7 Factors in Picking the Right Menstrual Cup
Before I tried a menstrual cup, I bled all over my bed every month. Pads and tampons consistently failed to contain my heavy flow.
Fuck that shit.
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:
- A smaller one for people who are under 25 and haven’t given birth
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Guide to Kegel Progression & Vaginal Weightlifting
- Why a tight vagina isn’t the same thing as a strong one
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!
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.
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
Kits you may see in sex boutiques include:
- Fun Factory’s Fun Cup Kits
- Jimmyjane’s Intimate Care cup set
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 B||30 mL|
|1.7"||2.29"||Firm but flexible rim with thin cup|
|Fun Factory Fun Cup Size A||20 mL||1.56"||2.1"||Firm but flexible rim. Cup isn't as bendy as with Size B.|
|Jimmyjane Intimate Care Regular||21 mL||1.8"||2.6" (65mm) with stem / 2" (50mm) without stem||Still bendy but firmer and thicker than the Fun Cups.|
|Jimmyjane Intimate Care Small||14 mL||1.7"||2.2" (55mm) with stem/ 1.6" (40mm) without stem||Still bendy but firmer and thicker than the Fun 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.
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.
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