My friends are pretty ~woke~ I’d say. (Do people still use that? Is my youth fleeting that much? I digress!). Whether it’s a new article on queer theory, a sex toy I need in my life, or an inclusive, sustainable brand I’d never heard of, my BFFs tell me about the best things. So, when they all ditched pads and tampons and switched to a menstrual cup, I figured they were on to something.
When the Diva Cup was first released, I thought it was just about the strangest concept. You’re gonna put that inside of you, and it’s going to catch your blood like that? That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg. I wanted nothing to do with that pink little monstrosity they called a “menstrual cup.”
As more and more of my friends began using it, they sang of its praises over and over. “It’s a product I truly cherish.” “It’s the only thing that makes my period at least somewhat bearable.” “I’d do anything for my Diva Cup.” That’s only the half of it! So, I finally decided to give that little guy a try.
So, for the basics: a menstrual cup is a small, flexible cup usually made of silicone or latex that catches and collects your menstrual blood rather than absorbing it like a pad or tampon. (I know, I know, it’s weird, but hear me out!)
How to insert:
If you’ve ever used a birth control ring or a diaphragm, the insertion is pretty similar. Fold the cup (just as you would a birth control ring), and insert just as you would a tampon without the applicator. The cup will spring open if inserted correctly, and it’ll just rest on the walls of your vagina. Your menstrual blood will drip right into the cup!
Toxic Shock Syndrome can occur as a result of leaving a tampon in for too long, so you have to be careful sleeping or spending too much time before changing your tampon. Not with a menstrual cup! You can use your menstrual cup overnight, and you don’t have to worry about bringing along extras to get you through a long day.
If you purchase a reusable menstrual cup, it can last up to 10 years, eliminating the need for more paper products and packaging for pads and tampons.
You’ll never have to run out to buy pads and tampons again
Because a menstrual cup can last so long if you take care of it, you’ll never have a 7am 7/11 run to get pads because you ran out last month and kept forgetting every time you went to the store. This also makes a menstrual cup pretty cost-effective in the long run. One payment between $20 and $40, and you’re good for years.
You can have sex with some of them in!
The silicone and rubber cups have to removed during sex (for obvious reasons), but the softer, disposable ones are designed to stay in while you’re having sex. This might just be the perfect addition to your sex box for any time you’re on your period — it’ll catch any blood and savor all of your nice towels at the same time.
It can be more comfortable
Pads can chafe and cause rashes, but when you find the right menstrual cup, you won’t even feel it.
There’s less odor
Your menstrual odor only comes out when it hits the air, but with the menstrual cup, it’s sealed in there until you remove the cup. Amazing.
Get the right size
Sizing is everything here. If it’s too big or too small, it won’t fit your body right and will probably be incredibly uncomfortable. Do some research and figure out which one will be the best for you based on your age and whether or not you’ve given birth.
Find the right one for you
Not all menstrual cups will work for you! Different brands make different shapes and materials, and someone with a super active, HIIT-class-six-days-a-week lifestyle will probably want something a little different from someone who likes to spend a little more time on the couch. Take this quiz to find out which will work best for you.
Embrace the awkward
Putting in a menstrual cup for the first time is probably about one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done. Once I realized that every woman who’s ever tried to use one of these things has done it, I stopped feeling weird about it. It’s kinda uncomfortable and weird, but so what? You’re saving the earth, one pad/tampon-less day at a time.
Talk to your doctor before starting anything new
This is always good advice for most things in life, but when you’re inserting something new into your body, it’s good to make sure it will work for you. Certain manufacturers don’t recommend using a menstrual cup if you have an IUD, so ask your doctor if he or she thinks this will work for you.