'Cock your leg up on the toilet!'
'Get on all fours and spread your legs!'
'Lube up with some Vaseline!'
'Stick your finger up first!'
No, these aren't sordid sexual orders, but rather a selection of 'helpful' tidbits of advice I've been offered from friends and family over the years for using a tampon. And, truthfully, none of them work.
I'm 30 years old and I still can't use the damn thing.
Ridiculous, I know, but I've resigned myself to the fact that Tampax and I are just not destined to be forever friends.
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Plenty of people struggle to get their heads around it but I just don't understand how exactly to insert it - and it's certainly not from lack of trying. Trust me. Hours of my early teenage years were spent in the toilet (often with my mother shouting graphic instructions through the door), attempting to get the little b****** in. I've pored over the instructions, tried every brand under the sun and attempted every hack Reddit has to offer.
As someone who isn't on the pill, monthly periods make my frosty relationship with the tampon even trickier. I literally dread holidays during my time of the month, knowing that white dresses, boat trips and bikinis are out of the question and even night's out wearing what my colleague describes as a 'nappy' were a wholly uncomfortable experience.
Taking a quick dip in the pool is completely out of the question. Summers spent living on a boat with my family in Mallorca were quite the experience. I can't fathom sunbathing without a pair of shorts on for fear of my pad peeking out of my bikini bottoms. Oh, and my poor boyfriend can't come within a metre of me during my time of the month. Is there anything less attractive than a wandering hand accidentally grabbing a handful of your nappy? Shudders.
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On a recent holiday, I managed to master the art of tampon application. Hallelujah! Finally! However, our friendship was short-lived. Indeed, I got so inebriated that I forgot I was on my period (because I'd be accustomed to seeing a pad every time I went to the toilet) so ended up leaving the goddam tampon in for 12 hours and had an incredibly awkward leakage situation all over my white dress. I got up to leave breakfast and a fellow hen I'd known for approximately 12 hours chased after me, whispered 'don't panic but you've come on your period' and dragged me into the toilet to 'sort me out'. I literally felt like a 16 year old coming on her period for the first time.
It's safe to say my tenuous relationship with the tampon (and/or alcohol) is over. It was fun while it lasted.
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Struggling too? Here's Tampax's handy guide to inserting a tampon. Good bloody luck.
- Ready? Take a deep breath and relax. Hold the tampon applicator securely by the anti-slip grip with your thumb and middle finger. Not sure where to hold it? Look for little grip marks.
- With the removal string hanging down, insert the outer tube of the tampon applicator into your vagina at a slight upward angle, toward the small of your back. Gently slide the applicator all the way into your vagina, until your fingers touch your body.
- With your index finger, push the inner tube all the way into the outer tube until the ends of both tubes are even; this slides the tampon out of the applicator and into the right place in your vagina.