Using a menstrual cup for the first time might sound a bit scary, but it just takes some getting used to. And that’s just if you want to use one. It’s always, always your choice. This is our OMGuide to menstrual cup myth-busting.
Am I virgin? / What is virginity?
Virginity is a pretty outdated term. It used to be used to describe a person who had not engaged in heterosexual, penis-in-vagina penetrative intercourse. Over time, it’s become a bit more complicated. Heterosexual penetrative sex isn’t the only way to have sex – there’s solo sex, oral sex and anal sex too. It’s up to you how you define virginity – or if you don’t want to define it at all! Some people think it’s just a social construct and prefer not to use the term.
It doesn’t matter how you define virginity; it doesn’t directly influence your ability to use a menstrual cup.
Will using a menstrual cup damage my hymen?
Just like virginity, the importance of the hymen has been massively overstated. It’s just a membrane in the vagina. It’s made up of thin folds of tissue. They wear away naturally as we grow up, go through puberty and adolescence. This means that, by the time you’ve got your first period, your hymen has likely already got holes. For most people, using a menstrual cup will have little to no effect on your hymen. If you’re worried, get in touch with a doctor before using a menstrual cup for the first time.
Am I too small for a menstrual cup?
In short, nope! Your body size doesn’t directly dictate the size of your vagina. If you’re a teenager, or you haven’t had penetrative sex before, we recommend smaller cups. That’s just because they’re easier to handle and insert. You could also read our guide to finding your cervix height to find the best cup for you.
You might have a more difficult time inserting your menstrual cup for the first time if you’re stressed. If you’re feeling tense, your vaginal muscles will probably also be tense. Do your best to relax. Taking deep breaths might help, as well as finding somewhere private where you can take your time.
So, how does a menstrual cup work?
Menstrual cups are a fantastic, healthy, reusable period product which can be used to collect your flow, rather than absorb it. They don’t contain any chemicals or irritating fibres, which can often mean they’re a more comfortable insertable option than tampons for people with periods. You can wear them for up to 8 hours, and they can last for up to 10 years. So they’re cheaper, better for the planet and better for you!
How to insert a menstrual cup for the first time?
First of all, try not to panic! It can be stressful inserting a menstrual cup for the first time – whether you’ve had penetrative sex before or not. It helps to get to know your body and stay as relaxed as you can be. Be patient, plan, and maybe use a little bit of lube to help you slide in your cup more comfortably.
How to have a successful first insertion:
- Get comfy. Start somewhere you’re familiar with, like being at home. Relax as much as you can.
- Wash your hands and your cup! Before the first use and in between every cycle, it’s recommended to boil your cup for 5 minutes to sterilise it. And by washing your hands, you’re making sure you will not introduce any new bacteria into your vagina.
- Find your position. There are different ways to make inserting your cup easier. You could sit on the toilet, squat, or put one leg up. You might feel silly but if it helps, it helps!
- Time to try! There are many different ways to fold your menstrual cup. Choose the one which is easiest for you, and insert the cup at an angle towards the small of your back. It sits much lower down in your vagina than a tampon – just within a finger’s reach.
- Open it up. Once the folded cup is inside your vagina, make sure it’s opened up. You can do this by rotating the cup, pulling down lightly on it or squeezing the base.
- Are you comfortable? You shouldn’t be able to feel the cup at all. It should be open, with the stem not sticking out. You can try different angles and folds to make it work for you or trim the stem if it’s too long for you.
- And relax. You can now leave it in for up to eight hours!
If you want to try a menstrual cup for the first time, here are the best options for you:
1. Lily Cup One: is here to make things easier for first-time menstrual cup users. It’s convenient and unnoticeable thanks to a discrete case with an extra-firm rim that makes opening and sealing simple and quick. There is also a removal loop to ensure the cup can be easily removed and emptied when needed.
2.Selenacare basic menstrual cup: is suitable for both beginners and long-time users of menstrual cups. It has a medium degree of hardness and can therefore also be used for light sporting activities. The menstrual cup and cotton storage bag are included in the package.
3.Selenacare t.o.c. menstrual cup: is suitable for both beginners and long-time users of menstrual cups. It has a medium degree of hardness and can therefore also be used for light sporting activities. The menstrual cup and cotton storage bag are included in the package. Plus it is 100% vegan.
Head to our femshop to explore all the options for you, relax and enjoy!
Words by:Alex Guerrero