My husband walked into the room, looking dejected.

“You must think I’m a horrible man.”

“What?? Why?!? You’ve been unbelievably helpful this week.”

“I found your shopping list.”

“Oooooh. Yes. Is this about me not asking you to buy pads?”

“Yup. You asked me to pick up everything else on your list – except that.”

“I dunno….I just….I guess….I just….didn’t want to do that to you?”

“You know I would get them without batting an eyelash!”

“Of course! I just…I don’t know why I didn’t ask.”

He let it go.

For eighteen hours.

The next day at lunch, he texted me.

“Do you need me to pick you up some pads?”


Close to five o’clock.

“Still need pads?”


On the way home.

“Should I stop for pads?”

Calm down about the freaking pads already!!!

I really didn’t have a good reason not to ask him – my husband is the most servant-hearted, sensitive, un-embarrassable guy I know. And I wasn’t embarrassed to ask him – I mean I’m blogging about it aren’t I? He’s certainly been through much worse with me (the horrifying after-effects of childbirth are one of the only things so disgusting that I refuse to write about it, and he bought everything I needed that week including the rubber gloves), and he’s unnervingly OCD about buying the right product at all times….all logic points to the fact that my husband is the IDEAL man to be a feminine product purchaser.

Yet we’ve been married since 2001 and I’ve never asked him to perform this task. And the way he sees it, I’m robbing him of the opportunity to be the wind beneath my wings.

Was I normal? Was I not? I needed to know, as angst crept up and filled my soul like blue liquid being poured onto an absorbent surface.

The only solution was a Facebook poll. I asked two questions:

1. How long have you been married?
2. Do you ask your husband to buy you feminine products?

Nothing brings Facebookers together like an intriguing question, so I received 122 answers within 18 hours, and many included fantastic commentary.

But first, the stats.

51% of women absolutely ask.
14% rarely ask.
4% have asked once (most commonly that “once” happened immediately following childbirth. If only my own post-childbirth needs had been for feminine products…that would have been nearly delightful.)
31% have never asked.

I can live with being in the 31 percent. And hopefully Chris can figure out how to put a cork in his complex.

It was difficult to tell if there was a correlation to length of marriage and Male Feminine Product Purchases (MFPP), except that couples in the 15-20 year bracket are abnormally low in the “yes” department. We’re at nearly 13 years, so perhaps we’re slightly ahead of our marital generation.

On Feminine Products and Men: The Essential Study.

I didn’t ask for reasons why, but many of the “no” and “rarely” people offered their logic anyway. And surprisingly, only 13% of the time was the issue potential husbandly embarrassment.

No. The real reason seems to be a suspected or proven lack of MFPP proficiency.

If you assume “He’d need specific instructions” is the more tactful way of saying “he’d buy the wrong thing”, then 41% of men are dodging the bullet, so to speak, based on their lack of shopping detail.

On Feminine Products and Men: The Essential Study.

No one, however, said “No but I don’t know why.” So clearly I need to search my own heart for answers.

While I’m exploring my motivations, here were my favorite responses.

Feminine Product Survey 1Feminine Product Survey 2Feminine Product Survey 3Feminine Product Survey 5Feminine Product Survey 6Feminine Product Survey 7

Feminine Product Survey 4

You ladies make my life so much richer.

Please feel free to add your own commentary below – your input may be crucial in aiding my super long overnight soul search.

38 thoughts on “On Feminine Products and Men: The Essential Study.

  1. We’ve been married for 10 years, but I’ve never asked him to buy me feminine products. Mostly because I’m the one that does the shopping, so the opportunity isn’t really there. In addition, now I use a Diva cup, so I don’t need them as much. And when I do need something (like pantyliners), I remember things by visual cues more than names, so I can never remember what to ask for; I just know it when I see it.

  2. We were only dating when he went to the store and bought UTI treatment for me. I figured after that he could handle a little feminine product purchasing. I always did have to be very very specific with him, and it was easier most times just to do it myself. We’ve been together 10 years and married 8… there is no longer a need for feminine products, so it’s not an issue anymore.

  3. I love your infographics!

    We’ve been married for 9 years, and I have not asked him to buy feminine products for me only because I am at Target every other day, and I am exceedingly anal about making sure I have all necessary supplies. I currently have both pads and tampons in every “flavor” imaginable. My stockpile could last me at least a year, which is ironic, because I now have an IUD and haven’t had a period since before I was pregnant with my youngest in 2011. So if anyone ever finds themselves in Wisconsin at that time of the month, come on over!

    And I have to ask, what the heck did you need the rubber gloves for? At this point in my life, nothing is too disgusting for me to handle!

    PS – on a serious note, I hope your adventures with the colonoscopy/endoscopy resulted in some helpful answers.

  4. I’ve been married 6 years, with him 10. I previously used Instead Cups for a long time, and a box would last me a year, so I rarely had reason to ask him to buy me any feminine products. But he has purchased panty liners for me. Now I have an IUD so I barely need anything, but I do have a large box of liners that should last me most of the year…

    Anyway, I trust my husband to pick out things like shampoo and face wash for me so it’s more my own neuroses than “he wouldn’t get the right one”. :)

  5. We’ve been married almost 8 years. Hubby doesn’t mind picking them up as long as I text him a picture of exactly what I need. He then matches that pic to the box on the aisle–pretty simple. I have taken pity on him, though, as the last two times I asked, he happened to run into long-lost friends or acquaintences after picking up certain feminine items. Imagine trying to catch up with an old guy friend from high school while holding a box of industrial-sized tampons :-).

  6. We’ve been married nearly 16 years and although I have asked a few times, like most our your readers, I don’t trust his proficiency. Heck, I’m even confused by all those choices! And I do 99.9% of the grocery shopping these days.. I’m a firm believer, however, that once a woman has carried a child and lived through all the bodily horror/trauma involved in that process, we should NEVER feel bad for our husbands having to buy a few maxi pads. Or getting a vasectomy, for that matter – lol!

  7. My husband was always great about buying them when I needed them. One time, though, he asked–apropos of nothing–what the wings were for. After I gave him a thorough explanation, he said, “Okay. I just like to know how things work.”

    Also, Kathy’s comment made me laugh out loud when I read it on your original Facebook post.

  8. I wouldn’t ask, Hubby would have no clue. He is north african and very traditional about it being ‘women’s business’. However on holiday in algeria he did try to do me a favour as I wanted lubricant gel and don’t speak arabic He came out with thrush (yeast infection) I ended up trying to describe vaginal dryness in schoolgirl french to a very bemused pharmacist. When we finally got the gist there was much laughter all round..

  9. This was SOOOOO interesting. I don’t remember ever asking , back when I was married. It was hard enough for me. I think it has to do with my ten year old self being sent to the store for “Kotex” , and me asking the clerk for some ” Kodak “. . I am still humiliated .

    1. This reminds me of an erstwhile camping trip my husband and I took years ago. Driving through rural (is there any other kind?) northeast Mississippi late on a drizzly Friday night, my husband realized that he had left behind the tent pegs. We stopped at an isolated bait shop/convenience store, and Buddy was gone for an unusually long time. When he returned, he was laughing insanely, and recounted this story: after much searching, he couldn’t find any tent pegs, so finally asked the guy at the register where the tent pegs were. The guy told him, and still Buddy couldn’t find them. This happened again, and finally the clerk went with him to show him exactly where on the shelf these elusive tent pegs resided. Upon finding themselves in the feminine products section, my husband said,” No, not Tampax!! TENT PEGS!!!” To which the young man sheepishly replied,”Yeah, you’d have a tough time putting a tent up with THOSE!!!” P.S: We never did find tent pegs!

  10. With my first pregnancy, he needed to get things several times. I had heavy bleeding that happened about 3 or 4 times during my first trimester, early second trimester and I literally needed maximum support. I could not even tell him what to buy because I was never a pad girl! He went out and got the ultimatum variety display of pads for me! I don’t think I have asked him since however I can tell you that he would say “sheesh”, shiver and then sigh and say what exactly do you need, He would do it, just would not be comfy about it. During that time of month, he never wants to see the items out, I have this gray toiletry bag that is sort of the signal for him. He has two girls and we have a long way to go until he has to deal with it with them, but he better get used to it!! We have been together over 10 years.

  11. #1: I love that you took a survey on this.
    #2: I love that you made pie charts and graphs with the data of your study.
    #3: I love even more about all those things that the backgrounds are a pad and a tampon!!

    As for me, I use a menstrual cup so no one has to buy anything at all and I like it way more than pads or tampons! But if I DID, I would probably ask my fiance to purchase the goods but only if I knew the exact brand and “style” I wanted…otherwise, he would never be able to pick one and probably come home with one of each, hahaha! :)

  12. Oh my goodness. I am 4 days post-partum (thus dealing with my own various and sundry gross feminine issues) and we’re back in the hospital because my sweet boy has jaundice. This post was exactly the medicine I needed! My husband and I laughed so hard at the comments left on Facebook that I was afraid my stitches would come out! Owie!

    Thanks for the laugh :)

    1. I hope y’all are back out of the hospital! And congratulations on the new little one! I’m so excited for y’all. However, if you find yourself with wide eyes wondering what the heck you’ve done to your life, let me know. I WAS THERE. Some Moms fall in love instantaneously with their babies. They’re the lucky ones. The rest of us freak out because we had no idea what was actually involved in having a baby. But it gets better, and the love part catches up with you!! Anyway, I just always like to put that out there so that people know they’re not alone if they feel that way. :-)

  13. Almost 8 years, and he has told me several times that it will never happen. So I don’t even bother to ask. He says that the need arises more or less on schedule so I should have plenty of time to make sure I have plenty of “supplies” on hand and there is really no excuse! If we are shopping together and I put some in the cart, then I have to push the cart for the remainder of the shopping trip. It has kind of turned in to a private joke between us.

    That said, the week we brought our son home from the hospital he said he would buy them for me if I needed (and if I provided a very good description of exactly what I wanted). By the time I did need, I was ready and desperate for an excuse to get out of the house so I went and got them (and some groceries) by myself.

    1. I’m glad there’s someone else that had extreme cabin fever after their baby was born – that was a serious problem for me both times. I was out of the house within days of coming home!

  14. Haha! We’ve been together for seven years and engaged for one of those. Is it bad that I’ve already asked him to get them 3 times? I think it might be my generation, too–he and Ididn’t even give it a second thought. To his credit, he only got the wrong ones once (those darn plastic v. cardboard applicators).

  15. We’ve been married for 6 1/2 years, and my husband has bought pads a few times. He’ll even buy chocolate to go with them, making every woman in the check-out line fall in love with him.

  16. Lol, these are so funny! Well it’s good to know I’m in the 31%. Judging by the comments I was reading on FB I was thinking I was a freak who never gave my husband the joy of making a MFPP. Haha :)

  17. We’ve been married four years and the simple fact is that he just doesn’t do any of the grocery shopping. I have developed a system and it’s rare that we just need to make a random run to the store for anything and if we do, I’m home all day and he’s at work so I just get it then. I’m sure he bought some for me when we were dating or in the first year or so of our marriage. And I do know for sure that in college I sent him to the dorm while I was at rehearsal (theatre) to get me something. But I’ve never been embarrassed by it or anything so I wouldn’t hesitate to ask him.

  18. Ive been married 27 years, and no I have never asked. Im sure he would do it but it would take so much coaching that it would not be worth it.

    My 18 year old daughter laughs at me because when I was a teen we would NEVER even speak of our monthly cycle in the presence of a boy, oh we had a few secret words we used if we had to talk about it around guys, and they usually caught on. But we would not even walk down that aisle with a guy, and would avoid a check out if a guy was the cashier.

    I still cringe when a commercial comes on for pads or tampons!!!!

  19. First of all, I stopped right away and liked you on facebook so I can answer your facebook poll questions. I can’t handle not being a part such scientific studies. Anyway, I have been married almost 9 years and I do ask him. I am way more embarrassed buying condoms than he is buying tampons. But, generally speaking, it is very rare that he goes to the store without me, so it doesn’t happen often.

  20. My husband is another impossible to embarrass one. He even gets me the right kind of feminine products. I married a keeper.

    I also had a past boyfriend take me to Wal Mart at 10 PM to buy me a bottle of Midol. His idea.

    I guess I just pick winners or something. :-)

  21. My husband would never ever by them for me. I could be bleeding out and he would offer to walk me to the aisle and then disappear while I make my choice and then return to get me. He refuses to walk in the bra and panty section of target. The man can’t handle it. I don’t get it. He is highly private about all personal hygiene. You would think after 10 years of marriage he would relax a bit. You are lucky he would be so willing to do this for you.

  22. Married 7 years. I think I may have asked him once, just as a tease, but I would never ask him seriously. I could never remember the right brand till I was standing right in front of it. And it doesn’t matter anymore because I use reusable pads now. I buy disposable pads only once in a blue moon.

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