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Since soft cups are getting increasingly popular (three brands have made softer versions (MCUK, Femmecup, Meluna) and the two newest brands, Cuplee and Naturcup, are also said to be pretty soft), there have been a lot of posts/comments like "I got a soft cup because I thought it would be more comfortable, but I have difficulties getting it to open" or "I'm considering brand X but it's soft and I'm afraid it'll be difficult to pop open" etc. I found myself writing the same things over and over and I thought I'd make one big post to link to it later.

Not sure where to start. First of all, I've only used soft(ish) cups (rated 2-4 here) and if I avoid trapping my (very low) cervix in the folded part, I've learned to make them open pretty much at once.

What I've personally found most useful is the cold water trick, as originally described here. It honestly isn't anyhow uncomfortable, though I sometimes rinse my hands with warm water after that:) I can't stress how much I recommend trying it out. Be sure to pour the cold water over the outside of the cup and to do it for long enough - the original post recommends 10 seconds but basically your cup just should feel a tiny bit stiffer. (Just my personal opinion: if in doubt, get a softer cup. You can make a soft cup stiffer for insertion but you can't make a stiff cup softer for more comfortable wearing).

If you happen to use your cup inside out and it's less springy, what works for me is to turn it right side out (i do it anyway when washing), run it under cold water, turn it inside out and after running a little under cold water insert asap. It's as if it remains springy when you've just turned it inside out:)) (Warning: turning a Ladycup inside out can cause the holes to damage. I never needed this with it though, only with my medium Meluna Soft.)

As a low cervix gal, I also have to let any cup open as soon as the rim is in, and I've only recently realized that it might make a huge difference too. As with everything concerning cups - experiment! And by the way, I think that's an overlooked reason to get a softer cup - if you have difficulties making your cup pop open because your cervix is in the way, a stiffer one will indeed open regardless of that - and from what I've heard, it will be ouchy. Another reason not to rush and buy another cup.
So, make sure your cervix isn't in the way and if it is, move the cup a bit lower. No idea how this works but pinching the middle also seems to help me get my cervix into the cup, especially with my medium soft (glittery) meluna.

Many have already heard those other suggestions, but I'll reiterate on them.

The fold makes a huge difference. Experiment, face it this or that way (especially towards your rectum where there's no bone in the way). Also keep in mind that the air has to go in either above the cup or through the holes. One trick I've heard is making sure one of the holes is in the middle of the crease, especially for the punchdown fold. (mostly out of curiosity - any other tricks related to the holes? maybe cup-specific, like with the fleurcup's unusual placement of them?) Pay special attention to this if you use a Meluna Soft, as Melunas have only two holes, not four. Also, make sure the holes aren't clogged with blood (especially when inserting without rinsing) or lube.
By the way, if your cup is a Diva, you may want to enlarge the holes - frankly speaking I don't know how, ask around!

I also recommend trying out the "9-fold". I've heard of it here but never saw it, but this is what I myself call so:

Basically, an incomplete C-fold. That's what works best with my large Ladycup inside out, the softest thing ever. It's a pretty wide fold, though. The folded part may or may not be a little lower than the rim.

Another fold to try out is the 7 fold/triangle. The origami fold is also mentioned often, especially for the Ladycup. You can unfold these manually. (a great video on folding techniques)

Hopefully you've also already heard the advice to push away the wall of your vagina in order to let some air in. That's right, you need to get air in/above your cup. When you do that, push away the back soft wall and make sure to hold it like that for long enough. 15-20 seconds maybe. You may hear a sound as the air goes in.

The general advise about relaxing is also important here. When your muscles are tensed up, there's less room for your cup. Keep your jaw slack (no chewing gum!), remember to breathe, relax your back and shoulders. Try "blowing raspberries" :D You've probably heard of kegel exercises already. When you've identified these muscles, learn to RELAX them as well.
As far as I understand, whatever is advised during childbirth should work too.

Anyone who's read this far deserves a little reward:) Cup icons!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The three in the middle are based on a photo by whimaway, originally posted here. have a look, really the only photo I've seen so far that really does the glittery Melunas justice <3 (by the way, these were in my entry for free20in20. nice way to promote cups, methinks).

Back to serious business, suggestions to improve this post are very welcome. To those of you that use softer cups - which of these tricks do you find particularly helpful? any other tricks/tips? If you don't need to do anything special, also say so, this might encourage someone else <3

If you are new to cups and a struggling with a soft one, remember that other cups may have other difficulties about them, so don't give up too soon! The learning curve is also about figuring out what's the best way for you to use a cup.

Also, I tagged this post with some cups this applies to, but please note that I only have personal experience with the small Lunette, large Ladycup, large Green Donna (dry run) and some soft Melunas. I'll be happy to speak about my experience with them but consider asking in the community itself too.
Saráh: grn.manycolorswhimaway on May 5th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
Oooh I like the green comes in many colors one! Witty :)
Serpentserpent_849 on May 5th, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
hehehe thank you! awwwww honoured to see it being used :'))))))) &hearts
Goat Friendsfrolicnaked on May 5th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this. I am having all kinds of trouble with my soft Meluna. I can get it to pop open initially, and I do push away my vaginal wall to ensure that it does -- but as soon as I let go, my vagina collapses the cup again.
Serpentserpent_849 on May 5th, 2011 11:50 pm (UTC)
hm, not sure what to do about that :/ if it doesn't leak/isn't completely folded, maybe that's fine? there's been a post with a pic of how someone's cup is dented when they remove it, and i've also heard from many that their melunas seem oval inside - mine also is.
i remember you saying that the small ladycup is the most *comfortable* cup for you (but it doesn't have enough capacity), did you have issues with this? afaiu the rim is a bit stiffer, maybe that makes a difference... don't know:/
(no subject) - frolicnaked on May 6th, 2011 03:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lizsterineg on May 6th, 2011 05:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
hairballsplathairballsplat on May 6th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
i enlarge my diva's holes by pushing a toothpick thru repeatedly.

i also let my cup open up as soon as the rim is in...just let it fill with air and push/kegel it up around my cervix. sometimes that doesn't quite work and i have to push the vag. wall out a bit to let air in to fully open the cup.
Gluppit the prawling strangles, thereelettaria on December 16th, 2014 02:16 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised you managed to get anywhere with a toothpick - I initially tried a tapestry needle and it did squat!

What I've done, and I think several people here have done, is to buy a 2mm mini hole punch. They're very cheap on eBay, they're sold for crafts and such. I have Melunas, which only come with two tiny holes, so now I have four properly-sized holes and it's a huge improvement.
Kristispringdove on May 6th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
My cervix is not particularly low, but I also find it easier to let my cup pop relatively soon after insertion and push it on up into place. (I have a small Diva and a large Fleur.) From what I've seen on this community, that trick has varying success for different people, depending on sensitivity. It works pretty well for me. :)

mostly out of curiosity - any other tricks related to the holes? maybe cup-specific, like with the fleurcup's unusual placement of them?
I've so far only used the Fleur for one cycle, but I did find that hole placement in the fold made a different for me (I always use the punch-down fold). Particularly, I found that when I didn't pay attention to this and all the holes were outside the fold, they tended to get gunked up with residual slobber. I found that if I made the punch-down right between two of holes on one side, I had better suction results and less gunking. I haven't noticed any difference with my Diva.
Cenamenhoneypie3251 on May 6th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
What has helped for me is the labia fold everytime for all my cups. I have the diva1, yuuki, and fleurcups.
(no subject) - serpent_849 on May 7th, 2011 01:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
ladycontentladycontent on May 6th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
I'm still figuring things out with my large Yuuki, but I second the cold water (though I probably only run it under the water for about 5 seconds), and slow insertion with a c fold. I allow it to open almost as soon as it's in. I would say I've had an 85-90% success rate as far as opening goes using these techniques, granted this is only my first cycle with this particular cup. (But I have been bleeding for 17 days now and have used it consecutively. It has made an otherwise dreadful and abnormal period into something manageable!)
Zzsomeone on May 7th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Due to the things you told me and things others have posted, I'm (hopefully) getting a large Meluna glitter. I want to try a soft one, and you convinced me that large shouldn't be too big for me.

I'm geting on on the next order here http://mc-sales.livejournal.com/17410.html that's a good price to try something new. Just waiting for enough people to sign up!
(yes, I'm pimping it a bit, I'm impatient to get a new cup to try.)
Serpentserpent_849 on May 7th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
aww good luck with it and i really hope it works for you! &hearts i lovelovelove my soft glittery meluna&hearts
hopefully you'll get enough people soon:D
melissa569melissa569 on May 7th, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
Great icons! :)

True, there are lots of tricks we have all figured out to help pop soft cups open more easily.

Of course, this doesn't bump stiff cups off the market... Some people need CONSTANT stiffness for a better seal all day, and not just for popping open. For example, some people's insides are more firm and only a stiff cup can stand up against them. Or maybe they have lost tone in their muscles, and a stiff cup helps to provide structure in shape and a good seal, etc.

Serpentserpent_849 on May 7th, 2011 03:29 am (UTC)
thank you:)))
sure, if you (i don't mean YOU, obviously :D) think a stiff cup is a good choice for you - go ahead, but don't buy one just because you have difficulties getting a soft one to open. i just wanted to point out that the occasional "i can't get this to open!" comments shouldn't freak out anyone who wants a soft(ish) cup for comfort but is worried about popping open.
(no subject) - honeypie3251 on May 7th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Валюша-Василюшаella_l_a on August 11th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks SO MUCH for this post!! it helped me a lot to maneuver my army of soft cups!! :)
Serpentserpent_849 on August 11th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
awww you're welcome!!! lol army... soft cups ftw!
Quitteriequitterie on August 13th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
Heyhey! Serpent, this is an awesome post! Very well written, smartly summed up, lol ; I really enjoyed reading it, and with this good mood you put in it.. ;o).
I just totally agree too on the fact there's surely always a way to get a soft cup to pop open.^^ My own vaginal wall are pretty stiff/or tight, but even though, it does get open pretty fast. Once the cup is in, majority of time, i coax the cup around, 'play' with the cup inside to make it open, & push my back wall to let air go inside..

I kinda knew all the tricks you mention, but again, it was nice to read your post.
I find the cold water + chosen fold (+make sure a hole is in the crease) methods was what works best for me.

I also read, in order to relax the intimate muscles, something that one could test -before- inserting the cup : squeeze (quite strongly) the muscles, then relax, and again.. about 10 times in a row -or less-, and it helps get the perineal muscles to relax :).
Indeed, it seems to act ; i do it sometimes to allow some few last drops of urine that stay stuck in my urethra :s go outside..
And it helps activate, thus pushing, and so relax all the area.

Also, you wrote just below = "there's been a post with a pic of how someone's cup is dented when they remove it, and i've also heard from many that their melunas seem oval inside - mine also is."^
May i ask you which topic is was ? 8-)

Great cheers to you :D
Serpentserpent_849 on August 13th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
oh i'm so happy you liked it&hearts
i just found myself typing most of this in a less coherent way again and again whenever someone was like "my cup won't pop open!" so i decided i'd make a post to link to. i was honoured when i saw it tagged as faq<3
oh thanks for the tip, i kinda feel i'm not always emptying my bladder fully and then i need to pee again soon -_-

i meant this post: http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/2600727.html#cutid1
(no subject) - quitterie on August 13th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - quitterie on August 13th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on August 13th, 2011 10:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - quitterie on August 13th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Quitteriequitterie on September 25th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
Hey-hi Serpent :-).. there's also the 'little dance' trick. Yesterday, i read a tremendous article by 'Becca, and she reminds of it, just before her FAQ part =
"There’s a lot of discussion of reusable cups and cloth pads on the mothering.com Natural Body Care discussion board. One of the most useful things I’ve learned there is a “dance” to do if you have inserted your cup but can’t get it to unfold inside you: Rotate your hips in circles as if twirling a hula hoop. Then do some high marching steps. It really works! (And I have no idea why, or why the cup won’t unfold in the first place.)"

Maybe that'd work before with stiffer cups than very squishy ones though?, i couldn't say, but it may be worth trying it, if other attempts failed :s... Cheers!^^

Quitteriequitterie on September 25th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
uuuuh sorry, i forgot the link for this cool article! =

(no subject) - quitterie on September 25th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on September 25th, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
fluffmyflamingofluffmyflamingo on April 30th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
I know this post is pretty old now but I just wanted to say thanks anyway for this post, it's just really helped me! Thanks to this and the comments I just managed for the first time to get the seal right straight away, using the c-fold backwards and watching where the holes are! Normally I think it's in okay but then several hours later feel that horrible sudden whoosh of air that feels like my insides are being sucked out! It never leaked though thankfully but I feel so much happier knowing I can get it right straight away now! :)
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on April 30th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
thanks for the nice words! happy to have helped!!!

it's natural that as the cup feels with blood, the air has to go somewhere. typically bubbles are felt when you're about to leak but often they're not a bad omen :) i've come to like this feeling when i can feel the natural discharge and it seems like a leak but it isn't :)

which cup do you have? :)
(no subject) - fluffmyflamingo on May 1st, 2012 06:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
chamekkechamekke on May 12th, 2012 07:56 am (UTC)
I'd like to say Thanks for this post, too, and to add a comment re: enlarging the holes on a Diva Cup. I personally found that poking at them with a toothpick does NOT work... the holes enlarge momentarily but then go back to their original shape, the way the Diva Cup does generally (it's the nature of silicone!).

So what I did was to place a thin needle in a flame until it was very hot, then poke it through each hole for a short time. This enlarges the hole very slightly without (as far as I could see) damaging the cup. And since I did that, I've noticed the cup is easier to remove!
klpipit on May 26th, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
LC inside-out?
My first cup is a lg Ladycup and I found your post here by a search on turning it inside-out. You mentioned that it could damage the holes, but later you also mentioned that you use it this way? I did read one other post where someone had observed hole damage turning the LC inside-out. I've only had the cup 2 days and already trimmed 2/3 of the stem off, but it was still pokey. Then I turned it inside-out and it's finally comfortable. I don't have problems with getting it in correctly but it always seems to slide back down to the opening, so I suspect even if I completely cut the stem off it will still irritate. It feels fine inside-out. I think I have a really low cervix. Anyway I was just wondering if you ever had any problems with hole damage from turning the LC inside-out.
wings_on_water: green ladywings_on_water on June 21st, 2012 05:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this! Just got my first cup, a large Meluna soft, in the mail 2 days ago. Happened to start my period the next day!

I've been having trouble with popping open, so I've been trying different folds... tried 5 so far, and have had a little better success with the triangle fold today.

Mostly I've been finding that even with relaxing to bring the cup down, I can't reach far enough to push on the rim to let air in. The last time I inserted I tried twisting it back and forth a little, which it didn't want to do, but that did seem to get the fold out.

Maybe next time I'll try pushing the vaginal wall away, even if I can't get my finger up to the top of the cup, and waiting to see if some air will get in. Thanks for all the tips!
(Deleted comment)
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on August 30th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
glad my post could help!
i think that among those softer than a small lunette or miacup, there's very little variation. i admire melissa for being able to rank them lololol.

you may want to ask this in the comm itself, i'm really not sure. i've always thought a stiff cup is good if you have weak muscles, not strong ones lol. it does seem like athletic ppl are more likely not to have any special needs and to make any cup work (though there are factors that don't depend on your fitness such as cervix position).

i think that if your meluna soft works for you (apart from the capacity), any soft cup should be fine. to be more sure you could just get a meluna XL, as the stiffness should be very similar. the large fleurcup is another good option.

edit: if you order a meluna, get it from the official site so that you could get a free sample *_*

edited again: oh just reread your post (in the comm) again, you said you're a virgin. all the large sizes are about as wide as the old medium meluna (45x45), so don't be afraid of them. XL is just a name:) i'm a virgin myself and i also prefer wide cups, they fit well around my cervix. my favourite cup is perhaps also an old medium meluna, but i'm also able to use a large ladycup or green donna (both inside out because of the length).

Edited at 2012-08-30 10:10 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - serpent_849 on August 31st, 2012 11:00 am (UTC) (Expand)