Categories

Sponges

Feminine Hygiene

When looked after carefully, natural sponges are a safe and clean alternative to tampons. But unlike tampons, they can be reused, may last for years and of course natural sea sponges are better than synthetic sponges. Do not use coloured sponges as the chemicals in the dye may have an unpleasant or uncomfortable reaction.

In term of use and practicality, natural sea sponges can be trimmed to size and absorb more than synthetic ones but as they are soft, they will conform to the shape of your vaginal cavity. If a sponge is too big, it will be difficult to insert and won't absorb any more than a smaller one. If a sponge is too small, it may not last as long as a tampon and if you cough or sneeze, it may leak so you need to experiment.

To use a sponge, insert it as you would a non applicator tampon as needed so it remains below your cervix. Then periodically remove the sponge, rinse it in clean water, squeeze dry and re-use immediately.

Cleaning

At the end of your day, rinse your sponge thoroughly and leave to soak in a weak antibiotic/antibacterial solution overnight. In practise, you may have one for day use and another for sleeping if your flow requires. At the end of your period,  rinse it thoroughly, soak for few minutes in a mild bleach solution, then squeeze it and leave it dry in a jar with no lid in the bathroom cupboard. Bacteria cannot grow in dry conditions.

Sex workers say that  cleaning sponges in white vinegar seems to make then last the longest, but never use malt vinegar as the sugar in it encourages thrush to grow, bleach is better because it kills all the bad bugs, but bleached sponges fall to bits after 2-3 months.

Note: as with tampons, make sure you clean your sponge at every four to eight hours to help prevent a rare but potentially fatal disease called toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Sex

Sponges can be left in during intercourse and the man may not even know it's there. Sponges are preferred by sex workers as they are the most convenient solution to avoid too much mess. While sex during one's period maybe a contentious issue for many women, many indulge and there is no health risk - sometimes just a little blood to wipe away. Sponges squeeze down so you need to insert it soon before intercourse as if its been in a while and near saturated, it will leak when it gets squished. But sponges can be pushed high into the vagina just before sex, then removed,d rinsed thoroughly afterwards and reinserted.

Without a string, fishing it out afterwards can be tricky until you get used to it. Either squat down, or bend with one foot on the edge of the bath or loo seems to work well. Wash your hands, then feel up with one hand until you can touch the sponge. Sometimes if the man's penis is large, the sponge can get lodged up behind your cervix. Do not panic - there is nowhere else it can go! Use your forefinger and middle finger to grip it in a scissors action, and push down as though you are straining to go to the toilet. Pull it out, rinse, squeeze as dry as possible, and reinsert.

To avoid the discomfort of dryness which also breaks condoms, use more lubricant than usual as the sponge tends to absorb that as well, leaving you dryer.

Chemists and some massage parlour operators can sell you a small sponge for $3-5. Unless purchasing in a pharmacy, you may have to attach your own string for easy removal. Also rinse it thoroughly, as new sea sponges may contain irritating grains of sand, then squeeze it as dry as possible before use.

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