****This post is full of talk of periods and vaginas. If this scares, upsets or disgusts you please do not read it and just move on. This is going to be 100% real talk***
Let’s kick things off by announcing that I’m pro-menses. I don’t see them as a curse or something horrendous to be hidden away and discussed in private. I was brought up to accept that periods are normal, to the extent that my step dad on occasion would point myself or my sister in the direction of a hot water bottle and it was no big thing.
We would often discuss our flows around the house and when I first got my period, my mom had a little party for me. My sister on the other hand when informed of her fate declared that she was just going to cut her fanny off.
Turns out, though, that I possess what can only be described as a crimson tidal wave. As well as PMS that makes She- hulk look like Tinkerbell. Oh and PCOS that means Aunt Flo arrives unannounced and rather than gently knocking she kicks the door in, no fucks given. That said, since I’ve started working on my fitness levels, I have shocked Flo into visiting on schedule.
I have in the past used Super plus tampons in conjunction with a sanitary pad. Which is endlessly annoying because every menstrual trip to the bathroom was an ordeal. The bringing of all the products, which are now wrapped within an inch of their lives. There were days I’m sure the people in the stalls next to me were sure I was sneaking mars bars to the loo and having a little party for myself.
Anyway, Mooncups. They’ve always been there in the back of my mind, lingering there like a thimble you’re supposed to put up your vagina. Questions floated around my pre-menstrual head- how does it stay up? Can you feel it? Where do you get them from? What if it all tips out? Who exactly uses this thing and why don’t we know more about it!!
For the uninitiated, Mooncups are silicone menstrual cups that go inside the vagina and collect your period. Once full, you tip them out, clean the cup and reinsert which saves all those tampons being thrown into landfill sites and all those sanitary pads floating around the Atlantic Ocean putting seagulls off their dinner.
But seriously, they are a lot more eco-friendly which is, obviously, a huge plus. They also mean that I can stick two fingers to the government, for their bastard period tax. (Sanitary products are taxed as luxury item- cause being on the blob is such a friggin treat, spoil yourself with a tampax, you’re worth it). So I bought my very own Mooncup online from the amazing Shawna of Sex Siopa . Truth be told it feels like I unlocked a feminist achievement by buying an eco friendly period product from a #Girlboss running her own irish, independent, sex toy business. Seriously all the points right there. If you read this article and decide you want to give a Mooncup a go for yourself Shawna has said she will throw in a lil free gift to help you out on your mooncup adventures if you mention Rebelle-ution in the comment section of the order.Not to mention delivery is free if you get it sent to a parcel motel. How brilliant is she!!
You get to choose between two sizes, A (46 mm diameter, suitable for those over 30 or who have given birth vaginally) and B (43mm diameter, suitable for those under 30 or who haven’t given birth vaginally). I went for option B cause I haven’t got any babbas and the big Three Oh isnt for another few months.
Now, the first hurdle is where many will fall. Getting it in is sort of tricky and, if you don’t do it right off the bat you may feel discouraged and start reaching for the tampons. Keep going. From experience, and using as tasteful a description as possible, here’s how I jimmied a cup up my faff. Plus this will prevent you from doing what I did, which was to turn the instructions into some kind of menstrual Jackson Pollock.
1. You need to fold the Mooncup by pressing the sides together and then folding it over into a C shape. If this doesn’t work for you (it didn’t for me) press your thumb against one side and push the lip into the bottom of the cup so it looks like a little rose bud. Maybe my uterus needs to be wooed with flowers, who knows.
2. Chill out. You’re cool with tampons because you know what to expect, but remember the first time you inserted one? OK, perhaps you were fine but it took me 500 attempts and I was pre 13 when I got my first period. Anyway, just because this looks and feels a bit odd, it’s exactly the same as a tampon except it sits a little lower – you still should feel nothing when it’s in the right place.
3. Insert towards your tailbone and let go to allow the cup to unfold which feels a bit hilarious. Make sure the stem is outside of your foof (is that an acceptable synonym for vagina? Do people use that in everyday conversation?) so you’ll be able to yank the bastard out again. Now for me the stem irritated me, maybe I have a uniquely shaped vag, so I cut it off (the stem, not my vag). In hindsight I would recommend trimming a little at a time to see what’s comfortable. It’s a bit like cutting your fringe, better go a little at a time than going for the chop to discover you’ve gone too short.
Once successfully inserted, you can’t feel anything, although I did find myself walking around in a strange floaty way as though afraid that if I sat down everything would tip out or the thing would just fall out. It didn’t. You can still use a sanitary pad if you a lil nervous in the initial stages.
When it came to removal, I’d read it holds around an ounce of blood, and that the average woman bleeds about 2-4 ounces per period, so figured I’d do it three times for the first day and see how I fared.
To be honest, looking at how much you emit per day was the weirdest, and best, part of this experiment; as previously mentioned, I’m essentially the Niagara Falls of Periodland, but others may only need to change it twice a day. Or once. And, of course, it depends on the day.
Removing it was surprisingly unmessy- you grab the stem and squeeze the bottom of the cup very slightly to remove suction, and bring it out in a gently supporting manner so as not to spill yourself all over yourself. They say on the website to use your other hand but you may be using your other hand to, erm, hold yourself or for balance, or making paper airplanes, I’m not here to judge.
Now because I cut the stem off mine, my removal process is slightly different. This next part sounds horrendously painful but I promise it isn’t. So I exhale and slightly push out, yknow as if you were going to pee. Using the finger of my choosing, I slide it up the side of the cup and push in the side, to loosen suction. Using another finger I then grab the other side of the cup, pinching it together and ta dah, simple removal. (For the curious it’s usually my middle and pointing finger and for all the world it’s like crossing your fingers) Not to worry if you’re not overly dexterous or flexible because the Mooncup does not sit that high, I’ve found it sits lower than a tampon very comfortably.
Then it’s as simple as tipping the contents down the loo, giving it a quick rinse in the sink or a wipe of some tissue paper (depending on where you are and how comfortable you are) and you’re good to go.
At the end of your whole period, rinse it in soapy water and store it in the litte organic cotton bag it comes in.
Oh and you know when, you’re coming to the end of your period and you have to start playing pokemon with the different tampon absorbancies (I choose you, midi plus flow) to prevent having what suddenly feels like a massive column of cotton wool drying all up in your womb? Mooncups are fine to use and there’s none of that uncomfortable dragging feeling. *shivers*
I am suddenly very aware that this paragraph could be the “I’m the only one” section of the article but I’ve gone too far to turn back. Sowwy.
I braved mine on a trip to the gym whilst I was pushing a 40kg prowler and it didn’t knock a stir out of my Mooncup. I won’t lie I was having mental panic attacks that it was actually going to come flying out and I’d have to explain to my fellow gym goers what was after happening and give a sincere apology from my vagina.
Anyway, Mooncups. They’re actually pretty great (and non-latex) so I’m going to use mine until the end of time. Massive thanks so Sex Siopa for stocking such an amazing lil product.
If you have any questions about the mooncup please feel free to get in touch