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Ask Allison #3!

Hi folx! If you read Ask Allison #1, you know this is a space where I post questions asked to me anonymously and answer them. Thanks to those of you who've asked me questions this week!


Dear Allison,

I haven't had penetrative sex yet and I want to use tampons while I'm on my period, but I'm worried they'll make me lose my virginity. What should I do?

Sincerely,

La Virgen


Dear La Virgen,

To answer your question, I want to go over what "virginity" really is first. "Virginity", as our western society typically thinks about it (depending on your religion, beliefs, upbringing, etc.) is the state of one's body before they have penetrative sex. The term "virgin" can be used both for people with vulvas and people with penises.


Remember that virginity is a social construct. You may have been told, taught, or heard that when you have sex for the first time, especially if you have a vulva, your vagina will change shape, consistency, and elasticity. You've maybe heard that you'll "pop your cherry", which is referring to the hymen, a small piece of skin that covers the vaginal canal when we are born. Medically speaking, a vagina doesn't really change that much after penetration the first time, especially if all parties involved were careful, gentle, and used plenty of lubrication. Most people born with hymens (yes, there are a lot of people born without!) lose that piece of skin by the time they're ready to have sex because of various, normal activities like horseback riding, gymnastics, riding a bike, taking a hard fall, and many others. So, you'll need to ask yourself: does riding a horse make me not a virgin?


The term "virgin" typically has a stereotype of "purity" or "cleanliness" around it. But sex doesn't make you dirty or impure. Sex is a normal bodily response and is perfectly healthy - it even has health benefits like decreasing stress, improving sleep, and lowering blood pressure! Consider using the term "first-timer" instead of "virgin" to take away that negative stigma.


So, what are your options for period management? Well, lucky for you, there are many in the U.S. that are pretty cost-effective! Here's a short list with a few pros and cons to both. Do some research and talk to people you trust who have tried several options and try some out yourself to see which will work best for you. Good luck!


Tampons

-Relatively cheap, depending on brand

-Very easy to access

-Not very environmentally friendly

-Need to be changed every 4 hours (super size) or every 8 hours (regular size) at maximum


Menstrual/Diva Cup

-One-time expense (usually about $35)

-Can be used for up to 10 years

-Needs monthly maintenance like sterilizing

-Can be uncomfortable for some users

-Can be left in for up to 12 hours


Menstrual Disc

-Small enough for youngsters

-One-time expense (also about $35)

-Can be used for up to 10 years

-Also needs monthly maintenance

-Also can be left in for up to 10 hours


Pads

-Come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes

-Pretty absorbent, but won't stop leaks like something inserted

-Need to be changed as soon as they fill up for adequate protection


~Allison



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