From my vagina straight to @lenadunham by special request. If you do not want to read about blood or vaginas, please excuse yourself. Erryone else, welcome to Getting to Know Your Flow™ 101, broadcasting live from some strange territory between @wikiHow, @globalcitizen, and @hellogiggles.
  1. First of all: What qualifies me to pen this here Getting to Know Your Flow™ 101?
    Hi. I'm Lily. I'm 31 and I've had my period for 18 years. When I got my period, my mom had a rite-of-passage ceremony for me under the 100 year-old jacaranda tree in our backyard. I've taken every known herb, tincture, antifungal, and antibiotic for issues of the vajay. I have had outpatient surgery for it. I have had thousands of hours of sex. My mom taught me that if anything was off down there, it was symptomatic of some larger psychoemotional malaise. I took heed. I want a healthy vajay.
  2. The average woman bleeds for 2,470 days in her life, using about 12,000 tampons.
    That's about 7 years of menstruation, were it to be uninterrupted. (Stats courtesy, which makes a sub-par menstrual cup, so don't get any ideas.)
  3. 627,720,000 pounds: The weight of feminine products used by women in the U.S. in a single year.
    That's six times the weight of the Titanic, discarded into landfills or septic/sewage systems. (Again, stats courtesy
  4. Tampons and pads are absorbent, which means they're a two way street: You absorb their pesticides, chemicals, and bleaches, and they can cause you irritation and dryness.
  5. There are two kinds of menstrual cups: Silicone and rubber. I have used both.
    I have used a cup for 8-9 years. I started with The Keeper, which is rubber. After a few years, the smell of rubber was bothering me a bit, so I changed to the Diva Cup, which is silicone. I prefer silicone.
  6. But is it clean?
    I wash my cup out with hot water and soap every few hours when it's in use, and/or whenever I take a shower. It feels very clean to me, because I monitor and wash it whenever it's emptied. I'm not concerned about the blood sitting there for a few hours--it can stay in its home for another minute. Nota bene: Unlike tampons and pads, if my flow is very light I can leave a cup in for 24 hours without any symptoms at all. It's probably not ideal, but it won't cause TSS or anything else.
  7. But is it gross?
    Call me crazy, but I am seriously into monitoring my situation down there. My mom had ovarian cysts and endometriosis and endometrial cancer and I feel it's my responsibility to stay apprised of what's happening with The Flow™. I like seeing if there's a lot of clotting happening, and assessing the color and density of the blood. ALSO: Having your fingers up in there will help you get to know your equipment so you can have better, stronger, longer orgasms and greater responsiveness.
  8. But does it hurt?
    In short, no—it shouldn't. There is a science to getting your cup in and out. Read the instructions and follow them. Make sure you fold the cup properly upon entry and exit. Also make sure you push the cup far enough inside you that it can open up fully. When inserting, think about putting it in parallel to the ground (at a slight upward angle) instead of shoving it straight up. When removing, fold it as much as you need in order to remove it smoothly and empty its contents.
  9. But does it leak?
    Sometimes yes, but no more than I experienced with tampons and pads. During the day, you shouldn't have any major leaks if it fits properly. All cups come in two sizes: Simply read the guidelines and find the one that makes most sense for you. At night, I fashioned a makeshift pad from a soft, absorbent cloth that I wash every morning (as fast as washing my hands). This absorbs any leaks that may occur overnight.
  10. But what do you do with the blood?
    You discard it in the toilet, or in the shower. Or, if you are a very strange breed of human being like one of my ex-boyfriends, you use it to fertilize your garden. I feel really uncomfortable telling you all that, but it is the lord's honest truth and now it's out. I call upon the power of the List App as safe space. 🙏🙏🙏 Oh yah: Got so embarrassed I forgot to say I don't recommend doing that. Not that it doesn't work. But just. Don't do it. I did it for you.
  11. So why should I use a cup?
    To recap: You bleed a lot. You spend A LOT of money on menstrual products. Your vagina is your sacred honey pot of love. You want to minimize waste. You want a healthy vajay. You want to streamline your life. You're kind of (or maybe a lot) DIY, and would like to DIY with your own body. You want to be more in touch with your vajay. You sort of see your body as an art project. You want to have a more comfortable period. You want to say things like sacred honey pot of love.