Lena Cup Review: Four Months Later

The Lena Cup Challenge

Four months ago I decided to try the Lena Cup, a highly rated and well-reviewed menstrual cup.

Now that it’s been a little while I wanted to jump back in and give some secondary thoughts and feelings on using a menstrual cup over tampons. If you want to read my initial reasons for giving a menstrual cup a try (see: I thought they were gross!) read my original post.

Lena Cup

It’s basically like not even having a period at all

One of the biggest inconveniences I experienced before using a menstrual cup was specifically related to blood itself. Going to the bathroom multiple times per day to deal with tampons.

For those who don’t use tampons (or those who don’t have menstrual cycles) tampons come in a variety of sizes. The sizes generally relate to blood flow. If you’re in a heavy-bleed month or if you’re in a heavy-bleed day, you’re going to need a bigger tampon. It’s going to absorb more blood which means you’re not going to quickly soak through it. There are also medium absorbancy tampons, light tampons, regular tampons, extra lite tampons, and all other varieties depending on the brand you choose to go with.

Riveting stuff.

If you know yourself pretty well, and your body is pretty predictable, you may be able to select the right absorbency pretty easily. Sometimes that isn’t the case.

Sometimes you choose a heavy absorbency tampon and then your uterus says just kidding and you have to pull a barely-absorbed cotton swab down and out of your vaginal canal. At other times, what was once a light bleeder, suddenly turns into a heavy bleeder, and your lite tampon suddenly soaks all the way through, down to your jeans, out through your chair.

Of course this is a logistical problem as well. You’re going to want to have a selection of tampons with you at all times so you can have what you need. It costs a lot of money and creates a lot of trash and is generally pretty unpleasant. Some women acknowledge this problem in advance and use liners of some kind (thin absorbant sheets that stick to your underwear) to absorb any likely spotting.

Note that I didn’t actually think tampons were unpleasant until I started using a menstrual cup. I used to be all about tampons! That’s because I was thinking about my options in terms of pads vs. tampons. Broadening my view to pads vs. tampons vs. cups changed things.

Long-Lasting and Flexible

The Lena Cup, like other menstrual cups, can be inserted up to 12 hours. If I wake up at insert it at 6am that means that I don’t have to take it out until 6pm. That means no fuss during my workday. When I get home I can dump it out, put it back in, and not have to think about it again until the morning.

Since the blood just all goes into one central cup, you never have to think about how much you’re bleeding. If it’s important to you to know how much you’re bleeding, you can begin evalutating how much collects over a 12 hour span, or less, if you prefer to dump it more frequently.

Some color fading was disappointing

Some color staining and fading happened to the Lena Cup in the first four months, which was disappointing. Even with proper cleaning, care, and storage, the it’s not the bright perky color it was when I got it. I’ve seen other menstrual cups make an all black version which I thought was funny but now kind of makes sense.

Lena currently only sells a variety of springy colors like pink and turquoise, and white, which must be a hot mess after three months. (But it doesn’t really matter.)

Lena Cup

Continuing to carry tampons with you, anyways

If your cycle isn’t super predictable and you don’t want to always have the cup on you, you may want to carry around tampons or pads as a backup system.

I always keep a few tampons of different sizes in my bag just in case someone asks me for one in the bathroom. It would suck to have to say no to someone who is coming to you in a desperate situation!

Four Month Conclusion

It’s a little mind boggling that there isn’t more widespread use of menstrual cups. I think a lot of people share the same stigmas that I had against them. That’s the primary reason I decided to try them in the first place, and it revolutionized pretty much everything.

Have you given the cup a try? What do you or don’t you like about it? I’m curious if using a cup has impacted your life in any significant way. Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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Going to Bed at The Same Time as Your Partner

J and I always go to bed at the same time. It has become a habitual synchrony. I pop my routine like vitamins and the next day, for having done so, I can tell the difference.

There’s something I’ve come to especially enjoy about being a morning bird, though. The quiet of the morning is different than the quiet of the night. The quiet of the night has a buzz like phone lines along the highway, an undercurrent of electricity. It’s too loud and too heavy with expectation. The morning presents itself as an empty slate.

It’s 9:00pm and I’m in bed. I’m in the middle of a mystery novel I’ve been trying to finish for months. (Tana French, In The Woods) J is reading the same series, four books down the line. I lean over and make guesses about the killer. He plays a poker face. I’m pretty sure I’m on to something.

I flop the same leg over every time. He sleeps on his right side. I sleep on my stomach with one leg up, stretching my hips as I sleep. Sometimes we spend an hour talking. Sometimes it’s hot and I’m grumpy. Sometimes we play the-bed-is-lava. Almost every night we make up a song, replacing the actual words with the name of our cat.

One of our alarms goes off, usually around 6:00am. If it’s his that goes off first my body

click click click

and shoves him like an automaton.

If it’s my alarm that goes off first, I usually jump halfway up in the air, the volume still turned all the way up from the night before.

With our life in sync like this I think about all of the little moments we share that we would otherwise miss. Our time alone together is already so limited that those extra few moments together can make all the difference.


Do you go to bed at the same time as your partner? Why or why not? What are some synchronicities that you love in your relationship?
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Weekly Update: Working, Working, Working, Crying on my Laptop

Working from 8am-5pm means that I’m up at 6am and home at 6pm. I spend most of my day thinking about how excited I am to write, but when I come home, the only thing I can muster the energy to do is sit on the couch and stare at the television.

When I was in college people used to ask me how I managed to have so much time to write. At that time I think I was pushing out about 600 posts per year.

The answer is that I was an ignorant little noodle nut. I also didn’t really think about what I wrote before I wrote it. (I still don’t really do that, but at least now I’m a little more fastiduous.)

Here’s what’s been going on:

We watched Wonder Woman and it was good

Do you think to yourself oh my god it’s 2017 and people lose their shit when a women does something successful (?) It’s great that women in the arts are finally becoming more recognized for their success and talent…  it’s also kind of bewildering to realize how far we have left to go. Does not compute.

Best Friends Getting Married

One of my very best friends got married and I had the privilege of being a bridesmaid for the first time! I also got to wear fake eyelashes for the first time. 10/10 would do again (surprisingly.) I also got to meet another long-time internet friend which just added to the excitement of the whole affair.

Gratuitious Photo of Our Cat

This is Button, she turned one this May. Last night she alerted us to a very quick and scary looking spider. While we were in the process of debating who would kill it, she scaled the bookcase, booped it on the head, chased it around for an hour, and eventually killed and ate it. I’ve never been more proud of anything in my entire life.

Fountain Pen Obsession Grows

I don’t know if you want to go down this rabbit hole (because it can be expensive) but I added a fourth pen to my pen family while I was in Canada this month. A Lamy Fountain Pen (medium nib) with a dark blue ink. It writes so incredibly smoothly and is not very expensive (~$25 on Amazon) so it’s a good introductory pen for newbies. It takes place of my previous favorite, the Pilot Metropolitan. I plan my more lengthy article-style posts on pen and paper so it helps to have a pen worth writing with.

I hope everyone has a very happy Monday. Remember, Monday’s are crap, so it’s within your right to pick up a four-shot latte Give your barista a smile because, y’know, it’s Monday for them too.


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Happy Pride, and: “Straight Pride” is a Misnomer

Pride month (June) has become an overarching celebration for all LGBTQ people. If you attend a pride event you’ll probably hear the word queer a lot. During June we celebrate diversity and the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

Listening to Dan Savage the other day in the car (which my new tedious drive home has given me the time and space to do) I heard him chat a bit about straight pride. The usual, predictable, yawn-worthy “but what about straight pride?” retorts that come about every spring.

I really like Dan’s response, because he tells listeners that straight people should have pride in their sexuality. Not in being straight, but in having the choice to be or not be as sexual as you want to be.

Your typical heterosexual cis-person doesn’t need to fight for any of the same rights that someone who is trans or gay has needed to /continues to fight for, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t different themes of identity struggle or identity celebration.

All people – regardless of gender or sexuality – can struggle with the free and open expression of sexuality. Having pride in your sexuality means celebrating you the way that you are.

It’s not actually “straight pride”

Calling it straight pride is a misnomer. We celebrate gay pride because of the struggle that non-heterosexual people have had to go thorugh, and continue to go through. It’s not about saying “hey, listen about how excited I am about being gay!” Straight people don’t need to validate the existance of their identity/sexuality because literally no one gives a shit. (Therefore, dedicating a month to celebrating how amazing being straight is would be a real dick move.) During PRIDE we remind ourselves that the LGBTQ community shouldn’t have to validate themselves, either.

But sexuality is still something we can feel proud about!

When celebrating identity and sexuality we can use that opportunity to break down the boundaries of what it means to be heterosexual. We can think more critically about what sexual orientation means and how it (and the boxes that define things like heterosexuality) limit us.

We can also use it as an opportunity to better understand why sexual expression is still under attack (see: abstinence only education, the war on women’s bodies.)

Take the month of June to focus on your LGBTQ friends and family. There will be an extra-ton of resources available to you! Read more about current issues and see where and how you can get involved. Carry froward this work forward as the year goes on.

After you get a handle on that, take some quiet time to think about what your own sexual identity means, and how you can better own it.

How are you celebrating PRIDE this month?


Have a question or need advice about sex or love? Submit here and I’ll answer it on my blog! P.S. I’m building a newsletter for my blog. You’ll get extra content just for email subscribers…  and if you’re reading this, you’re the first to know about it! SIGN UP HERE!

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How To Make Friends When You’re 28

We were at a house party with mutual friends and I was hovering around the chip table. The moment you went to the bathroom I leaned over to Shelly and said “I have to befriend her.”

This is what friendship looks like when you are 28. It’s tactical. Play one is always the same. You lean over to a mutual friend, your partner, your cat, and you whisper with awe: I have to befriend her.

You’re going on and on about all of my favorite hobbies and all of my favorite sports teams and all of my favorite foods and in my head I’m hopping back and forth clapping, in my head screaming “me too me too me too” with a basket full of vocal fry.

Instead I nod, curtly.

Yes, sports, mmhmm, you enjoy discussing sexuality with your peers, yes, that is the good time these days. 

I make a move to the bathroom and vomit all of the stress chips I just ate. Everyone brought Kettle sea salt & vinegar chips so when it comes up its like a salty, tangy wave of regret.

I come back and you’re standing in a new group of people and there’s no easy way for me to make my move into the circle. The kettle chips are wide open so I go back and start eating them again so I have something to do with my hands.

HOW TO BEFRIEND A NEW GIRL-FRIEND WHEN YOU’RE 28 AND MOSTLY COMFORTABLE WITH YOU WHO ARE BUT ALSO STILL SLIGHTLY FEEL LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IS MORE AMAZING AND MORE WONDERFUL AND SLIGHTLY MORE ADULT THAN YOU

  1. Say “I have to befriend her” out loud.
  2. Develop a comprehensive list of everything you have in common.
  3. Don’t act like a total spaz when they say “I absolutely love this [one cult movie that you thought you were the only person in the world that saw it and now, here she is, your dream girl, and now that gay marriage is legal you’d totally propose because this might be it, this is probably it] – “
  4. Oh yeah, I like [that thing] too. We should totally [that thing] sometime.
  5. NOW WAIT UNTIL SHE OPENS HER MOUTH TO AGREE AND WALK AWAY.
  6. She’ll be like oh shit this girl is so cool we have one thing in common and she wants to hang out with me maybe I need to rebalance my friend stock portfolio but she just walked away like how could she do that she must not be very desperate for friends. Oh god should I be desperate for friends?
  7. ONCE SHE BEGINS QUESTIONING EVERYTHING SHE KNOWS TO BE TRUE, WALK BACK UP, HAND HER A COLD BEVERAGE, STAND LIKE FONZIE BUT IRONICALLY.
  8. At this point she will now awkwardly ask you to hang out and it will sound like shes asking you first even though you already asked her.
  9. Tell her it’s a great idea, you’d love to hang out, it’s so nice of her to ask, let’s exchange numbers.
  10. HOLY SHIT YOU HAVE A NEW FRIEND.
  11. Don’t text them immediately. Wait like three days and then send them a gif of a bear riding a motorcycle. Type out “just like last night, so crazy” and right when you see that read receipt, PRESS SEND. Then throw your phone in a lake.
  12. You’ll see her by chance at the market, wave and say “Hey… You’re so and so, right? We should totally hang out!” DONT MAKE PLANS FOR LATER. You’re only available RIGHT NOW.
  13. Get her drunk. Tell her all of your deepest darkest secrets.
  14. Wait for her to tell you hers.
  15. OH MY GOD THAT IS SO INSANE YOU ARE SO BRAVE WOW. AMAZING. I CANT BELIEVE WE CLICK SO WELL.

Invite her to your wedding. When you have your first born, call her Auntie so and so. Send her a card in the mail once a year for no reason that just says “you’re a real sweetheart.”

ERrea erraa erra (rewinding sound)

REAL GUIDE FOR MAKING FRIENDS WHEN YOU’RE 28

  1. Find friend. Proclaim with confidence “you’re my friend now.” Don’t overthink it – you’re awesome!
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The Way The World Will See Us

Me: The imposter syndrome is kicking in again

Therapist: Talk more about that, what does it feel like?

Me: I CAN’T DO IT, THEY’LL FIND ME OUT! I’ve been learning one way of doing things, but it’s the wrong way! It’s been the wrong way all along! I’ve tricked them into hiring me. I’m no good. I’m a no good cat.

Therapist: And?

Me: This big project is hard and scary. It’s big and hard and scary.

Therapist: You know why it’s big and hard and scary?

Me: Why?

Therapist: Because it’s a real job. It’s an adult job. It’s a big, real, adult, scary job task. And you’re doing it. You’ve been doing it all along.

Me: I need a progress bar. A little progress bar above my head. So I can look at the little aqua blue filling to see I’ve made it this far, I guess, I’ve made it all that way, I guess I can make it a litte further. 

Therapist: You can’t trick someone into thinking you’re better than you are.

Me: Are you totally sure, though?

Therapist: You know how to do all these things because you’ve been doing them, you’ve already been doing them, you’re a person that does them.

We go on a walk, I see some dandelions. I look over to them. Look at all those wishes. I imagine in a second, running down the hill. No, rolling down the hill. Maximum impact. I’ll roll them down all at once like a steam roller of wishes. And every wish would be the same. Later on our walk, Jason tells me that all he saw were weeds, and that I must have some special way of thinking.

I tell him not to put the plant in the car because it will be lonely.

I tilt my head at the cat and she tilts back.

I tell my therapist she must have an awfully long day listening to people, six or eight of us, all day long, a very long day. She gives me a funny smile.

Isn’t this just the way everyone is?

We’re working on writing a book, and I think of another one. I want to write a book about the way you see me and how it has made me see myself.

 

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PicoBong is 20% Off! Ooooh.

If you weren’t totally enticed by my last toy post (I get it, change is scary) here’s something a little more traditional.

PicoBong toys are 20% off on SheBop until May 31. The toys available through SheBop right now are all minimalistic in style, made with a smooth silicone. They run on AAA batteries.

If you’re looking to up your toy game, here’s a footstool.

On another note, PicoBong has the weirdest name and weirdest marketing I’ve ever seen. At first glance it looks like they might actually be selling pool toys. Whatever floats your boat – har har.

Check it out and let me know what you think. Are you a silicone convert? What about wood, metal or glass? Ditch the hard plastic or jelly, you’ve got options!

 

She Bop: a female friendly sex toy boutique for every body

Want help picking out a toy? Submit your quandary to Ask Suggestive and I’ll share my thoughts on the blog.

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Weekly Update: In one week I turn 28.5.

I got a new job. An 8-5 job. Baby’s first 8-5. Baby’s first full day. Baby’s first office. I buy a pair of booties and I write while I wear them. I write in just my booties. My brown suede booties. I tell myself I am professional. I’ll buy a button up. I’ll keep my phone in my bag until it’s time to catch the bus and when someone asks me what time it is I’ll look at my watch. Quarter to five. Quarter to six.  Press pause on me, hopping on transit, one leg on and one leg off, measure with string my angles, my legs, my leap. I am a girl in motion.

I’ve been accused of romanticizing things. I accuse myself. Je m’accuse. I am a professional. People ask me what I do and I say I’m “in” something. I’m in sales. I’m in marketing. I’m business. It’s like you’re fucking the shit out of your career. Boom. Boom. Boom.

I got a manicure the other day and I had never felt more in tune with the way my fingers articulated. The clickity clack or the way the pages turned or how my ring slid delicately up and down the shaft, knuckle to knuckle. I’ve been accused of sexualizing things (par tous) and this I admit. That’s what she said. Now my polish is chipped and my fingers chapped and everything smells of day old salmon. These are the beautiful things. Not the way you feel when you leave the salon but the way you  look at yourself after a hard week.

Saturday our cat turns one. She has changed my life. She is always there. My little constant. She doesn’t ask for much and she spoons with me like I’m cutlery. Maman de chat, papa de chat. Une famille.

Next month we go to Canada to see one of my very best friends get married. I’m trying to find a bridesmaid dress. I think that I might very well cry.

I am 28 and everything is happening all at once like a rainbow that comes out before it’s even stopped raining. Look at me, look at me, I contain multitudes.

 

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How to Read The News as a Modern Woman

  1. Subscribe to The Skimm!
  2. Light your inbox on fire. What are you doing. I googled “summarized news for women” and The Skimm is the first thing that came up. The tagline is “making it easier for you to be smarter” which is basically the equivalent of using a pink pen for her. Why can’t women actually read the fucking news?
  3. And furthermore, I know that you saw The Skimm come into your inbox this morning and you looked at it like “Oh, the news” and maybe you clicked on it but more likely you just archived it like you have for the past five months because it clogs up your inbox and reminds you of how little effort you’ve actually put into caring about the dumpster fire that is America.
  4. You have to start caring about this dumpster fire. This dumpster is yours. You know in some recipes where it says “add one tablespoon of cold water” ??? no one is telling you that you need to hold the firehose. Just do the political equivalent of adding one tablespoon of cold water to this hot mess.
  5. I mean, I don’t have anything against The Skimm personally aside from it dumbing down the news with the explicit purpose of making it easier for the “modern woman” to read. I get it. You’re busy and it makes it easy to stay informed when you have a million other things going on.
  6. But delete it anyways, and read the actual news.
  7. You’re going to need this. Here. It’s a kit to help. A box of tissues. Ibuprofen to help with the swelling. A dash button that when pressed will signal to amazon that you would please like to buy a copy of Ivanka Trumps “Women Who Work” book. You click it several times. You need kindling. Our Republican overlords are making you feel the deep bone chill, that same chill you haven’t felt since you saw 1984 in theatres for the first time with your grandfather. He’d seen the war. If he were alive now, he wouldn’t read The Skimm.
  8. Subscribe to an actual paper, or two, or three. Pick a mantra. Something like “mainstream media” or “fake news” or “alternative facts” – a mantra that reminds you that politicians have pretty successfully and fairly quickly convinced a large population of people that being raped is a preexisting condition.
  9. Your blood pressure is spiking. You start to think “oh god, I miss The Skimm.” Fill a glass with water. Tell yourself it’s empathy. This is also called a placebo. Drink it fast before you can talk yourself out of it. A lot of people voted for these miserable sacks of shit. A lot of people. And what’s more likely? That they’re all miserable sacks of shit too? Or that something is amiss. Something is so very amiss. Something has gone wrong. And they yearned so deeply for something that they believed that this fucking guy could give it to them. That’s a special, deep kind of yearning. The “I sold my soul because it was literally the only thing I had left to bargain with” kind of yearning. And in this case, empathy is important. Because they royally fucked over a lot of people. They thought that it was the right thing to do.
  10. Give yourself a break. Not the “I’m going to subscribe to an easy-reader news-newsletter because the news really stresses me out” break. But while you’re pouring over this hot mess, I dunno, get yourself a latte. Or a nap or something.  It’s a lot of work being a modern woman.
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