7 Factors in Picking the Right Menstrual Cup

Overnight menstrual protection without leaks

Pads and tam­pons con­sis­tent­ly failed to con­tain my heavy flow, and I used to resign to sleep­ing on a black tow­el every month.

Until I tried men­stru­al cups.

7 Factors in Picking the Right Menstrual Cup 1

Menstrual cups have been an absolute GODSEND for me. They are the PEAK of con­ve­nience for the right users.

But the lack of infor­ma­tion in pick­ing the right men­stru­al cup for you often drove me bonkers.

Two cup sizes are usually marketed:
  1. A small­er one for peo­ple who are under 25 and haven't giv­en birth
  2. A big­ger one for peo­ple over 25 or have giv­en birth.

So to the layper­son, men­stru­al cup fit may sound like it's about hav­ing a tight vs. loose vagi­na. That's not the case, though.

Consider these other, potentially more relevant factors in choosing the right menstrual cup fit.
Table of contents

1. Cervix Width

Cervix shapes vary from per­son to per­son — there's a big range of "nor­mal!" Some are nar­row and pointy, while oth­ers are wider, rounder, more open, etc. And if your cervix is on the big­ger side, you'll want a men­stru­al cup that can seal over it to col­lect blood.

While it's true that your cervix gen­er­al­ly gets wider as you grow old­er or give birth, the cor­re­la­tion is not absolute. I'm over 25, and my cervix is still slen­der and tapered. Think of the stan­dard siz­ing guide­lines as more of a start­ing point.

7 Factors in Picking the Right Menstrual Cup 2
What to look at

What's the men­stru­al cup's diam­e­ter and shape? And how does that com­pare to your cervix's shape and size?

I under­stand: the constantly-​shifting inter­nal anato­my is hard to mea­sure. So if you don't know how your cervix looks or can't reach to feel it, con­sid­er view­ing it with a (clean!) specu­lum, hand mir­ror, and flashlight.

2. Cervix Height/Resting Vagina Length

Oh gosh, I wish my younger self knew about cervix height's effect on men­stru­al cup fit. The gist is that the high­er your cervix is, the more you'd ben­e­fit from a long one.

It's not that you can't use a short men­stru­al cup with a high-​set cervix. It's just that the device may ride up and be hard­er to reach in and remove. The vagi­na is a finite space; things won't get "lost" in it. However, the strug­gle of pulling out an ill-​fitting men­stru­al cup is very real.

7 Factors in Picking the Right Menstrual Cup 3

On the flip side, if you have a low-​set cervix or short vagi­na at rest, a long men­stru­al cup may not entire­ly fit inside. And hav­ing sil­i­cone pok­ing out of you isn't the most com­fort­able or con­ve­nient thing to deal with.

What to look at

When insert­ing your mid­dle or fore­fin­gers, how far can you go in before feel­ing your cervix? If you encounter it before the sec­ond knuck­le, a short­er men­stru­al cup may work bet­ter for you. If you can go past that (or all the way in), a longer one will be far eas­i­er to use!

Consider the cup's total length com­pared to that, if you're going to use the stem for removal. You may choose to trim it for com­fort, though.

3. Menstrual Flow

If you have a heavy flow, a larg­er cup means you'll have to emp­ty it (or worse, deal with leaks) less often. If you have a light flow, a small cup might ful­fill your needs just fine, while being more comfortable.

Ah, yes! Another rea­son I wish I said, "Fuck it" to the men­stru­al cup siz­ing guide­lines before. I had a heavy flow long before I was 25.

7 Factors in Picking the Right Menstrual Cup 4
What to look at

How often do you change your pads or tam­pons? How quick­ly do they fill up?

4. Changes Throughout Your Period

The pre­vi­ous three fac­tors aren't nec­es­sar­i­ly sta­t­ic through­out your peri­od. You may find that your cervix gets high­er or flow gets dra­mat­i­cal­ly lighter, for example.

Some men­stru­al cup users pre­fer to have two sizes that they wear on dif­fer­ent days. The choice is all about you and your body.

5. Pelvic Floor Strength

Menstrual cups vary in not just shape and size, but also firm­ness. Stiffer ones form a tighter seal. I've seen advice that the soft­er ones are bet­ter for those who haven't giv­en birth, and vice versa.

On the con­trary, I've done vagi­nal weightlift­ing but found that firm men­stru­al cup rings work bet­ter for me. It's like I can eas­i­ly break the seal of a soft­er one when clench­ing or bear­ing down.

Fun Factory Fun Cups Explore Kit menstrual cups folded down

Fold a men­stru­al cup before insert­ing it. It will spring open and form a seal.

Further reading

6. Is Your Vagina Easily Irritated?

I men­tioned before that some users might find a small­er or squishi­er men­stru­al cup more com­fort­able — it places less pres­sure on the wearer's walls and blad­der. If a small cup still col­lects blood well enough and works for you, have at it.

7. Impulsive Period Sex

I know: hav­ing sex in a tent while wear­ing a men­stru­al cup is odd­ly spe­cif­ic. My boyfriend and I were horny and tried it — and we both enjoyed the experience.

I was wear­ing a short, round­ed one with a min­i­mal retrieval stem (more like a nub) at the time. It's a pain in the ass for me to take out, and it's not the best for day wear… but it left my boyfriend's cock plen­ty of room to thrust!

The tiny stem was pushed a bit to the side, not pok­ing him at all. My cervix and A‑spot still felt plen­ty of sen­sa­tion to reach orgasm via deep pen­e­tra­tion.

Summary of How to Choose a Menstrual Cup

I know that's a lot of infor­ma­tion. Let's dis­till it, so you don't get overwhelmed.

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Clear Jimmyjane Intimate Care men­stru­al cups and Fun Factory Fun Cups side-​by-​side for shape comparison
Shape and sizing tips
  • Get a cup that fits your cervix width and rest­ing vagi­nal length.
  • An immense flow means a big­ger cup is more convenient.
  • Soft men­stru­al cups are more com­fort­able, but firm ones main­tain the seal better.
  • Don't be afraid to use dif­fer­ent sizes on dif­fer­ent days.
Yes, intercourse and cervical orgasms are still possible while wearing a menstrual cup.
  • I wouldn't rec­om­mend the Instead Softcup for that, despite their marketing.
  • Get one that takes up less space in the vagi­nal canal.
  • I know nobody asked, but it's good to know.
Overall, say "Fuck it" to absolute rules about menstrual cup fit. Listen to your body.

A Starting Point: Menstrual Cup Sampler Kits

Jimmyjane Intimate Care menstrual cups size comparison
Kits you may see in sex shops include:

And of course, you can find the ubiq­ui­tous Diva Cup in drug­stores and some health food stores.

There's a boun­ti­ful vari­ety out there, so this list isn't at all com­pre­hen­sive; shop around to see what works for you!

Here's a quick summary of the menstrual cup measurements
Fun Factory Fun Cup Size B30 mL
1.7"2.29"Firm but flexible rim with thin cup
Fun Factory Fun Cup Size A20 mL1.56"2.1"Firm but flexible rim. Cup isn't as bendy as with Size B.
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The Fun Factory Fun Cup Explore Kit comes with a use­ful user guide to men­stru­al cups!

What Do I Think Is the Best Menstrual Cup?

Of the four cups above, Fun Factory's Fun Cup Size B was the best fit for me.

Holding the Fun Factory Fun Cups in my hand
Here's why I love the large Fun Cups so much:
  • Collects sub­stan­tial­ly more blood than the others
  • The cup's tapered shape doesn't ride up as easily.
  • I rarely actu­al­ly use the retrieval stems anyway.
  • Firm rim main­tains the seal
  • The thin cup is oth­er­wise super comfy

My pref­er­ences don't mean that the Fun Factory Fun Cups will be the best men­stru­al cup fit for you. Not every­one likes the angling, for exam­ple. However, they're a fan­tas­tic option to con­sid­er for some­one with a long vagi­na and heavy flow, like me.

Wrapping It Up

The most impor­tant rule to remem­ber is that there are no hard-​and-​fast rules. Just as sex toy pref­er­ences vary, so do opin­ions on the best men­stru­al cups!

Ultimately though, as long as my cup works, I'd choose that over a tra­di­tion­al tam­pon or pad most days. FUCK YEAH, clean sheets, min­i­mal main­te­nance, and danc­ing with no wor­ries about my period.

FURTHER READING: Find more of my favorite sex­u­al well­ness and body care prod­ucts!

Thank you to Betty's Toy Box for spon­sor­ing this post. <3

Want to col­lab­o­rate with me? Check out my ser­vices page.

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7 Responses

  1. Amelia says:

    Big fan of men­stru­al cups here!! But last two cycles I used a men­stru­al disc. It has a flat bot­tom and allowed for me to have vir­tu­al­ly mess-​free peri­od sex. My mind was BLOWN in amaze­ment. I’d love to see your thoughts on a disc.

  2. Sm says:

    I've been using Diva Cups for so long because it was dif­fi­cult to find com­pre­hen­sive info on mul­ti­ple brands. Thanks for this!

  3. Yam says:

    I love the men­stru­al cups that you can have have pen­e­tra­tive sex with.

  4. D. Dyer says:

    As a child-​free per­son for whom the gen­er­al rec­om­men­da­tion of a small­er cup has nev­er been a use­ful one, I real­ly appre­ci­ate your clear artic­u­la­tion of how to sort out the best options here.

  5. Jimena says:

    This is so help­ful, thanks!

  6. Prudence says:

    Thank you so much for this! I've been inter­est­ed in try­ing a men­stru­al cup, but the dif­fer­ent options were so confusing.

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