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Sex While Wearing a Tampon - Is It Safe?

Published on Aug 22, 2022   -  5 min read

Abstract

While sexual activity during menstruation is perfectly acceptable, tampon use during sexual activity is not. Read the article below for more information.

What Is a Tampon?

A tampon is a product designed especially for menstrual hygiene. It is essentially a plug of soft material (usually cotton) that is inserted into the vagina to absorb period blood and vaginal secretions.

Is It Safe to Have Sex While Menstruating?

It is perfectly safe to have sex while menstruating.

Sex while on one’s period can provide some benefits:

  • Natural Lubrication - Period blood is a good natural substitute for lubricant, thus negating the need to use any other form of lubrication.

  • Increased Sex Drive - Some women experience intense sexual arousal during their period. The increased sex drive can contribute to better sex and improved sex life.

  • Period Cramps - Sex while menstruating has been known to significantly reduce the severity of period cramps.

However, having sex while on one’s period should always be tempered with caution and an acknowledgment of the following facts:

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) - Sexually transmitted infections can be a source of trouble. They can be just as easily transmitted during periods (primarily through period blood) as otherwise, so remember to use male or female condoms to ensure safe sex.

  • Pregnancy - Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy is on the cards even while menstruating. The chances are lower than during ovulation, but it is still possible. Using condoms or birth control devices like intrauterine devices (IUDs) is crucial, even when having sex while on one’s period.

Can Tampons Be Worn During Sex?

Tampons are helpful tools to absorb period blood, but they are not recommended for sexual intercourse. While rarely dangerous to health, wearing a tampon during sexual intercourse can result in some negative consequences that may require a trip to the emergency room.

What Are the Possible Side-Effects of Wearing a Tampon During Sexual Intercourse?

  • Retrieval Issues - Having penetrative sex (involving the fingers, sex toys, or a penis) while a tampon is still in the vagina can push it up further into the vaginal canal. The tampon will not travel any further as the vagina does not lead to other organs. However, it may become difficult to retrieve, and a physician may be required to perform the task.

  • Sexual Discomfort - When the vagina is forced to accommodate both the penetrative organ or sex toy and the tampon, it can result in incomplete penetration and discomfort. Sexual activity is hindered and will feel less enjoyable.

  • Pain - The tampon may be pushed against the cervix by the penis, fingers, or sex toy. This can result in pain, discomfort, and sensitivity. Sensitivity is also natural during the menstrual period (especially in the cervical and uterine regions) - and tampons can lead to further sensitivity and discomfort when pushed against these regions during sex.

  • Bruises - Inserting a new tampon before sex can be problematic due to the push of the tampon against the cervix and uterus. New tampons may cause bruising, cuts, and tearing in the sensitive tissues of these regions. Older tampons may not cause this problem as they may be softened with the blood and vaginal secretions absorbed and will not poke the tissues.

  • Cervical Stimulation Issues - Cervical stimulation can cause extreme pleasure and also has the potential to lead to orgasm. However, a tampon may block this potential by presenting a block for complete penetration and cervical stimulation. This can reduce sexual enjoyment.

  • Bad Odor - In some cases, the wearer may forget the tampon pushed up into the vagina. Eventually, a foul odor begins to emanate from the vagina as tampons will smell after a few days of insertion. Each tampon is meant to be worn only for 8 hours before inserting a new one.

  • Infection of the Vagina - When a tampon is pushed up further into the vaginal canal during sex, the wearer may either forget it was there or feel too embarrassed to report to the hospital if they cannot get it out. Unfortunately, the longer the tampon remains in the vaginal canal, the greater the chances of contracting bacterial infections.

  • Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) - Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare infection arising from toxins produced in bacterial infections (specifically staphylococcal and streptococcal infections). It is characterized by symptoms like high fever, confusion, low blood pressure, vomiting, and rashes - and it is a dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention. The use of tampons with superabsorbent nature is itself a risk factor for toxic shock syndrome. When a tampon is left in the body for too long, it increases the risks of bacterial infection and the development of toxic shock syndrome.

What Can Be Done in Case a Tampon Was Left in During Sex?

Tampons left in during sex may be removed by the wearer. Failing this, a visit to the doctor will ensure that the tampon is removed and the wearer is safe.

1. Self-Removal

  • Clean Hands - Before removing the tampon, make sure the hands are clean. Wash them with soap and water and dry them with a clean towel.

  • Two Fingers - Ideally, use two fingers to probe the vagina for the tampon's string or the tampon itself.

  • Lie Down - Lie down and reach into the vagina. If the tampon has not traveled too far up, it may be possible to get a hold of the string and pull it out.

  • Squat - A squatting position can help. Squatting may create a better, more accessible way of reaching the vagina and removing the tampon.

  • Leg Up - If neither lying down nor squatting works, putting one leg up on the toilet and probing into the vagina might prove helpful. Use two fingers to probe and check whether the tampon can be felt and removed.

2. Removal by a Physician

If none of these options help, the best option is to visit the emergency room or a gynecologist. The doctor will perform a procedure similar to a pelvic examination. They will use either their fingers or sponge forceps to remove the tampon from within the vagina. They may also continue with a complete pelvic exam to check for signs of bruising, infections, or any other issues.

Will Wearing a Tampon During Sexual Intercourse Prevent Pregnancy?

Tampons are not birth control devices and will not prevent pregnancy. They do not prevent sperm from entering the cervix, as is commonly believed. The best way to prevent pregnancy and STIs is to practice safe sex using condoms, intrauterine devices, contraceptive pills, or implants.

Conclusion:

The answer to the question of safety with sex while wearing a tampon is an unequivocal no. Remember to take the tampon out before engaging in any sexual activity considered penetrative. Also, ensure it is removed if a tampon is lost in the vaginal canal following sexual intercourse. Sexual activity during periods is still a great idea, so remove the tampons and enjoy the sex.

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Last reviewed at:
22 Aug 2022  -  5 min read

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