I am not a health professional. I am a sex worker with almost 10 years experience. The following is my advice and experiences. This is gained through research and experience. I recommend that you seek professional advice if you are concerned.
What are they?
I get so touchy feely when I have my period. My orgasms are better and stronger. Sponges allow me to have mess free sex! Sponges are literally sponges. They are a product used to prevent breakthrough bleeding, spotting and menstrual bleeding during penetration. They are used commonly within the adult industry, but if you like sex while you have your period they are worth knowing about!
They are commonly called soft tampons, sponges or Beppy sponges. They are a hypoallergenic, stringless alternative to tampons.
Beppy Sponges are sold in wet and dry versions. The wet, in my experience, is the most user friendly. I have found moistening the dry ones make them easier. A soft tampon (what you can usually purchase from an adult shop) is very similar to the dry Beppy sponge. Alternatives to these branded options are discussed below.
How do I use it?
You stick it in you! I know that sounds basic and like there should be more but that is it. If using a sponge with a loop (wet Beppy) keep the loop at the base and slide inside you. If you have used a normal tampon before then this should be easy.
They can be inserted safely for up to 8 hours(ish). This depends on your flow, activities and more.
You can do anything with a sponge that you can do with a tampon, plus you can have SEX! However in my experience swimming, saunas, baths and so on usually mean that the sponge will need to be changed immediately after. As water will make it feel fuller/heavier and it may not be as absorbent.
Common Fears and Dilemmas
It can be scary blindly shoving something inside you. Especially the first few times. Sponges get easier to use the more you practice.
What if it gets stuck? Firstly the vagina will work to expel any foreign objects. It is part of its awesome self maintenance capabilities. So DO NOT PANIC! That is key. The simplest thing to do is to relax, squat and bear down. If you can reach it awesome, grab that sucker and pull it out! If you can’t there are things you can do to help. Wait it out, as the sponge gets fuller it will drop down the canal (you will get the heavy/need to change feeling). If your flow is light, or it’s been in too long have a bath/ douche with water The sponge will absorb the water and get that heavier feeling. Ask a friend to help. Got a friend or partner you trust to slip up in there and remove it. If it has mean 10-12 hours and you can not get it out, hit the doctor’s or hospital. This is SUPER RARE and very unlikely, however if you can’t get it out, get it removed by a professional.
Will it leak? Like ANY sanitary item there is a leakage risk. After a few uses you will get used to the feelings and sensations, making it easier to prevent. If your flow is heavy insert it as close to the time of sex as possible. If it’s been in for 2+ hours and you have… some vigorous fun… there is a chance of small leakage. This is more likely with a well endowed partner/toy. I find using condoms with a pink colour (i like Ansell Contempo Nuda) any light transfer won’t be noticeable.
Will my partner know? It is incredibly unlikely. Hundreds of clients and not one comment. However if you’re using hands they may feel it. They may notice a change of texture, if they know you really well. But it’s super unlikely, in my experience.
Infections and irritations? Chances are LOW. again I speak from experience not from a medical professional. point of view. Reuse and use of a non sterilised sponge could be the cause of an issue such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis (I don’t believe there is any scientific evidence of this). If a piece of the sponge breaks off that could irritate you. If you scratch your vaginal wall with your fingers, and there is bacteria under your nail, you could get an infection. This is a risk anytime you put anyone’s fingers in you. Let me say that these issues are SUPER rare. I have had thrush once after sponge use. I reused the same sponge 6 times in 1 shift. The last use it was left in for 14-16 hours (REALLY don’t recommend this). Whether the thrush was caused by the reuse, the length of time or just my body I can’t say. But it’s handy to know. I theorise that extended sponge use can trap bacteria high up in the vaginal canal. The thrush I got from the bad use was high up. I didn’t get any symptoms. It was picked up at my routine STI check and was behind my cervix. It was the sexual health nurse who questioned me on sponge usage. This is how i made the connection.
Where can I get one? Most Adult Shops (sex toy stores) sell them. There are also infinite online retailers. My favourite, most reliable and cheapest is Sam the Condom Man! (LINK). The Condom Man is a Perth based business and supplies many workers their tools. Luckily for you he is cheap, efficient and sells to the public!
Can I reuse it? It is NOT recommended! Infection and so forth are risks. Dispose of it immediately after removal. Do not flush it down the toilet as it will block it up. This said. I have reused them personally, not often, but I have done it without incident. However, the issue is smell. I find there is a stronger, unpleasant odour if you reuse, or leave a sponge into long, there is a not so pleasant odour. So please avoid reusing them
Isn’t it gross? Look for me it’s second nature. The first time i removed one i leaked all over my hand. Since I mainly remove them in the shower it is a non issue. If you are super grossed out by the concept, then this awesome tip probably is not for you.
Do I need to wet it? If you have a wet beppy, no. THey are lightly lubed for ultimate comfort. If using a dry sponge or alternative then, in my experience, it’s best to dampen them. Just squeeze out as much of the water for maximum absorbency
Can I sleep in it? Yes! Absolutely!
THESE ARE METHODS THAT HAVE BEEN SHARED WITH ME. I AM NOT A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL AND CAN’T SPEAK FOR THE SAFETY BEHIND THEM
Car Sponge- It sounds weird. First let me say YOU DON’T TRY AND PUT THE WHOLE THING UP THERE! I know this sounds like common sense but i have been asked this… More than once! Car sponge is super absorbent and made from similar material to the Beppy. To use a car sponge you have to cut an appropriately sized piece off. You then need to make sure there are no bits/threads that could fall or break off. Rubbing it in your hands and pulling it is the simplest way to do this. Then sterilise it! Boiling it is the simplest way. Allow it to cool remove excess water and store in a ziplock bag. I cut and sterilise the whole car sponge at once meaning I always have stock. This is my preferred sponge. Its cost effective and allows me to cut differing sizes to make suitable for different flows. I like the ArmorAll sponge. I find it replicates the softness and texture of the Beppy Sponge the best!
Sea Sponge- I don’t recommend sea sponges. I know plenty of girls who have used them issue free. However, when I started using sponges I got told by a fellow girl that they are not always sterile/plankton/bacteria free and can cause infection. They can also be quite hard and scratch your vaginal wall and pieces can snap off inside. While these may be old wives tales its information that is widely accepted and was enough to deter me from the use! This said, they are easily available as ‘make-up sea sponge’ from most chemists. They also look less suss sitting in your bathroom. They are also (supposedly) safe for reuse.
My Personal Stories & Tips
My most embarrassing moment- First time I used a sponge I couldn’t get it out. I was 18 and freaking. It had been about 14 hours and i could not reach it. Luckily my partner was home and offered to try. They couldn’t reach it unassisted. So they grabbed a teaspoon. With some maneuvering it was out moments later. Its now 9 years later and the don’t let me forget it!
The gross factor- **TRIGGER WARNING* This may be off putting. So I’d been using sponges about 1 year. I removed it in the shower to rinse and reinsert (I was bad for reuse at the time) And while rinsing i noticed, not one, not two but THREE black, curly pubic hairs attached to it. I Should not that I wax, so they were not mine! ICKY. It happens occasionally now and then but I guess I have accepted it as a fact.
Removal tips- The vagina expands with your arousal. So the sponge can be pushed further up during intercourse. It is simplest to remove straight after intercourse, before the vagina contracts. This contracting process is part of why sponges get ‘stuck’. Squatting is the best tip. Some girls swear by heavily and slowly jumping up and down, relaxing your pelvic muscles in the process.
Insertion tips- Dampen it. Smush it into a balloon shape (loop at the bottom) and insert using a finger or two. It should be comfortable and you should not be able to feel it.
Reuse Tips-Beppy sponges are marketed as disposable. I prefer to use car sponge as disposable. Sea sponges are safe to reuse. I have reused both Beppy’s and car sponge. Ideally you will boil between uses. You can add a drop or 2 of tea tree or betadine for an antibacterial effect (plus it erases any odour). Plenty of girls reuse sponges (of all varieties) by rinsing with hot water between clients. As i mentioned the smell can get pungent so I recommend 2-4 uses before disposing of.
General- Its easiest and cleanest to remove in the shower. Using sponges is great. However they are not easy to change in public. Yes they can be disposed of in sanitary waste bins, however if there is transfer to your hands it can be awkward going out to wash your hands. I have done it, but if I can i still choose tampons for situations when I have to be out and about. If you are planning on reusing Public toilets don’t allow a rinse/clean option without doing it publically. Which if you are fine with is no issue, however society is a judgemental bitch and it may not be ideal.
Not contraception- A sponge is not contraception and will not prevent pregnancy or STI transmission
Hope you found this helpful.
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