What’s up with ewwww?

What we call the “ewww” factor is a fact of life here at Lunapads (although most of the feedback we receive is overwhelmingly supportive, when it does come up it can kind of wreck your day.) Recently however there have been some interesting examples that have given me pause for thought about how we respond to it.

In the past, my reaction to icked-outedness has been to cite the billions of chemical-soaked pads and tampons festering in landfills, or to invite the ickee (as it were) to recall the discomfort of removing a tampon towards the end of one’s menses, as examples of ick as I see it. The new Stayfree “date” videos are also standout ick contenders, but I digress.

And yet I certainly didn’t start my journey of consciousness around menstruation where I am today. In fact, I’m sure that once upon a time, had you asked me what I thought of the idea of washable menstrual pads I might well have been totally icked. Apparently, what is and is not gross or disgusting to us today is not necessarily true for tomorrow.

What’s interesting to me about it is that the folks who are able to be, oh – a bit more patient or self-conscious around it seem to end up in some interesting places, whereas those who can’t get past it just stay grossed out. Some examples, forthwith!

I was recently asked about how men, generally speaking, react to our products and was happy to report that for the most part they are very supportive and pragmatic, along the lines of: “You’ll save money and have less to throw away – why not give it a try, hon?”

That said, one man’s discomfort with the idea of Lunapads and menstrual cups recently led to a very unusual and enlightened conclusion. In a guest post for industrial design blog Core77, consumer behaviour researcher Steve Portigal tells his story. Steve takes his initial reaction of deep discomfort upon seeing a Lunapads ad for the first time and creatively uses it as a jumping off point for a key realization: that change and progress are often accompanied by discomfort.

Further to my observation about men’s reactions, I pointed out that it’s often women who have the strongest negative reactions. In a recent case, I was reading a post about our new “ditch the disposables” video on one of my favorite blogs, The Girlie Girl Army, and was struck by the first comment: “That is disgusting…really.” Several dozen readers were quick to jump in with more positive sentiments, but it made me want to take some time to look at the whys and whats of these kinds of “uncomfortable” reactions to our products.

Given all the negative, shame-based messages we receive around our bodies and menstruation, is it any wonder that some of us have issues with menstruation and menstrual products in the first place?

Prenatal coach Crystal Di Domizio paints a beautifully honest picture of her transformation in a recent blog post about her experience with switching to our products: “The ewww factor always came up for me even though menstruation doesn’t make me squeamish. What I thought was going to be a huge hassle (but worth the extra work) actually ended up being easier and more enjoyable.

It’s not easy to be Green blogger Ailanna further makes the excellent point in her recent “Getting over the squeamishness” post that our collective freakout about bodily fluids is essentially the engine that drives our unsustainable disposable culture: “The problem with our squeamishness is that it’s kind of killing the planet. Not singlehandedly, but in our plastic-loving disposable attitude, our conviction that we are somehow above having to deal with the messes we make as biological beings – surely enough.”

While I have no wish to argue with icked-out prospective customers, it does make me wonder what can be said to help to get them to come down the tree, as it were. What I wish I could ask the grossed-out folk among us is about the origin of their discomfort: is it the notion of getting any closer to their menses than absolutely necessary, touching themselves intimately, the products or the hassle of cleaning them? Is there a gentle, creative way to support someone in whatever place they find themselves that doesn’t necessarily imply that they are wrong? What do you guys think?

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  • Karen

    Ummm. Yup. I’ve never been frilly & squeamish. I’m
    Not a girly girl, but a sporty nature girl. That being said I’m sure 10 years ago I never would have tried reusable pads. But then I had a baby. And I cloth diapered that baby. So if I can clean this kids diapers, then I guess I take care of my own needs too. Funny thing is: I dread my period a lot less now. You’d think it’d be the opposite. The “extra work” is negated by the not having to run to the store in an emergency

  • I’m sure I dealt with the ick factor as well (in the beginning), seeing as it took me about 10 or so years to try cloth pads. Maybe it’s the issue of blood that people are uncomfortable with? The fact that it is coming out of a private place? Just a few ideas I tried to come up with. 🙂

    After I read testimonials of cloth pads, I decided I wanted to try them out. This was probably around the time I became more “crunchy,” if you are familiar with that term. 🙂 The ick factor is not there anymore, or at least it has greatly decreased. I thought (or maybe I heard it somewhere else), menstrual blood is capable of sustaining a human life. It is a very important part of being a woman.

    Go Lunapads!! 🙂

  • Sarah

    I think the experience of being pregnant and having a baby helps you get more comfortable with your body in regards to managing what comes out of it.

  • Elissa

    Maybe because I was blessed with awesome biology teachers there are very few things that go on with the human body that disgust me. Between digestion and procreation, there are a lot of “gross” things that go on in and come out of the body. I truly am baffeled by the” grossness” associated with menstration where as vomit and feeces are jokes, blood (out of any other part of the body) is dramatic and all over primetime tv, and seminal fluid is often considered eroitc.

    I think the ick factor has less to do with actual menstration and more to do with the marginalization of the feminine in our society. I would reccomend that anyone read “The Red Tent” to better understand how honored and cherished the feminine was in the past. Speaking of books…maybe lunapads should write a book called “(Almost) Everyone Menstrates” a la “Everyone Poos.”

    There is nothing more sad than a person (man or woman) who is discusted by some aspect (internal or external) of their body. For the most part, the body is what it is and we are generally stick with it for life, so it seems best to embrace it.

    Lunapads are fantastic for furthering the goal of sustainability. To me, its equivalent of using my own coffee mug at work instead of the styrofoam cups. Its using” real” dishes instead of plastic. Its carrying my own cloth bag in my purse and opting out of” paper or plastic.” Reduce, reuse, recycle~ this includes your menstral products.

  • Heather

    I am not sure what the deal is with the “ick” factor. I personally don’t mind at all. I used a diaphragm before, but now hardly anyone knows what one is! I think some women and girls just aren’t comfortable or familiar with their own bodies.

    I also use the diva cup, which I got interested in after trying the insteads cups. Insteads are disposable but I enjoyed them over tampons, which always seem to be nothing more than a pathway for clots down the string 🙁 Defeats the purpose, right? Anyway…I was reading in a yoga magazine and saw an ad for diva cup. I went to google and found lunapads.com. I bought a kit to try out the panty-liners with it, as back up. I worried it would create more waste by washing them, but it really doesn’t. I even go to the point of rinsing them in the shower when possible before soaking. And I wash them with the regular load of laundry. I love them! They are so soft and there is no chafing! So what if a few stains remain here and there! They last for years, like everything that lasts, you will see some normal wear. They are really amazing!

    I love not worrying about running to buy tampons or pads all the time. As a matter of fact, I still have most of the pads and tampons under my sink that I bought before I had my lunapads and diva cup! It’s nice for guests, I suppose. But you won’t see me in that isle of the store ever again! 🙂

  • Jan

    Well, filling up landfills is ick. So is the butt rash I experienced monthly due to the plastic materials in pads. Ick is highly subjective. I choose to de-ick my life in general so I love my Lunas!

  • Jan

    Uhhh, Mr. Hottie from the Stayfree video deserves a girlfriend who believes in not encasing her womanly areas in plastic and paper fluff!

  • Hey, thanks for the link! 🙂 Although I’ve made major strides in getting over my own squeamishness, I still difficulty talking menstruation and its accoutrements. I’m pretty new to cloth pads, so I haven’t started evangelizing in earnest, but I think I’ll probably just buy some extras and give them to friends. (This strategy has worked for converting friends to reusable bags and water bottles before!) They’re a lot more likely to try them this way.

  • Meg Odair

    Okay, I’m trying to be…. er…. open minded about this… but…. YUCK! DISGUSTING!

    I LOVE my Lunapads. Before I got them, I was thinking that they’d be messy and inconvenient, but it’s actually quite the opposite…. they’re so much better all around and I encourage everyone to try them, even if you are hesitant or grossed out…. you won’t be once you try them.

    And you know what is ick?
    That archaeologists in the future will be digging up…. used paper pads!
    That people put up with pouring bleach on paper and putting it in their underwear

    Stayfree commercials with shirtless men advertising PADS!

  • Meg Odair

    (I was talking about the commercials, not the pads!)

  • Arwen

    I had a bit of an ick reaction, once upon a time. Part of this was that disposables actually made it ickier for me. Less air flow? Dunno. Part was all the tension around it that I picked up in the world. To be fair, part was that the only folks I knew who were using reusables were – well, pretty hardcore.

    My transition was slow: I used ‘insteads’, and they helped for cramps, and then I thought why am I throwing these out? and got a Divacup – and finally, when I moved to a place with a washing machine, I decided to give Lunapads a try.

    It’s been a year and 3 months, and I’m seriously so much happier. Ick really is the plastic/paper of the disposable, for me.

  • LaPriel

    Okay, I just have to share this. A friend of mine saw a picture of the pads I have been making to go to Days for Girls. She wondered what they were. I told her. Here is her reply

    “YUCK!! Glad I dont have to deal with that anymore lol Who cares if they are beautiful, they are NOT to be seen, and who wants to wash them………….ugh!!!! Im all for charity tho =)”

    Maybe that will give some insight to the issue. 🙂 PS we are in our early 40’s

  • You need to add a facebook button to your blog. I just shared this post, but had to do it manually. Just my $.02 🙂

    • Hi Kelly, our facebook (twitter, tumblr, digg, technorati, etc) buttons are at the bottom of each entry.

  • Amy

    Hey, CBC Radio recently ran a broadcast on the subject of the Culture of Menstruation, and it would be awesome if your blog could get at least some excerpts of the audio, if not the whole thing in its entirety.

    Also, to counter the ick factor, here’s a YouTube thingy on the Diva Cup from a real woman out there that is down to earth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oddzu_Qf9gY

  • rebecca lubitz

    When people ask me about the ick factor with cloth anything, I usually (gently) ask if they would rather have polluted air, water, and soil. How about farming in land polluted with dioxins etc? I lived in Santiago for a year and it was so smoggy that you could not see the mountains even though they were RIGHT there — only after it rained, and then it was beautiful, for a day … This approach is usually too strong for people, though, unless they are on the fence. My friend switched to cloth pads after I bought her a set, and she just found them more comfortable, and more “natural” — she is worried about personal exposure to chemicals harming her health. A lot of people will switch because they want to be more pure and natural, and not necessarily for the planet, but that is ok. Because our trash is taken away from us and we never experience a dump, because we live in relative comfort, because our actions affect the poorest of the poor, most people are unaware of the suffering our disposable habits cause. I do not begrudge that, just recognize it. For those who have not had the good misfortune of living in less affluent countries (I have lived and traveled thru many), I think it is useless to push the eco agenda. A better agenda is personal health — that is more immediate, and people get that. Peace everyone. I do this for my children and their children, so they have cleaner water and soil and the stuff that really matters.

  • Cathy

    I wish I’d know about options to disposables years ago. I use a Moon Cup and Lunapad pantyliners. Both clean up beautifully and honestly – periods seem easier, more comfortable and much less annoying. The pads are so, so soft…a treat to wear.

  • K.

    I was “lured” over here by a clever link placement at a message board for one of those “evil” disposable companies.

    Sorry! But I have to diaper an elderly adult as well as take care of my feminine needs. And with the little time I have left, have a social life.

    I don’t see why you have to question the character of people who use other products.

    • Karen

      Honestly where is she questioning anyone’s character? She’s asking why people are grossed out and what can be done about reassuring them. That’s all….

  • Co-op Frequenter

    I’m not even sure how I came across Lunapads any more. A few years ago I probably would have thought they were disgusting, too. But I’ve been using them for over a year now and I love them.

    Oddly enough, my fiance is incredibly supportive of their use, yet my mom and her best friend are squicked out about them. I got an ‘ew, I may be a hippie but I’m not *that* much of a hippie!’ from my mom’s friend. Made me a bit sad.

    Disposable pads/tampons are a recent invention, and prior to that women just used rags anyways. Many places of the world, rags are still the norm. I wish people would get over it, I’m sure there are many people still using rags who would give their firstborn to have something as secure and portable as a Lunapad!

  • Brie B.

    To the woman saying, “But I have to diaper an elderly adult as well as take care of my feminine needs. And with the little time I have left, have a social life”, all I can say is, how does using washable pads take any more time than using disposables? It really doesn’t, trust me. You just throw ’em in with the regular wash; you don’t have to boil ’em or anything stupid like that (if you leak through your tampon, do you boil your underwear? Probably not).

    Nobody’s judging you for using disposables, either, we’re just saying disposable pads and such are actually more gross than washables.

  • Melissa

    I bought a Diva cup and luna liners as a present to myself for my 40th birthday, and oh, how I wish I hadn’t put it off till then!

    I couldn’t use tampons because of the drying out factor– super uncomfortable and very dread inducing for me — so I only ever used pads. Pads for me caused rashes and I always ended up with spillage and stains especially at night. D:

    So for me the “ick” factor totally ended when I moved to the Diva Cup. My period is so much cleaner now!! I SWEAR!!

    I am in fact a “crunchy granola” type, which motivated me to finally swear off of disposable pads — but the rewards were so much greater. My little flannel liners are so soft and comfortable!!

    I’m sorry the commenter above felt that her character was being assaulted — not at all! I personally associated my period with “ick” before — because pads were definitely an inferior product, MUCH messier than my Diva Cup, which is clean, convenient, durable, and non-disposable. My 43rd birthday is approaching, and I have never for a moment considered going back to disposables — and that includes tent camping, travelling, etc!

  • Joy

    I always saw it this way. Would you throw away your underwear or bottoms if you had an accident? More than likely you would rewash them. So what’s the big deal?

  • emma

    When I first began using cloth I was grossed out, then I dealt with it and in a few months it was no longer soo gross.

  • The so what.

    A few years ago, I too thought ick, icky, ICK! That was because I was thinking about re-usables in the same light as disposables. Disposables are truly gross, they make you smell awful (now I know why) and often (luckily not for me) cause rashes.  So I thought, why would I want to reuse such stankiness?!

    But simply getting educated about how alternatives to disposables work was the key for me.  I’ve been using cloth pads for a few months now, and find them cleaner and yes, I have a more enjoyable cycle with a lot less cramping (who knew?). The best part: Absolutely no stink – it’s amazing. I became interested because I was trying to think of waaay out of the box ways to save $$, but I wish I wasn’t so ill-informed way back when… tsk.

  • @0fecb33da2ccaba616562ed73b9b3c06:disqus  It doesn’t take more time, it takes ADDITIONAL time. Weren’t you able to see that?
    You still have to wash them by hand and it does take a lot of time.

    • Sylvain_karen

      Wash by hand? No way!! It takes neither ‘more’ nor ‘additional’ time (is there a difference?). You throw them in the washing machine, let it do the work for you.

    • Kdiel1968

      So do you have an un-squeemish washing machine? The machine does not care if you put bath towels bloody pads or regular panties or washable diapers in it….gosh I am likely the laziest person you could ever meet and I use em.

    • Hmm I don’t think it takes that much time. I personally find it icky to just throw my dirty pads with the laundry, but I just wash them by hand a little to prevent stains, or simply do it in the shower which is faster. Put them under the running water and saves time and trouble! Then in they go with the laundry to get thoroughly clean. Some women just keep a container with water where they put the pads and change that water daily till laundry day comes – which helps prevent stains and if you get past the “weirdness”, you realize it’s hassle free and actually can be very convenient, since as gross as it may sound, that water is excellent for plants. I personally find it took me more time to deal with disposables because they weren’t as absorbent so I had to clean up in other ways. A least this way I feel comfortable.

  • Kdiehl1968

    I have been using a combonation of Diva cup and Luna pads for 11 years now. I began after my son was born and had a very heavy flow with lots of clotting. I have found that since I began to use these proucts the clotting nearly ended and the “inconvenience” of washing was not a big deal . My husband says we dont have to pedal the washing machine just push the button.Getting over that ick factor was easy! It took only 1 day of using the comfy flanel and clean convenient cup to win me over

  • KD

    I don’t get the “ick” factor at all.  No matter what kind of product one uses, one will have to deal w/ bodily fluids.  As far as washing Luna Pads, it’s not a big deal.  Just put in the laundry w/ your undies, which, as much as people might not like to acknowledge it, probably have some type of fluid on them anyway (BTW, Luna Pads are great for after sex–talk about bodily fluids!).  As far as men, my husband does the laundry and doesn’t get at all grossed out by my Luna Pads.  He sees menstruation as a fact of life.  Plus, he knows how much I prefer them.  They’re soft and comfortable, without the “stickiness” one feels w/ pads.  I also love my Diva Cup.  Again, you have to touch yourself and deal w/ fluids no matter what you use, so why not use something that’s comfortable and good for the environment?  I wish I’d found the Diva Cup sooner–I can’t believe what an improvement it has been on tampons.

  • sadie

    So I found diva cups about 5 years ago. I randomly found out about reusable feminine products from a ‘green add’ on the sidebar of some site. I was 19 at the time and thought this was genius! No more midnight pad runs (for you or your man!) or asking someone at school because you forgot your stash at home. I see a more private and discrete way of having my period. I am one of the few that don’t need to carry my purse with me during ”that time of the month”.
    I also developed my routine with my diva cup and pads. I take morning showers in which I empty my cup and bring my pad in the shower with me for a rinse down before tossing it on the side of my laundry hamper to dry. So for ick? My ick is left swirling down the drain every morning. And any excess ick is washed off with my regular shower.

  • Anonymous

    Time and exposure are the key.  We have DECADES of brainwashing about how we have to suffer through our cycles, pretend we aren’t having them, and basically establishing as great a distance as possible from our bodies during a very normal and natural time.  Tampons – with applicators – so we don’t have to touch “the ick”.  Disposable pads, so we don’t have to deal with the “ick”.  Women have been convinced through social media and a seeming lack of alternatives, that “throw away” is the only way.  So of course, the first time a friend mentioned reusables to me – i too had the “EEEEwww” reaction.  Bless her for knowing that it would eventually sink in and that i would know i could come ask her questions (2 years later).  So, i might have been slow on receiving the message, but i did get it.  Mainstream stores don’t carry reusables.  Why would they?  You buy it once, and don’t need to buy it again for 5 years (or more).  Not a big profit margin for them.  So women don’t see an alternative month after month when thy make their regular purchases.  They only seek out cloth or cups when a switch goes off and they start looking for a better way. 

  • Strawberrycandy72

    I think a lot of over coming the ick factor has to do with how we are tought about periods as young girls. If we are tought that our periods are gross then we grow up thinking our periods and anything having to do with it is gross. I have used cloth pads of some sort everysince my daughter was born. She is now 17 and when she started her period at the age of 11 she recieved her very own set of cloth pads. There have been times when she didn’t have one of her cloth pads when she started her period and the school gave her a disposable to use. I’ve asked her what she prefers and she said her cloth. She says they feel better. There are many of her friends who have seen her pads in her purse, thought they were “soooo cute!” and after my daughter explaining to them why she uses cloth they want to try them to, but there mothers wont allow it. Telling them that they REFUSE to wash them and will throw them away if they get any.

    • TC

      This makes me so sad and so happy. Im 12 and i just got a Divacup and my mom got me some cloth pads. Ive had my period for a few months now. Im really comfortable with my body i think. The first time i put the divacup in it took FOREVER but i got in in and now its easy
      My mom uses disposables
      I think its sad other parents dont let their kids try reusables! Sad..

  • Just me

    I’m thinking about trying these (and a Diva Cup), because I’m sick of the sweaty plastic feel of a pad. I see that these snap under the panties, but without adhesive, don’t they kind of spin around and wind up sideways, or upside down? Do the absorb as fast as a pad? I’m a heavy bleeder, and although I would like to do this, it just doesn’t seem like it would work as well. Plus, what about stains? If you rinse them as soon as you take it off, does it come out clean from the washer? Thanks!

    • Sara

      Hi Just Me.  Great news! You are right, cloth pads work a bit differently than disposables, no adhesive! We suggest wearing snug fitting underwear which will prevent movement.  Some women find they do move slightly and they just need to adjust when they are in the washroom.  I have never heard of spinning or turning upside down.  Also, most women find that they change their liner insert(s) as frequently as they would change a disposable pad of a similar size.  If you are concerned about stains, you could always go black.  If they are rinsed right away it is not usually a problem and you could also pick up a Buncha Farmers Stain Stick too (its my favorite invention). Let us know if you have any more questions!!

    • Jennifer

      I started using LunaPads because I hated the sweaty feel of plastic pads. There is no sweaty feeling when you use LunaPads because they are more breathable. I personally find that they don’t move around much when you wear them but sometimes when you go to the bathroom you need to re-adjust them so that they are sitting in the right position again. If you feel like they move around too much try a different kind of underwear. I find they absorb better than a disposable pad. The disposable pads have chemicals that mix with the blood and make it seem like you bleed more than you actually are. I used to think I was more of a heavy bleeder but after using LunaPads I don’t think that anymore. You might experience this but if you don’t there are products that are good for heavy bleeders and the DivaCup can be used by a heavy bleeder you just need to change it more often (just like you would tampons). They pretty much come out clean after a rinse and a soak (I usually soak them for about 6 hours or a little more). Then I just pop them in the wash for extra cleanliness. I hope this answers your questions.

  • I think I remember hearing about washable menstrual pads a while back and being grossed out. I definitely vividly remember being grossed out by a video review on the divacup.

    I think it’s just the idea of not throwing away bodily waste. We’re used to just flushing anything gross down the toilet. Or grinding it up in our garbage disposals. It’s our idea of being hygienic. I just wanted to get rid of my products as soon as I could. And I was constantly reminding myself of how disgusting I was when I was on my period. It wasn’t really the product, it was me. I was disgusted by my own body.

    I just ordered a set of pantyliners from lunapads and I’m waiting for them in the mail 🙂 I’m really excited. I’m hoping I’ll have that same feeling of satisfaction that I got when I finally found the perfect brand of tampons and liners. The only problem is.. That brand is pricey. And if I do get that feeling.. I’ll have it no matter what for five years! Bye-bye paying for my womanly needs. No more birth control co-payments (I have an IUD now) and bye-bye desperate trips to the grocery store to drop at least $20 every single month.

    I decided to switch when I got and IUD and was told to basically expect completely random spotting at any time for six months. When I really thought about that, it would mean going through three or four disposable pantyliners each day every day if I wanted to protect my victorias secret collection that I’ve built up. In six months. That comes out to 540-720 liners. Holy crap! Even if I don’t bleed every day, since they are disposable they just crumble throughout the day because of my active lifestyle.

     I buy more expensive underwear because I enjoy the confidence it gives to know that I look nice beneath my clothes. It feels nice to compliment by body that keep healthy and fit. But above all I value the comfort of high quality bras and underwear. And over time, you save money if you buy bras and underwear that will last. So, I thought to myself “Why not take the same approach to my menstrual products?”

    Surely enough, I did a google search and found lunapds.com. I fell in love immediately! It fit with my eco friendly beliefs, and it meant not having to worry about running out of my menstrual products in these economic times. I’m in college; my budget is tight. But I just saw this as an investment and I saved up some money and bought pantyliners, a carrying bag, and a divacup. If all goes well, with these and my IUD I shouldn’t have to worry about menstrual products or pregnancy until well after I have my degree. Think about that, what a relief!

    I think the reason I changed my mind about reusable menstrual products was that I just became more comfortable with my body as I grew older. I started to realize that my period blood may be a bit gross (in the same way that any bodily waste is kind of gross) but it’s just a part of my body. Sure it isn’t pretty, I don’t like having to deal with it at all. But it’s part of being a woman. And it’s time that I come to terms with myself.

    That and in practice if you really think about it how are reusable pads any more gross? Either way you have to have a pad that is soaking up blood in your underwear. The only difference is you throw reusable ones in the wash, instead of in your trash. Or others trash. Every time you use a public restroom you are more than likely surrounded by used pads and tampons. It’s not any less present, you just like to think that it is. You still have to deal with the blood either way. Reusable ones actually absorb the blood much better, so in that sense it isn’t nearly as gross as having all of that mix in with chemicals, sit on the top of a pad, and rub into you crotch all day. Cloth can actually absorb the blood. It’s like a dish cloth that is washed after each use compared to a paper towel. Of course the dish cloth will work better! Which one would you reach for if you spilled some wine on your carpet? Probably not the paper towel. Pardon the pun.

    Also, I asked my boyfriend at the time what he thought. He thought it was awesome. When I mentioned I was concerned with having to use my fingers to remove my divacup he sarcastically said “Oh no you’ll have to touch your own body!?” So in my experience, men are definitely fine with it. I think men are traditionally more encourage to be comfortable with their own bodies. Not very men complain about how gross their ejaculate is. My boyfriend really liked the idea of me using a more natural alternative. He’s just awesome like that 🙂

    So I gues the point of all this is just that many women who are squeamish about this may just not be comfortable enough with their bodies yet. It’s a process, and it’s not an easy one. My advice to any women out there who are grossed out is to consider the benefits. And to take a long hard look at why they are grossed out by it. Is it really the waste itself? Can you really not deal with blood? Or is it that it’s blood associated with being a women and you have been taught that that is wrong in some way?

    I don’t judge women who use disposable products. I have to use them myself until I get this package! But if every women started using reusable menstrual products, think about the difference it could make. It’s worth it.

    I hope this helps!

  • kim

     Gross / embarrassing things about disposables (which are no longer an issue for me since switching to a cup and cloth liners):
    -Wearing certain pj pants or things to lounge around and sleep in to hide tampon strings and thick crinkly pads (I just moved in with my boyfriend, and used to not even want him over at night when I had my period)
    -Wadding up tampon applicators and bloody pads in toilet paper to hide them in the garbage can. At home, at work, at babysitting, at friends’ places.
    -Worse, being in a place where it’s too late when you discover there is NO garbage can in the bathroom. Your choices: risk clogging the toilet or create a garbage section in your purse.
    -Having a huge arsenal of pad and tampon boxes that takes up space and is on display all the time.
    -The Wrapper Crinkle. It sounds like Christmas morning behind the bathroom / stall door, and you know everyone knows what you’re doing.
    -Having the dog where I babysat rummage through the bathroom garbage can! Augh!!
    -Getting a rash from a synthetic pad
    At least in my experience, the eewww factor is about disposables.
    It is supposedly more clean and discreet to throw things away, but the above clearly shows that things do not disappear just because they’re in the trash, and it ends up being that much grosser and problematic. The comparison in my mind is having a dumpster full of styrofoam plates covered in food, or just running a dishwasher (not even hand washing!)  I see LESS eww, LESS work, LESS embarassment and anxiety. Consider your worst period moments and it becomes a no-brainer. The products are the problem, not your body. You can’t change what your body does but you can change everything else. You have nothing to lose since your period with tampons and pads already sucks.

    • NinaB

      Yes! Exactly! I have only just discovered Lunapads, and I am going to try them for the first time. I can’t wait. I did not have the initial Ick reaction when I heard about Lunapads. I think it is wonderful, for all the reasons you’ve listed. I now even want to use cloth diapers when I have children. Saves money, better for the planet and so much less disgusting.

    • Fawnalei

      You are absolutely right about a lot of these! Some people may think you’re going too far with your points, maybe believing they’re not true, but they ARE REAL PROBLEMS!
      -I have a thick pair of red pajama pants. I secretly call them… my period pants. ha. They seem to work better than pads themselves because whenever I leak onto the back at night, these pants seem to absorb them, and because of their convenient red color, conceal them as well, so I can walk around that morning in comfort. (Should I have to worry about such a thing…?)-The loud crinkling while in the stall is what always got me. I have encountered one pad that had a soft, quiet wrapping. One pad. This is the worst part to me and I’m glad to know I’m not alone on it.I used to sit there for much longer than usual just to rip one little bit at a time… *bip*….*click*…*rip rip* oh no did someone hear that two rip??? I’m found out! (Why would the pad makers, obviously making “concealing and hiding our blood and periods” their selling point, make such a loud freaking wrapper??)

      -Having my period at my boyfriend’s house always sucked, because they were pigs and didn’t empty their garbage, and even at my own house I do the “wrap it with toilet paper” thing. I even wrap the wrapping, too, because I just don’t want the TRASH to be the thing to advertise I’m on my period to everybody. (Again, aside from sound, that neon color certainly does not help, either. What are they thinking??)

      -The dog thing is totally real. I had an indoor dog at one house who, on more than one occasion, I would come home to licking a face full of bloody pad. That last sentence made you pretty grossed out, didn’t it? Kinda expands on the fact we need people to face the facts in order to make the change we need to happen, happen. Despite the fact that all the females of the house wrapped their used pads up and threw them away, that darn dog still got to it, and so all this asinine bullshit we went through to conceal a natural occurrence was there for whoever walked through the door next to see. Ripped open and being consumed by a dog.

      I share this long post not to make a particular point, just to share that I too have had these problems, so in sharing them hopefully we all become aware of them. Hopefully I got a “Hey, me too!!” out of this.

  • I was one of those whose initial reaction to the idea of reusables was discomfort.  I have a friend, a very wonderful lady, who would talk about her DivaCup, and about her reusable pads, and about how much better she felt after making the switch…. and finally, my curiosity, paired with my frustration at how I felt while on my period, got to the point that I bought my first DivaCup back in May of this year.  Now, I’m wondering why I took so long to invest in reusables. 

    Now, I don’t dread my ‘heavy’ days, ’cause in reality, it’s only two days that I have to empty my cup every two to three hours, as opposed to having to run to the bathroom every hour or so when I was using disposables.  I bleed less, and I feel better overall.  Sometimes, getting over the ‘EWW’ is best done by jumping in with both feet.

  • Lauren

    I was never grossed out for myself about reusables, but I often live in shared housing, so I had some concerns about soaking and washing in that situation. I guess it was the eew factor of others I was concerned about. While cruising some testimonials, I found that someone mentioned rinsing the pads in the shower before washing with regular wash, and that was it! That was all I waited to know for years before finally making the switch! How simple! I wish I thought of it myself! Thank you! 

    This process (the switch) has already been such a healthy choice for me. I thought I had a relatively sound view on my femininity and body until I began researching reusables in earnest. Already I notice myself becoming more open and comfortable with my cycle. My kit hasn’t come in the mail yet, but when it does, I hope my cramps are improved like so many other women have found. Even if they aren’t, I am so ready for the relief of that guilt I have felt all these years throwing all those products away!

    I had already switched to cloth shopping bags, a stainless water bottle, rechargeable batteries, CFLs, and the clothesline. Finally my period is green too and I’m ready for whatever eco-challenge I find next!


  • Rae

    I think a lot of the oh-that’s-gross-wtf-is-wrong-with-you attitude that comes from women who haven’t tried sustainable menstrual solutions comes from a place of shame. The idea is that if reusable pads and menstrual cups are better, if they’re the “right” way to go, then they’ve been handling their periods the “wrong” way up til now. And that is bound to get some pushback.

    I’d been having periods for 14 years before I ever even knew what a menstrual cup was. And while I was never “disgusted” by the idea, I wasn’t that keen on it. But I had a bad breakup and my hormones were all over the place and my periods got crazy. I got tired of having to change my tampon every ten minutes one day then feeling that awful scraping sensation of pulling out a still-mostly-dry tampon the next day and so on. So I bought a Diva Cup. And sure, it took some getting used to. But I haven’t bled into my bedsheets for three months now. And I really have noticed a difference in the severity of my cramps. Considering the prices we ladies are willing to pay for shoes and purses, what do we have to lose here? Spend the $35 for the cup and the $10 for a couple of reusable pads and give it a shot. It’s not like you’ll ever go back.

  • Jennifer

    After switching to LunaPads and the DivaCup a couple of months ago and loving the switch soooo much I wanted to share my discovery and passion for these products with all the women in my life. I got some wonderfully supportive comments and encouragement from many of the women around me. Particularly my mother who is wonderful and also post menopausal. I did also get a lot of really negative responses and reactions from a few women. I was shocked. I took it really personally at first because let’s say it had been my job or a type of food that I had been really passionate about. I would expect the people around me to be as supportive and encouraging of my passions as I am with theirs. I also think it’s totally unfair and rude to say to someone something that they are doing is gross. I don’t like seafood (I know, I know it’s really good for you) but I wouldn’t say to my friend if they were eating it that it’s totally gross and the smell sickens me. That’s rude! I understand now that it’s not about me or my passions or manners (although people should be more respectful) but about how these women are more immature and not in tuned with their bodies. I don’t judge these women for using disposables or even for continuing to want to use disposables but I hate that menstruation is so ‘taboo’ that they need to be all degrading when sharing their opinion. There is nothing wrong with saying ‘hey, that’s not for me but thanks for sharing.’ Because I’m not judging you for using disposables don’t judge me for using reusables.

  • Ugh

    This reusable stuff is not only disgusting, it still has an impact on the environment since you use water and detergent to wash it and energy to dry it. The only perfect solution would be the chance to get rid of periods altogether, especially if someone doesn’t want kids, like me. They’re gross, painful, uncomfortable and they cost me money while they’re completely unnecessary.