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Most of my friends, or at least the portion of friends that I have discussed periods with, use pads. They're uncomfortable with putting things "up there," and it's their body, so I respect that. At the same time, I get a twinge of sadness because I realize that I used to be like them, too.

Using tampons (the ones with applicators) was a small step into self-education, but in using them, there was an unshakable notion of conditioned aversion that had been sprouted from the cultural negativity and shame of vaginas. Sure, applicators make things far more convenient in situations such as camping or hiking, but as to everyday use, why? Why are we scared to put our fingers near our vaginas, so much that we use a plastic tube so that our fingers won't come into contact with them?

When I got a DivaCup, I forced myself to get over it. I poked around my vagina with my finger and felt my cervix and gradually became more comfortable with my body. I'd like to chalk it up to half perseverance, half bravery; with these came small milestones and small victories, like being able to finally insert the cup. I feel like I learned so much more about my own body and I am now far more comfortable with myself. Looking back, the difference in attitude is indescribable.

I'm so glad that I discovered menstrual cups. To anyone who's starting out, don't give up, it's so worth it. To anyone who's been doing this for a while, let's celebrate the existence of cups!
 
titaniumtrinitytitaniumtrinity on January 27th, 2015 03:58 am (UTC)
Sometimes it is still a little annoying to me that using a cup is so involved, and I'm like "eh I don't want to go mess around with my fingers in my vagina, I want to go to bed." Even though at this point I'm not ashamed or uncomfortable about my body. So I don't think preferring applicators or whatever necessarily means someone is ashamed or uncomfortable with their body, sometimes it's just utilitarian, people want less mess. It's complicated. I posted here about my feelings after finding my cervix for the first time. And the reason I say it's complicated, is that even though I felt so much better and more at ease having done it, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of promoting "connecting with your body" as some kind of touchy-feely feminist necessity. Especially because it can sometimes turn into "I'm so enlightened, unlike all those sheeple who are afraid of their bodies." I'm not saying you're doing this, but it's something I worry about falling into myself, and I think you recognized it in your first sentence.

But the other thing I figured out was that beyond the abstract stuff, there are real concrete benefits of being more "in touch with myself." I found that using applicator-less tampons (o.b. is the only brand I know of), and because I knew where my cervix was, I had much more control inserting them, and so was able to place them correctly, and they were much more comfortable and leaked less. I think the same could be said for using cups, I now have a much easier and (physically) comfortable way of handling my period, and that's a real concrete benefit! I guess what it comes down to is that I have a knee-jerk negative reaction to anything too close to "you should do this because that's the correct way to be a liberated woman* " and I prefer "hey if you try this you might get actual good stuff out of it."

Sorry for long rambling comment. I'm so glad you feel more comfortable with yourself! And save for a few details, I had the same experience :)

[*not everyone with this type of body is a woman, and for those people, the gender-related issues with "getting in touch with your body" are a whole other can of worms, which I'm not qualified to say much about]
trejoytrejoy on January 27th, 2015 07:16 am (UTC)
Yeah, I used Natracare digital tampons before discovering menstrual cups. Bought them at natural food stores because they contain no bleaches or chemicals. I hated applicators with a passion.
arylisa on January 27th, 2015 03:17 pm (UTC)
Very well said. Thanks for writing this!