Myths are pervasive, and these are two we hear often at Ruby Cup.
Do menstrual cups stretch you out? Is vaginal tightness important for sexual pleasure?
We understand your concerns because, while these types of myths can cause anxiety at any age, they especially hit hard if you’re young and haven’t had penetrative sex yet. So if you’re a first-time cup user, it’s natural for you to worry and why we’re keen on busting the myths surrounding menstrual cups and your physical health. No matter where you are on your menstrual cup journey, we want to empower everyone who menstruates with the right information to make the best choices for their body.
So, if you’re old enough to bleed, then you’re old enough to learn the truth about what a menstrual cup is and how it works so you can enjoy a safe, fuss-free period while keeping your vagina healthy. Read on to discover:
- All you need to know about your vagina and menstrual cups.
- If a menstrual cup can really stretch you out.
- If vaginal tightness plays a role in sexual pleasure.
- Why understanding your pelvic floor is important.
- The freedom of using a reusable menstrual cup.
Looking for a safe, body-friendly period product? Try a menstrual cup. For every Ruby Cup purchased, we donate another one to a person without access to safe menstrual products. Get your Ruby Cup now.
What you need to know about your vagina…
Your vagina is an elastic tube made of layers of vaginal muscles and tissue. When sexually aroused, your vagina expands and lengthens. And since the vagina is stretchy enough to allow a baby to pass through or insert a penis or sex toy into it, then it can also accommodate a menstrual cup.
… and the material that menstrual cups are made of
Menstrual cups are specifically designed to be body-friendly so that they feel comfortable when you insert them into your vaginal canal and when they open and rest against your vaginal walls. Their smooth and soft rim creates a gentle suction to hold your cup comfortably in place.
Most menstrual cups are made of flexible, medical-grade silicone, which bends to move with you and your body as you go about your daily activities. At your normal body temperature inside your vagina, the cup’s soft silicone will mold to your vaginal canal, so there’s no friction.
This means that once you know how to use a menstrual cup and create a seal, you won’t even be able to feel your menstrual cup.
Related post: Menstrual Cups and Sex: Are They Compatible? Period Sex Tips
So, do menstrual cups stretch you out?
No. Because your vagina is elastic, you can’t stretch it out permanently, not by frequent sex, not by a menstrual cup, not even by childbirth.
Some menstrual cup users worry that as it becomes easier for them to insert their menstrual cup over time, it means they have stretched out their vaginas. This is not possible. Instead, once you get used to the sensation of inserting your menstrual cup and find the most comfortable way for your body, then it will be easier. The easier it becomes each time, the more relaxed you will naturally be (more on this later).
However, childbirth, old age, and weight gain can all weaken your pelvic floor, a group of muscles that form the bottom of your pelvis and support your organs, such as your uterus, bladder, and bowels. Your pelvic floor muscles are the muscles you would use to stop your pee mid-flow.
They’re also the muscles that can tighten during an orgasm. Because your pelvic floor is made of muscles, you can strengthen it with special exercises and physical therapy if childbirth does weaken your pelvic floor.
What does vaginal tightness have to do with sexual pleasure?
Absolutely nothing. So let’s dispel yet another myth: vaginal tightness doesn’t mean better sex for you or your partner.
When you’re sexually aroused, your vagina doesn’t tighten. It opens, expands, and stretches to accommodate a penis, a sex toy, or a finger. It may feel fuller because the sensitive tissues swell with increased blood to heighten your pleasurable sensations, but this does not cause any tightening. When you’re no longer sexually aroused, your vagina will return to its original shape and size.
Let’s also put our vaginas into perspective with a comparison. A penis also expands and shrinks, yet no one gets upset. Why? Maybe because a penis is entirely visible, whereas the vagina is mostly invisible. Because we can only see the vulva, the external part of the vagina, and the vaginal opening, we can’t see the inner workings of the vagina when having sex. Only in this last century have we understood how vaginas respond to sexual arousal.
Also, let’s remember everyone’s body is different. Just as our ears or noses come in all different sizes and shapes, so do vaginas. Your vagina’s shape, size, and expansion depend on your libido, too. Sexual enjoyment is personal and will vary from person to person. Some like sex fast, others slow. You may prefer only 5 minutes of foreplay, while another person prefers 30 minutes. Only you know what you like.
Explore what makes your body feel good. Whether through masturbation or mutual intimacy with a sexual partner, you can learn what feels right for your body. Talk with your partner about what feels good and what they are doing right, rather than worrying about vaginal tightness. Sexual pleasure is less about someone’s physical attributes and more about creating deeper communication and intimate connection between two people.
What you need to know about pelvic floor muscles
Now that you know vaginal tightness has nothing to do with sexual pleasure, let’s understand your pelvic floor better. As we said before, your pelvic floor muscles, and not your vagina, can lose strength with childbirth, age, weight gain, or chronic constipation. However, physical therapy can restore a weakened pelvic floor.
Sometimes, these pelvic floor muscles can tense and make your vagina feel tight. For example, if it’s your first time inserting anything it may feel painful or like you’re stretching or damaging your vagina. But you’re not. You may be nervous and tensing your pelvic floor muscles, which will tighten your vagina, causing discomfort and making menstrual cup insertion difficult.
How to relax your pelvic floor (and make menstrual cup insertion easier)
If it’s your first time inserting a menstrual cup, a good first step would be to learn how to relax these pelvic floor muscles. You can try tensing the muscles first to know how to relax them. Follow these steps to practice tensing and relaxing your pelvic floor:
- Breathe in deeply through your nose and keep your pelvic floor muscles relaxed as you breathe in.
Breathe out slowly through your mouth as you gently squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Think about lifting your vulva (the outer lips of your vagina) up and away from your pants. Other people think about squeezing as if they were peeing and wanting to stop the flow of urine. This is a contraction.
- Keep your pelvic floor muscles contracted until your muscles start to get tired (this should take around 3 to 6 seconds) while you breathe out.
- Breathe in again and release the contraction to relax your muscles.
- Take 6 to 10 seconds to relax your muscles completely. It’s important that you relax between each contraction (don’t hold your breath). Always relax your muscles for as long as you were contracting them.
Congratulations, you just did a Kegel! You may have heard that there are benefits to exercising your pelvic floor and this is true. We know that doing Kegels regularly reduces the chances of leaking urine accidentally, increases blood flow to your pelvis, and some people claim improves their sexual pleasure. Plus, it’s a form of exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere, and does not require any special equipment or expensive gym memberships!
Besides practicing how to relax your pelvic floor, you can also make inserting a menstrual cup easier by creating a better angle for inserting your cup. For example, instead of sitting on the toilet, try standing while raising one leg or squatting down. Or you can apply a small amount of a water-based lubricant to the rim of the cup to help it slide in more easily as well. You can also experiment with different folds, like the punch-down fold, which creates a smaller insertion point to slide your cup in easier.
Tips for a healthy pelvic floor
You’re never too young to start practicing Kegel exercises. Here are some reasons to start doing Kegels today:
- Kegels are a great way to lower your risk of later problems like leaking urine.
- They can help you recover more quickly after a vaginal delivery.
- They potentially improve back pain.
Some people say they enjoy sex more when they start doing Kegels.
Whether a strong pelvic floor can boost your sex life, it’s worth knowing how to tighten and relax your pelvic floor. You can check out our full article on why you should start doing Kegel exercises now, and, in addition to Kegel exercises, use these tips to keep your pelvic floor in good health:
- Try squatting instead of sitting while pooping (prop your feet up on a footstool so they’re slightly higher than 90 degrees).
- Practice core workouts regularly.
- Eat a high-fiber diet to prevent constipation.
Keep in mind there’s also a slight chance of vaginismus, an involuntary contraction of your pelvic muscles, preventing vaginal penetration. If inserting your menstrual cup is too difficult and you think you’re suffering from vaginismus, don’t panic. Vaginismus is treatable with the proper medical advice and exercise. Just consult your healthcare provider for more information and help.
Menstrual cups won’t stretch you out, but they will expand your freedom
Now that you know you have a resilient vagina and menstrual cups won’t stretch you out, there are many benefits of using a reusable menstrual cup, like Ruby Cup, versus disposable tampons or pads.
A menstrual cup:
- Respects your vaginal flora. A menstrual cup’s soft medical-grade silicone won’t irritate your skin, cause infections, or dry you out like tampons and pads.
- Is safer than tampons. Because menstrual cups collect your menstrual blood instead of absorbing it, they have a lower risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) than with tampons.
- Allows you more freedom. No more worries about leakage. You can wear a Ruby Cup for up to 8 hours for a leak-free period.
- Can last for years. For example, a Ruby Cup can last you up to 10 years.
- Is a healthier choice. It’s free from dioxins and bleach, commonly found in tampons and pads.
- Will save you money. One Ruby Cup is equal to 3 or 4 months of tampons or pads.
- Means convenience. Menstrual cups come in different sizes, designed for heavy periods and light ones.
Saves the environment. One person who menstruates uses approximately 240 tampons or pads per year compared to one menstrual cup.
We know it takes time to get used to anything new, and menstrual cups have a learning curve. When you buy a Ruby Cup, we give you a 120-day money-back guarantee. You can exchange your cup for a different size or return it, no questions asked.
Since we also know a menstrual cup is life-changing, for every cup you buy, we donate one to a person in need. With our Buy One Give One model, you have the chance to change 2 lives, yours and the life of another person who menstruates.
Use a menstrual cup with confidence for a worry-free period
Myths like, “do menstrual cups stretch you out,” can be scary and deter you from trying a menstrual cup. But once you know how your vagina works, you realize a menstrual cup can’t stretch you out. So kudos to you for finding the information you need to make educated choices about your physical wellness and sexual health.
To help you remember the key concepts, and help debunk these myths for friends and family, here’s a quick recap:
- Your vagina is a combination of elastic tissue and vaginal muscles, which can stretch and expand when you’re sexually aroused, having intercourse, or in childbirth, then return to form.
- Myth #1 debunked: because your vagina is so elastic, menstrual cup use can’t stretch you out.
- All vaginas are different, just as your eyes, ears, and nose are unique to you. Some vaginas will be shorter, others longer, some more narrow, others wider. And no one size or shape is right or wrong, normal or abnormal. That’s why we create different size cups as some people will need larger cups, others smaller. It’s all good.
- Myth #2 debunked: vaginal tightness doesn’t increase sexual pleasure for you or your partner. This is a myth leading you to believe that the more sex you have, the looser your vagina will become. Not true.
- Your pelvic floor is more important than you think. It supports your bladder, bowel, and uterus, and keeping it healthy and strong will prevent health issues later in life.
- Doing Kegel exercises regularly is a good way to keep your pelvic floor toned.
- Menstrual cups are body-friendly, reusable menstrual products that can give you more freedom during menstruation than disposable products. And they won’t stretch you out.
Do you have other menstrual cup questions you’re unsure about? Let us know! Send us your questions on Instagram.
Can a menstrual cup stretch your vagina?
No. Because your vagina can expand and stretch to accommodate a penis, your finger, a baby, and sex toys, it can also make room for a menstrual cup. When you know how to use a menstrual cup, you’ll understand how flexible it is and how it moves with your body, not against it.
Can a menstrual cup damage your cervix?
Menstrual cups cannot cause damage whether you have a low or high cervix. If you use a cup that’s too big or firm it might:
- Push against your cervix, causing discomfort.
- You might scratch your cervix during removal.
Use a medium-firm cup, like Ruby Cup, and learn how to measure your cervix to find the right cup size.
Do menstrual cups hurt for virgins?
Virgins can use menstrual cups without pain and without tearing the hymen. Using a menstrual cup will hurt only if you tense up during insertion, causing your pelvic floor muscles to contract and making insertion difficult. So, if it’s your first time, remember to relax, try a comfortable insertion position, some water-based lube, and take lots of deep breaths.