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18 December 2013 @ 12:05 am
I am 35 years old, have had two vaginal births, live in the U.S. I've owned a large latex Keeper for about five years now. I haven't used it continuously (had trouble using it at first, a year or two of no period because of a baby, etc.) but probably had three years of moderately satisfied use. I've never much liked how stiff it is -- it feels like it's stretching me out on the inside; it's always a relief to take it to rinse it, etc.

But since my period returned after my second child, the Keeper's been annoying me immensely. I am definitely much more slack and open than I used to be; my period gushes in the first two days and the number of flow days is shorter now than in the past. I'm sure I need to be working on my pelvic tone, but I just won't be making that a priority for the moment. The Keeper slips down a lot (aggravating!), especially early in my cycle, or if it's full. If I've adjusted it a few times in a day, I give up and use tampons instead. And because I feel like it's stretching me out even further from the post-baby stretch, I end up curbing its use at the tail end and just using pantyliners once the flow slows. At the same time, my flow is so heavy in the beginning that I really need a cup to contain it.

So I'd like to get a different kind of cup. Ideally, I want to buy just one more cup and not think about it again. I guess I need something softer, shorter, squatter, fuller (apparently the latex Keeper is super stiff, and long and thin compared to other cups). I don't mind a learning curve for a new type of cup, but I do want something that will work with my untoned self. My original reason for getting the latex cup was that it's made out of a more natural material; even if I switch to silicone I'd prefer to avoid weird additives. Don't care about color. Will be trimming any stem. [EDIT: I will be cutting the stem off entirely, so it doesn't matter at all.]

I've seen a bunch of size charts, but they're exhausting to read, they vary slightly, they don't take into account the availability of a cup in my area, etc. I know some of you ladies are experts -- please advise!

I searched the archives here; this question

My guess from an hour of poking around various sites (which I'm already resenting, though answers to http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/3191066.html were quite useful) is the Lunette. Are the different colors different stiffnesses? Would I find something like a Selene too stiff, or, since I'm coming from the as-stiff-they-come Keeper, would I likely not mind at all?

Does that seem like a good plan? Is there a better one? It's just so damned expensive -- I don't want to make an obviously dumb decision.

Thanks a million!
teacupcake89 on December 18th, 2013 10:03 am (UTC)

being in the U.S you can buy any cup online, www.femininewear.co.uk sells most brands and ships internationally.

I would definitely start trying to spend more time toning your pelvic floor, it won't get better by itself and those are the muscles that hold a cup in place. some ben wa kegel balls, along with daily squats and crunches usually get suggested on here, but you'll need to be committed for at least 12 weeks before starting to see any change.

as for the Lunette: the small is medium soft stiffness, the large (which is what you would want is fairly stiff but probably not as stiff as your Keeper) there is no difference between the colours stiffness wise. the large lunette is slightly shorter in the body than your keeper and 2mms wider.

something like a large Yuuki in the classic stiffness (they do a soft too) could be a good option as it has a high capacity. it's a couple of mms wider than your keeper and 1mm longer in the body.

other options could be a large Fleurcup or a large si-bell but their in the 'soft to very soft' category.

compare the cups you're considering side by side with your keeper, depending on how much of the (very) long stem of your keeper you need for removal. http://menstrualcups.friendhood.net/t228-keeper-and-keeper-moon-cup-comparison-photos the photos in this album use a small keeper but you can get the general gist as the keepers are the same lengthwise, only the large is wider.
Ashatenlegspider on December 18th, 2013 10:49 am (UTC)
The differences in dimensions for various cups aren't huge, and it's entirely possible to just not have the tone to use one (your vagina hasn't just been stretched, the muscles have been torn and can't do their job like they used to). If you could feel the Keeper when it was in then there was something wrong with the fit and a different cup might be better, but there's no guarantee that'll it'll work until you've toned up a bit.

Based on what you've said I think you'd be better off finding an alternative to cups until you've built up the strength to use them again. I believe you can get cloth pads in all natural fibres, and maybe sea sponges would be ok (I don't know if holding them in can be a problem).
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on December 18th, 2013 01:32 pm (UTC)
As the others have said, toning your pelvic floor will help you a lot. Ben Wa balls, squats and crunches get the "double-thumbs-up" from me.

If you're considering the large Lunette, also look into the large Fleurcup. They have very similar dimensions but are shaped a little differently -- the biggest difference being that the Lunette is kinda pointy and the Fleurcup's base is more blunt. Also, the Lunette is a fairly stiff cup (but squishier compared to your Keeper) and the Fleurcup is quite flexible.

Both have higher capacities than your Keeper. And both are available in pretty colors as well as frosted clear. There is no difference in stiffness between the colors.

The Lunette can be bought from US distributors. The Fleurcup cannot. Fleurcup has been running promotions these last few weeks. See if you can catch a sale or promo-code if that's the one you pick.
teacupcake89 on December 18th, 2013 02:18 pm (UTC)
FeminineWear now sell Fleurcups woohoo! :D
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on December 18th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
FeminineWear has EXCELLENT customer service and is well liked by all here on this list. But it's cheaper direct from Fleurcup. Much cheaper if it's on sale or (if available) with a coupon-code. Either usually drops the price to 9.99Euros, which is appx the equivalent of free shipping.

www.xe.com is a good currency conversion site. It won't be exact but it will be close.
Megan: JazzHandshdsqrl on December 18th, 2013 04:06 pm (UTC)
Another vote for the large Fleurcup. I'd been using the Large Diva for a year and then during a period (hah, a pun!) of increased activity, the Diva just kept feeling like it wanted to slide right out. I switched to the Large Fleur and that's resolved the issue. It's a little wider, and has slightly more grippy sides (if that makes sense) so stays in place much better than the Diva ever did. I'm also getting almost no residual slobber or spillage with the Fleur - a bonus I wasn't expecting!
pineapplewhippineapplewhip on December 18th, 2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
My first two cups are keeper mooncup and also lunette. If I were you I'd try a Lunette large. MeLuna has many sizes too. (Beware soft can be hard to open, I can't do it, I like class or sport) I just ordered a large fleurcup, I hear good things.
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on December 18th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
the cup won't stretch you out more. your muscle tone issues just get more noticeable when you use it, much like one can be in a poor overall shape and feel it more while exercising.

something wider-bodied should help. it's not about the diameter but the shape, compare your keeper and the fleurcup, for example.
(Deleted comment)
Jennifer Monoteasy2begreen on December 18th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks! + follow-up questions
I find softer cups to be more comfortable (less pressure on my bladder), but the tradeoff is that they can be a bit trickier to get open. I don't think most people have issues getting the Fleur to pop open, however, as the rim is quite springy. The large Fleur is a pretty popular cup especially with people who have had kids.

Lightly used large Lunettes turn up fairly often on the mcsales board. This one might still be available for $18: http://mc-sales.livejournal.com/159846.html . Genuine Lunettes have the name and 'made in Finland' embossed on the inside of the cup. If you're not positive about a cup, you can always ask to see a photo of the mark, but as far as I know, no one is trying to pass off knock-offs as genuine Lunettes. There are no knock-offs that look very similar to the Fleur, which is cheap to begin with. I think I paid about 15 euros including shipping for mine.
tjs77tsa on December 19th, 2013 01:22 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks! + follow-up questions
They warn against knockoffs because they hurt their sales I personally own knockoffs and love them.
elisamba on December 19th, 2013 06:20 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks! + follow-up questions
Knock-offs can also be made in a country with slack or non-existent health standards. You have no guarantee regarding the materials or hygiene of the manufacturing conditions. I have read posts of people's knock-off cup giving off a "new paint" smell - VOCs have very real physical impact. Buyer beware :)
Serpent: neutralserpent_849 on December 18th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks! + follow-up questions
well, here's an article about tightness: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/a_few_choice_words_about_tightness (nevermind the teen site)
i guess the lack of tone just makes your vag "close" slower after removal.

i'd not get the large lunette, it's one of the stiffest cups apart from the keeper. those who can use it would likely have no problems with the keeper either.

here are some tips about popping open: http://menstrual-cups.livejournal.com/2618390.html i'd say out of all the soft cups, fleurcup users are the rarest to ask for advice on that.
justice_02justice_02 on December 18th, 2013 11:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks! + follow-up questions
I much prefer softer cups over firmer ones. I've tried the large Lunette, too stiff for me. I've also tried the large Fleurcup, the ridges were too pronounced for me and irritated me, plus, it leaked. It probably wasn't the right shape for me. Many people on this site sing it's praises though. Some have filed the ridges down smooth or turned it inside out. It might work great for you. The two cups I currently have the most success with are the large Si-Bell and the Natural Mamma. I have also vaginally birthed two children. I have a very mild cystocele as well. I am 37-years-old. I have no trouble getting either the Si-Bell or the Natural Mamma to pop open. I had to cut the stem off the Natural Mamma as it sits low inside of me cause it's a longer cup plus my cervix is probably lower because of the two children. I also turn it inside out because it's much smoother and doesn't irritate me that way. It's the only cup I've tried that I feel I can urinate completely with it inside. The Si-Bell is a close second to feeling like my bladder is completely emptied. I usually have to take cups out to urinate. If I don't, I feel like I have to push the urine out which I've heard isn't healthy to do. I haven't cut the stem off the Si-Bell. I don't need it to reach the cup, it just doesn't seem to irritate my vaginal opening. The Natural Mamma is only 20 dollars including US shipping on Ebay. It came in this really cute strawberry-zippered bag. Great deal! Currently love both cups. I know the Si-bell is a bit wider than the Natural Mamma. The Si-bell has never leaked. I do notice the Natural Mamma leaks a bit when I'm going to the bathroom, probably because I'm relaxing my pelvic floor muscles and it's narrower than the Si-bell. It doesn't leak at any other time though. I bought a video on Amazon called Hab-it pelvic floor. I don't use it as often as I should, but it seems very informative. I also bought some kegel weights. I need to look into the ben-wa balls as well. Someone put a link to some good ones on E-bay the other day. I think it was Kuradi8. Good luck to you in whatever you decide! BTW, the only soft cup I've ever tried that had trouble popping open, at least for me, was the soft Meluna. Again, all of this is just my experience. Yours may vary.
justice_02justice_02 on December 18th, 2013 11:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks! + follow-up questions
I hope Kuradi8 doesn't mind me taking this from a previous post. It contains a link to some ben-wa balls on E-bay.

I don't distrust most Amazon distributors.

I'm an ebay addict. If you are too: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ben-Wa-Balls-Stainless-Steel-/251119947543 Available in 2 sizes.

I'm a fan of plain stainless steel like those -- no gold plating or cloisonne enamel (etc) to wear off.

This is also not something I wrote, it is from Kuradi8's previous post:

Since you say the cup was constantly sliding down, your PC muscles might not be as strong (yet) as they used to be. And I don't think a different cup will change your results until you strengthen them.

There are many different kegel tools. Some are hands-on and require interaction -- such as wands or tethered "orgasm balls" or gizmos that look kinda like speculums. My favorite tool is just plain Ben Wa Balls. Start with ones that are about 1" and 3/4oz apiece and then graduate to those that are appx 3/4" and 1oz apiece. The idea is to insert them and keep them in while you walk around, do the dishes, etc. Start with 20 minutes a day and build from there. The longer you keep them in, they harder they'll be to keep them inside. That's what's working your PCs -- hands free, no interaction required. Do this at home. Be sure to remember to remove them (relax, cough and catch) before going out or using the toilet.

But it has recently come to light that kegel exercises are not enough. You will need to add squats (for the butt muscles) and lower abdominal crunches to your exercise routine. They all work together to tone vaginal muscles.

moonhoney925 on January 5th, 2014 04:37 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks! + follow-up questions
There is a lass in New Zealand, I think her company is called EcoMenstruals that sells cups and kegel balls. I have 2 children too and found that the kegel balls helped me as well.
okwaho_okaraokwaho_okara on December 19th, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)
I have no problem getting my large (and small) Fleurcup to open. In fact they usually do it Once o
okwaho_okaraokwaho_okara on December 19th, 2013 04:18 am (UTC)
Stupid touch screen. Accidentally posted before I was done. They usually pop open on their own after insertion for me. Once in a while I have to hook my finger on the rim and pull on it to get it to open, but, other than that, it's so easy for me :)
Ashatenlegspider on December 19th, 2013 10:26 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks! + follow-up questions
You said you'd want to cut the stem off any cup, so I assume yours sits low. That would help if you have any trouble with a softer cup opening since you can reach it when it's in.
squeezerguess on December 19th, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
deleted comment
Well, it appears that I've deleted my second posting -- dumb, frustrating. I have the text saved in an email, in case there's some interest in preserving the conversation faithfully. Here it is; I left it at around 2pm eastern time, after the first 8 responses.

So many responses so quickly! -- Thank you! -- This is fabulous.

A number of recommendations for both the large Lunette and the large Fleurcup; I will almost certainly try for one of those.

A couple more questions:

1. Intuitively, I would expect that a softer cup might stay in place better than a firmer one in general, because it would tend to flex with the vaginal wall rather than move past it. Does that seem true to experience? I can also imagine, as I've read, that a softer cup might be harder to pop into place than a firmer one, but I don't mind taking time to get the hang of it. (Or am I being foolhardy -- perhaps it's actually really technical?) How else does the softness impact the experience?

2. Since a silicone cup can be boiled, I was thinking of trying to buy a used one. But the Lunette website, for example, explicitly cautions against knockoffs. How can I guard against something like that if buying second-hand? What else should I be thinking about?

3. I'd love to get some Ben Wa balls. I think I prefer metal or glass rather than something like silicone. Any suggestions for particular kinds?

[Oh: and I think I may have overstated the bad tone of my pelvic floor muscles -- it's really not that bad. I'm not leaking urine (with very rare exceptions), no problems with intercourse, etc. Not to say I shouldn't work on it: I'm sure there's plenty of incontinence coming my way if I don't shape up.]

[Finally, as far as the fit/stretch of the Keeper: It's not that I feel it when it's there when it's in (unless it slipped down); it's more that I'm always so *relieved* to take it out. Like taking off a headband, or a snug pair of glasses, or a snug pair of tights, or even a pair of shoes. And once it's out, there is so much *space* left behind in there -- that would be the time to work on fisting, if ever. I do think it's stretching me out some, and I do think it's exacerbating the slackness problem a wee bit. Maybe negligibly compared to the magnitude of the problem as it is, and certainly not enough that I don't want to use a cup -- but enough that I want a softer one.]
End of comment.
squeezerguess on December 19th, 2013 04:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks again + update + more on Ben Wa?
I ended up ordering a large Fleurcup last night. There was essentially no difference in price between Feminine Wear and Fleurcup directly -- I wasn't able to find a discount for either. It looks like it will be about $28 with shipping.
(At ten cents a tampon in bulk, with pretty stingy use of ten tampons per period, it looks like a $30 cup makes good financial sense if I use it for at least 2.5-3 years. That's probably how long I used the Keeper successfully, so I basically just about broke even. Money is not the only consideration, of course.)

Thanks again, everyone, for your advice! -- very quick, very helpful.

Still looking for Ben Wa balls. That ebay link from justice_02 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ben-Wa-Balls-Stainless-Steel-/251119947543) looks very promising, but there aren't any reviews. Does anyone know for sure if those are good balls to get? I read reviews for some balls on Amazon (for example, http://www.amazon.com/Beginner-Stainless-Steel-Balls-SHADES/product-reviews/B008K28AKC/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0), and it really seems that one has to be careful -- people are complaining that balls came rusted, weren't a good quality metal, didn't have the internal weights, etc. Oh, and it certainly seemed that the 1-inch balls were much heavier than the 3/4 oz that justice_02 recommends -- which I guess they have to be if they do have the internal weights... So now I'm confused -- do I want internal weights, or don't I? And where can I get quality stainless steel balls? My local non-sleazy sex-toy store doesn't carry them...

I guess I'm co-opting my own post, and it's a bit off-topic for a cup forum anyhow, but my original question has been basically answered fully in less than 24 hours, so I feel like this is a lucky time to ask more questions.

Thanks again, everyone!
teacupcake89 on December 19th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks again + update + more on Ben Wa?
'SANTA' is the femininewear discount code and the Fleurcup one is '2014' but that one might have expired.

the cup will last for 5-10 years depending on usage, if you boil it or not etc.
juliiie87juliiie87 on December 28th, 2013 02:29 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks again + update + more on Ben Wa?
Could you explain where and how to use the coupon code on the fleurcup website ? helping out a friend. ;)