Not My ‘Cup’ of Tea…

– “Hey, you’re coming today right?”
– “ummm…don’t take me wrong, I want to. I really do, but it’s just that I’m on my periods! And you know how it is!”
– “Arrey yaar! Come on!”
– “I really wish I could, but night out on these days can turn into nightmares! Some other time maybe!”
– “Okay! Chal bye! Take care!”
– “Yeah! You guys have fun!”

So, how many times did your conversation end like this, ladies? How many times did you curse yourself for being born as a girl child? Don’t take me wrong, I mean being a girl is pretty cool! Given a second chance I would still want to be a girl for sure! And there are so many reasons, like being able to wear kohl and lipstick, drape a saree, have long hair and being able to have fifty five different kind of dresses and pairing them up with accessories! But then, haven’t we all been a little frustrated once in a while and asked ourselves, “why on earth do we have to face this!” You know you have, right? At least I have!

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So, let me introduce myself. I’m 25, female (which you probably know by now!), belong to a middle-class family with conservative parents who would always give a bit more priority to the Snape-like neighbours (they can’t keep their crooked nose out of other people’s business! Something is Sirius-ly Ron with them!) and I am new to this whole blogging thing! But today I wanted to write this particular piece because I feel like it’s time we talk about this!

Periods! Menstruation! I know, I know. There have been millions of posts on this topic and you all know about it already. That is why I’m not here to talk about just the periods, but about something related to it. Menstrual cup! Yes, that’s the thing I’m going to talk about. Why did I choose this particular topic? Okay! A month back I was scrolling through my news feed (because I have nothing better to do!) and I saw a post which went viral. It was a screenshot of a couple talking about the menstrual cup. The funny thing was, one of them sent a picture of a menstrual cup and texted, “bol toh eta ki?” (“say, what is it?”) and the other one guessed. Guess 1, it’s a funnel to pour oil or some liquid; guess 2, ‘jhinuk’ which we Bengali use to feed infants, and guess 3, it’s a pop socket! But hold your breath guys because the fun isn’t over yet! The one who took these three guesses, was the girl! Yes, you heard me right! She had no clue about it and it was then I realised that she might just not be the only one out there. Trust me, there’re many others who have no clue about this thing even if it’s not okay to be clueless about something so important! It was then I thought of writing about it, someday (because I hadn’t used it yet!). It was last week I finally bought it online and received it within 2 days.

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What is a menstrual cup?
Well, it’s nothing but a saviour! Yes ladies, it is. It’s basically a female hygiene product, made up of silicon, partly soft and partly firm, shaped like a funnel with a short stem (stick like end part). It comes in different sizes, and colours! Also, it has it’s own fragrance which is nothing like a rubber or something.

What are the sizes?
It comes in three sizes. Small, medium and large. Small is the one you use if your flow rate is less, medium for a moderate flow and large for a heavy flow. Also, you should go for a large cup only post childbirth. The other two sizes can be used accordingly.

How long can it hold?
8 to 12 hours depending on your flow. Cool, right?

How to use it?
That’s the trick. I wouldn’t answer it directly, rather I would share my experience with you. Hop on ladies, the train is about to leave!

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So, the day I received it, I was really curious about the whole thing and scared as hell. And when you’re scared what is the first thing you do? You call your best friend! I dialled her number and she sensed it! She was on phone, excited and nervous (as if…!) The next thing I did was washing the cup. I boiled some water and added two or three drops of intimate wash (you can also use some mild handwash as well) and soaked it in it. After 4-5 minutes I took it out, gently rubbed it against my palms and rinsed it properly. It was ready to be used. I saw some tutorials on youtube and googled it beforehand, so I knew how to insert it.

First you need to hold the cup the stem facing downward and need to fold it in ‘U’ or a ‘C’ shape. Then all you need to do is squat down or spread your legs such that you can easily get access to your vagina. The next step is to insert the cup gently in your vagina until the stem is more or less 1 cm in, and you’re done! While removing it, sit down in the same position and insert your fingers back in. This time you would feel the stem of the cup. Just hold it and give it a little pull outward. You will feel the cup sliding down. Now squeeze the bottom of the cup gently and pull it all the way out! This all, I came to know from articles and videos. But then there are the most important things they don’t tell you, and which I’m here to tell you now!

1. Do cut your finger nails beforehand. Not just shape, but trim! Make it as blunt as you can because that could actually save you the scratches!
2. If you’re not on your periods (like I wasn’t) do use some lubricant before inserting the cup, otherwise it might sting a little bit! (someone wrote that she felt a gentle orgasm, but I felt pain on my first try! Just a little bit, but still.)
3. Squatting is not a good idea. I suggest, you sit down, give your back a support, make your body inclined at an angle of 45 degree and spread your legs.
4. The ‘C’ shape or ‘U’ shape might not always work. But do not worry ladies, I’m here to save your day! Hold the cup like before and just fold one side of the cup downward so that it looks like a 7, (you can consult anyone with a nasty handwriting, because their 7s’ look like that only!) and insert it all the way in!
5. After inserting it put one of your fingers back inside. If you can feel the bottom of your cup fully, you know it has popped open inside your vagina and you’re good to go!
6. Now while pulling it out, sit back in the same position but remember while you pull the thing out, the blood will be split and your bathroom might look like a crime scene. So, pull it out until it’s almost out and try to shift your position from being inclined to being a bit straight because that might save you from the mess! (Though it’s a bit messy, but it’s worth it, trust me!)

The next day I actually got my periods. This time it didn’t pain, more like tingled a bit. Because my vagina was all wet and slippery, so it went in within seconds and I was done! Throughout the day I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing! No pain, no sting! Though there was a little sensation at times and that’s because of the stem in there, but overall, it was fine. I left it there for like eleven hours, and slept with my legs spread at an weird angle (we all have our own weird sleeping poisture) and faced no leakage whatsoever. Now while removing I couldn’t keep my hands steady and ended up looking like a murderer with bloods all over my hand! (How do you think I knew it, eh?) Other than that, the experience was great, and I would absolutely recommend it to you guys out there. Now, there are some of the myths, need to be broken.

1) IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU LOSE! The vagina comes back to it’s usual shape once you remove the cup and does no harm whatsoever.
2) IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR VIRGINITY! Yes girl, your hymen is safe and sound and you can be proud (or embarrassed) about being a virgin!
3) YOU CAN PEE WITH IT INSIDE! Most of you know that there are three holes down there among which, we pee from urethra, and bleed from vagina. They are not connected to each other so don’t panic! Also while you squat down to pee, the cup wouldn’t come off! Now for those who don’t know about urethra might ask this and let me answer you beforehand that while you pee you can see the blood coming off because of your sitting position and the gravity! The hole gets exposed and blood comes down. But, when you use a cup, that hole is completely sealed and therefore no blood will come out your vagina while peeing!

Ladies, there are a thousand reasons you should go for a menstrual cup instead of a sanitary napkins but I would try to make it as short as possible.
1. It works up to 12 hours without leakage! (And you still need some other reasons? Bless you woman!)
2. It’s nature friendly unlike the sanitary napkins.
3. You would never have to face the itching or the rashes and the burning sensation down there! ( Oh Gosh!)
4. It costs you around 500 bucks (you can also get it in 300 bucks on sale) and you can use it for 5 years! 5 fucking years! A pack of sanitary napkins with 7 pads cost you 85, which will last 2 days in moderate use. I am guessing you bleed for 5 days at least so you need almost 3 packs in a month costing 255 bucks per month and 3060 for a year and 15,300 for five years! Do the maths, I’ll wait!
5. You can go dancing, jumping, can even climb the mount Everest without worrying about spots!

And now, just a safety tip for you ladies. After using it you need to wash it properly before keeping it aside for another cycle but do not keep it inside a dark cold place because that can lead to the growth of bacteria in your cup. The cup comes with a cotton bag, just keep it inside that and it shall remain intact.

While we’re on the topic, let me tell you this. There is this tiny issue with the menstrual cup. If you’re allergic to silicon it might be a problem and you might end up having some infection down there. Though this is very rare, still I would recommend you to buy a cup not on the basis of cheap price, but the review and it would be great if you buy it from your nearby medical store.

Now, I don’t know if this read was helpful or not, but trust me ladies, you need to give it a go. Because why not be brave enough and smash the “this is not my cup of tea” with a bit of boldness and courage? You are a woman! You bleed for 5 days every month, you bring new life in this lifeless planet, so why let the world decide for you? It’s 21st century and this is high time we change our views and embrace the new instead of clinging to the old ideas!

Maybe it’s time you should take a step towards the change, believe in yourself and say to the world that tries to stop you or make you believe otherwise, “it is my cup of tea, and you can go fuck yourself!”

This post is written by Debasmita. Follow The Mood Recipes for more blog posts and articles.