Everything You Need to Know About Having Sex Wearing a Menstrual Cup

May 10, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

Period sex is a highly divisive topic. Some women swear by it (myself included), while the idea of getting it on during Shark Week dials up the ick-factor for others. I get it.

That said, Cathy Chapman, president of Lunette (a company that makes menstrual cups) tells SheKnows that you should never be ashamed of having your period or period sex. There are so many amazing stats on and benefits to having sex during menstruation. “Sex is messy anyway, so embrace your flow and have open talks with your partner about it," she explains.

More often than not, I’ve found my partners amenable to having sex during my period. They’ve fingered me, engaged in penetrative sex or performed oral sex on my clit, focusing efforts primarily on the outside. I’m happy, they’re happy and we don’t let this natural monthly occurrence get in the way too much.

If you’re squeamish about blood, there are ways to mitigate the mess. Wearing a menstrual cup is one option. Here’s everything you need to know about getting down and dirty while wearing a menstrual cup.

Period sex can be amazing

When you’re riding the crimson wave, your estrogen and testosterone levels increase, which lead to amped-up arousal. I’ve found that harnessing that energy into an orgasm (or five) provides way more period relief than popping a Midol.

Most menstrual cups aren’t designed for penetrative sex

Lunette is all about period sex. “This said, we do not recommend having period sex with your Lunette cup in because it could be very uncomfortable to you and to your partner due to where the cup sits below the cervix,” Chapman says. “It's really not meant to be used with repeated vaginal penetration.”

A better option might be Flex — a menstrual disc that fits up into your vaginal fornix, making period sex possible.

More: Meet the Product Changing Period Sex Forever

But they do make for great mess-free oral sex

That said, if you really want to go for it with a cup in, Chapman recommends having oral sex. “Not only does it feel amazing (all the blood flow in your vagina makes things extra sensitive and pleasurable), you and your partner don't have to be concerned over period leakage if that bothers you.”

Major design innovations are being made

Aside from Flex, there's another option. Intimina just launched the Ziggy Cup, a stem-free menstrual cup, which is basically the answer to penetrative period sex prayers. Its flat design sits under the cervix and feels much like a diaphragm (but doesn’t leak).

“Ziggy also has the added benefit of keeping things comfortable, because unlike tampons, it isn’t absorbent,” Amandine Pranlas-Descours, global brand director of Intimina tells SheKnows.  “During your period, you’re still producing much-needed moisture (aka discharge) in addition to your menstrual fluid, so everything stays lubricated and your flow is cleared out of the body easier.”

Practice makes perfect

It can take a bit of practice to figure out the perfect positioning for your cup, so Pranlas-Descours says the first few times you use a menstrual cup, you might want to put a towel down just in case.

“Every vagina is different just like every body is different, and it’s always good to get a little more familiar with your own body,” she says. “Most important is to find your cervix to figure out how far you need to insert the cup. The back rim of the cup needs to go below and past the cervix (basically, the end of the vagina) while the front rim tucks into place behind the pelvic bone, right near the G-spot. Really, what you’re doing is wedging the Ziggy Cup [or other menstrual cup] between the back wall of the vagina and the pelvic bone so it cups your cervix. It kind of clicks into place and stays there until you’re ready to remove [it].”

There are less messy alternatives to penetrative sex

And if blood on the sheets turns your stomach (no judgments!), Chapman suggests shower sex or using sex toys that are made of washable, medical-grade silicone as alternatives. She loves Dame Products' Eva (as do I). And as much as I love assuming a women-on-top position during penis-in-vagina sex, I avoid it during my period strictly to avoid an unnecessary bloodbath. Also, I really like my bed linens — and hate doing laundry.

More: Why Period-Shaming Is an Environmental Issue & What You Can Do About It

Menstrual cups don’t double as contraception

Menstrual cups may provide a barrier from blood, but they don’t block sperm. Despite common misconception, you can still get pregnant during your period. If you’re not on any kind of hormonal contraception, you should still use a condom or other viable form of birth control.

Minimal-commitment menstrual cups

If you’re still on the menstrual cup fence, consider a Ruby Cup. Since every vagina is different, Ruby Cup offers size exchanges or a full refund if you don’t feel the cup love. They also run a buy one, give one program, so for every cup they sell, they give one to a girl or woman in need of menstrual care products. Pretty cool, eh?

Are menstrual cups a good fit for everyone? Probably not, but a lot of people who menstruate love them. And while traditional menstrual cups aren't meant to be used during sex, there are options out there designed for that purpose. Regardless of your choice of period product or whether or not you opt for getting it on during that time of the month, make sure you're safe, comfortable and healthy, and do your thing!

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