"When I was 19, I came home from college and stayed the night at my boyfriend's house. His parents were sleeping, and we wanted to have sex. We decided to do it as far away from their bedroom as possible: in the downstairs bathroom, which had no windows. The bathroom, which was completely white, was too glaring and bright, so we turned off the lights, which made it completely black, but also sort of fun. Like any sexually healthy and experimental college kids, we had sex on the floor, the (closed) toilet, the sink '- on every surface in the bathroom. Then I became conscious of how unusually wet things felt. When we turned on the lights, it looked like a scene from a horror movie. There was blood everywhere! It was gory. My boyfriend and I spent the next hour scrubbing the entire bathroom clean."
--Hannah Hendricks, 30
Two's a Crowd
"I was a freshman in college and between periods at the time. I started to smell this awful odor and realized it was coming from my vagina. I didn't know what was going on and was a little horrified. To make matters worse, I also had this brownish, creamy-colored discharge, so I kept putting in a tampon to absorb it. It was really embarrassing because I was sleeping with someone at the time. Luckily, I'd been with him for a while, so he wasn't freaked out or anything. I finally got worried enough to go to the campus health center. After an exam, the gynecologist told me that there was an old tampon inside me that'd been stuck up there for weeks, which is what accounted for the smell. Hello, toxic shock syndrome. Once she removed it, everything '- thank God '- was fine. When I told my friends what had happened, they admitted that they had started to smell it too! I thought,
How did I not feel the first tampon when I put the second one in? To this day, I'm paranoid about making sure I've only got one in."
--Lisa Lopez, 31
Would You Like to See My Collection?
"The first time I got my period, I crept into my older sister's bedroom to tell her. As a tomboy, I was not pleased that I'd become a woman. And neither was my sister. Two years older than me, she still hadn't gotten her period and was furious that I could get mine first. She called me a liar and told me to get out of her room. Afraid I'd get the same reaction from my parents, I tried to keep it a secret. My mom, an absolute neat freak, kept one trash basket in the entire house '- underneath the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, the bathroom was at the other end of the house. So every time I had to change my pad, I'd go into the bathroom, roll it in a wad of toilet paper, stick it under my shirt and hide it in my desk drawer. The used pads sat there for days, filling up the drawer. One day, while I was in the other room, my dad decided to play Mr. Fix-It and repair the broken handle on my desk drawer. He called me into my room and hissed at me through clenched teeth, 'What is wrong with you, Julia Peters? I don't ever want to see you do something like this again!' And there they were, all dumped out on my carpet. I don't know who was more mortified."
--Julia Peters, 31
* Some names have been changed