Since I usually post here to ask questions of the hivemind, I thought I'd for once post about something that might or might not have some utility to others and their ladybits.
So let's talk about mooncups. You know, these things. (Kinja won't let me attach pictures, alas.) There is lots and lots of material on the web on mooncups, but most of it seems to be written with all the fervour of Converts Who Have Seen The Light, so I thought I would make a list of both the pros and the cons as I see them. All that I am about to say is based on four years, one vagina, plus discussions about several other vaginas.
+ Ecological and economical in the long run. I paid about $35 for my cup, have used it for four years, and foresee using it for a couple more. It looks kind of crummy (which could be mended by putting it in an oven or exposing it to sunshine), but works well still.
+ Unlike tampons or pads, I don't have to resupply -> I'm never caught short, because I just keep the one cup in my purse at all times. I spend a lot of time in rural communities that do not always have pads or tampons available, so having a cup is helpful for that reason, too.
+ More air for your genitalia. I never had issues with yeast infections, but some say the cup can reduce those. I did sometimes get unpleasant itchiness with pads, or some drying up with tampons, and haven't had either of those issues with the cup.
+ Comfortable fit. See cons for the flipside, but once the cup is in correctly, I don't feel it at all, whereas tampons would sometimes feel pokey.
+ Long wear-time. I have low-to-medium bleeding, and could go (and have gone) a full 24 hours without emptying my cup. My friends with very heavy periods need to empty theirs every few hours, but they say it's still less than they did with a pad or a tampon. You can choose the size of your cup, which helps, too.
+ Less worry of leakage. I seem to have a knack for leaking whether I'm using a pad or a tampon. I still sometimes have this issue, mostly if I position the cup poorly, but it's less common.
+ You can have intercourse while wearing it. I've never tried this, but my friends have. You need to cut off the "antenna", but once that's done, they report neither party even noticing its there - except for one gruesome instance of it popping out, spilling blood over both participants. Which brings us to...
- Problems with putting the cup in. This was the biggest piece of false advertising I came across when first looking into the cup. For the first few months, I would frequently spend a good few minutes grunting in the bathroom trying to get the cup in or out. Now, I mostly don't have problems, but it still sometimes takes a bit of adjusting. I've used the cup while I was sexually active and while I wasn't, and there is a direct correlation between penises going inside my vagina and the ease with which the cup goes in. Some say the cup can be used by virgins, but I know my hymen and ladybits would not have allowed it.
- A corollary of the above: the need to touch your vagina. I kind of consider this a pro, but I know many people are kind of icked by it. Point being, since there is no whatchamacallit like some tampons do, you need to use your fingers to get the thing in.
- Need to see your vaginal blood. Again, ickier for some than for others. I kind of like knowing what my body is expunging during my period, but you definitely need to deal with it more than you would with a pad or a tampon.
- Clean-up. Firstly, it needs to be said that I've been in some portaloos with the mooncup and survived, but in general it is very useful to have a water source inside whatever space you are emptying the cup in. The cup will be messy, your fingers will get messy. Those with foresight bring wipes; those without hobble awkwardly to the sink outside the cubicle and try to rinse their hands before anyone notices.
- Accidents. The problem with having a cup full of blood inside you is that on the rare occasion that it crumbles in on itself (has happened to me once in four years, and once to my friend in six), it's not a drop or two, it's a flood. Not nice.
In sum, I don't consider the mooncup perfect, but it still works better for me than the alternatives. Let me know if you have any questions, or share your views!