What are period underwear, and how do they work?

If you’re a young person who spends any time on the Internet, you’ve probably seen advertisements for period proof underwear. One brand called Thinx burst onto the period care scene back in 2013 and remains one of the most well known period underwears today. Period proof underwear are essentially designed to fit and feel like regular underwear, but they have very slim padding in them, making them absorbent enough to wear on your period without a tampon or pad.

Created with its “signature innovative technology,” Thinx are lightweight yet absorbent enough to serve as your main period protection during your cycle. They are lightweight, absorbent, and smell proof so you can bleed right into them, no pad or tampon needed, as your main way to manage your period each month. They have five absorbency levels to accommodate all flows. Their heaviest flow underwear absorbs four tampons worth of blood. FOUR TAMPONS! That’s so much blood!! At the end of the day you can just toss them in the laundry with your other items and hang them to dry, then reuse them next month.

Because of the absorbency options, Thinx or other period underwear could be a great option to replace tampons, pads, or menstrual cups completely. Some people also opt to wear Thinx as a backup with their tampon or menstrual cup on their heavier days. Knowing your cycle is key to knowing what kind of absorbency works best for you. A lot of people have turned to period underwear as a more sustainable option for managing their period. If you really think about all the wrappers, plastic, and toilet paper you go through each period because of your period products, it’s A LOT! Using a different pair of Thinx or period proof underwear each day of your cycle could be less stressful because you don’t have to think about changing a tampon throughout the day, and it’s definitely less wasteful. You could even start with just one pair and slowly incorporate them into your menstrual cycle care routine over time. Each pair of underwear costs anywhere from $24-$42, depending on the absorbency. That might seem like a lot for one pair of underwear, but if you think about how much money you spend on other period products each month, that adds up to a whole lot more. 

Since its creation back in 2013, the brand has developed multiple styles and fabrics to choose from, including an absorbent cotton kind. It almost sounds too good to be true, right?

In addition to providing a sustainable and cute option for managing your period, Thinx also has a giveback program where they donate money to providing menstrual products and menstrual education to people around the world. 

Having a period each month can be stressful, painful, and sometimes downright annoying. It’s exciting that in 2020 there are so many innovations around period products and ways to manage your period, allowing you to choose the option that works best for you. Although period proof underwear are a little pricey, if you continue to use them as a replacement for all other period products, it would definitely be worth it. Do a little research and check out Thinx or other period underwear brands and try them out for yourself! 

Coronavirus found in sperm – what does that mean for sexual health?

Traces of coronavirus were recently found in infected men’s sperm in China. Yikes, right?! 

Coronavirus in Sperm

This was discovered earlier in May by a group at Shangqui Municipal Hospital in China. Thirty-eight male patients who had recovered from the virus or were currently infected were tested. Roughly 16% of these patients had traces of the virus in their sperm. Some of the men were at the height of infection and were symptomatic, while about 9% of the men had entered a stage of recovery.  

Another study done by American and Chinese researchers in Wuhan, China found that infected men’s semen was coronavirus free after about 31 days. With this conflicting information, it’s hard to know what the norm is and how long after infection traces of coronavirus can stay in the body, whether that be in sperm or not. 

Upon first reading this I wondered, does this mean that coronavirus is in fact sexually transmitted?! We’ve already known that it can be spread through coughing, sneezing, and saliva a.k.a kissing, but so far it hasn’t been proven that it can be spread through other sexual contact such as penetrative sex. After the findings of these studies coming to light, the researchers still say it’s unclear if COVID-19 can be sexually transmitted. We just don’t know.

So what does this mean for us and our sexual health going forward? Practice safe sex! Practicing safe sex is important at all times to prevent the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Although it isn’t clear if coronavirus constitutes as a sexually transmitted disease, it’s not worth risking. 

You should not have any sexual contact with someone who has symptoms of the virus or has tested positive. That includes kissing or being within six feet of them. Once someone is no longer infected and they’ve been quarantined for at least two weeks, your chance of getting the virus from them through close contact has gone way down. However, you should still maintain safe sex practices just in case those traces of the virus in semen are in fact spreading the disease. As I mentioned, we still don’t know for sure!

In addition to asking a new partner when they last had their STD check up, it would probably be wise to also ask them if they’ve had coronavirus or experienced any of the symptoms. It might feel awkward, silly, or even like you’re being paranoid, but since so much is unknown from this virus, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

This means barrier methods for birth control are your best friend right now! Use condoms when performing oral sex on someone with a penis, and dental dams on someone with a vulva. Regular STDs can still be transmitted through oral sex, so it’s best to use one just in case. Use a condom during penetrative sex as well, whether it’s P in V sex or anal. No studies have been done about the virus being found in vaginal fluids, but gloves and dental dams can be used for extra protection as well if your partner has a vagina. 

Being extra cautious and strictly using safe sex practices is especially important in the coming months if you have a new partner. If your partner is someone you live with or have been quarantining with this whole time, you likely would have infected each other by now and perhaps you don’t need to be as diligent in preventing spreading the virus to one another. With new partners you should always enforce safe sex practices anyway, but with the uncertainty of how long the virus can stay in someone’s system and whether or not it can be spread sexually, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Knowing you’re being safe will put you and your partner’s minds at ease and make for a more enjoyable sexual experience any way. 

Stay safe, stay educated and stay sexy!

May is also Masturbation Month!

In addition to being Mental Health Awareness Month and the month where many beautiful flowers start to bloom, May is also Masturbation Month! 

Masturbation is the act of touching your body or genitals for pleasure. Masturbation is totally normal and healthy, and people of all ages and genders do it. People masturbate for many different reasons, and some people don’t masturbate at all. All options are healthy and normal. 

In short, masturbation feels good and has a lot of great health benefits. Orgasm can help people relax, relieve period cramps and headache pain, and some studies have even suggested that people who masturbate or have regular orgasms live longer. Sign me up! 

People self-pleasure to release stress and relax, help them fall asleep, feel connected to their body, discover what feels good for them on their own, discover what feels good so they can communicate that to their partner, or they could just because they’re feeling horny. It’s totally okay to masturbate whether you have a sex partner or not. Masturbation while in a relationship doesn’t mean your partner isn’t sexually satisfying you. It can be used as a time for you to connect with your sexuality and body alone, just for you. And if you’re not in a relationship, it can also be used as a great way to communicate to casual sex partners what you like, as well as connect you to your own body and pleasure. 

You can masturbate many different ways. As long as you’re not hurting someone else or doing something without their consent, there is no wrong way to self-pleasure. It’s about exploring and finding what feels good. The only goal of masturbation is pleasure! Masturbation should feel good and be positive! You can use sex toys such as vibrators (if you have a clitoris), dildos (for your vagina or anus), or fleshlights (for your penis), just to name a few. You can use your hands to touch your genitals or other parts of your body such as your nipples or inner thighs. You could even use a pillow to grind up against or a detachable shower head to spray your genitals with some water pressure. Explore yourself and enjoy the process.

Some people also like to watch porn or read erotic stories to get them in the mood. Some people fantasize about different sexual scenarios. It’s important to note that just because you fantasize about something doesn’t mean you actually want it to happen in real life. It’s supposed to help you explore your imagination and see what turns you on. 

Masturbation is totally healthy, normal, and good for you. During this Masturbation May take some time to explore your body and pay attention to what feels good! You can share your discoveries with a partner or just keep them to yourself. Masturbation is technically the safest form of sexual pleasure you can engage in since it involves no one but yourself. There’s no risk of getting pregnant or STDs (unless you share unsanitized toys with someone). Masturbate as much or as little as you’d like. There’s no wrong way to self-pleasure!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Hooray! 

Mental health is defined as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” Our mental health is ever changing and evolving throughout our lives, just as our physical health does. Mental Health Awareness Month started back in 1949 as a way to bring attention to the importance of mental health, and to celebrate people dealing with their own mental health issues to find balance in their lives. Now in 2020 we have a bunch of awesome resources for people to learn about mental health, different types of mental health issues, and find resources to best care for our mental wellbeing. 

Over 450 million people across the world are living with a mental illness, and even more people have experienced bouts of mental health challenges throughout their lives, or perhaps have a mental illness that is undiagnosed. Mental health issues are common and a part of life. Anxiety and depression are most common, and even people without a diagnosed mental illness will experience these feelings at some point. It’s best to seek professional help when you feel that your mental health is affecting your life. Professional help can look like going to a therapist, seeing a psychologist to get a prescription to help you manage your symptoms, or finding support groups to attend. It’s also important to note you can see a therapist as a way to maintain your mental health and process life events. You don’t have to wait until you’re struggling to start therapy.  

You can find a therapist through your primary care doctor, or you can use resources such as Psychology Today to find therapists in your area. There are other mental health resources readily available to us as well because of the Internet! 

Youtube channels for mental health are great to gain an understanding of mental health issues and help us understand our feelings. One of my favorites is licensed therapist Kati Morton who makes videos on mental health every week. Online therapy resources such as Better Help, Theralink, and Talk Space also make therapy accessible and inexpensive for people that need it.  For a little dose of mental health resources, Instagram can be good too. I wouldn’t recommend replacing seeing an in person therapist for following therapists on Instagram or Youtube, but following some good therapy accounts can serve as good reminders for us throughout the day. My favorites are The Holistic Psychologist, Sit With Sharon, Dr. Jenn Hardy, and Lisa Olivera Therapy. 

As I mentioned, these resources are no replacement for actual therapy or a consultation from your doctor, they are just great resources to help normalize talking about mental health and give you some food for thought throughout your day. 

When it comes to mental health, it’s a lifelong journey. It’s normal to experience challenges with your mental health, it’s normal to feel really great and on top of your mental health as well. It’s important to share your feelings, talk openly about your mental health issues, and seek professional help when needed. 

If you or someone you know is really struggling with their mental health, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or call 1-800-273-8255.