Welcome to this super quick and easy guided tour of twenty steps in your first three (or four or five or six or twelve) months (and mishaps) of using a menstrual cup.
Step one: Decide that spending a wad of cash up front to save on at least five years of tampons is an excellent idea indeed.
Step two: Become overwhelmed by choices. Diva. Ruby. XO Flo. They’re cutesy-wutesy and sound like something Barbie would want to have.
Step three: Wait ever-so-impatiently for it to arrive in the mail. If you’re like me, your cup will arrive precisely one day before your period begins. That’s what we call fate, baby.
Step four: Tear open the package and assume you don’t need to read the instruction manual! You watched SO MANY menstrual cup videos before purchasing one! You know EVERYTHING there is to know about menstrual cups! Easy peasy!
Step five: Realize it is not easy peasy. Nor intuitive.
Step six: Make your entire vulval area sore from unlubricated activity involving silicone that bends and snaps RIGHT ON YOUR LABIA. That’s worse than breaking the UPS guy’s nose, y’all.
Step seven: Text your girl gang (after washing your hands, YOU ANIMAL) asking for prayers. Smile through tears at a deluge of images of kittens frolicking through fields of wildflowers.
Step eight: Give insertion one last try before calling it quits. Leave it in there even though it’s hanging out a little bit and go take a nap.
Step nine: Don’t actually nap. Instead, read horrifying articles about people who have tried cups and LOST THEM FOREVER. Okay, not forever. But. Someone got it suctioned to their cervix and had to go to the hospital to get removal help. So. Try not to do that, k?
Step ten: Pace around your apartment for a few hours because you’re afraid there’s been too much movement around your junk and cups are supposed to be safe all day and what if it doesn’t want to come out yet?
Step eleven: Take calming, meditative breaths before diving in. Fiddle around in there for the stem (some have ridges and some look like anal beads! Fun!) and pull ever so gently.
Step twelve: Listen for the slurp.
Step thirteen: Keep pulling.
Step fourteen: *sluuuurrrrrrrrrrrpppppppp*
Step fifteen: Keep going. Be gentle. The cup o’ blood is coming out soon and you don’t want to spill it, do you?
Step sixteen: Look! Look at that beautiful cup you’ve filled with blood! Oh. It’s not filled. There’s … not a whole lot in there? But you SWORE you bled like at least 3 gallons in a period, right? This is just a sneeze of blood!
Step seventeen: Snap a pic for posterity and dump it like a dump truck, dump truck.
Step eighteen: Rinse. It. Out. I swear to god. Rinse it out in the sink right now. If you’re in a public bathroom, I’m so sorry. Wipe it off with some TP and promise me you’ll wash it with warm water and unscented hand soap when you get to a private bathroom.
Step ninteen: See steps five through seven and hope for a better outcome (and OUTPUT, amirite?).
Step twenty: After three or four successful-ish cycles, throw all your tampons and pads like party confetti at your friends, because you have transcended to a better menstrual world.
This post was originally published in August 2017 at the now-closed Burn Your Faves.