by Sarah Vandervennet
I’m not the first person to say periods are fucking annoying. The last time I was at Planned Parenthood to change from one method of birth control with horrendous side effects to another, for the fifth time since I was fifteen, I started Googling elective hysterectomies with wholehearted consideration.
I have a tattoo of a tampon, which I feel like foreshadows my genuine impulse to extract this obnoxious organ from my body. Granted, my tampon looks like a corn dog, but the sentiment is there. Having a uterus is the pits.
When people ask me about my tattoo, I take the opportunity to lunge into a diatribe about the politics of periods. About how women in Nepal are forced to sleep in sheds with the cattle and eat only bread or rice while menstruating. How until just this year tampons were taxed as luxury items in Great Britain. How homeless women here in the United States will forgo eating to buy a box of tampons.
These are extreme examples of the general discomfort and shame women feel surrounding their periods, and an insight into why we’re constantly looking for better ways to deal with them. Which is how I fell susceptible to all the Facebook ads for THINX Period Panties, panties that claim to be totally normal underwear made with sci-fi-status soakage technology that render them not only leak-proof but period-smell-proof.
I made my mom buy them for me for my birthday. As someone who usually buys underwear in bulk from Amazon, they’re kind of expensive, ranging from $24 for a thong to $38 for a pair of “Hi-Waist heavy day” panties. But that’s basically the cost of a month’s worth of tampons, so it’s worth it.
My first reaction when I got them was that they definitely felt a little papery, like in between the layers of yoga pant sort of material there was a piece of tissue paper over the crotch. But once you put them on and adjust to minimize wedgie potential, your puss can’t tell the difference. Plus they look pretty sexy for period panties.
I was cocky the first time I wore them. I wore the high-waisted pair my mom bought be “in case of heavy days” with a skirt. It definitely wasn’t a “heavy pair” kind of day, and they’re definitely a little more diaper-y feeling, but this skirt has a high mooning risk, so a thong wasn’t an option.
I looked super cute, but it was rainy and I was period-y, so I had zero intention of going out after work. But then this OKCupid guy randomly texted me and I was like okay whatever. I had never met him before, but I’ve been on a lot of internet dates, and most of the guys are insufferably boring or, worse, not cute. So I figured I’d be in bed alone with my period underwear soon enough.
I went to meet him at the bar and, of course, dude is hot. Then he ups the ante and turns out to not be boring either. A couple drinks later, I’m totally into it.
Now I’m a very open person. So period sex on the first date is not an issue for me. If you’re not okay with period sex, we’re not going to get along. I’m not saying I’m hemorrhaging blood and expect you to rub it all over your body, just that if we’re both horny, get your dick a tiny bit bloody, who cares.
So dude and I start walking to another bar, and I say, “I’m wearing period underwear. I didn’t think I’d like you.” Let’s just say he passed the test. Zero hesitation or awkwardness. Good boy. In fact, this prompted questions about the period underwear, so I took his hand and put it up my skirt. He started stroking my diaper-ass and—get this—says, “I actually kind of like them.” End of review, people, I give THINX panties five-stars.
Needless to say, I went home with dude. We had amazing period sex, and then I put on my period panties and went to bed, without any concern about leakage or not looking sexy.
Okay, so, they’re not perfect. The fabric more resists liquid than soaks it, making you feel a little wetter down there than is comfortable. And when you go pee you totally still get a whiff of period smell. But on the lighter, spottier days, or the maybe days, it’s really nice not having that horror story playing through your head of the girl who stands up on the train to see a puddle of blood on the seat. So factoring in the fact that tampons are expensive (and wasteful–panties are way more environmentally friendly), I’d say they’re a worthy addition to the period survival kit.