While this is my first posting, I've consulted this board for a couple of years now as I considered, bought, and finally learned to use a cup. I've found a lot of really helpful information, so THANK YOU all very much. And I'm here to pay it forward with an original idea that has helped me. I am a BBW & have a VERY high cervix -- I can OCCASIONALLY barely touch it with lots of bearing down and contortions and if conditions are JUUUST right. But not consistently. And not surprisingly, that "just right" spot where the cup is seated perfectly is also very far back, nearly impossible to reach. Definitely impossible with two fingers that are also busy holding a cup fold. Inserting the cup each time was a wrestling match, with it usually popping open too early/shallow, sometimes in an awkward position inside, other times not being able to get it to pop open once it was in. -- The whole business was so messy & frustrating that it's really a wonder that I kept at it.
What kept me trying was when it miraculously found the right spot. It kept the monthly mess contained so well and for so much longer than any other method. Even if I just used it overnight, it was a huge improvement over those heavy flow nights when I would go through a super tampon AND an overnight pad and still had a huge mess to clean up in the morning. I wished that I could use the cup more, but my time and patience would run out, and my insides would get all sore from the failed attempts.
My intuition was screaming at me that I needed some kind of applicator that would keep the cup folded for me & allow me to focus on getting it into the right position. I guessed that a tube similar to a tampon applicator would probably work. I searched around for the right size, and luckily, I had been fighting off a cold & was taking those fizzy tablets... That come in the little tube... Aha. (I also thought about M&M's mini's tubes but decided that would be too narrow for me.) So I cut off the bottom with a hacksaw so that the tube would be open at both ends. Then I VERY carefully sanded the cut edge until it was extremely smooth. And then I washed/rinsed the tube and submersed it in boiling water for maybe 1/2 hour. There was still a learning curve to use it, but it has made all the difference to me being able to use the cup regularly. I keep a zipper pouch with my cup, applicator tube, and a small bottle of lubricant. I even threw the pouch into a suitcase once when I wasn't expecting my period -- And was praising my own foresight when I did get it unexpectedly on the day we arrived. I hadn't packed any other sanitary products, so I did end up buying a small pack of overpriced panty liners while I was there.
Anyway, as for how I use the tube. First I get a drop of lubricant (about the size of a pea). I do a C-fold and spread the lube on the lower half of the cup as well as inside the upper edge of the tube. I insert the cup partway into the tube, just far enough that it stays in without trying to pop back out. Keeping a couple of fingers across the top of the cup, I can feel when it stops trying to pop back out & stays securely in the tube. There's always a tiny bit of residual lubricant, I go ahead & spread that on the upper part of the cup. Then, it's possible for me to sit the tube upright on the edge of the sink while I clean fingers, do one last body wipe, etc, then get into my preferred position for insertion (standing, with one leg on the rim of the toilet or bathtub). Of course, aim towards the back. I usually make sure the open end of the C is pointing down (or if you can imagine the folded cup as an arrowhead, the arrow is pointing up), but I'm not sure if that really matters. Once the cup/tube is inserted, it does not stay put and mostly tries to slide back out, though just a little pressure is enough to keep it inside while another finger reaches down the tube to "nudge" the cup forward & out of the tube. Sometimes the stem of the cup is off-center, so I have to rotate the tube to get a better position to push it out. But the main thing that gets the cup out of the tube is doing kegels. Generally, if I just insert the tube, barely nudge the cup while doing a kegel, it slides right into place perfectly. (Not always, but frequently.) At that point, of course, I can put the tube in the sink for washing, do a finger-swirl check (while bearing down), and then wipe & wash everything as needed.
I'm not recommending this solution, per se. Obviously, if anyone wants to replicate the idea, please use caution & proceed at your own risk. Of course it works for me, but I'm sure for a lot of folks this would become just another piece to wrestle with. My point in sharing this is that if anyone is still struggling to use a cup & is not where they want to be, a little intuition & resourcefulness may help you find a solution that works for you.
5/9/11: Edited to include images of (empty) tube and tube with folded cup (below).