Bring on the Red Tide jokes
I became aware of sea sponge tampons when I was first looking up menstrual cups on the internet. A marketing piece noted that women entering a biodome for one year chose cups as their menstrual product, rather than tampons made of sponges or pads made of sphagnum moss. At the time, cups seemed the most reliable and least leaky, so I ignored the sponges. Later, I became more interested in a suction-free method of reusable, internal protection, and started looking into reusable tampons.
Sea sponges are the only material I've seen used for commercial reusable tampons, and the only material I've seen in instructions for homemade reusable tampons. The most basic construction is just a piece of sea sponge dampened with water before insertion. Some people add strings, or a little silk bag to hold the sponges and make removal tidier.
I don't want to use sea sponges as tampons, for the usual reasons (they might come from polluted seas, and vegetative as they are, they are animals), but mostly because I'd rather use something easier to clean and dry thoroughly. I can't see inside a sponge to tell if the center is dry, and that leaves me dissatisfied about hygeine. Although it probably wouldn't be as soft as a sea sponge, my ideal reusable tampon would be rolled up strips of cotton fabric, but in my laziness I haven't investigated that option much yet.
My attitude toward sponges reflects my general attitude about menstrual products and also about birth control: I find all of the options unsatisfactory in some way and so I'd like to not choose any. I manage to get by without any menstrual products, so I casually reject pretty much every product for the most petty and surmountable of reasons. This doesn't mean that many women don't prefer sponges above all other options.
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