Colorful, stemless, gender-neutral menstrual cups? It’s about damn time.
My fanaticism for menstrual cups borders on religious. I’ve been using them almost exclusively for about 4 years now, and the honeymoon, um, period, has yet to wear off. I honestly can’t think of manyotherproducts that have improved my quality of life in the same way — I’d say menstrual cups are easily the best non-dildo thing to ever inhabit my vagina. I’ve amassed a small collection.
To those unfamiliar, a menstrual cup is a bell-shaped receptacle worn vaginally, against the cervix, to collect period blood. Most are crafted from resilient, body-safe silicone, making them a more eco- and wallet-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. Although sex toy companies peddle stuff that goes in bodily orifices, and many of them deal exclusively in 100% silicone, most1 have not ventured outside of orgasm-inducing products into more utilitarian ones like menstrual cups. German vibrator company Fun Factory has taken up the task, and BLESS THEM FOR IT.
Colorful, stemless, gender-neutral menstrual cups? It’s about damn time.
When Fun Factory publicly announced the Fun Cups, I couldn’t help but smile from the back row. I’ve been harboring this exciting news for months. I’ve been harboring the Fun Cups in my vagina for many a period, actually, because I helped Fun Factory hone their marketing language and manual for them.2 I may have freaked out my bosses at work when they asked my thoughts on the Fun Cups and I blurted, “oh, they’re rad! I have one inside me right now.”
But is the Fun Cup the perfect menstrual cup? TRICK QUESTION, YO, because there is no “perfect menstrual cup”! Anatomy and flow vary, and what my vagina likes may be something yours hates. Indeed, some of the features of the Fun Cups that make them less than ideal for me are the same features that could endear them to other vaginas. The good news is, I’m pretty well-acquainted with my vagina.
The Fun Cups come in two sizes, the smaller A and larger B, with three kits to choose from: one with two A cups, one with two B cups, and an Explore Kit with one of each. Each kit costs $39.99 (making the cups $20 apiece!) and comes with a comprehensive booklet with step-by-step photos of folding techniques and a triangular tyvek storage bag with a flexible rim and magnetic closure. Fun Factory would like to point out that the bag is consciously not “floral,” and honestly, they’re right to do so. So much menstrual cup marketing relies on tired, gendered assumptions, and Fun Factory is making a concerted effort to eschew that. Again, bless.
Previously I’ve written about my journey acclimating to menstrual cups: the relatively easy adjustment period, the leakage mishaps mostly due to my own smugness, my experience of sex while wearing a cup, and the realization that twisting the cup after insertion is paramount to achieving a secure seal. Oh, and there was some necessary yelling about the myth that menstrual cups aren’t messy. (It’s blood; it’s going to get on you.)
Now, I don’t even need panty liners as back-up because I can tell, feeling the cup, if it’s suctioned on my cervix correctly. Now that I’ve used several different cups, I know how they can vary — and how design changes impact the experience. But the Fun Cups taught me a new lesson: how silicone flexibility impacts the experience.
To put my opinion on the Fun Cups in perspective, here are five questions that are useful to ask yourself when considering menstrual cup options, and my answers:
Are you cool with sticking your fingers in your vagina, and how do you feel about blood? Obviously, I have no qualms digging around in my vagina, and I’m not averse to blood.
What’s your ~lifestyle~ like?Gay as fuck, thanks for asking. I also work from home a lot, so I rarely find myself needing to empty my cup away from my house. Most commonly, I dump my cup out in the shower, where I can stare in awe at my little massacre — and rinse it all away.
How long is your vaginal canal… and how long are your fingers? My vagina, in its resting state, seems to be on the longer side. My fingers are somewhat short and stubby, so reaching smaller cups requires more effort.
How much blood do you produce? My menstrual flow is average — heavier for the first few days, then tapering off.
How lazy are you? I’m VERY lazy and don’t like to empty my menstrual cups more than twice a day if I can help it.
Most of these factors lead me to cups that are larger and longer, but now I know there’s another important distinction to be made: firmer or softer silicone.
The more squishy the cup, the more difficult insertion and placement can be — it’s harder to keep the cup folded as you push it in, which leads it to unfurl too soon and require a lot of adjustment to achieve a proper seal against the cervix. Firmer cups insert more effortlessly and tend to pop open mostly on their own, needing only a quick twist to secure.
The size B Fun Cup is the necessary size for the first several days of my period (it holds an ounce of blood; size A holds a third less), but it’s the most flexible of all my cups. Thus, it’s floppy and more time-consuming to position. This is the first time I’ve needed to both spin a cup and bear down with my pelvic floor to get a good seal.
According to Fun Factory, both sizes of the Fun Cup have the same silicone density, but the smaller size A Fun Cup feels firmer and opens beautifully once inserted. It just doesn’t hold as much blood — so I can only use it on lighter days — and it’s a bit more challenging for me to retrieve from the depths of my black hole vagina.
Both Fun Cups, once positioned, are absolutely secure and 100% comfortable. They capture all the bloody carnage for me, and I barely have to think about them at all. I can wear cute underwear, hop in a pool, go to a sex party. Menstruating life is good.
The Fun Cups don’t have stems like most other menstrual cups; instead they have solid, slightly curved tips dotted with a light texture for traction. I think I prefer stems, because they provide more length for me to grab, but stems don’t usually irritate me either. If you hate stems, as I know a lot of people do, the Fun Cups could be a godsend.
For comparison, the SckoonCup (size 1) is a breeze to insert, and the thick silicone allows it to spring open no problem… but it’s on the small side for my flow; it has a long, stretchy, pointy stem; and its short stature means I have to reach further to break the seal to remove it. (In retrospect, I should’ve purchased size 2.)
What works best for me is a cup that’s big enough to catch my flow on my heaviest days, long enough for me to comfortably unsuction it, and firm enough to pop open easily. The Diva Cup (size 1) fits that description best, still, even if it’s the most butt-ugly cup in my collection, and even if its “girl power” marketing makes me gag.
While I like the silky finish on the Lily Cup (size B), it’s my least favorite for sure. No matter which size you get it’s the longest menstrual cup on the market, and on top of that the flexibility of the silicone makes insertion a pain. The stem is also too stiff; it’s the worst offender when it comes to that moment of oh god, I’ve pooped and now the cup has migrated slightly and is poking into my vaginal wall. This is not uncommon with any strenuous poop, but the Lily Cup makes me regret it most.
Although the Diva Cup still performs best in my particular vagina, I’m not really married to any one cup, and I advise you to consider your own needs and quirks when picking one out.3
The Fun Cup (size A) is a fabulous small stemless cup, Fun Cup (size B) is a decent stemless cup if you can get the hang of placing it, and the Explore Kit is a great way to experiment and determine your menstrual cup preferences.
Because even at their most frustrating, every single menstrual cup I’ve tried has been better than bulky, imprecise pads and vagina-drying tampons. It’s the only period protection I’ve ever used that made me forget I was on my period. I am not being hyperbolic when I tell you that I have delayed the adoption of an IUD because of how much I will miss menstrual cups. Sure, I’m excited to possibly not bleed every month, but that means no more menstrual cups — and help, I’m weirdly sad about it.