Earth Friendly Periods
Period products generate more than 200,000 metric tons of waste annually.
Most pads and tampons take an estimated 500 - 800 (!) years to biodegrade in landfills. That's longer than the've even exsited, which (yes) means that they're all still out there.
This isn't your fault (it's a decades old market failure) but there are steps we as menstruators can take to be kinder to the earth during our cycles.
We partner with period product brands that use organic cotton and less plastic. These pads and tampons biodegrade in just one (1!) year, and our August products even feature compostable wrapping that dissolves in hot water.
The most "sustainable" (be sure to check the manuafacturing process though!) option for your period is with reusable products, like cups, discs, and underwear. In many cases, these are safer for your body, becuase rather than absorbing blood, cups and discs simply collect it. This lowers risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), and means that you don't have to be quite as regimented about changing them out (most cups and discs hold more than 3 tampons worth of liquid).
What's best for me?
A lot can influence which period products work best for each menstrutor's body. Some examples include:
Contraceptives: If you have an IUD, steer clear of tampons and menstrual cups. Cups create a suction-seal, which can in some cases dislodge an IUD. So can a tampon, if its cotton gets caught on the string.
Age: Many younger menstruators prefer external products like pads and underwear. Cups, discs, and tampons can be intimidating and sometimes painful depending on what stage in puberty you're in. But many brands do make cups in smaller sizes, specifically for younger menstruators. Larger cups are generally recommended for older menstruators who have given birth.
Sexual Preferences: There's nothing wrong with period sex, but some people just prefer to limit mess (both options are totally fine and 'normal'!). Discs can be worn during sex (unlike cups or tampons), becuase they sit up against your cervix, which rises when you're turned on. Your partner may not even be able to feel it at all! Just remember to rinse it off afterwards to prevent PH imbalance.
Cost: While reusables are, in the long run, more cost effective, some menstruators can't afford to pay $30-$50 upfront for their period products. Period poverty is pervasive, and can prevent menstruators from affording any products for their cycle, disposable or reusable. But disposable products are less expensive when bought in smaller quantities.
What are my options?
Hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptive options can be highly effective
The Arm Implant: Set it and forget it, lasts up to 3 years and is the most effective contraceptive method. Can make periods heavier or lighter.
Hormonal IUD: Set it and forget it, these can last for up to 7 years and and highly effective. It's common for periods to lighten to spotting, or go away completely.
The Pill: Oral contraceptives are on a 28 day cycle and highly effective when taken at the same time every day. Taking placebo pills will trigger your period, but you can skip it by starting your new pack back-to-back. One of the more cost effective options.
The Shot: The shot is administered every 3 months and is highly effective when done on a consistent schedule.
Copper IUD: This method uses copper to deter sperm and is non-hormonal, but larger than its hormonal counterpart. Because of this it's often recommended only to menstruators who have given birth, with wider cervical openings. The copper IUD can make periods heavier and cause cramping, but is the most effective method that doesn't use hormones.
Barrier Methods: Condoms and dental dams, these are the only contraceptive methods that prevent STI's and can be used to prevent pregnancy alone, or in addition to any of the above mentioned methods for added protection.
Sterilization: Or, getting your tubes tied. This is the absolute most effective way to prevent preganncy, but unlike the above options, is non-reversable.
How do I choose?
Lifestyle: Some contraceptive methods are higher maintenance than others. The pill is most effective when taken consistently at the same time every day. Condoms have to be worn every time you have sex. The shot has to be taken on a strict three-month schedule. Implants like the IUD and Nexplanon (arm implant) require the least maintenance, with nearly 100% effectiveness for up to 7 years.
Cost: Condoms are oftentimes given out for free at local clinics and Planned Parenthood. If you're a Texas resident, TX Wears Condoms is a great non-profit that sends them to your doorstep free of charge (they even pay for shipping!). The pill is the next most cost-effective out-of-pocket and with insurance. If you have insurance (lucky you!) the pill, IUD, and arm implant can be free, but out-of-pocket it can cost up to $1,500.
Future Plans: Steralization is the most effective method of pregnancy precention, but is non-reversable. If you're sure you don't want kids this is a great option! The pill and condoms can be stopped, along with their protective qualities, at any time. IUD's and the arm implant are removed by your physician. But all are reversible once removed or stopped.
Emergency Contraceptives Explained
Emergency Contraceptives include Levonorgestrel, Ulipristal, and Mifepristone.
Levonorgestrel: Also referred to as the 'Morning After Pill' or 'Plan B.' It is increasingly more effective the sooner it's taken, within 72 hours of unprotected sex, and is available over the counter at most drugstores. It works by preventing ovulation from occuring, but notably, not once it has already occurred. Becuase of this, Levonorgestrel is not effective when you have already ovulated, and cannot stop an already fertalised egg. It is also dosed for people with uteruses under 150 pounds, and is less effective for those over that weight. It is not an abortion pill.
Ulipristal: Also referred to as 'Ella,' this has been shown to be slightly more effective than the morning after pill, and its efficacy lasts for up to 120 hours (compared to 72). Ella is also more inclusive of all body sizes, and works for all body weights. Although, it is harder to find and requires a prescription.
Mifepristone: This is the abortion pill, and can terminiate a pregnancy within 10 weeks of conception. It stops the supply of hormones to ones uterus, which maintain its lining. You can receive the abortion pill at a local clinic, or in states with restrictions, through the mail via telehealth organization Plan C.
Plan B is not the abortion pill. It cannot stop an existing or viable pregnancy, it only prevents ovulation from occurring.
Birth Control does not impact fertility. Numerous studies have disprovded the myth that birth control lowers fertility rates. While it may disrupt hormones, and does change the natural rhythm of your body's cycle, other fertility limitations notwithstanding, you are unlikely to have significant fertility issues after taking them.
Check back soon for more!
Beginners Start Here:
Vibrators are a great way to explore your body and learn what feels good. They best way to increase your chances of having great sex is by communicating, giving your partner a roadmap. Solo play can be a low-pressure, non-performative, safe and empowering form of self care.
Internal, External, or Both
Internal or 'G Spot' vibrators, are meant to go inside of your vagina and generally have less intense vibrations. These can be used externally as well. Some are designed so that they can be used solo or worn during sex.
External or Clitoral vibrators, are not meant for internal use, and can be as small as your palm or as large as a massage wand. These can be rumbly or buzzy, but tend to be on the more intense or buzzier side.
Vibrators that are made for both internal and external play may be wand shaped, rabbit shaped (internal wand and separate clitoral stimulator), or flexible to be bent for your body.
Solo or Couple Play
Most vibrators are great for both Solo and Couple play, just always ask your partner before pulling it out and be open to answering questions about how it works, and what you like.
Vibrators specifically made for Couples can be worn during sex either internally (vaginally), externally (by fitting between the labia), or around the penis (a ring). Some can be controlled by apps via wifi, for long distance- these may be used internally or externally.
Buzz or Rumble
What do we mean when we say "Buzz" and "Rumble"?
Think, the buzz of a bee (hey that's us!) or the purr of a catt. Buzz's are generally more intense, and faster, while rumbles are longer in wavelength and work best (typically) for internal toys.
But, every body is different! If you're less sensitive, and need more stimulation to climax, buzzing toys may be best for you. If you're very sensitive, rumbles could feel better.
NOTE: There are also toys that use suction, puffs of air, and more. The best way to figure out what you like best is through trial and error, but understanding what the lingo means is a great place to start.
Does it need to be discreet?
What makes a vibrator discreet? There's nothing shameful or wrong about having or using a vibrator, but some people prefer to keep theirs tucked away.
Size: Wand vibrators can be pretty big, but because of their large surface area coverage, are great for beginners. Some just look like body massagers (hey, technically that's what they are) but others are pretty obviously vibrators, and harder to keep hidden. On the other hand, palm and bullet vibrators are pretty tiny, and can be hidden just about anywhere (just don't lose the little guys!).
Noise: Anybody who has tried to quietly use their vibrator with thin walls or roommates knows the value of a quiet toy. But if you don't need it to be quiet (so what if your neighbors know you're getting off), noise level is certainly not related to effectiveness.
Shape: Some vibrators are pretty obvious, but others are. in the shape of jewelry, lipstick, rubber duckies... Emojibator makes them in the shape of pickles, peppers, and eggplants!
External vibrator that "buzz's," made for solo play but great for couples foreplay. Three intensity settings, single pattern. Made of silicone, and safe to use with water-based lubes.
Dame: Zee BulletShop
External, less intense, vibrator that "buzz's," made for solo play but great for couples foreplay. Varying intensity levels and patterns. Small and discreet, waterproof, and great for travel.
More rumbly (and less quiet), eva sits between your labia and can be worn during sex. Three intensity settings and specifically designed for couples. Made of silicone and safe to use with water-based lubes.
Lubricants & Intimate Oils
For External Use
Body Oils often cotain essential oils or perfumes (which should never go near your vagina). Some have CBD or similar relaxing ingredients made to soften muscles, and are great for foreplay.
Arousal Oils are another foreplay partner, and can be used externally on your vulva. They often have ingredients or aphrodasiacs that stimulate bloodflow to the clitoris. Arousal oils shouldn't be used like a lube (and wouldn't be as effective, they're not made to be slippery!).
For Internal Use
Lubricants are safe to be used internally, and can be water, oil, or silicon based.
With Toys and Condoms
Silicon on silicone (or latex) is not a good match, so if you're looking to use a lube during sex or with a toy, go water based!
Silicon lubes tend to stay slippery for longer, but can erode the material on a silicon toy or cause a condom to break.
Imbalances & Infections
STI's (Sexually Transmitted Infections)
Getting regularly STD tested is a super important piece of having a good and healthy sex life. Doctors recommend getting a panel every six months if you’re not in a long term monogamous relationship, but if you can, get tested two weeks after each new sexual partner you have.
The most common STI's are HPV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. Over half of the population has some strain of HPV, and the strains vary in seriousness. On one end, your body can clear it on its own without any treatment within a year or so. In other cases, HPV can cause genital warts, throat, anal, and penile cancers, and in people with uteruses, cervical cancer.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are tested together with a urine sample, and both can be fully cured with a round of an antibiotic called Doxycycline.
Herpes is another pretty common STD, mostly because of how contagious it is. It can’t be fully cured, but outbreaks can range from a few times a year to never at all. Herpes can be treated, however, with some antivirals which heal lesions more quickly and reduce pain. When taken daily the virus may be suppressed, leading to decreased frequency of outbreaks.
More serious, and slightly less common, STD’s are Syphilis and HIV. If you have any reason to think you could be at risk of having either of these STD’s get a full panel test and follow your Doctor’s guidance for next steps if you get a positive result.
Bacterial Vaginosis is a vaginal PH imbalance, and is not an STD! This can occur when the balance of the bacteria versus the yeast that normally exist in your vagina is thrown off. This can happen due to frequent sex, especially if the individual wasn’t having sex often before. It can also happen due to douching or new toy use. BV is treated with the antibiotic, Flagyl.
Urinary Tract Infections are another very common imbalance, and occurrs when fluid (sometimes from sex, but not always) is stuck in the urethra. Your body's best defense against UTI's is peeing (and not holding it for too long, or staying in. bed after sex!). UTI's, like BV, can occur as a result of sex, but is not a STD.
Yeast Infections occur when the levels of yeast in your vagina are thrown off. It is marked by itching and irritation of the vaginal opening, and often cures itself within a week or so. But, treatments are available if discomfort is too severe.
Sexual Health that's Habitual, not Reactionary
Most people wait until they have a STD scare to get tested. But what we don’t talk about, is that the most common symptom for nearly all STD’s is no symptom at all.
The best way to know if you have an STD or not is by getting tested before each new partner. And remember, STI’s are nothing to be ashamed about. Just about all sexually active adults get one in their lifetime.
We’re helping you keep things fun and flirty, and we’re tossing out the words “clean or dirty.”