Cisgender men are pretty notorious for not knowing how the female reproductive system works. Men going all the way to top elected officials in Washington DC have made egregious statements about reproduction, showing a clear lack of understanding and knowledge.
Bodily functions like menstruation are seen as taboo, shameful or secretive. The stigma leads to a lot of ignorance from people who don’t menstruate.
A since-deactivated Reddit user found his stress clouding his judgment of how to talk to his girlfriend about her tampon use. When he made demands and threats, it did not go well.
Seeking some form of clarification, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to find it.
“AITA for demanding my girlfriend not use tampons?”
Our original poster, or OP, tried to broach the subject as best as he could.
“Throwaway. The title is terrible but please hear me out. My (27M[ale]) gf (27F[emale]) uses tampons when she is on her period.”
“I have no issue with women using tampons. I have an issue with HER using tampons. I have a few reasons for this.”
“She sleeps with them inside, she doesn’t change them regularly enough (IMO). She will wear the same tampon all day. I think it’s a forgetfulness thing? She doesn’t take risks seriously? Idk.”
“This stresses me out because I’m worried she will get sick. However I have never made demands before recently.”
OP’s recent experience required a doctor’s visit.
“Her last period was almost a month ago and it was traumatic. Her period had ended or was very close to ending.”
“The tampon was pushed further inside her, she couldn’t find the string, and a doctor had to remove the tampon with tweezers (I wasn’t in the doctors room with her so not quite sure what the actual tool was to get it out- but essentially long tweezers).”
“I feel terrible because I was involved in the tampon being pushed further inside (I’m sure you can work it out).”
OP decided to demand his girlfriend change her menstrual practices.
“Her period is coming up again and after what happened I pretty much demanded she no longer used tampons.”
“She is furious with me. Says I’m being controlling. Says a man should not be demanding to women what sanitary products to use.”
“These are all things I agree with… usually. But I’m at a point where this is a hill I’m willing to die on and it may be a deal breaker is she doesn’t agree to this.”
OP also made a couple edits after getting negative feedback.
“She forgot about the tampon. She even told me she had taken it out.”
“I was worried about character count, but there are more bad experiences with tampons in this relationship.”
The OP then added only one more example.
“Another time she forgot about a tampon and pushed it further in with another tampon. Her friend helped her that time and she didn’t see a doctor.”
“When I say she sleeps with her tampons sometimes she’s been wearing them a long time b4 going to sleep 8 hours. I’m aware how long a tampon can be in and the reason I’m noticing is because she is going way over.”
The OP didn’t specify how he knows when exactly his girlfriend is changing tampons each time, all day, every day, while she has her period.
Was he monitoring her bathroom use, searching the trash?
Does neither ever leave the house during this time?
“I have sisters, a mom, friends, other relationships and their tampon habits don’t bother me one bit.”
“I don’t even notice, but my gfs are particularly poor and that’s why I notice.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors sided with OP’s girlfriend.
The demand was a step too far when ultimately it’s none of his business unless she asks for his advice.
But some people thought OP’s concerns overrode her body autonomy.
“NTA for worrying about her but soft YTA for trying to control what she does with her body.”
“You can express your worries but you don’t get to forbid her or require her to do something different with her body and body functions.”
“If you can’t stand worrying about her so much (and I understand that worrying about her lack of care for her health is stressing you out) then you may need to break up with her.”
“That is the only thing actually in your full control right now – whether to stay and worry and hope she changes or decide that this is too much for you to deal with and leave.”
“Sorry, but her body, her choice, your emotions/body, your choice.”~R_a_v_e_n_101
“Honestly? It sounds like this is less about tampons/bodily autonomy and more about your gf willingly and repeatedly putting her health at risk and refusing to make any changes.”
“Whilst it is her decision, you have the right to feel this way (much in the same way you have a right to dislike a partner smoking due to the health risks).”
“I say you’re NTA but you need to realise that your girlfriend doesn’t want to change and probably won’t. If this truly is a hill you’re willing to die on, be prepared to break up.”~BandNervous
“YTA. They can be worn up to eight hours at a time, and it’s fine to sleep in them. Lots of women do.”
“The tampon getting stuck in her was a onetime thing, and she went to her doctor and had it removed…but it’s a her problem, not a you problem. It’s her body, and she’s been managing without you her entire life.”
“You do not need to micromanage her period. Write that down and every time you get the urge to forbid her from tampons, read it and then sit back down.”~Spotzie27
Redditors went back and forth.
Some felt his statement of concern trumped all but others disagreed.
“Even so, that doesn’t mean that he gets to unilaterally ~demand~ that she stop using tampons.”
“He can tell her that he’s concerned and tell her about toxic shock (though tbh, tampons are a lot safer than they used to be), but that’s where the boundary stops.” ~ codeverity
“So, I’m going to say ESH. You’re not trying to control her body, although that’s what you’re inadvertently doing by telling her she can’t use tampons.”
“That being said, she is being extremely careless with her health, and it’s definitely something to be worried about.”
“All I’m reading from these other responses are ‘we only care about her choice, not her health’.”
“That’s f’king ridiculous. Tampons should not be left in for longer than their allotted time, usually no more than 8 hours, and leaving them in, or losing one completely, can have serious consequences.”
“You should really sit down and talk to your girlfriend and see if you can get on top of this. Maybe she should be keeping track of using and discarding tampons in a notebook, or her phone.”
“If she’s not willing to listen and take her health seriously, you should take a step back and see how comfortable you are continuing the relationship like this. Good luck.”~Psychoapathy
“NTA NTA NTA!!! I don’t get why everyone is automatically putting Y T A ; are y’all not reading the post??”
“I get it, as a woman, I hate when men try and dictate how and what we use for periods. But if she is leaving hers in for EXTRA long periods of time, having many in at once, lying about having them in before sex, and not changing before she sleeps, it’s DANGEROUS!”
“I don’t think feelings should be a major factor when she could very much get TSS, Bc while it IS rare, it’s VERY real and very dangerous.”
“OP, you can try and be more gentle about it though, explain to her your reasons, and try to tell her be mindful about her health Bc you know the risks. But you are very much, NTA”~studentd3bt
But a lot of responses like the one above were based on outdated, inaccurate information.
“I already commented an extensive thing about TSS, but it’s not just caused by tampons.”
“TSS is caused by periods about half the time, and can be due to pads and cups, and people without periods can get it too.”
“It’s related to tampons so much because of some super absorbent ones in the 80s that were taken off the market really fast.” ~ Reddit
“TSS is extremely rare in pads and tampons. It is correlated with tampon use, and even then its very rare.”
“Its due to an imbalance of bacteria which allows for staph to grow and spread. And usually vaginal moisture (along with ph, salinity, etc.) is key in retaining ur healthy flora, pads do not affect microflora as extremely as tampons, especially tampons back in the day.”
“So anything that can create an imbalance in ur moisture pH or salinity can affect ur microflora and increase your risk in TSS. Pads dont normally do that, and cups are made of medical grade silicon and also dont affect moisture salinity etc…”
“The cause in those cases is almost entirely something internal. It can also occur because of unsanitary sexual activities as well, anything that can possibly introduce new bacteria which may make you vulnerable, or change ur vaginal enviornment, can do that.”
“PS: modern tampons are super safe compared to super absorbant types of the 80s.” ~ SkittlesKittens
“The replies in this post are so bizarre lol.”
“A bunch of non tampon users making incredibly false claims that leaving a tampon in overnight is incredibly dangerous. I felt like I was in some 1980’s health class.”
“Even leaving a tampon in for days does not necessarily mean you will get TSS.”
“I’ve known plenty of people that have had this happen and they were fine.”
“Obviously you don’t want it to happen, but it’s a lot more common than you think.” ~ tellybelly87
And though he may have been out of line making demands, his heart was in the right place even if it was based on ignorance so some people thought no one did anything wrong.
“I’m going to go NAH – I’m hearing a guy who is genuinely concerned for his partners health and was recently traumatized by her forgetting to take out a tampon.”
“No, he should not be dictating if she wears one or not. However, he can share his concerns in a better way.”
“She unintentionally traumatized her partner, so she has some responsibility here too. How many men care enough to even notice their partners tampon usage?”
“OP – I’m glad you care, but please don’t demand. Explain your concerns and listen.”~Cranberry_Bland
“NAH. Based on your edits, you have a serious concern for your girlfriend’s health. That’s valid, regardless of the whole man-woman-thing everyone is drawing attention to.”
“If she kept leaving her contacts in until she got conjunctivitis multiple times, that’d be a similar issue and it would be fair for you to be worried about her going blind.”
“It’s also reasonable that she wants to keep using tampons because we all have personal preferences for how we like to deal with our periods.”
“I’m not sure that it’s a ‘hill to die on’ scenario, but then again, it’s not my hill.”~Lulu_42
“ESH, Toxic shock Syndrome is a real risk for women who keep tampons in too long. She needs to think of her health in this aspect.”
“I can only imagine how embarrassed she was to have to go to hospital to have it removed.”
“You can always check there is no tampon inserted before inserting anything else. Both of you have a responsibility here and your attitude about this seems judgmental.”~Zabkian
If he is willing to “die on this hill” it may be the end of his relationship. Demanding his girlfriend change her menstrual practices or else was probably never going to end well.