Use Your Finger
The idea of putting your finger inside the vagina may not be very appealing. Maybe even worse than a tampon. But before you skip this blog post in disgust, just hear me out.
You’ve been having trouble putting in a tampon, despite getting familiar with the landscape down there, trying different positions, relaxing your pelvic floor (vaginal) muscles, lubricating the tampon like crazy, picking the best time of month to practise and managing any negative emotions.
Maybe the “ick factor” is still there, and putting your finger in your vagina is the last thing you feel like doing.
But trust me: if you have got to this point, and haven’t had any success yet, practising with your finger could be the “game-changer” you need.
When I was a young teenager struggling with periods, I remember something my sister said to me:
“You should be able to put your own finger in the vagina. That is just something every girl should be comfortable doing.”
My sister must have been all of sixteen. Still, these wise words have stayed with me, and I think of them now every time a patient tells me she can’t put her finger in her vagina. Or won’t.
There’s a few things we girls learn as we grow up. We learn to wipe front to back. We learn not to wash the vulva with soap. We learn to count the days between our periods to give us the best chance of predicting when the next period is coming. We learn to feel our breasts on the first day of the month, to recognise what’s normal for us, so we can be alert to any changes that might need to be checked.
These are all skills we need as women.
And this is an important one to add to the list: to comfortably insert your finger in your vagina. This is an important way to have knowledge of your own body. It empowers you by making you familiar with yourself. Don’t forget, your vaginal muscles are “The Guardians of the Gate”. They need to know when to guard, and when to be at ease. If they don’t have a chance to be at ease, they will overreact by being in “guarding mode” all the time. They will try to “close the gate” even for a light breeze.
Your finger is the equivalent of “a light breeze”. Allowing the gates to open for a light breeze is a starting point for choosing to open the gates for other visitors (for example, someone else’s finger, or penis, or a speculum to have an important health check or Pap smear).
So now I’d like to suggest you go back to Step I, Look and You Will Find, and repeat all the steps with the aim of inserting your finger in the vagina.
Three more things.
Cut your nails (obvious). Wash your hands before and after (double obvious).
And/or – wear latex gloves (if not allergic). No need to wear gloves of course – but for some women this creates the mental barrier they need to give it a try. Over time, progress to no gloves.