When a coworker first suggested to me that I try out THINX period underwear and write about it, my initial reaction was, “lol no.” I do not write about my menstrual cycle. It’s not like I take myself “too seriously” as a writer, I’m just squeamish about getting too personal with anyone.
Still, I was curious about THINX. I’d heard that their products were “like regular underwear, but so much better.” Basically it’s period-proof underwear to use during your time of the month either in place of or in addition to tampons or pads.
As the daughter of a gynecologist, I realize the irony of being so private about menstruation. During a typical dinner table conversation in my house growing up, the words “vagina,” “period,” and “sex” came up at least two times each. And if that’s not enough irony for you, my first period is probably the best “first period” anecdote in history. My first period came the day of my bat mitzvah. I ruined my favorite pair of white undies, and my mom told the entire extended family even though she had promised not to.
For someone whose whole life has been conversations about periods, there is no reason why I should keep this conversation so private. It is gross, but at the same time, it’s a normal bodily function and most of us suffer through a period every 28 days.
So here it goes, a venture into my menstrual cycle and my experience with THINX.
Let’s preface with what my period is like. I take Minastrin 24, a contraceptive pill with 24 days of hormones rather than the more common 21 days. Because of this, my period is as tolerable as I believe is possible. It lasts 24-48 hours and is incredibly light. I suffer those searing cramps we all know and hate, just on the first day, which feel like my uterus is trying to claw its way out of my body. But as the daughter of a gynecologist, I truly understand that I have it quite good. A day or two of light bleeding is manageable.
So though I can afford to pay the pink tax once a year (because really, one box of tampons can hold me over for about a year), I experimented with a pair of THINX undies.
The first thing I noticed when I took the little black thong out of its plastic was that it doesn’t feel like your standard Calvin Klein pair. Its trim is made from 89% nylon and 11% elastane, which covers an inner layer of cotton and elastane, a concoction that makes the underwear absorbent and utilitarian, but not too soft.
I wore them on day one of my period, (because, like I’ve said, there’s no guarantee I’ll have a day two each month) and pulled on a pair of Levi’s and headed to work. All went well for most of the day, I didn’t really remember that I was menstruating until each time I stood up and could feel a little damp. I realized that the THINX undies were absorbent, but it wasn’t an instantaneous absorption.
By the time I got home around seven, it felt like I was swimming. I was afraid to change the undies because I fully expected to pull down my pants and witness a crime scene. After a tearful, melodramatic call to a friend and confidant, I garnered the courage to look at the damage my uterus had caused. To my surprise, I could barely see any blood. The black, absorbent material did actually do its job. Slowly, but still well.
When reminiscing my THINX experiences with a few ladies at work, one coworker told me that she’d had a great experience with THINX (yes, this was a companywide thing). She had used her pair both for sleep and for exercise.
By this time, just about 24 days had passed since my first venture into THINX, and lo and behold I’d already signed up for a barre class later that week. So my pair of THINX came with me to that. And it was a much better experience. Maybe it was because I was moving around more rather than sat at a desk for 7 hours, or possibly because I’d only worn the underwear for five hours in total that day, but it was clearly an improved experience—and much better than tampons whilst exercising. I’m planning to get another pair for nighttime period purposes because I have had to call my mom for advice on getting blood out of my white sheets far too often. Plus, for one class a month, I know exactly what I’m wearing to barre.