First time experiences using a menstrual cup: does it hurt and is it messy?
Danielle gets the low down on first time menstrual cup encounters - on surfing the crimson wave the new way
Image sourced: @conceivedinbrooklyn
Using a menstrual cup seems way too scary to some people when they first hear about them.
“Does it hurt? I mean, it’s massive!”
“Isn’t it messy to pull out? I don’t want to get blood everywhere.”
“How the f*** do you get it in!?”
Those questions are real ones that I had asked of me when I first started talking about my experiences using a menstrual cup. In fact, the last question, the one about how the hell to get it in, is one I asked myself when I first brought my Wā Cup home. I wasn’t too worried about any potential mess, because I’d already planned to do my first change in the shower, and I figured I’d get the hang of it eventually. But tampons had been notoriously difficult for me to use and to be completely honest, I was a bit afraid. I didn’t want it to hurt.
I really didn’t want it to hurt.
But instead of the awkward, painful experience I’d anticipated, I found my first go to be easy, mess-free, and most importantly, pain-free. Honestly, it was a bit of a let-down – in the best way possible of course! I’d worked myself up for an unpleasant experience and had instead found it to be nothing like I’d expected - it was truly great! I was hooked!
This got me thinking – did everyone have the same experience as me? Mine was pretty golden, but what about other people who’d given it a go? To write this post, I put the question to a number of menstruating pals. What was your first experience like? Spare me no detail, I said! (And they didn’t.) Did it go well? Was it messy? Are you scared off after a bad experience? Or do you use a cup regularly now?
Here are the responses I got (edited a little for clarity):
*that was the OG Wā Cup with a longer stem - the design is now changed for better experiences, first time!
Those were the honest personal responses I received, and you can find hundreds of videos and blog posts online with other peoples’ stories.
Looking at theses, it seems that initial insertion and getting the seal right are the most common difficulties people face. Personally I use the tulip/punchdown fold, but I highly recommend researching all the different kinds of folds and practicing them with your cup before you try to insert it. There are a bunch on the Wā Collective Insta Highlights, FYI.
Get familiar with your cup before you use it – learn how it bends, the shapes you can fold it into, how it feels in your hands. Once it starts to feel more like a friend and less like a scary new invader, I think you might find it easier to insert! And you get the seal right by giving the cup a good twist once it’s up in the correct position. Nothing could be easier!
And on that note, it’s funny, because a folded cup is a bit bigger than a tampon, so you might think that it would be difficult to insert, right? Because it’s bigger? But in my experience, the opposite is true, especially with a bit of lube or wetting it with water. I don’t have any hard evidence to back up my claim, but I think it’s because a cup is made of flexible soft silicone, rather than being an inflexible dry bullet of cotton*. So it moulds to your body better, and it’s smoother as well. So after the initial glide in, moving it up into the correct position is much easier.
So that’s the story of my, and some of my pals’, first times using a menstrual cup. Some messy, others perfect. But one message shines through: persist. Your first experience might be like mine, or it might be like my pal’s where she got blood all over her flat bathroom (RIP bathroom floor). But the similarity between both of our experiences? We both love our cups and have no issues using them now!