Disclosure: For those unfamiliar, the Diva Cup is a silicone menstrual cup. If that’s the sort of thing that you either don’t care about or are actively bothered by hearing about, this is the post to skip.
That being said.
I wanted to love this thing so badly. I really did. And I do love it, sort of.
I loved the idea of not having to buy tampons, or worry about having them with me. The Diva Cup seemed simple, and while this isn’t really a huge concern of mine, I generally like body-safe reusable options.
After I ordered it, I did the only thing that made sense to me: I googled the fuck out of it. By the time it got to my house I had a fairly good idea of how to insert it and make it work for me, even if that expertise was the menstrual equivalent of the Think Method from The Music Man.
The first thing I wanted to do when it arrived was get the stupid thing in, period or no. I thought it would be a good idea to practice insertion so that I’d be comfy by the time shark week was upon us.
As the top of the cup is basically just a large circular opening, it takes a bit of maneuvering to get it in at all. Some people prefer to fold the circle in half, while others (like me) prefer to push one side of it down and into itself and squeeze, creating sort of a pointed end and gradual slope.
Imagine for a moment just randomly trying to get a silicone anything into your dry, unsuspecting vagina. Determined as I was, though, this thing was Going In. So what’s a stubborn sex geek to do?
I know, I thought to myself, I’ll try lube.
If you’re laughing right now, that’s ok. I laughed too. Well, I laughed later.
While it worked well enough for me to feel accomplished, the last step of proper insertion is to basically reach inside of yourself, grab the bottom of the cup, and rotate it. This seals the top of the cup around your cervix and makes for a nice no-leak situation.
For the record… Things you can’t do with your hands covered in lube: grab the tiny silicone cup inside your vagina and twist it. Or, apparently, get a good enough grip on it to take it out, but anyway…
My relationship with the cup has been touch and go from there, which in itself is a little disappointing. I mean, for everything I had read before I got it you’d think this thing was god’s singular gift to vaginas (aside from the Jopen Comet, but I mean, hey). Nothing is magic, though, and it seems as though a lot of this comes down to using it enough to be more comfortable with and trusting of it.
So, pros and cons, in no particular order:
Con – I can’t tell if the fucking thing is in right or not until it’s too late.
When you have a tampon in, it’s just in. True or false, yes or no. I’ve been finding myself in this miserable anxious cycle where I get nervous about the cup and have to go to the bathroom super frequently to check and take it out, only to realize it was in fine before, and then worry that I didn’t put it back in right and should have left it right the fuck alone. Wash rinse repeat hourly. However….
Pro – Holy shit I can go pee without feeling like I’m in The Shining.
Period-havers, you know this feeling. You just have to pee, but either you use pads and know what kind of mess you’re in for, or you use tampons and have to deal with changing it (but like also mess). You aren’t asking for much. Can a bitch just go pee? With the cup you can, and it’s fucking nice.
Pro – I can sleep for a whole 8 hours on day two without having to immediately sprint to the bathroom upon waking.
The cup can hold a crapton more than pads or tampons. It can hold about 30ml, which meant absolutely nothing to me until I learned that the capacity of regular and super tampons is 5ml and 10ml, respectively. In all technicality, once you’re comfortable, you only really need to empty the thing out twice a day. Even if I weren’t going to use it every day, it’s a dream for sleeping, long car rides, flying, or any situation where I need to not deal with it for long periods (hehe) of time.
Con – There is a learning curve, and there is no way around it.
Shit’s going to happen before you have the hang of it. You are going to put it in wrong and not know until you stand up or sneeze. You are going to drop it. On the floor, in the toilet. You are going to drop it before you’ve cleaned it off and watch it bounce a trail across the (hopefully private) bathroom you’re in. You are going to do more embarrassing, less foreseeable things, like holding it up to fold it and then accidentally letting go and watching it spring back into shape, splattering blood onto the light shirt you wore to work that day. I mean. I’m just speculating there. Shut up.
Con – You gotta get UP IN THERE.
My comfort level with my body is not the highest and I’ll admit that. There was a major squeam factor of having to really physically be in actual touch with my vagina full stop, let alone during my period. You will get blood on your hands. You just will.
Pro – You gotta get UP IN THERE.
Yeah, the squeam is real, but you start to get over it after a while. Personally, I like to grab a glove when I’m about to change it, especially when I’m at work, but that’s for more practical reasons than an unwillingness or inability to touch myself. Using the cup forced me to confront and overcome at least some of the major disconnect I had felt from my vajang.
Pro – I swear to god my period is over faster.
I don’t understand this one at all, and apparently neither do the countless other women I came across in my googling who were pretty much all wondering if they were imagining it. I haven’t been able to find a solid reason, but there are theories. Maybe it’s the lack of chemicals, maybe it all just flows out uninterrupted (my mom used to swear periods went faster with pads than tampons), or maybe the seal on the cup creates a mild suction. No idea. All I know is using this thing shaves a solid day off my bleed-time, which makes me a happy girl.
Pro/Con – Cost
I coupon like a motherfucker, so I never really paid a lot for tampons to begin with. On one hand, yes, the cup is totally boilable and reusable, so in the long run you do save money on not having to buy products on a monthly basis anymore, but that didn’t make me any less wary of paying $30 in the first place.
So there you have it. The cup isn’t the best thing that’s ever happened to my vagina, but it’s certainly not the worst. Maybe we’re just getting used to each other. Maybe I’ll learn to love it and we’ll be inseparable. Maybe I’ll give up entirely in a bloody rage. Right now it depends on the day. From where I’m sitting, though, it’s seriously worth checking out, as long as you also check your expectations at the door.