A couple of months ago, I walked into the bathroom feeling determined. I wasn't going to wear a diaper (read: pad) during my time of the month anymore. To get hyped up and relieve some of my anxiety, I pressed play on "7 rings" by Ariana Grande, focusing on the lyrics, "I want it, I got it."
For years, I've found using tampons is basically impossible because I have vaginismus, a condition where the vagina involuntarily contracts during penetration. As I listened to the music and angled the tampon, I felt silly—and uncomfortable. I knew, deep down, no period product is more or less feminine than another, but I ached for the femininity I associated with tampons.
I'd tried many approaches before, ranging from the slightly embarrassing to the possibly smart: asking my girlfriend to put the tampon inside me, putting lube on it, standing in different positions, awkwardly angling a mirror between my legs, and waiting until my flow was heavier. Nothing worked completely, which was admittedly maybe too much to ask for, especially at the beginning. Either the tampon didn't go in or didn't go in correctly, or the pain and anxiety from