A menstrual cup can be a great, more environmentally friendly alternative to tampons and pads, but it does come with certain drawbacks. It can be a huge mess to change, women occasionally have problems with insertion and removal, and it can create difficulties if you decided to leave it in during intercourse. However, if you’re intent on doing it while your cup is in place, there are particular guidelines you should follow for your own comfort and safety. I got the lowdown on the issue from Vili Petrova, creator of the LENA Menstrual Cup.
“While it is easy to forget you are on your period while wearing a menstrual cup, it is important to remember that reusable menstrual cups are not a contraceptive device and should never be worn during intercourse,” she said. “Disposable menstrual cups can be worn during sex as they are positioned directly below the cervix, are made of soft material, and are intended for a single-use. Reusable menstrual cups are made from sturdier, long-lasting silicone and are designed to sit lower in the vaginal canal, away from the cervix, making them unsafe for use during sexual intercourse.”
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If you’re looking for a disposable option, Flex offers one called the Flex Disc that’s basically made for the occasion. You can purchase an eight-count single box for $10.99 (one disc is the equivalent of three super tampons) all while getting 12-hour protection, fewer cramps, less dryness and, of course, mess-free period sex. It’s easy to use too! Flex offers a helpful guide, which takes you step-by-step through how to insert, wear and remove it.
However, there is one notable exception to the “no reusable menstrual cup during sex” rule. INTIMINA’s Ziggy Cup is specifically designed as a safe option for those looking to use a reusable menstrual cup during sex. It’s the first and only reusable cup that can be used during sex because it’s made from ultra-thin silicone, so you don’t have to worry about leaving a mess or feeling any discomfort (in fact, one reviewer claimed she “couldn’t even feel it in at all.”)
And while a Soft Cup, made of more pliable material, is designed to go all the way up behind your cervix, the insertion process is a bit trickier so using the Ziggy Cup may be the way to go for ease of use. If you’re still on the fence over menstrual cup sex, fortunately, we live in a world where we have anonymous online public forums meaning ladies who’ve embarked on menstrual cup sex adventures are talking about it on Reddit. Here’s what we’ve learned from these intrepid explorers:
1. Sex with a menstrual cup definitely cuts the mess.
2. It can be hard to retrieve said cup afterward, but you probably shouldn’t leave it up there.
3. Some men will be able to feel it on occasion, but most don’t seem to mind it.
4. If it gets pushed too far in, pushing down like you’re pooping will help move it down.
5. If you’re going the reusable route, make sure you use the safe and recommended option.
Will I be trying this period sex method anytime soon? Probably not, but that’s more to do with my issue of not being able to remember there’s a foreign object floating around inside me. If you’re going to give it a whirl, use disposable cups like the Flex Disc or INTIMINA’s reusable Ziggy Cup and pee afterward because nobody likes getting a UTI.
A version of this story was published May 2016.