digital tampons

ok, so according to the latest staff report (http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mtampons.html), European women like to shove cotton up their holes manually, while Americans prefer to shove plastic, and let the cotton be unfurled in place.

So what can we conclude? Is it true what we’ve always known? Do European women have desensitized twats? Or do they simply like to use their fingers?

— ignorant, dirty male

Well, this Northern European woman prefers digital tampons for a few reasons.

First, they store in a much smaller space, so a box of 8 tampons is roughly one-third the size of a box of 8 tampons with applicators. Unless you’re talking about those with the fold-in plastic applicators, which leads me to

Second, there’s less packaging and so less waste. With a digital tampon, you have the tampon and the plastic wrap around it. With an applicator tampon, you have the tampon and the plastic/cardboard applicator, encased in paper.

Third, kind of tying into First, digital tampons are a smaller size, so it’s easier to carry one around inconspicuously in your pocket or whatever and not have to lug your whole purse into the bathroom with you.

It really isn’t such a big deal for me whether I insert the tampon with my finger or poke it up there with a piece of cardboard. That’s what toilet paper and hand-washing were invented for.
-auRa, whose twat has never really come across as especially desensitized-

AFAIK, it is only the TAMPAX brand who offer an ‘applicator’ to assist delivery of said tampons.

And TAMPAX were (originally at least) only manufactured and sold in the US. The first tampons available here in Australia (and maybe Europe perhaps) were NOT applicator assisted, so we got used to inserting our tampons manually, and with much greater ease than those damned applicators I might say!!

Yes, I’ve tried TAMPAX, on a number of occasions in desperation, and they are absolutely horrid things. Give me a regular tampon (that I stick up my twat with my finger) anytime. :smiley:

Outside of the US, possibly. Inside the US, the only major brand that doesn’t have applicators is o.b., so using a tampon with an applicator is seen as “normal” here.

I have no problems at all using a tampon with an applicator - I mean really, it’s just thumb and middle finger gripping the sides of the main applicator tube, forefinger on the thinner tube like a plunger, insert, push - but these days I use a silicone menstrual cup, which is a whole other thing entirely.

The applicator was designed not because of any sort of sensitivity issues, but to deal with the culture’s general squeamishness (in 1932) about menstrual blood and fears about women touching themselves. Remember, earlier tampons lacked applicators, and Haas does not appear to have been aware of any complaints about sensitivity. According to Kotex, Kleenex, and Huggies (citation in staff report):

It didn’t work all that well. There were fears about:

  1. “Unmarried girls” (virgins) using tampons. A fear that still remains today. *E.g., * http://www.tampaxpearl.com/faq_main.shtml#c5q2 (FAQ question: “Does using tampons take away your virginity?”)
  2. Women touching themselves “down there” and enjoying it; and
  3. Women inserting things into their vaginas and enjoying it.

The industry responded by commissioning studies and reports about how un-stimulating tampons were (they didn’t have the Vipon to worry about), and about how they were too small to damage the hymen. They also benefited from the Rosie the Riveter phenomenon. Suddenly the advertisements were not about preserving daintiness, but about being able to work “every day of the month.”

You can read more about it in most of the books cited in my reference section.

heh. I opened this thread to find out the difference between digital and analogue tampons.:wink:

I think the situation in Spain reinforces this notion that “historical reasons” are a big part of this. For the geographically challenged, that’s southern europe (kidding, kidding!).

Commercial tampons weren’t around until the '70s; the first brand was Tampax; they’d held the market by the time o.b. woke up and entered it as well.

Many Spanish women alternate pads and tampons; Tampax is still the only brand with an applicator and it’s the brand that has the biggest chunk of the market.

The first tampons I used were Tampax, so that’s what I’m used to. The women I know who use other brands do so because of one or more of the following:
a) uninserted digital tampons take less space
b) they’ve got less packaging, so they’re perceived as “greener”
c) they use the same brand for all their female hygiene products
d) it’s the generic brand from the big supermarket, therefore a lot cheaper

very enlightening, thanks. ok, so what’s the deal with tampax “pearl”? that’s about sensitivity, no? but i guess the fact that it took so long to come out indicates it was never a problem in the first place.

regarding packaging being wasteful… alright this thread couldn’t be further removed from a discussion of this topic. But what I don’t understand is why people think sequestering carbon is good, while sticking a piece of plastic in the ground is bad.

What’s the Deal With Tampax Pearls?

You forgot
e) Tampax expand lengthwise. This makes them rather uncomfortable after a while as they end up pushing agains my pelvic bone. OBs expand in circumfrence, so they stop leaks better and are more comfortable.

Plus, I always manage to bruise myself with an applicator, and it never sits quite right.

That’s exactly the reason I use o.b. Tampax, et al. tend to expand in length [TMI] to the point where they stick out a little, mussing panties in the process.[/TMI] I don’t know who designed o.b., but I am thankful for it.

Every time I see this I expect to read about a tampon that, like beeps or something when it’s full. And has a little LED display screen. :smack:

Funny you should mention it. I recall reading some news stories a while back (maybe five years ago?) about some experimental feminine hygiene articles. IIRC they were pads. But the concept was that the pad could provide women with information (period started, period over, and pregnant are the ones I remember reading about). And I seem to recall they were talking about some sort of audible alert. What an embarrassing moment factory that’d be. The more sensible proposals were for some sort of chemical additive that would cause it to change color.

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
Obviously thought up by a man! I do not want to be in some big meeting and have my crotch start beeping at people.

i agree, it’s pointless. they need to beep about five days earlier :stuck_out_tongue:

A couple of people have mentioned space issues. I don’t know if they market them outside the US, but at least a couple companies make small applicator tampons. Those are the type I use when I can. Measuring a still packaged Tampax Compak tampon for science’s sake, the tampon is 2.75" long and .75" wide. That’s about 1/2 the length of a regular tampon, and probably a few millimeters wider to account for the collapsed applicator. I’d measure other brands if I had any on hand, but I don’t.

I’ve never used a digital one, mainly because I’m not confident I could get it to set right without the applicator.

glad to know I wasn’t the only one who opened this thread wondering what electronics had to do with tampons :slight_smile:

Maybe if they could be set to vibrate…

But, about the applicator vs. digital question, am I the only one who has ever managed to give herself a nasty pinch with the two cardboard tubes kind of applicator? After that unpleasant introduction to tampon use in my mid-teens, I questioned the need for a launch mechanism. I was so glad to discover O.B.s and, later, Instead.

Tabby

I’m in me forties now, but in me twenties, ala 1980, wrote out a nice piece, per Sat Night Live skit, back when I wrote those things: I’ll paraphrase from those old notes:

Sweet Chimes Tampons

Two women, dressed urban upscale, in an elevator:

“Ding ding ding ding, ( a Westminster Chime, subtle)”

Woman 1: "What’s that? Is the elevator stalling?
Woman 2: “No, that’s my Sweet Chimes tampon. You ought to try them. When it’s time to change, Sweet Chimes gently lets you know.”

Woman 1: “I really thought it was the elevator. It seems like background music”
Woman 2: " That’s the beauty of it. Sweet Chimes comes in many tones, to blend in with whatever environment you’re in. There’s even a “cricket”, for country girls."

Elevator doors open: Chimes tone again, as people get on elevator.

Woman 1 leaves, smiles and nods, winking, to Woman 2:

“Sweet Chimes, the timed tampon”
So, that was circa 1978. Happy enough if it comes to fruition.

My experience is opposite. I actually did start using OB (the only digital brand I know of in the US) when I first started using tampons, but they kept sliding out on their own. I switched to applicator tampons because I can get them in farther, and because they expand in width which helps keep them in.

I rarely use Tampax brand, though. I find that the applicator gets too slippery too easily. I also hate plastic applicators because they tend to pinch me. I usually just get the store’s generic brand with paper applicators when I need them.

I lived in France for several years, but never really noticed any difference in availability of one kind of tampon over the other–maybe I just bought Tampax because that’s what I recognized.