Part One: Questions and Answers: UTI's, Tampons and More.
I often get questions in real life as well as on my Twitter and Snapchat from teenage girls and women. Some are questions they are too embarrassed to ask of their families or friends, or even to google for whatever reason.
My mother is quite a shy woman, and I had many questions as a teenager and also as a newlywed, but I didn’t feel I could ask her anything without it being very awkward.
I’m going to run through a few of the questions I’ve been asked (not all ‘embarrassing’ as such) and also some questions I had, but had to find the answers to myself.
Disclaimer: I am not any kind of expert, this is just advice and things that helped me.
• Urinal tract infection/ difficulty or pain peeing after sex or masturbation: this is a common issue and some tips to prevent this:
- Wash your genitals and butt with water* before and after sex/ masturbation. Also, to pee as soon after as possibly after any vaginal penetration. This will hopefully flush out any bacteria.
- If you get an UTI: drink lots of water. Lots. Cranberry juice is also good. Or a urinary alkaliniser (ask your pharmacist). Also probably a good idea to see your doctor to double check you have a UTI and not something more serious. Your doctor might suggest a round of antibiotics to treat your UTI if particularly severe. Always check with your doctor. It’s also important to note that not taking care of a UTI can possibly lead to a kidney infection, so it’s important to treat as soon as possible and seek medical attention.
* Different opinions on using soap on the genitals, most experts recommend just warm water. Others say a mild intimate wash every now and then should be okay. Ask your doctor/ pharmacist if you have any questions.
• Tampons: do tampons take away ‘virginity’?
- Leaving aside the concept of virginity for this article, no. Inserting a tampon during your period does not mean you’ve had sex. It’s a tampon.
- There’s quite a taboo around tampon use in many communities for cultural and also religious reasons. The main concern being that there should be nothing ever inserted into the vagina until it’s a man’s penis on the wedding night. A tampon’s function is to collect menstrual blood. In my opinion, there is nothing sexy about it! Another concern is that the hymen might be broken during insertion and this might cause problems on the wedding night. Meaning a woman might be suspected of not being a “virgin”. Big no-no in many communities – but usually only in regards to women of course.
- Something I have personally faced was stigma for using tampons before marriage. I was given looks as if I was some kind of ‘tampon whore’. Because nothing should call your vagina home before your future husband even gets on the scene.
- Tampons aren’t the only option either. Menstrual cups are another option and getting more popular. They’re also better for the environment!
• Is the first year of marriage really the hardest? I don’t know if it’s the necessarily the hardest, but there are challenges, especially if you’ve just moved out of home.
- Marriage is about compromise. You have to pick your battles. You and your partner will definitely fight but learning to see where your partner is coming from and also accepting when you’re wrong and even saying sorry are important.
- Don’t keep a fight going just to try and ‘win’. Try and nip any disagreements as soon as possible. Communication is key! If something is annoying you, tell them. If you’re angry, tell them why. But tell them calmly, don’t yell it at them.
- If you’ve never lived with someone other than your family before, you’re in for a big change. You might discover that your partner is messy or disorganised, or they might discover that you are! Different habits can cause a lot of friction, so it’s important to talk about it calmly, ie. don’t scream “stop leaving your socks everywhere!” as soon as they get home from work (guilty!).
- DISCLAIMER: I’m extremely guilty of not following my own advice quite often. I know this. I try my best!
• Ideal wife? Gah! This annoys me.
When I first got married, I got all sorts of ‘advice’ from older women that I knew. When I say advice, I mean sexist drivel. I also got this advice from books written for Muslim women/ wives.
1. I was told to always have dinner ready when my husband came home.
2. To wear makeup everyday: look pretty so my husband wouldn’t look elsewhere.
3. Always be dressed nicely: no pyjamas (haha, yeah right).
4. It was suggested I should have a shower & apply fresh makeup 1 hour before my husband was due home. Never smell like spices, onion or garlic. And spray lots of enticing perfume. But of course: only wear perfume in the home!
5. Make sure the house is always clean. This is for the comfort of your husband, don’t let his eyes ever see a dirty dish or unmade bed!
6. Don’t complain too much (LOL! Complain is my middle name). Especially because his worries are obviously so much more important than your own!
7. “If you say no to your husband, the angels will curse you.” (Where to even begin with this?!)
All of this honestly reads like a 1950s housewife manual. How to be an ideal or perfect wife? By being yourself. Don’t be forced, guilted or shamed into doing anything you don’t want to do. Every relationship is different and you need to do what works best for you.
• Studying after marriage? Yes, it’s hard. But it’s very possible!
- I don’t think I would have applied for university without my husband’s encouragement. Yes, encouragement, not permission! If a potential husband even hesitates at the suggestion of you going to university or working: RUN!
- I didn’t believe I was good enough to be accepted into university and didn’t want to even apply. I finally applied and I’ll be graduating (hopefully) in September with two degrees!
- I liked to study at university in the library after class, I felt more productive that way, and less distractions!
- Urinal tract infections: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/urinary-tract-infections-uti
- Diva cup: http://divacup.com/products/the-divacup/