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Tampons can be really overwhelming, uncomfortable, and scary but they don’t need to be. You can pull this video up on your phone in the bathroom and follow along. The first few minutes are how to instructions. The last minute or so is bonus information about tampons like when to take the out, my thoughts on applicators, and the "tampon tax." Stay curious!

Ideally we'd all use a product that are environmentally friendly like cups, reusable pads, and menstrual underwear. I made a whole video about them (link below). The reason I’m giving instructions on how to use a tampon specifically is because they’re usually the most accessible. People coming and going in the bathroom tend to carry tampons you could borrow/have. Going swimming and you get your period? -- tampons are usually around somewhere. I know guys and gals who keep a little baskets of them in their bathrooms for guests. Cool, right?

Here’s a video menstruation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF54N6gtb6A
Here’s a video about other period products: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Dkn-e7idP0
Oh! and here's one ASAPScience did this week on using tampons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7bZbBFYnfo

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I'm Dr. Lindsey Doe, and this is Sexplanations.

(Intro)

Instructions for putting in a tampon are a little different, depending on the brand you get. This is a tampon, this is a tampon, this, this, and this are tampons. If you have time to learn about a product, like pull one apart and get a sense of how it all works, great. If you don't, like say you have one tampon, and it's go-time, here's a general rundown.

Start by finding a comfortable position over the toilet where you can see what's going on, and then open the wrapper. Pull it out, don't push it out.

Tampon Anatomy: Inside you'll probably find something that looks like this: the cardboard or plastic thing is an applicator, which helps put the tampon that's inside it, inside you.

The broader end is called the barrel. The tampon is in here, ready to be pushed out the contoured end, which is right here. This other part is called the plunger, and what you see dangling out is the string attached to the tampon so that you can get it out later.

Vulva Anatomy: There's three major hole in your crotch. If you try to put it here where the urine come out, it won't go in. Too small. If you try to put it here, that's your anus. It won't stop the bleeding. The blood is coming out of the vagina, the middle hole. That's where the tampon goes.

All vaginas are different, and yours might not be ready or willing to have something inside it. If you find that inserting a tampon is too painful, it's okay not to use one, or hold off until you talk to your doctor about it. Most people use something besides tampons for their periods anyway.

Here are a few things that can make entry easier.
1. Pulling apart your labia a little so the tampon has easier access to the wet part.
2.Breathe. You don't want to psych yourself out (which is really easy to do) because you are trying a new experience. and,
3. Clench your vagina really tightly for as long as you can, say eight seconds. When you do this, your muscles will have to relax, and that's when you can try insertion.

Holding the finger grip between your thumb and middle finger, slide whole barrel in at a 45 degree angle. Your fingers should be right up against the hole. Then take another deep breath, put the middle finger on the plunger, and slowly push while holding the barrel inside you.

If your tampon has a click system, you're gonna need to pull the plunger out, and click it into place before you put it in. You're going to pull back on the whole applicator like you would either way, and put it in the trash.

The goal is for the tampon to sit inside of your vagina so you don't feel it. If you do feel it, don't worry. If the tampon isn't sitting comfortably, use your clean finger to push it in further. Some tampons come without applicators, and that's how you put them in - with a clean finger.

If there's a string, it can just hang out like this. Or, if you're worried about someone seeing it, you can push it up into the vagina too.

If you put it in right, the tampon should soak up the blood from your period so it doesn't come out all over your clothes. If you notice a little blood coming out, that's probably an indicator that it's full and that you need another one or some other period product to catch the blood.

There are many options to choose from - I'm teaching you about this one because that's usually what people have on them if you're ever in need.

Now that you're all situated, some important notes: Tampons can be worn overnight, but not for more than 8 hours. I would suggest fewer than that, like changing your tampon every 3 hours. Pull on the string until it comes out completely, wrap it in a little toilet paper, toss it in the waste basket. Only if you're certain the toilet can handle it, do I say flush it. If the tampon isn't full when you need to take it out, I would suggest switching to a lower absorbency. Or, something else (which I would not make a habit of) is to pull it out slightly, pee on it, let it fill up with urine, and then pull it out so it's less scratchy.

For those of you worried about it getting lost, it is not going to wander into your guts. At a resting state, the vagina is only 3-5 inches, and the os and the cervix where the blood is coming out is the size of an ear-piercing, so nothing to worry about. If you can't find it, slide a clean finger in, push down like you're having a baby or a big poop, then hook it with your finger and pull out.

Another note: personally I like cardboard applicators over plastic ones because these tend to pinch me. Lastly, you may have heard of a tampon tax which adds an average of 6.25% to the cost of your menstrual products. What's happening is that places aren't categorizing tampons, pads, and the like as necessities such as food and medicine, so they aren't being exempt from the Sales Tax. There's legislation going on right now to confront this situation.

One argument is that hygiene products for a natural process are necessities. The other is that women are just trying to get a tax break.

Stay Curious!

This episode was not sponsored by any tampon companies; it exists because of supporters like you. If you'd like to join them in the effort to support honest sex education, go to patreon.com/sexplanations and subscribe.

[singing] Doo-do-dooo dodo doo doo de di doo do! that's when you can try insertion. Shhh!