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Let's Dial Down Some (Maybe) Ovulation Freakouts

"AND OMFG I WAS OVULATING, TOO!!!!!!!" This sentence is becoming familiar to us.

We have had some new readers coming in freaking out about a possible pregnancy, often having decided doom is certainly upon them because an app told them they were ovulating the same day they were doing whatever sex-thing they were doing, often things which were non-risks in the first place.

More young people seem to be developing some new knowledge about fertility cycles. I think that's great. Well, kind of great. Thing is, lots of the information you're getting, or think you have, is often dodgy, only half the picture, or just flat-out wrong.

For instance, people have expressed that they think anytime they have thinner vaginal discharge, or a discharge they've not noticed before, it must be ovulation, thinking ovulation happens for everyone on day 14, or smack in the middle of a cycle, or that an app that only tracks periods can give truly accurate estimates of their fertile times. We're also having

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Decoding Sex in the Media: Tampon Commercial Weirdness

I’ve noticed recently that, of all the hygiene product advertisements—ads for deodorant, toilet paper, diapers, soap, tissues, etc.—menstrual pad and tampon commercials are by far the weirdest.

Many involve cheerful women in colorful clothes and tampons that bloom and twirl in mid-air. Many demonstrate the effectiveness of pads and panty liners by pouring blue liquid —to represent red menstrual fluid, as if red fluid was somehow unavailable that day —onto the product. Many show random men staring at attractive women—these seem to say “You need our product so that men will still enjoy looking at you while you have your period."

Freakier still, a Russian tampon brand released an ad in which a woman is eaten by a shark because she decides to swim in the ocean with a leaky tampon. Admittedly, I laughed when I watched this, because I know that it is highly unlikely—maybe even impossible—that menstrual blood would attract a shark, but tampon companies certainly shouldn’t perpetuate these typ

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Lunapads Reusable Menstrual Products

Reusable pads, panties, Divacups, and related goodies for all your no-disposable-menstrual-product needs!

LadyCup Menstrual Cups

LadyCup is a menstrual collection cup similar to a Diva Cup or Keeper, made of flexible silicone in a variety of fun colors (and they come with a pretty fabric bag to store it in!) Once you've tried a cup you may never go back to tampons- they can work for up to 12 hours, don't dry out your delicate vaginal skin, and may be less likely to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Quick Hits: We Already Got You Covered Edition

Landa84 asks:

My boyfriend and I had anal sex and then after went on to normal intercourse, can this cause infections?

Prior to Periods

Laura asks:

I'm 13 and i just want to know out of curiosity if you can have sex if you haven't ever had your periods AT ALL? Does it make any difference if you've had them before or if you haven't? Is it really possible to just get your first period while you're in class or doing something and actually have enough blood come out for you (and everybody else) to see, or does it come gradually and you actually have enough time to go to the bathroom and put a napkin? It's kind of scary ^^

Three on Going With the Flow

Anonymous asks:

I am going on a graduation-required 28 day backpacking trip. It is likely that this will happen to fall around my period. What is the best way to work with your period when backpacking? Pads are out of the question, as they are not so great for letting your pelvic area "breathe" during exercise. Tampons...meh. I don't really want to have to carry the new ones in with me (extra weight), or the used ones out with me, like you have to do with all garbage. I thought a menstrual cup would be good, as it can be worn for a long time and there is no garbage involved--however, cleaning the cup might be complicated because polluting is a no-no out in the elements. Maybe I could use wipes of some sort? Are there wipes that don't have body-upsetting chemicals? It would be nice to not have to deal with this for just one month--are there any sorts of short term forms of menstrual suppressors that I could use just one time without huge side effects?

The people in charge of the whole thing don't seem very educated about other options, and simply reassure all of the girls that they can use tampons and carry around all the garbage.

Talking Menstruation with Toni

Toni Weschler used to be my neighbor, a fact that caused me to squee more than a little loudly and scare the bejeezus out of my pets when I first discovered it. Sadly, we didn't connect as often as I wish we had before I moved out of Seattle and to a more remote island outside the city.

A while back, I sent Toni some questions for Scarleteen, and many months later, she apologized for sending them to me so late. Now I owe her an even bigger apology for publishing them far later than that!

If you don't know who Toni is, she's the author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement and Reproductive Health, which is pretty much THE book for people who want to chart fertility, and the book I used to learn how to do it well in my 20's. She also wrote a great book about menstruation and charting for teen women, called Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body. She's an amazingly dedicated and energetic person

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What Are Menstrual Cups?

Looking for an alternative to tampons or pads? A user asks about menstrual cups, and we give her -- and you -- the scoop.

It's Smart to Chart

What's charting? It's a person taking and keeping notes about their menstrual and fertility cycles. Those notes may be as little information as what days you get your period, may have more information, like what kind of flow you had and what discharges you experienced that month, or have just about anything and everything you can think of that does or may have something to do with your fertility cycle: your basal temperatures (a vaginal temp you take daily with a thermometer made for that purpose), your libido, your sleep patterns, the whole works. What information you include depends on what you want to observe, and what your needs in charting are.

When you hear about people charting their periods or overall fertility cycles, it's usually either about trying to conceive or using natural family planning (NFP or FAM) as a primary method of birth control. Many of you are not trying to conceive, and for younger people, NFP isn't a sound sole or primary method for you either because your

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Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.