My Menstrual Cup Success Story by comedian Jess Beaulieu
When I was a teenager my vagina was highly problematic. It was excessively moody. It was extremely mysterious. It was extraordinarily microscopic. It felt like there was a brick wall blocking the almighty entrance to my nether regions. For a long while I wasn’t even sure that I actually had a vaginal canal because it was impossible to access and operate and… pleasure. Now, that I’m more familiar with the ways of my own anatomy I realize that for me pleasure has NOTHING to do with the vagina and EVERYTHING to do with the glorious clitoris. Who needs penetration when you have cunnilingus, am I right, MY BODY?
But I digress. I desperately wanted an emotionally stable, totally straightforward, “easily get a penis inside” vag. I also was interested in being able to insert a tampon or better yet a menstrual cup (although at the time I had no clue that such period silicone cylinders had been invented yet). For years and years and years I wore disposable pads (and remained a virgin) into my early twenties. Eventually I discovered after a trip to a gynecologist that the reason I had such trouble was because I had something called a septate hymen, which if you aren’t familiar is a shit ton of hymen (the medical term for it). There is specifically one thick band across the opening of the vagina, which is what the brick wall feeling was all about. The mystery had been solved. My vag wasn’t moody or microscopic. It was simply heavy on the hymen.
So, I did what anyone else with a shit ton of hymen does. I had it surgically removed. At least now I can say I lost my virginity to a doctor. That’s pretty cool, no? But, even after I officially popped my surgically-removed cherry (at the ripe old age of 21) I STILL somehow had issues jamming a wad of cotton up in there. It could have been nerves and fear and trauma from my virginity days of yonder. It could have been my lack of experience with non-penis objects. It could have been that my downstairs was protesting chemicals and bleach and synthetics doing damage from the inside out without me evening realizing it.
Whatever the specific problem was, I only managed to launch an O.B. into lady space a few times and this happened mostly ‘cause I was travelling and walking around a ton and the potential of swimming in a pool was afoot. Thus, pads weren’t really a possibility. But, other than those select instances, I slipped into a majorly uncomfortable, gross feeling, loud sanitary napkin (a term I despise). No matter how old or educated or sexually liberated I became tampons still frightened me. What if I got toxic shock? What if I couldn’t find the string? What if my uterus SWALLOWED IT WHOLE AND THEN I GAVE BIRTH TO A FREAKY TAMPON BABY 9 MONTHS LATER?
It was all too much for me. I accepted my miserable fate as a forever disposable pad user and went on with my life. That is until I started a podcast about menstruation called The Crimson Wave and had guest after guest recommend the menstrual cup to me. “What is this cup of menstrual you speak of?” I inquired, incredulous that any other product could possibly be compatible with my troublesome bits. But, after the third friend of mine said “JESS. You of ALL people should give it a go since you hate tampons and aren’t a fan pads and have a PERIOD PODCAST”. I mean, they weren’t wrong. As the saying goes “If you don’t like something, change it”. I had chosen to follow the less known saying “If you don’t like something, continue using it until you’re 26-years-old and also until you die”. But, I thought I would switch things up and get wild and crazy and try something new. What did I have to lose? My padded crotch was already in a state of suffering and it couldn’t get any worse than that.
So, I picked up a menstrual cup at a health food store. Although the cost was more than disposable products I figured if this happened to work out it would last for five more years and that equals a buttload of savings. But, although I was super excited about the potential of discovering a more vagina friendly option, I was still scared that this option would fail me like the others had. So, I left the cup in the sealed box for 4 cycles. Every month I looked at it skeptically and shake my head and sulked over to the washroom to remove the adhesive of ANOTHER sad pad to attach to my underwhelmed underpants.
Then, one period, I made direct eye contact with the cup, threw caution to the wind and yelled “Screw it! I’m taking the plunge” which happens to also be what I said the first time I saw a penis. I ripped open the box, read the instructions, tried out a fold that I hoped was the fold for me, closed my eyes, spread my labia lips, lifted my leg, took a deep breath, and took that bloody plunge. To my surprise, the cup slipped right in and not only did it slip right in I barely felt it inside me. It was the none-feeling feeling that I was always told my friends experienced with tampons. It was everything I dreamt it would be and I was over the moon. The cup filled throughout the day and I totally forgot this incredible product was functioning within me. 12 hours later, while relieving my bladder, I said “Oh ya! I should… empty it now I guess?” And I did. I pushed a bit, grabbed the tail, yanked firmly, and again it slipped right out. It was as smooth as vagina butter. I dumped the blood in the toilet, gave it a wash, and right back in it went. No nerves. No fear. Just bliss.
That was two years ago and I’ve never looked back. The cup WAS my savior and continues to be. And the best part about it is that I can still receive oral sex with it inside. Who needs penetration, when you have cunnilingus, am I right, MY BODY?
Want to read more? Go to http://msjessbeaulieu.tumblr.com
Pictures from http://www.shedoesthecity.com