistic for the sake of males and there’s little knowledge to be learned for the females – after all, they experience more than I ever will.

      Reusable products were on my list of “topics to cover” but since you have shown interest in it, I’ll make sure I bump it up the list. The only problem with me covering that is I do not know a single girl (personally) who uses them on a regular basis, thus my information is limited. I’ve done lots of research on the divacup, but not having any girl-friends I could talk to in person limits my “up front” experience with it and I have never actually done any sort of testing (due to my lack of a vagina.. lol) with one.

      I have one or two more topics to cover and I’ll make sure I spend some time gathering some information (because I hate giving out inaccurate information) and make a post on it. I hope you’ll have time to help me review it then for mistakes/additional information!

  2. just wondering if you know about their availability in Indian cities, especially Delhi.
    Thanks

  3. Can you explain for guys what it is feels like to have a period and to wear a pad and a tampon.

    • I think u may hv to wait for his girl-readers to comment…. how will he kno? X_x

    • I am male, so I cannot hope to describe what menstruation feels like. I can, however describe what it feels like (for me) to wear pads and tampons, since I wear both on a regular basis. As for the physical sensation, I don’t suppose there is much of anything to compare it to, though some would consider pads “bulky” or “uncomfortable”, and quite honestly, the first few tampons I inserted into my rectum stung a bit, though I soon learned to install them gently and slowly, and now I couldn’t imagine being without at least 1 or 2 inside me! Mentally and emotionally, however, I find them absolutely wonderful! When I’m wearing my pads & tampons, I feel so incredibly beautiful, proper and, naturally, feminine! By the way, I should mention that I am completely hetero, and in fact have been happily married for years – not that it makes a difference, I just wanted to point out that “straight” men can and should be willing to give them a try. After all, if they’re not your thing, then just stop using them. But, if you DO enjoy them, just think of all you would miss out on by not having the courage to try something new!

    • Um NOT enjoyable… Basically it feels like u have very slippery substance (like oil kinda) between ur legs… And pads r not comfy when they get filled w blood! They become wet and annoying… For the record: if ur girl is on her period make her feel special! Love on her cuz she needs it…

    • You want a description? Ok. This isn’t the experience for all girls (it varies), but I’m not the only one to feel this. First of all, you can get an idea of when it should happen, but you really don’t know when. You’re lucky if you catch it before it stains another pair of underwear (bloodstains are hard to get out). Then, imagine not going to the bathroom for an entire day–the cramps you get from that, then double them (so that if you aren’t on painkillers, you’re vomiting from the pain). And going to the bathroom really doesn’t help. Tends to make it worse, actually. You have to take so many painkillers that your body feels numb, including your brain so that you can’t think (I lost an entire letter grade on three important tests that way freshman year). Next there’s the fact that you are bleeding (pretty steadily) without having any kind of injury. Nobody really talks about it, but this is something that is hard to get over–a feeling that it is unnatural (it takes a while to accept this as “natural”). The bleeding itself feels wet, kind of like you peed your pants and didn’t know it (if it takes a while for you to realize you’re bleeding, or if you don’t change your pad/tampon often enough). The blood is often thick–you have to change pads/tampons quickly so it doesn’t run (showering is a pain because the water mixing with it makes it run down your legs quicker). It also has a specific scent , and there comes the fear that people will be able to smell and know (other people knowing is a big deal, at least for me. They tend to make false judgments). And then there’s the pain of dealing with changing pads/tampons multiple times a day (it takes a little while to do, and you have to dispose of the wrappings properly, sometimes there’s no trashcan nearby or you really don’t have enough time, etc.). To top all of this off, all of this that already has you tired (oh yeah, it makes you feel tired and fat, too–bloating) and sore, and a little irritable because of that, on top of all of this, your emotions are stronger (because of these things called “hormones”) and it’s harder to control them (hence the “bitchiness” that everyone else notices). And nobody cares. You are utterly alone in everything you are dealing with.

      That’s my experience, at least. Others are different (genetic makeup), but like I said, I’m not the only one to experience it like this. It’s more common than people realize.

  4. I am not new to blogging and really appreciate your blog. There is much original content that peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking you out.

  5. I would like to thank you for setting aside time to talk about this subject. I am really fascinated by this subject and have a keen desire to learn more. Your blog is a great resource for me.

  6. Trying to explain to my soon-to-be-teenage son about menstruation and particularly tampons, when I have little knowledge in that area, this article has made it so much easier. Thank you for being one of the few men who dare speak so openly and informatively about this taboo subject. To be quite honest, even a grown man such as myself have learned a lot from reading this article and it’s amazing to see someone with such intellect and bravery to dare tackle menstruation from a male point-of-view. I hope this blog will set an example for future men and redefine the way we view menstruation and the likes! Cheers.

  7. “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

  8. Tampons are definitely very cool, I’m a big fan of them! Not only is it sexy to think about a girl inserting a tampon when she’s having her period, it’s also great to imagine a girl using them for pleasure-needs. Have you ever encountered women who use tampons other than for menstrual purposes? Please share!

    Big fan of your blog, please keep up the great work. It’s great to be able to enjoy knowing about you as a person through your personal posting, as well as all your great period-related content!!

    • Hi Giorgita,

      Tampons are cool indeed and they have a great advantage over pads when it comes to use of them for water-sport situations. I think tampons seemed to be preferred by gymnasts and cheerleaders as well, but I know for sure there are cheerleaders who use pads even for performances, because they’re not in leotards like gymnasts and often have a panty-like piece that shields the actual panties underneath their skirts, so they can still wrap wings or something around their panties and wear a pad without it showing through if someone were to look up.

      Tampons have their sexiness, but I’m still much more of a pad-liking guy, there’s not really a definitive reason for that, LOL. I know a few girls who either have admitted to trying or regularly masturbate with tampons – it’s sexy and all… but I dunno, haha.. doesn’t appeal to me as much. A couple of thoughts/suggestions I shared with some of my girls who do use tampons for that, I reminded them that they should not be actually using the tampon portion if they aren’t on their periods.. since there is a risk of TSS and it would be painful to pull out if the tampon wasn’t saturated enough. They could always just use the applicator portion (if it has one) or if it’s O.B. they could use the tampon to rub it against their clit or vulva area for stimulation. The reality is that most women don’t orgasm via penetration and that most women orgasm via clitoral stimulation, and the feel and the stiffness of the tampon is perfect for that! The only pain about using the applicator is that some of them have a really painful petal so it may catch on skin and that’d be a bitch.

      I bought my ex some tampons before to experiment (both for period and non-period purposes) and it worked out great for her, in fact, she sometimes even preferred the cardboard applicator one since the “head” of the tampons extended through the tube and allowed her finer grip of the tampon to rub against herself. Too bad I didn’t get to do this for her :lol: … HAHA. Tampon applicators because of their smoothness make great toys as well since they glide around well. One of my girls even likes to masturbate with a tampon while she is on her period and as she orgasms, she pushes the tampon in (to replicate the feeling of a penis) and ejects it and she claims it feels really good.. so she gets TWO uses out of a single tampon, lol… smart way of saving money!

      Thanks for your kind words about my blog, I try to do my best :)

    • I don’t know of any women using tampons for “pleasure-needs”, myself, mainly because they hurt. What nobody tells you is that you can actually feel them inside you (although if you do it right, it’s not a painful feeling). But after days of using them, even with pads, the rubbing of the cotton becomes VERY painful.

  9. Despite the fact that this topic can be extremely touchy for most men and women, my opinion is that there has to be a center or typical ground that we all can uncover. I do appreciate that youve extra pertinent and intelligent commentary appropriate here however. Thank you!

  10. Would love it if you considered making some pads and tampons yourself – you’d be excellent at it! I hope one day you will find a company willing to take you in for your passion in creating great products, even if it isn’t your “primary” job! :D

  11. Applicator tampons are great for me, because I get two uses out of them! If I’m changing my tampon at home and feel a little edgey, I use the tampon applicator to masturbate before inserting it… or I insert it right as I climax, it’s a wonderful feeling and although it is not the “size” of a penis, the penetration itself does wonders. Tampons are expensive, so it’s great to be able to get ‘two for the price of one’ out of the product. Since the applicator gets thrown out anyways, I don’t have to “clean” it like I would with a sex toy and it’s discreet and no one would know any better what I do with it while in the washroom. Of course I wouldn’t do something like that in a public washroom, unless I was REALLY edgey or it was one of those “private washrooms”, but it sure makes the money I spend on tampons worthwhile :)

    Great blog, love it and I visit often, please keep up the great work in spreading the positivity of menstruation and showing that men can be open about “female matters” without shame. You are a true inspiration and pride of many women around the world.

  12. I’m a boy and i’ve used to insert tampons in my ass and I loved. But now, But i have a problem, I went to a supermarket to buy a box of tampons and the shop assistent, said to me what i were going to do whith the tampons. She looked me like i where extrange. My question is: If i ask to a girl to buy me tampons, She is going to laugh at me and se will not buy it??

    • I’m not sure about where you live, but in Canada and generally in North American culture, most shop assistants would not be asking such questions. Secondly, you have a right to not answer because it’s not necessary for her to know what you plan on doing with the product. Whether you were going to give it to a girl or whether you enjoy using them yourself, that is not her concern. In fact, I would probably make a complaint to the manager of the store if I was questioned about buying a product when I was not the one to make a request for assistance about the product. Obviously that shop assistant is also not experienced, because MEN AND WOMEN both buy feminine hygiene products. A shop assistant is there to assist you, regardless of the product. She has no right to deny you a product unless it’s prohibited by law (for instance, asking for cigarettes if you’re under a certain age). I’ve never been questioned about my purchase before though I have heard some inappropriate remarks. With that said, if that person is WORKING at the store, he/she must be acting in a professional manner which includes not demeaning customers. Needless to say, that girl is no longer working at the store and I have written a complaint to the head office of that retailer to ensure she is not employed at any other franchise.

  13. I have been buying my own tampons & pads for 30 plus years now! & I haven’t had a problem yet with doing it I love my Kotex Super Plus & Tampax Pearl Ultra’s work great for me up my butt

  14. I thought I would pass this along since I’ve heard fears over the years of losing a tampon up inside, string and all, and the embarrassment of explaining to a doctor, “I slipped.”

    I use the little bullets with no applicator and generous on the lube. Before I start however, I keep a few quarter or nickle size rubber ‘O’ rings in the medicine cabinet, no one would think unusual. I then tie the tampon string to an ‘O’ ring making it secure before lubing the tampon. After inserting it, the only thing left out of course is the string with the ‘O’ ring dangling. It will not get pulled in and makes for easy removal of the tampon, not having to search for the elusive string. When I’m ready to remove it I keep a little hobby knife in the cabinet to cut the string from the ‘O’ ring and reuse it. I’ve never worried about getting one lost.

    • That’s an amazing trick! I don’t think that would even pass too many people’s minds – for those who fear the string will get lost. Thanks for sharing it, I’m sure many of my readers will find your advice useful. I will be sure to share with my friends as well should they come to me with this concern.

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