In Which I Debunk the Vodka-Soaked Tampon Myth

I read about this over at Radley Balko‘s this morning and this afternoon, Rachel sent me a link to this over-dramatic bit of reporting–about kids who supposedly insert vodka-soaked tampons in their vaginas or rectums for, um, I don’t know. Some reason. I rummaged around under my bathroom sink and came up with two slightly different types of tampons–a regular old Tampax Super and a Tampax Pearl, also Super. These are high absorbancy and feature the two most common types of tampon applicators, cardboard and plastic.

Here they are with the cheap whiskey I used instead of our good vodka.

And here they are out of their packaging but in their applicators.

The trick to putting anything in your vagina or rectum when you are not aroused is that it must be small enough to slide in and stiff enough to get past any resistance, so the first part of my experiment assumes that kids would be using the applicators. So into the whiskey the tampons go, applicators and all.

And we encounter the first problem. The alcohol in the whiskey causes the glue in the cardboard to give way. So, that’s not going inside anyone that way. This happened after the tampon was in the whiskey for just a couple of minutes. I feel certain that, if I’d left it in there for a while, the cardboard applicator would have come apart completely. Tampon users, if you’ve had the unfortunate experience of dropping one of these bad boys in the toilet when trying to insert it, I don’t have to tell you, the cardboard applicator became useless when wet. It was all bendy and would not eject the tampon. I had to pull it out of the applicator with my hand.

And here it is, looking sad and the end is already looking not insertion friendly. I put it on a dark background so that you could get a good look at how the top end is already unfolding.

So, maybe better luck with the plastic applicator? Actually, no. The wet tampon swelled up and kind of sagged inside the applicator and so when I pushed the bottom part, rather than completely ejecting, it just sat there, only half out of the top part, unable to get past the prongs. I had to yank on this to get it out of the applicator as well.

Here it is, looking very sad. The end is rounder, but it was starting to unfurl, the longer it sat there and it also bent when it met any resistance.

I put them both back in the whiskey to simulate what would happen if you used an applicator-less tampon or removed either of these from their applicator before soaking them in spirits.

They did absorb quite a bit of whiskey. However they also did what tampons do when wet–got soggy and limp.

For even more proof those aren’t going in any orifice in a fun way, I took a picture of the ends of the tampons.

Yep, simply not likely to happen. But, in the interest of science, I then ran one of the tampons against the mucous membrane on the inside of my mouth. It was both very cold and burned, which, I imagine, would be a most unpleasant feeling as whoever was aiding you in the administration of vodka-soaked tampons shoved the limp, soggy, shape-changing, burning, and yet very cold thing inside you, or attempted to. I’m honestly not sure the incredibly cold feeling might not cause some uncontrollable clenching which would then make the insertion or removal of the tampon something of a nightmare.

If that’s your thing, great. More power to you. But the idea that kids are, in great number, just popping vodka-soaked tampons up inside themselves and going off to party with none the wiser that they’d been imbibing? Not happening. That’s just not how tampons work.

87 thoughts on “In Which I Debunk the Vodka-Soaked Tampon Myth

  1. This whole thing reminds me of a friend in college — think “Jack” from Will & Grace but much more effeminate and vain. He really loved to push people’s buttons. Often, at parties, he would walk around with a vodka cranberry, complete with tampon soaking in the glass for shock value. He usually got the desired response.

  2. Wow. That is some nifty scientific research. Seriously! I had no idea kids were allegedly doing this. It kind of makes LSD on postage stamps look tame.

  3. There really is no other way to honor this post than to bellow “SCIENCE!!!” like Thomas Dolby.


    ::joyful noises::

  4. Dammit! I was really looking forward to tampons going the way of Sudafed; only being available by filling out a form and saying “pretty please” to a licensed pharmacist all in the name of protecting us from ourselves.

  5. Oh, fuck, Sarcastro. I should have waited until after the state made its graphic PSA showing how to administer the vodka-soaked tampons in the name of dissuading us from using them before I debunked this.

  6. Elias, I had hoped the whiskey would be a little darker on the tampon so that it’d be more obvious where and how thoroughly it soaked.

    No luck.

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  8. “Tampon users, if you’ve had the unfortunate experience of dropping one of these bad boys in the toilet when trying to insert it…”

    Now, I don’t have a vagina, but if I did, I imagine my response to dropping a tampon in the toilet wouldn’t be “it’s still good, it’s still good. I’ll just cram this up my cooch anyway.” Wouldn’t you just want to get a *new* one? Ew…

  9. No, no, no. You’ve got it all wrong: pop an un-soaked tampon up the ole tobacco pouch, do a handstand and get a friend with a funnel to top you up with your favourite beverage. That’s how all the kids do it these days.

  10. David, believe me, you never drop a tampon in the toilet when there’s another one handy. I don’t know why it is, but those fuckers only go in the toilet when you really, really only have that one and desperately need it.

  11. Chopsticks. Or any old stick really. But chopsticks would work best, especially if metal or plastic. Less friction. I suppose you could use a screw driver. Course, you’d probably lose a good 50% of the alcohol from the poking and prodding.

  12. Now that I am well and truly schnockered after conducting my own hooch-up-the-cooch experiment, I can say, after reading these comments, especially dear Anonymous’s (the perfect summary of horror and dismay), that I LOVes You GUySh SoOoo MUCH OMG wooooooo PAAARTY uh-oh


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  14. I also just want to state more clearly the problems with this urban legend. Not only would it be very difficult and uncomfortable to insert a vodka-soaked tampon, it wouldn’t be a very good means of getting drunk. You can test this for yourself just by holding vodka in your mouth. You don’t get way drunk from the vodka coming in contact with the mucous membrane on the inside of your cheek. So the part of the legend that says you get somehow super drunk is not true and probably just confusion from the sometimes-companion “beer enema” nonsense.

    The second reason the legend states that kids do this is so that their parents don’t smell the alcohol on their breaths. Sticking what amounts to a sponge in an orifice designed to squeeze things is going to leave you with a lap full of vodka. It will be much easier for your parents to smell your vodka-soaked pants than it is for them to smell your vodka-soaked breath.

  15. It will be much easier for your parents to smell your vodka-soaked pants than it is for them to smell your vodka-soaked breath.

    Also, you don’t get alcohol on your breath by putting it in your mouth. Otherwise all you’d have to do is brush your teeth and the smell would be gone. Alcohol breath is from alcohol in the blood stream as it reaches the lungs.

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  17. i hope you intended this post to be as funny as it actually was. i would hate to think you were writing this seriously, without a wink, nod, or tongue in cheek. or applicator.

  18. pffff… Kids aren’t idiots, alcohol soaked tampons are just a distraction from how kids really butt-chug. It involves a funnel, silicone grease, and an extra large butt-plug (to prevent leakage).

  19. couldn’t you just do a vodka enema?? Or a margarietta enema? you could even coat the ur “rim” with salt…. yeeeeooouccch!
    winecooler enemas, now theres a party fellas!! i think the gay community has had this one in their “arse”nal for a while now.. we’re just “behind” the times.
    hardy fuckin harr..

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  22. No kidding, Gary. I mean, even if you somehow could stand the burning cold, it’s just like shoving a sponge up yourself. The second you clench up for any reason, liquid is coming out. Your friend must have known some women who smelled really strongly of alcohol all day.

  23. Pingback: Absolut Insanity? Underage Drinkers Don't Need Vodka-Soaked Tampons - Forbes

  24. Your clearly have debunked nothing. You used the argument of the applicators not working because of the alcohol to get out of actually putting the tampons in your vagina or anal cavity. I’m sure you could have found a way to get one in and see if you would have gotten drunk. The myth about vodka soaked tampons is not the actual application, but whether you can get drunk or even feel a buzz once it’s “up in there”. I am significantly disappointed, Aunt B. I held you to a higher debunking standard than this one.

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  26. I tried it. YES, I TRIED IT (vaginally). IT HURT LIKE HELL. So much so, that I couldn’t leave it in for more than 1? 2? minutes? And I couldn’t tell if I was drunk at that point or experiencing a placebo effect. Good news? Pain was mostly gone by the next day. Bad news? So painful that it necessitated self-medication. Prescription: Vodka, orally.

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  48. Trust me, if you don’t think college students do this, you are wrong. While it is not in great quantity, I know of a few females who have done this. Not necessarily “wild child” types but experimental non-the-less. Yes, in experimental form it seems utterly horrendous, and it is not the most pleasant thing, but one does indeed enjoy a more intense buzz. I don’t think I ever would have done this as a teenager. Then again I have engaged in Lsd, shrooms, and several other things while consistently making the Dean’s List, having leadership positions in organizations, and being an avid runner/athlete. Guess some of us are just a little curious/crazy.

  49. No, no, in fact, I’m willing to bet that you don’t. In fact, I’m starting to doubt that men who claim to know women who have done this even understand how a vagina works or how tampons work.

    It’s not a matter of being “experimental.” It’s a matter of how one would even get the alcohol soaked tampon in a vagina and, once there, how it would retain enough alcohol (and not send it shooting back out into one’s pants) for a person to gt a buzz off of.

    Tip of the day: If you call women “females” we all know you’re not getting laid.

  50. Again here’s a normal person taking a look into the abnormal person’s response to wanting to get drunk without being detected. This is a sublime way of ingesting alcohol. Snorting cocaine is not a pleasurable experience either. Alcohol in any mucus membrane burns. We have been taught to overcome the biting taste within our mouths while ingesting alcohol. Your quasi experiment did not use non applicator tampons.

  51. Liz, try this at home. Soak a tampon just in water and try to put it in your vagina. If you can do it (and I don’t think you’ll be able to), see how much comes back out. If you don’t want to be detected, ingesting alcohol in a manner that causes your crotch and inner legs to become drenched with alcohol is not the way to go.

    This isn’t happening. It’s just not. It’s not just a matter of the burning. It’s a matter of how a vagina works.

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  53. I got a referral yesterday from here myself. That’s why I noticed.

    You’re probably at the top of some Google search. My post on Psycho got to page 2 on Google image search and I get at least 60 hits a week from that.

  54. W, you are researching vodka-soaked tampons? Is this in an open spirit of inquiry, as an engineer, or is something more personal going on? Inquiring minds want to know.

  55. I’m, already picturing the I-Team investigative report–“Are Tennessee’s bridges held together with vodka-soaked tampons? Are Tennessee Teens putting our bridges in their vaginas to get drunk without their parents’ knowledge?!”

  56. All I’m saying is that if a railroad bridge will fit into some poor TN teen’s vagina, we need some infrastructure work done fast, is all I’m saying.

  57. To quote B’s response to Liz a few lines up:

    If you don’t want to be detected, ingesting alcohol in a manner that causes your crotch and inner legs to become drenched with alcohol is not the way to go

    That sounds like a flooding issue to me.

    On a purely personal note, have you ever been to a dance recital or tee ball game for four year olds? A man can only stand so much…

  58. B, this is going to be the post that never dies, I assure you. Every single day I get an absurd amount of visits to a post I did on “lost” tampons, accompanied by an even more amusing set of search terms that led people to it.

  59. So were my kids nm. The other kids are the ones that drive me to drink. My kids danced for 3 minutes, but we had to stay for the whoooole hour and a half.

  60. Holy god, I can’t even watch cute videos of kids I don’t know very well for longer than like 30 seconds. I can’t imagine what you had to go through.

  61. This is an amazing post. I shall advise my friends not to do so. I first heard of anal drinking (would it be considered drinking if not by mouth?) on CSI. The neighbor did it.

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  66. I guess I don’t know how a vagina works… Or, maybe you’ve never had anything large stuck in yours… Just cause something is bigger than the hole, doesn’t mean it won’t fit, or the fact that it will stay open after the insertion… Easy way to “catch” any leakage… a pad… And if your’re gonna tell me that people will smell liquor on that, then you might want to think about how many people have smelled what you leak onto one…

  67. Mike, I am continually stunned and amused by how many guys are willing to publicly demonstrate that they know nothing about vaginas or, apparently, alcohol. A vagina isn’t some mysterious, legendary body part many have heard about but few have actually experienced. Over half of the population has one and most of us have had ours for a long, long time.

    Trust me when I say, though, that I laughed long and hard at your comment. Do you really think a vagina seals shut somehow?

  68. WELL Ms. Tiny Cat Pants, Maybe you can’t get that tampon up your butt because you’re doing it wrong!!! Clearly you’ll want to use neutral spirits! Also, don’t soak the tampon so long. Just pop it in some vodka for a quick dip… don’t used a heavy flow tampon. Use one for a light day. This way you won’t get alcohol poisoning. Good luck on your adventures.

  69. The premise of the urban legend is that teenagers are sticking vodka-soaked tampons in their vaginas (or butts) in order to get drunk without detection.

    I’ve refuted that on the grounds that you can’t get enough vodka to get drunk on in a tampon and into an orifice without major complications including that the tampon won’t hold that much vodka, that getting any meaningful amount of vodka in the tampon makes the tampon basically unusable, and that no tampon is going to hold any meaningful amount of vodka in your vagina without letting it just run back out down your leg.

    Using a smaller tampon solves none of these problems.

    I’m not doing it wrong. I’m apparently just providing a forum for people who have no familiarity with how a vagina or a tampon works to try to pretend like they do.

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