When It’s Okay to Ask a Guy to Buy Tampons for You

Judd Apatow in the feminine hygiene aisle, via iwatchstuff.com

At what point in a relationship is it acceptable to ask a guy to go buy tampons from you? Our Wise Guys weigh in…

Straight Single Guy (Max): Ok. So there you are. Your girlfriend, who may already be SUPER cranky, has run out of tampons. At this point, I can dig the need to “go to the store” and get a breath of fresh air, but who is stupid enough to tell their girlfriend NO when they’re in such a state? MAN UP and buy the girl her tampons. I understand that a lot of guys are grossed out by a girl’s period, but seriously, get over it. How can you be so opposed to a product that keeps your girlfriend’s sacred nether regions from looking like a viking battlefield? (That was a little extreme, but you know what I’m saying.) I myself am an advocate of just putting a towel or two on the bed. In fact, I’ve always found it frustrating when girls won’t have sex on their period because they’re too self conscious about the blood. Assuming you take measures to protect against the transmission of STDs, what’s the problem with a little vampire role playing?

Gay Committed Guy (Mark): If he won’t do that for you, let him figure out how to suck his own damn cock.

Straight Married Guy (Ben): He HAS to get you tampons if one of two criteria are met: 1) you’ve been a couple for three-and-a-half years* OR 2) you’ve gone through some traumatic experience together. If it’s case number one, then you are right to require him to get over himself and pick up tampons at the store. He can hide the tampons in beer and magazines, with a whole load of groceries if he likes – coping mechanisms are fine. If he loves you at this point, he loves ALL of you, including your period. If it’s case number two and you’ve endured some kind of trauma together (getting in a bad car crash, terminating a pregnancy, being held hostage on a speeding bus that can’t go below 60 miles per hour or else it blows up)  – even if it’s in your first month as a couple – he should do anything you ask, no question, whenever you want, forever. Because after something like that, things get put in perspective real quick.

*Note from Em & Lo: For the record, dudes, we think 3.5 years is about 3 years too long to be feeling squeamish about buying tampons for someone you’ve been seeing seriously.


Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Ben, a writer and artist living in Los Angeles who runs. Our Committed Gay Guy, Mark, is a writer and teacher in NYC and our Single Straight Guy, Max, is a recent college grad in New England . To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. Hmm… I guess I can’t relate to more than fleeting embarrassment, Charlie. My attitude toward embarrassing purchases – condoms, porn, tampons, etc. – has always been, “hey, YOU’RE the one who sells it! Why should I be embarrassed?”

    So for me, yeah, it’s about decorum. Let’s flip the script for a second: let’s say you needed some toilet paper (not to compare a woman’s sacred life-giving flow to poo, but once that blood is out of her body and on a tampon, it’s just waste – same thing).

    At what point would you feel comfortable asking a woman to pick you up some TP? You mentioned that some women might be comfortable asking on a first date. Would you ask a first date to bring you over some TP? My guess is no, you wouldn’t, because one doesn’t reference one’s grosser bodily functions that early on.

    As for the whippage thing, I totally get how a man’s mind goes there. Periods are totally predictable. Why on earth would she need you to buy her tampons? Is she snowed in? Bedridden? That’s what it would take for me to ask a woman to buy me TP.

    When you share a shopping list. That’s when it becomes ok to ask for such things, in my opinion.

  2. Sorry Johnny, can’t agree with you. It’s not about “whippage” or “decorum.” Yes, younger guys are embarrassed about certain aspects of a woman’s biology and will be less comfortable making such a purchase. As you get older and are in a long term relationship that will change. There is no one defining marker in a relationship where it is suddenly o.k. to ask a guy to buy feminine hygiene products. Some women may be willing to ask this before the first date, others after years of dating. The comfort to ask a guy to do this, and the guy’s willingness to do this, however, may signal a turning point in a relationship. That is, she is comfortable enough in the relationship to ask the guy to make this purchase, and he is comfortable enough in the relationship to do this, even if he does not want anyone else at CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, the supermarket, etc., to see him make the purchase (of course, there is probably a correlation between the guy’s discomfort and the number of items he purchases with said tampons). Most guys, at some point, were embarrassed to go into the store and purchase condoms (or, back when they were more prevalent, adult magazines). The purchase of feminine hygiene products is the same thing. If you’re willing to send him to the store to purchase a box of condoms for the evening’s activities, it is o.k. to ask him to purchase tampons.

  3. It’s not about the period blood or the embarrassment of buying tampons. Guys just can’t help but feel that “buy me tampons” is a crack of the whip, akin to “hold my purse.”

    If you live together it’s ok. That’s when the illusion of sanitary bodies gets shattered anyway. It’s also the point a which a man has come to accept a certain degree of whippage. If you’re just dating, maintain a little decorum and buy your own tampons.

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