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Over a lifetime a person menstruates an average of 14 liters, an upward of 32 liters. That's an incredible amount of blood to manage and this video shares a least a dozen methods to do so.

Sexplanations' Menstruation episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF54N6gtb6A
Buy1:Fund1
Thinx documentary: http://www.shethinx.com/pages/the-week
Lunapads (reusable pads): http://lunapads.com/?geoip_country=US
How to use a tampon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNP0qhBdfHI
How to use a sponge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7bhhnIzCk0
MENSTRUAL CUP RAP BATTLE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zj4NhC8ahM

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Dr. Doe: On average a uterus uploads a new lining once a month for 33 years. That's 400 rounds of bleeding out the old for the new.

-- Intro Cut Scene --

Let's get you familiar with the ways to manage all that blood. One option is to just "bleed it out" - in a hut, in a bath, in your underwear. If that's your style, check out these underwear, specifically designed to bleed in. They're sleek and super comfy, even when they're full of liquid. This kind in particular is treated with anti-microbial silver to prevent bacterial and odor so you can wear them all day like any other pair of panties, and still be hygienic. My suggestion is to have two or more pairs so you can rotate into one while the other is being washed - that's rinsed by hand, washed cold, hang dry. Bonus! This brand, called Thinx, has a "buy one, fund one" program, where each purchase funds reusable pads for girls in Uganda. So as students, the girls no longer have to leave or quit school because of the taboo and/or distraction of bleeding all over themselves. There's a whole documentary about it that I'll link to in the description.

Next up - Reusable Pads.

This one lays across the underwear where you're most likely to bleed, called the gusset, and then the wings wrap around the back and snap to hold it in place. The ric rac bands are so you can easily swap absorbent fleece inserts in and out, rather than changing the whole pad, which can actually be used as reusable panty liners to catch all sorts of fluids.

I love reusable products because they're so much less of an environmental impact compared to disposable products like these than can take 500 to 800 years to decompose.

That said, I'm going to teach you about disposables, in case that's what you prefer as a method, or all you have access to. Liners and pads are similar. All these pieces come off, making sure that the adhesive doesn't stick to itself. Once it's set in position, you can lift it into place with your underwear. Pads are more bulky than other methods, but widely available at drug stores and gas stations. They don't require putting anything into the body and the cleanup is simple. You just take it off the underwear, put it into the packaging, roll it up and toss it in the trash. Word of caution: like I said, these are bad-news bears for the planet. They may also be bad for your body. There's about 4 plastic bags worth of plastic you're putting up right against one of the most exposed and delicate parts of your body. If you can, use them sparingly, or get a brand that says "organic and unbleached, 100% cotton." This goes for tampons too.

This is a tampon, this is a tampon, and this is a tampon.

By definition - a plug of soft material, intended to absorb menstrual blood in the vagina. These are designed to be pushed into the vagina with one's finger. If there's a string on the end, that's for removing it. You can also pull it out by hooking it with one finger, and grabbing the end with two fingers. Some, like these, have cardboard or plastic applicators that help slide the tampon into place. The applicator pushes the tampon into the vagina, then the applicator goes in the trash. 4 - 6 hours later, or sooner if it's full, the tampon is then removed and thrown in the trash too. Unless you use one like this - a crocheted tampon I got off of Etsy. This one goes in with one finger, absorbs the blood, is pulled out by the string, then washed like the underwear and reusable pads I mentioned earlier. Softer than what Eve Ensler calls "a wad of dry fucking cotton" but not as soft as sponges.

Actual "from the sea" animal sponges; which go in moist, and therefore very softly. Sponges don't have nervous systems, like other animals, so removing parts of them for menstruation doesn't hurt them - instead if actually stimulates their growth. First, get it moist and trimmed to the desired shape. Then, soak it for five minutes in a cup of warm water, with one of these: tea tree oil, vinegar, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide. After that, rinse it, squeeze it mostly dry and slide it into the vagina. There's a great guidance video in the description. It should go in awesomely, and sit so comfortably, you can't even tell it's there.

I hope all of these are so comfy you don't notice them. Including the highly raved about "menstrual cup," which is made from latex rubber, silicone, or thermoplastic elastomer, that is molded into a cup. To use it: pinch it in half and insert it wide-end first like a tampon. Inside the vagina, the cup will sit open and collect blood as it comes out the cervix. if you size it correctly, you can keep it in for a good 8 hours without leakage. To remove it, grip the pointy end like you would a tampon string and pull. Probably over a toilet so you can easily pour the blood out. Once that's done, rinse it off at the sink or with a water bottle. Because that's all it needs before you put it right back in! You can hold off on a thorough wash until your period ends. Side note: there's a disposable model of these too, called "Soft Cups" - same idea but shaped like a diaphragm and these add to landfills.

Alright, the last menstrual blood product I want to talk about is Birth Control. This is by no means its intended purpose. Birth control regulates your hormones to prevent pregnancy, but these types may also halt, lighten and/or reduce menstruation. Check with your medical provider about the "hows and whats" of managing your cycle. Talk to people in general about periods and products. Share what's worked for you, find out what others like, or how they've adapted something to work for them.

Stay Curious!

My goal is that you feel as comfortable as you can with a very natural part of your life. For more information about these, including an epic battle between Tampon and Moon Cup, check out the description. And to support the sex education you wish you'd had as a kid, please visit our Patreon page: patreon.com/sexplanations. 


Happy Bleeding!

-- Outtakes --

Dr. Doe: This is a tampon, this is a tampon, and this is a tampon. whoops.

*mumbling vocalizations* rubber, silicone, elastomer *mumbling vocalizations*