Then, about three years ago, when I was 38, I decided there had to be a better option. I started searching around online, and I learned about reusable menstrual cups like the Diva Cup. I was intrigued, but I wasn’t so keen on the reusable aspect. (Want to give the Diva Cup a go? Buy it now for $30, amazon.com.) Then I came across Softcup, which was disposable and more like a disc than a cup: Softcup is circular and has no stem—which means you can actually have sex while it’s in. In the past, my husband and I did have sex during my period, but it was a messy affair involving towels and washcloths. I realized that Softcup had the potential to change my periods as well as my sex life.
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The first time I used Softcup it was very weird. I had never used any kind of internal birth control like a diaphragm or NuvaRing, so the inserting—which involves squeezing the disc and pushing it as far up the vaginal canal as you can reach—was unfamiliar. After a few tries, though, it worked! I didn’t feel it at all, and soon I was an old pro. Right away I noticed that it was easier to go about my day. The disc lasts up to 12 hours, so I only had to change it twice a day.
The first time I used Softcup during sex I was a little uneasy, but I didn’t even tell my husband—and he had no idea that it was in. (And I didn’t feel it, either.) Since then he’s mentioned that, with deeper sex, he can sometimes feel it a little, but it’s generally an out of sight, out of mind situation. And as long as I insert a new one just prior to sex, there’s no mess at all.
Then, around nine months ago, Softcup started becoming difficult to find. I was heartbroken! But a little research told me that Flex—a young company that had recently launched a menstrual disc subscription service—had bought the Softcup brand. I did my due diligence and found out their differences are undetectable, minus the color of the ring (though Flex is technically made of a different material, one that molds to fit the shape of your vagina!). Trying Flex was a no-brainer. (I later learned that both products are still on the market; Softcup can be found in drugstores—and for $23 on amazon.com—and Flex is only sold online.)
I loved Flex from day one. Having used Softcup, I was very familiar with how it worked. But that’s hardly required: When I was first investigating menstrual cups and discs, I was able to find a lot of information, reviews, and YouTube instructionals.
Knowing what I do now, I can’t believe I stuck with pads and tinkered with tampons for so long. With the discs there’s no vaginal dryness, no bulky pads, no strings, no worry of TSS, and you can actually have non-messy sex. Switching to Flex even helped with my cramps, which used to be terrible, though I have no idea why. (The manufacturer says that the flexible material moves with uterine contractions, which helps ease cramps.) I’ll never wear a tampon or pad again.
The article I Tried Using A Menstrual Disc—And Had Mess-Free Period Sex For The First Time originally appeared on Prevention.