Like most women, I spent the majority of my reproductive life using pads and tampons because I thought they were my only option. However, when I went backpacking in my twenties, I decided to try a menstrual cup after it was recommended by some fellow female travelers. I was amazed at how quickly I fell in love with it and how it changed the way I experienced my period in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
It’s not gross, I promise. When I first heard of the menstrual cup, I was reluctant to try it for fear of getting too down and dirty with my own period blood. However, I quickly got used to it and compared to pads and tampons, I actually find it preferable. Because the blood stays inside your body until the cup is emptied, there’s no contact with air and therefore no smell, which is an added perk. There’s also nothing to throw away except the blood itself, making for clean and easy disposal.
It’s put me more in touch with my body. Because I’m literally in touch with my blood every time I empty the cup, I feel much more connected to my body and its cycles. I see how much I’m bleeding and the consistency of my blood. Instead of avoiding my body and believing it to be somehow “dirty” during my period, I’ve found a beautiful fascination in the way my body works and the nuances of my reproductive cycle.
I became way less squeamish about my period. It’s hard to be weird about period blood when you’re fingers deep in it, fishing out a menstrual cup. In getting to grips with using a menstrual cup, I also got in way closer contact with the contents of my uterus than I ever had before and the realization dawned on me that my body is not disgusting. In fact, it’s totally acceptable and normal. Seems obvious, right?
It’s incredibly convenient. Because it’s reusable, I can carry the cup with me everywhere and never have to worry about running out of tampons or pads in a critical moment. Wherever I am, I know I’m covered if I start bleeding. Plus, it’s so small and discreet that it’s easy to keep it on me at all times.
It’s saved me literally thousands of dollars. Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone and last around five years before they need replacing. Because of their rise in popularity in recent years, they’ve become really affordable, saving a woman literally thousands of dollars over the course of her reproductive life. I love not throwing my cash away on menstrual products.
As an environmentalist, it’s the logical choice. Tampons and pads are a huge contributor to landfills. A woman who uses tampons will throw away around 11,000 of them in her lifetime, which is an excellent reason to find an alternative solution. Other options like free-bleeding panties are great for tackling the problem of pollution that traditional menstrual products contribute to. I can sleep easy at night knowing that by using a menstrual cup, I’m saving the planet (or at least helping to protect it).
I can have sex while I’m wearing it. This depends on what you’re comfortable with, of course, but for me, I’ve found that period sex is totally possible while wearing my cup. Because it’s made of soft silicone, it bends to the side to accommodate my partner and, while the cup requires some adjustment afterward, sex is otherwise the same as it would be otherwise. I love being able to enjoy period sex without having to first remove my tampon.
It requires less attention than tampons. Most menstrual cups come in sizes of 25mL or 30mL and can hold much more blood than a normal tampon would. This means I have to empty my cup way less often than I’d usually change out a tampon, allowing me to get on with my life uninterrupted. I can go 12 hours before needing to change the cup sometimes, depending on how heavy my flow is.
Using the cup made me feel deeply feminine. Somehow I’ve fallen in love with this close contact with my period. It reminds me that I’m a woman, in all my bloody glory. More and more I’m celebrating that fact rather than feeling ashamed of it. It’s a far cry from thinking periods are disgusting.
It reminds me to slow down and respect my cycles. Every month now, I’m super in touch with my own menstrual cycles and lately I’ve been shifting into a lifestyle that respects my body’s needs during this time. When I’m bleeding, I know I need to slow down, take rest, and be tender with myself. Having that monthly reminder marked out in vivid red keeps me in contact with my needs and helps me stay mindful of my body and its wonderful natural cycles.
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