Self-made Guinea Pig (for my female readers), Day 35
Disclaimer: This post is super personal, not particularly pretty, and really intended for women. Men, I advise you take the choose your own adventure path that leads you away from reading any further, unless you find a discussion on feminine products riveting.
This morning I awoke in Long Beach a few times. The first involved my boyfriend saying goodbye as he left his apartment looking very dapper in a fantastic new suit on his way to Startingbloc. The second time, I felt sicker than the first and decided to sleep some more. Feeling even worse upon my final attempt to arise and face the day, I decided to take it easy, load up on antioxidants, and eventually fill and take the prescriptions for antibiotics my doctor had given me in case my sinus infection worsened or persisted. To further increase my discomfort, my period arrived, complicating my upcoming babysitting and skiing trips, much like the Long Islanders next to me on the train who persist in their loud and incessant rambling cutting through my ipod as I try to write. Some things, try as I might, I cannot ignore.
Sometime since my last menstrual cycle, I decided to research the possible ways to (sorry Mom) have intercourse cleanly during my period. For those of you who have tried it, and I have not in my current relationship, you know that towels or showers don’t really remove the sight of blood from a partner, and it does unfortunately take the appeal out of the act for many men and women. I asked a few of my close girlfriends about possible solutions, and one of them suggested trying the cup.
Having never heard of it, to google I went immediately. Apparently, this urban myth exists indeed, in the form of a disposable non-toxic plastic cup called Instead. It works as a collector of sorts, fitting rather neatly in the groove just behind a woman’s pelvic bone, replacing tampons and pads as a leak-free alternative for feminine products. According to the promises on the website, one can run, exercise, and even have sex normally without experiencing the common difficulties, odors, and messes associated with pads or tampons. Similarly, DivaCup and other manufacturers offer a reusable alternative, although they reportedly fit differently, and one cannot wear the reusable ones during sexual intercourse despite otherwise being the best option for environmentally aware women. My research convinced me and though wary of the possibilities of accidents while new to the cup and the potential difficulties of removal, I purchased a DivaCup for regular use and a box of Instead to try for more intimate moments. Expecting the arrival of my cycle shortly, I packed only a few disposable Instead cups and some pantyliners in case I needed something while in Long Island overnight.
Of course I had no foresight into the discomfort I would already feel as a result of my worsening sinus infection, so when my period indeed arrived this morning, I had little interest in participating in this poor packing-induced, forced experimentation with the cup. After hunting for non-existent alternatives, I completed the extremely easy task of insertion. Instead has clear instructions on their website, including a video and product insert, which I highly recommend reading thoroughly if you have any interest in trying these. The cup fit easily as promised and felt even more non-existent than contact lenses throughout my day, even as I ran a little to catch my train back to the city. Although I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to try out its more intimate uses during this cycle (please note that the cup does not replace or interfere with regular protection/contraception at all), I expect, judging by its fit, that Instead will live up to its promises as a clean, unnoticeable alternative during intercourse.
Unfortunately, the first removal does not promise such ease and proved at least as strange and frustrating as I had anticipated. For an entertaining understanding of the accounts I found on the Internet after trying without much success for a minute or two, read this stripper’s story of her attempt to use Instead. I don’t recommend this to any woman not comfortable with the idea of exploring her own body; it does require a certain awareness of and/or willingness to learn about one’s own internal workings. The videos and websites do provide a lot of helpful information for those slightly less hesitant or more open-minded to try something like this.
Although I have a busy weekend ahead and still feel very under the weather, I decided to try using the DivaCup as well. Admittedly, this reusable silicone option seemed a bit more complicated than I had hoped, but I felt more comfortable after looking at the instructional video on DivaCup’s YouTube channel. Feeling a bit less adventurous for a first attempt while sleeping, I have an extra pair of boxers under my pj’s, just in case, but I suspect everything will work out as intended. Regardless, I definitely need to pack and get some sleep before an early morning and a long day, but I don’t regret trying this option at all. At the very least, I have an opportunity to contribute to a better environment. Perhaps it might contribute to an even better sex life, and who doesn’t want that?