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22 October 2013 @ 03:41 pm
I was chatting to a friend who's involved in sex work activism about how some people use their cups even during PIV sex (not something I've tried, nor am I particularly likely to, for various reasons), and we were wondering whether there would be a market for cups specifically designed for that purpose. Quite apart from the general market, she said that sex workers would be very interested in the idea. Meluna make a huge range of cups, and they're in Germany, where sex work is legal.

What do you reckon would be ideal for a cup to be used specifically during sex? It wouldn't need to have a massive capacity, and the idea would be that it could be inserted shortly before sex, but leakage would be more important. Removal would also be an issue, since it couldn't have anything sticking out of the bottom. At the moment, I'm wondering whether the Meluna mini in small soft, with no ball/ring/stem, would work, since I gather it's wider and shorter than the standard Meluna range, and has a somewhat springier rim. Apparently it costs them a lot of money every time they have to make a new mould. I was looking at cervical caps, and they don't seem all that different from small menstrual cups. But I've never tried PIV sex with a cup in, and I haven't yet tried a Meluna, so what do you think? Then of course there would be the consideration of what would be most comfortable to be wearing during anal sex, and there I haven't a clue, but I did notice an old post on the subject talking about how the rim needs to be relatively soft.
nemesis27nemesis27 on October 22nd, 2013 02:53 pm (UTC)
I think it´s a good idea, the instead softcup can be used during sex but I don´t know other. It´s interesting to make one for this issue.

mood_swinger23 on October 22nd, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
I just saw something about a new one in the works that is meant to be used for both contraception and menstruation. If I can find it I will link you.

I'm not sure where I saw the cup advertised to know where/how I got access to the link.

Otherwise, I think a somewhat firmer cup would be ideal. Too soft and it'd be much too easy to break the seal. I've managed with a Jasmine (Diva knockoff, I believe) before. I'm not sure how the softness of it relates to a typical Diva, however.

Edited at 2013-10-22 02:59 pm (UTC)
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on October 22nd, 2013 02:59 pm (UTC)
Insteads are the only ones that make that claim. http://www.softcup.com/ All of the others specifically say NO -- but some have been successful anyway.

Since Insteads work, I would assume that diaphragms do too. Perhaps cervical caps as well -- but I don't think they would have much capacity.
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on October 22nd, 2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
Diaphragms and cervical caps do stop menstrual flow (more or less) during sex, though you can't use either of them long-term, as indeed they don't have the capacity.
ramblingtomriggramblingtomrigg on October 22nd, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)
Insteads work for some people but not all, and a lot more people seem to have problems with them than reusables, last I checked. Many people prefer a reusable cup, anyway.

As for diaphragms and caps, yes, but you have to have them fitted by a doctor, and I think in the US that can cost a lot, so there's definitely a market for something you can just buy yourself.
Tessgryphonwing on October 23rd, 2013 09:41 am (UTC)
There are reusable Insteads, now. :)
ever so slightly obsessed: Spacer.gifscien on October 22nd, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC)
I've had quite a lot of different kinds of sex with the cup in before (mine's a UK Mooncup), and my girlfriend uses one as well so I've experienced it from the other direction too.

In summary I'd say that:
* For oral sex alone it makes pretty much no difference (although the cup-wearer may be able to feel they have something in there). Likewise with penetrative anal sex.
* For anal or vaginal penetration with hands you definitely notice it as the partner, less so as the cup wearer.
* For PIV sex... it probably varies quite a lot and I've only done it once. I completely forgot it was there and to my amazement it wasn't noticeable at all, although it did leak as I got up afterwards, presumably from getting jostled. However it probably depends a bit on both of your anatomies, and that's also impacted by your point in your menstrual cycle, arousal levels, stuff like that. I definitely don't think I'd have had that experience if I'd left it in at other times.

I can't really imagine a bell-shaped cup held in place by your vaginal canal that doesn't have those issues, and I can't imagine one that fits around your cervix but is one-size-fits-all (as you say, diaphragms need fitting, and insteads theoretically don't but in practice don't work for a lot of people). I don't know enough about cervical caps to say, but I'd be worried about capacity? But equally for some people especially for only short term use it might not be a problem.

It would be cool if someone developed something like this, lots of people would have a use for it I reckon. Actually, I wonder if diaphragms need to be so carefully fitted if they're not going to be used as a contraceptive device. Or maybe they could come in a pack of a couple of different sizes, like earbuds!
tjs77tsa on October 22nd, 2013 11:08 pm (UTC)
I use my Meluna mini medium ball stem during PIV sex with no issues. The mini Melunas are available stemless you have to order a regular stem then make a note to remove the stem. I have one however it is difficult to remove without the stem.
ramblingtomriggramblingtomrigg on October 23rd, 2013 12:16 pm (UTC)
I bet it is. I wonder if they could make a loop at the side of the rim, like you see in some diaphragms?
elle2013elle2013 on October 23rd, 2013 01:02 am (UTC)
I hope this isn't TMI, but I'll share my experience.

My cervix sits extremely low, so I wear - usually - a medium mini meluna. My fiancee and I have had PIV sex with my cup inserted many times, and he's never once noticed it was there. The key for me seems to be having an orgasm before penile insertion. The vagina lengthens considerably during orgasm, and the cervix moves upward, taking the cup with it.

We once tried an Instead Softcup, but that was a total bust. We also tried a sponge-style tampon, but that absorbed every drop of moisture; the cup might block some natural lube, but at least it doesn't suck up whatever's there.

Edited at 2013-10-23 01:03 am (UTC)
ramblingtomriggramblingtomrigg on October 23rd, 2013 11:12 am (UTC)
Interesting. What sort of ending do you have on your cup? And did the sponge soak up line as well? I hears sex workers tend to use sponges. I've also just spotted another potential issue with using a cup during sex work: lack of arousal meaning the vagina isn't lengthening as much.
tjs77tsa on October 23rd, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
This is how it works for me also.
trejoytrejoy on October 23rd, 2013 07:07 am (UTC)
I've forgotten I was wearing my small si-bell twice and my husband didn't notice it at all.
juliiie87juliiie87 on October 23rd, 2013 11:45 pm (UTC)
I've done it, with mixed results, with a medium Meluna soft with stem. I think it needs to be a rather short, flexible, non-pokey cup and most importantly the stem needs to be rounded off and bendy, or non existent. I also think arousal is a factor, unless someone just happens to have a long vagina anyway. Buuut vaginas tend to get shorter while on your period, as a general tendency (not true for all). If anything, mini Melunas fit the requirement for shortness, but their shape may be a little pokey ? maybe with a ball stem.

But from what I read over at vagina_pagina, sex workers use soft tampons (Gynotex is one brand).

Edited at 2013-10-23 11:47 pm (UTC)
redrobin2884 on October 25th, 2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
Both diaphragms and cervical caps require the wearer to apply spermicide to be an effective method of birth control. With perfect use these methods are about 94% effective with perfect use and and 84% effective with typical use. I don't think that it would be a bad idea to market a cup as approved for use during sex. Though I don't think it should be marketed as a birth control device. Considering the increased risk of infection for sex workers, condoms are likely to be the best barrier method available because they provide contraception and protect against STIs. Also a cup/condom combination may lead to a greater risk of failure due to friction and breakage.
ramblingtomriggramblingtomrigg on October 26th, 2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
Good point. Presumably there are other people using cups with condoms, too. What would make them less likely to cause condom failures? It's another reason not to have a bit sticking out at the bottom, and I imagine smoothness would be a factor.

As you say, it should be marketed as something that could be worn during sex, but definitely not marketed as a contraceptive device.
pineapplewhippineapplewhip on December 7th, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
for me sex can wait
I've heard about instead softcups being intercourse friendly, but I don't want to have sex during my period, call me Kosher but that sounds nasty, and I know it's common. Do you really have a libido that great? Wow. On another note I can feel instead softcup, so as long as the wonderful lunette, mooncup, divas are about I dont really like insteads. I will give it a try with pregnancy however. Does anyone know, does a low cup, lunette etc work as well for getting pregnant faster?
ramblingtomriggramblingtomrigg on January 30th, 2014 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: for me sex can wait
I honestly can't remember the answer to that, but have you read Taking Charge of Your Fertility? Useful book for if you're trying to conceive. I do the Fertility Awareness Method (basic version, I already have a copper IUD covering me for contraception) so that I know when my period's due and when I'm going to get menstrual migraine. Tracking hormones is fairly handy.

And yes, I do like sex during my period! According to quite a lot of research, the two most common times for libido to peak are midcycle (ovulation) and during menstruation. But I don't want blood everywhere, so I'm using a cup and sticking to non-penetrative sex. I don't think my libido's all that high, but we have sex about five times a week, and it'd probably be more often than that if my disability weren't getting in the way. But then we've only been together six months, and we're not trying for a baby, which I hear can make sex very stressful.
pineapplewhippineapplewhip on February 5th, 2014 06:49 am (UTC)
Re: for me sex can wait
Thank you I am definitely interested in the book, thank you very much. Wow if you have an normal libido I shutter to think where I am on the scale :) pretty low I suppose. Too bad. Your partner and you must be a good match too. I do know if you're very attracted to each other that makes everything different. Thank you!
singanddanceall on September 19th, 2014 06:11 pm (UTC)
Cups designed specifically for sex
The only cup I'm familiar with that supports use during intercourse is the Instead. Unfortunately, I can't use it, for the same reason I can't use a diaphragm: my pelvis has an abnormality that causes both to get stuck. Had one diaphragm removed in a hospital, an Instead cup at an urgent care (nice young doc who wasn't familiar with them, had to google a pic for him, bet he told his wife about his "discovery" that night!), and a nurse practitioner who claimed a diaphragm couldn't get stuck in me, then she had to spend 45 minutes getting it out.

That said, I've had plenty of intercourse with my Divacup in. Sometimes, if I'm very heavy, it leaks. But it's overall much better than going with nothing. Sex position seems to matter. Missionary seems to be the best. Cowgirl has had bad results (closest I came to another doctor's visit, it was kind of wedged next to the cervix). Haven't tried rear entry. Partners have said they can feel it but it isn't uncomfortable.

What seems to matter most is if I am in the mood (I really need to be) and adequate lubrication. Perhaps menstrual cups could be of use to sex workers. But a consistent partner has been important for me too, who I know will respond when I say "not that position," "not so hard," etc. And if I'm not up for it, not aroused enough, it's not a very good idea to go forward as it can really hurt.