Virgins And Menstrual Cups
To start with– not all virgins are under the adult age. I know many virgins who are legal adults (I myself reached the age of 23 still a virgin), and they therefore have the right to read and research whatever they please.
But if you are not legally an adult yet, please get your parent’s/legal guardian’s permission to read this page, because I will be very frankly discussing the basics of sexual anatomy here, and the use of menstrual cups, as well as the body’s adjustment to them, particularly in regards to virgins who are considering using them. I will be doing my best to keep the discussion as professional as possible. But still, these are topics of a very personal nature, and different families have different opinions about when and how to educate young people about these matters. So I would suggest first letting a parent/guardian read this page, and make sure they are ok with you reading it. I do want to help educate people, but only if their legal guardians (if any) approve of the material. By reading on, you demonstrate that have obtained your legal guardian’s permission to view this page (if you are under age), and that you have read these suggestions. This information IS NOT meant to replace the advice of a doctor. :)
Now that the “disclaimer” is out of the way, I will say that PLENTY of young people and / or virgins use menstrual cups. As a matter of fact (and this is also for the parents out there)– the youngest person I have ever spoken to who regularly uses both tampons and a menstrual cup– was 11 years old! There really is no age limit.
The only thing I will suggest (and its really quite obvious)– is that if you are female and under age– in order to consider trying or practicing with a menstrual cup, you should at least have had your first menstrual cycle already, and your legal guardians should approve. The reason I say “if you are female and under age” with this suggestion, is because its not only females, or those with periods who purchase cups. There are many other reasons people purchase them.
Also, if you are young or a virgin, whether or not you decide to use a menstrual cup may depend on a few things:
1. Your family, culture, or religion. Some people have certain beliefs about the importance of the “hymen”, which we will talk about further down the page (cups and tampons can break a hymen). If you are not legally an adult yet, please discuss this with a guardian first, and decide how you and they feel about it.
2. Your own personal feelings. Everyone feels differently about various menstrual products, and it is up to you to figure out how you feel. You should never try something before you feel ready to. If you have certain feelings and opinions, find a support system– people you trust, or who share your opinion– and discuss it. This can be someone you know in person, or people online. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and get answers. From the moment you are old enough to use the bathroom by yourself, it becomes your responsibility to clean and care for your body for the rest of your life. So you have a right to know about the best ways of doing so.
3. Knowledge and comfort levels with certain product ideas, and with your body. Do you know a lot about your body? Are you comfortable being very physically “involved” with your period? I will try to explain as much as I can here, and provide as much knowledge as possible. The better informed you are, the more empowered you are.
Once you have sorted out all these things, and if it has been decided that you are going to try a menstrual cup, now its time to prepare for purchasing your first cup. Here are a few tips which could make things easier:
Before you get your cup:
Just to give you an idea of what to expect— a menstrual cup is probably going to be about as wide as 2 of your fingers side by side. Another example is, it will be about as wide as a regular banana (peeled). And depending on the brand, it may be as long as 2 fingers (like a DivaCup), or other brands (the smalls) may be only 2/3 as long in the body. The stem can be trimmed to suit your comfort needs. Please check my comparison photos here, if you want to see all the brands, side by side:
What to do first
First, you will need to get to know your body, if you don’t know it well already. You should find the entrance of the vagina. It seems like it should be easy, but some virgins or younger people can have trouble finding it, because it goes in at a back-slanted angle. Meaning the inside of the vagina, slants back toward the anus / rectum. The entrance is angled that way too, a bit. So you kind of have to start at the front of the genital area, and probe your way back, until you feel an opening. But be very careful. If anything feels too uncomfortable, take a break and try again later. For sanitary reasons, your hands should be very clean for this. You can also purchase some disposable sanitary gloves from the store. They are fairly cheap in the beauty isle.
You will need to use your hands to gradually adjust the vaginal entrance to where you can handle the width of a menstrual cup. But work up to it gradually, do not try to hurry the process. Only do as much as you are comfortable with. During the process, try to aim BACK, toward the rectum / anus, or your tail bone, because that‘s the direction the vagina slants in. Never aim straight up. because the cup will not seal correctly. You should aim back when attempting to insert anything, like a menstrual cup or even a tampon.
Am I Too Small?
Please know that in everyone’s case, but especially virgins– the very entrance of the vagina (meaning the first ½ inch to 1 inch or so) is MUCH more tense, and smaller in width than the rest of the vagina further up inside. But practicing adjusting the entrance not only helps make the first cup use much easier, it also allows you to figure out your natural angle and shape.
As for the rest of your body… I want to stress that being tiny in the body– as in being short, or very thin, DOES NOT mean that your vagina is also small. Not at all. Height and weight have absolutely NOTHING to do with vaginal size. I know people who are 6 feet tall and heavyset, who can only use a very small cup. And I know people who are quite short and very thin, who need the largest cup. Everyone is different.
Will I get too “loose”?
This is a very common question. But there are some things you should know about this. First, the vagina does not really “stretch out beyond repair”, like a T-shirt, so to speak. Its more like a rubber band– made of very elastic and flexible skin, and very strong and elastic muscles. The skin and muscles are able to stretch open to fit a baby’s head, and still heal and shrink back down to a fairly normal size again.
So certainly, something as small as a cup or tampon cannot cause you to stretch out, never to return to your normal size… Also, if you have issues with weak muscles down there (and maybe even bladder control problems?), doing “kegel exercises” will strengthen and tighten the muscles quite a bit too. As a matter of fact, some cup users report feeling like their muscles down there are actually tighter using a cup, because cup users tend to kegel their cup quite a bit, by instinct.
Adjusting your body is not really about “stretching” per se. The elastic skin and strong muscles will always want to shrink back down, like a rubber band. Its more about the nerves, really. And learning to relax the muscles. When you are young, the vaginal muscles may be very tense. The nerves in the vagina may also be more “raw”. They might feel pain and discomfort more easily. A menstrual product being inside can bother some young people at first. As you keep using one, and as you get a little older, your nerves will begin to change, and not be so raw anymore. Your body will produce more natural moisture than before. The muscles in “that area” will relax a bit. That is the natural maturing process of the body.
However, assuming you have no medical issues– practicing adjusting your body and using internal menstrual products can speed this process up dramatically. Just be patient. Practice, and don‘t give up. Your body will soon adjust, and it will be no big deal.
What About Cup Sizes? Should I Get The Large? Or The Small?
One of the biggest mistakes I see first time cup users make (especially virgins and young people), is automatically getting the smallest possible cup. Usually because they are nervous about size. And well… Its true that “most” young people and virgins will be more comfortable with a small size cup.
However, it also depends which brand you choose. Some have 3 sizes, instead of two (Meluna, Naturcup). In this case, you definitely DON’T want to pick the smallest cup, unless you have an extremely light flow. If your flow is about average, its better to try the medium instead. Otherwise, you will constantly be emptying it, because the smallest cup will not hold very much liquid…
But with all other brands, assuming you have a fairly normal flow– sure, go ahead and get the small.
Now its time to discuss heavy flows, the possibility of a large… Or perhaps just a brand that has more capacity, even in its small size. You’ve got a few choices here. Obviously being young or a virgin, and having a heavy flow can be very tricky when choosing a cup. You are nervous about a large, but you want good capacity, right? If your flow is heavy, you can either stick with a smaller brand (Ladycup, Meluna), and simply empty your cup more often… Or you can get a small size of a brand that has more capacity (DivaCup, Lunette, Yuuki, Miacup, Shecup). Your last option of course, is to try and adjust yourself to a large, for ultimate capacity. Which I have seen young people and virgins do before! Its not as common, but its a choice some people do make.
When You Finally Have Your Cup
After you have gotten to know your body a bit more, and done some adjusting, I would suggest practicing inserting the menstrual cup now. You can even try using no-applicator tampons first, like o.b., before using a cup. Just so you can get used to the hands-on concept.
But with the cup– first, always aim back toward the rectum or tail bone when inserting. Again, do not aim up. Follow the natural back-slant of the vagina. If you feel dry and need lubrication, try to get water-based vaginal lube, or just wet the cup with water or saliva / spit. Do not use oil-based lubes, or any body/face lotions, shampoo, conditioner, or any other liquids– these can cause infections.
Your first tries may be less than graceful. That is normal, and perfectly ok. Just keep trying, and work with different folds, until you find one that works best for you. Here is my video showing different folds:
Also, remember to take it one step at a time; you don’t need to get the entire process down in one day. Here is what you can master, in baby steps:
1. Inserting. First just get to a point where you can get the cup inside you.
2. Removal. If you can fit a finger in, try denting in the cup wall to let air inside and break the seal. If you cannot fit a finger it, you can pinch the bottom of the cup, and rock it from side-to-side, to “walk” the cup down. As you get a better grip on it, you can pinch the cup into a partial fold (surprisingly, you can even partially fold it with liquid inside without spilling, if its not too full). Ease out only one side of the rim at a time. Preferably from the side, rather than the front– as the front is extra sensitive, due to the urethra. As you bring the cup out, pivot the cup into an upright position. This will keep contents inside.
3. Popping Open. Once you have the hang of the above techniques, now try getting the cup to pop open all the way, and position correctly. Too many people want to master this part in the first day. But you don’t have to. While some people do get it quickly– many need more practice. If you don’t get it right away, that’s ok. Just keep trying. Some really helpful tips— try inserting with the folded crease facing down or backward (the back wall of the vagina has more room for it to pop open). Also try folding the cup so that one of the suction release holes is inside the fold crease. That will keep the tiny hole exposed to air longer, letting the cup pop open better, since the part inside the fold crease is the last part of the cup to touch skin.
Take it one step at a time. Don’t worry, you will get it.
When should I practice with a cup?
You can do it whenever you want. But I personally think it is best to do this in baby steps too. Master insertion, removal, and popping open BEFORE your period starts. That way, when you get your period, all you have to do is see if you got the seal right.
Also, I would strongly suggest that when you get your period, the first week, you can use your regular supplies during the day, or when you are out of the house. And just “test out” your cup in the evenings, when you are at home. You can wear a pad for backup if you wish. I did, the first week, but I didn’t really need it, because I’d had tons of practice before it came, and all went well. I never have again, since. :)
Once you are confident that you have the seal right, and you are confident that the cup concept is working for you– then you can try wearing it out of the house, and during certain activities.
Getting To Know Your Body
Ok, now its time to help you learn a little more about your anatomy, if you don’t already know it well. Hopefully, this can help you to feel more relaxed about everything, and answer lots of questions.
What is a hymen? Can a menstrual cup or tampon break it?
“Hymen” is the proper name, but another common slang name for it is the “cherry”, you will probably hear this term more.
Many people think the hymen is up inside the vagina. But this is not true. The hymen is basically like a very thin piece to skin or tissue that covers the OUTSIDE of the vagina‘s entrance. Or just part of the entrance. If you still have one, you can probably easily see it with a small mirror.
Both menstrual cups and tampons can break the hymen, but it really depends what kind of hymen you have, and if you even have one at all! Some people were born without one. Others have already torn it with certain sports or other activities.
Many people are confused about the importance of the hymen. They think that a “virgin” is supposed to have a hymen. Or that if you break your hymen, you are no longer a virgin. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Again, some people are born without a hymen, or break/tear it by accident while doing normal, non-sexual activities. For example, the hymen can be torn or broken by horse back riding, riding a bike, dancing, bending and stretching, falling down too hard, gymnastics and other sports, self exploration, doctor exams, and using tampons.
Another fact, is that some hymens are very thick and tough– even with the above activities, and sometimes even with sexual experience, it still won’t break or tear all the way! This is a bit rare, but it certainly does happen.
Its difficult to say this in a delicate way, but here is the truth– as long as a girl/woman has never had penetrative sexual intercourse (vaginally) with another person– she is still a virgin. Plain and simple. So don’t worry, using a tampon or a cup cannot take away virginity.
Some countries, religions, or cultures put A LOT of value on the hymen, and directly relate it to whether or not someone is a virgin. However, because of all the above facts, the condition of the hymen simply IS NOT an accurate way to prove or disprove virginity.
Here is a drawing example of the different types of hymens:
In Order from left to right:
————Septate — No Hymen — Cribriform — Normal——–
As you can see, some hymens have holes in the center, and some not so much. Some are bits of skin that go down the center. Some only go round the outer edge, some have many tiny holes. There is even an example of no hymen at all.
But there is also another kind not pictured here— its called the “Imperforate” hymen, which basically covers the entire entrance of the vagina, with no holes in it whatsoever. In this case, a young girl’s first period flow will simply force its way out and break the hymen a little bit in doing so. Or if the hymen is too thick, a physician may need to cut it open– but this is extremely RARE.
What we have “down there”
This next section will just be to help walk you through the basics of what you have down below, what its all for, and what everything is called. Just to keep it simple, we will start at the top and the outside, and name everything from there down and inward. You can see everything in the medical drawing down below, to follow along:
1. Mons Pubis (the pubic bone). This is the hard bone at the front of the genitals. It helps form and hold the bone structure of the pelvic area. Anyone who has ever accidentally hit or hurt this bone, knows it can be quite sensitive.
2. Labia Majora (Big / outer Labia). These are the larger, thicker outer “lips” or fold of skin on the outside of the genitals. They are there to protect and cushion the more delicate inner parts.
3. Labia Minora (Small / inner Labia). These are the stretchy, thin, wrinkly folds of skin that are just inside the bigger, outer labia. Each person’s labia are unique, different from everyone else. They may be different sizes, different shapes and colors. And that is ok. There is no “ideal” way for how labia is supposed to look. Your own, is your own. These also help to protect the more delicate areas.
4. Clitoris. You will find this near the upper part of the genitals. Part of it (the “shaft”) is under the labia skin. But the tip or head, is exposed when the labia skin is pulled back. The clitoris is extremely sensitive to the touch, and its main purpose is sexual pleasure / stimulation.
5. Urethra / Urethral Opening. This is the hole you pee from. Many people think women pee from our vagina, but we do not. The urethra normally stays tightly closed at all times, and is extremely sensitive to pain. It should be treated with care.
6. Vagina. This is the hole at the back / bottom of the genitals. It can be for sexual activity, and its where babies come out. But it is also where vaginal moisture, and the blood from your period comes out. This is where a tampon, a menstrual cup, and some forms of birth control would go. If you have a hymen, it would cover the outer opening of the vagina.
That’s basically it for anatomy, and cup use for virgins. I hope this has helped to shed some light on the subject, and please leave a comment if you have questions.