It is the one-year anniversary of this post, which originally ran on my old blog and brought me much Tumblr-based fame and fortune.
Too long have our vaginas been living in the Dark Ages. There is technology. Technology that can make your vagina’s life so much richer and more hopeful. Here is a list of must-have accessories for your vagina.
Content note: Here follows detailed discussions of vaginas, periods, sex and peeing in alleys. If you are not okay with these things, do not read. Please do not come back to me and be all EW MARIANNE TMI ABOUT YOUR LADY PARTS. Also, curious penis-wielders are welcome, but bear in mind that we will be delving deep into the Mines of Moria. You have been warned.
Branded as either Diva Cup (stupidest name ever) or Moon Cup (so magical! so mysterious!), this is a cup for holding your menstrual blood in your vagina until such a time as you are ready to dispose of it! I own the Diva Cup, although nothing on this earth will ever induce me to call it by that name. I call it my Blood Cup. Because it makes me feel like a Viking. Humour me.
Blood Cup is roughly three hundred million times better than tampons.
Firstly, we all know the Universal Law of Tampons. When you are not on your period, you are a walking cornucopia of tampons. Every little zippy compartment in every single bag you own is full of tampons. Your bathroom cabinet is a magical rainbow of tampons, bursting with all the colours of the absorbency spectrum! Whenever you’re rummaging for breath mints or lip balm or something, you’re all damn-where-is-it-I-know-I-had-it-earlier-oh-here-it-is-WHOOPS-THAT’S-A-TAMPON. You have so many tampons that you could confidently wear white jeans for the entire duration of the zombie apocalypse.
As soon as your period starts, so does the Great Tampon Drought. They have disintegrated and been absorbed into the lining of your bag. All the boxes confidently lining the shelf in your bathroom are inexplicably empty. The nearest pharmacy is five miles away, and now you’re going to have to bravely stuff your underwear with toilet paper and walk there. In the snow.
As soon as your period is over, you will find a stash of tampons under the sink and be really irritated that you now also own an over-priced box of the kind without the applicator, because that’s all they had in the Late Nite Shop. Don’t worry though, by next month they will all have disappeared again!
This mysterious feast-and-famine cycle does not happen with Blood Cup, because Blood Cup is a single item. A single reusable item. You put it in a little pouch and then keep it about your person and that’s that. Diva Cup provides a little pouch, but it’s hideous, so I use a satin drawstring thing that once contained a gift of jewelry, and now appropriately houses the symbol of my fertility.
- It saves money. So much money. Mine cost $35. That’s it. That is all my menstrual needs taken care of for the foreseeable future.
- Environmentally friendly!
- Greatly reduced risk of infection. If you are like me, you spent most of your teenage years freaking out about Toxic Shock Syndrome. And not without good reason, TSS is serious stuff. There are no known links between menstrual cups and TSS or any other nasty vaginal infections!
- You can leave Blood Cup in for up to 12 hours (depending on your flow) as opposed to the recommended 8 hour maximum with tampons. This is awesome, because you have less of those “Shit, how long has that been up there?” moments and you can generally avoid changing while you’re out and about. Also if, like me, all you want to do when you’re on your period is SLEEP, it means you can do this for more than 8 hours at a time.
- Some people think Blood Cup is gross. I think a cup of blood is no grosser than a chemical-laden wad of cotton soaked in blood. Blood Cup is slightly more inconvenient because you have empty it, wipe it down and stick it back up, but I had become efficient at this process by my second cycle. I also now have a far better understanding of what my period looks like, to the extent that I would immediately notice a significant change, and could describe that change accurately to a medical professional if I felt all was not well downstairs.
Blood Cup is awesome and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The concept has been around since the 1930s, so I’m kind of baffled it’s only catching on now. But yeah. Get one. It’s a no-brainer: healthier, cheaper, more reliable and better for the environment.
2. The Shewee
I don’t own one of these yet. I was vaguely aware of their existence and I heard Sarah Millican talking about them and I was all THAT COULD BE MY LIFE and I ordered one online.
I have a complicated relationship with penises, to be sure. But the only time I have ever felt blind and unrepentant penis envy is in one of the following situations: camping, festivals, outdoor sports, long walk home after ALL the beer, dodgy public bathrooms and drunken nights out when Burger King have security on the door to keep people like me from using the facilities!
How I envy my male friends, urinating proudly into the night, tall and dignified and fully-clothed. Slipping away for a moment and even as you turn around to address them, they are sauntering back out of the alley, zipping themselves up with the beaming smile of the truly relieved. Oh, to be able to piss with poise and nonchalance. I am not advocating for constant public urination, but we have all been in that place where the stabbing pain in your bladder totally annihilates your faint concerns about decorum or making the city a nice place.
When you don’t have a penis, urinating in public is a full-scale military operation. You scout for the ideal location. You ask your friends to watch your back, guard the potential entrance points. You crouch, darting and scurrying to find cover, checking your sight lines, identifying possible hazards (street lamps, nearby windows.) I like to pretend I’m in Gears of War to make my purpose seem more noble, if only for a moment. Because, in a moment, I’m going to be squatting with my bare arse exposed to the world, shuffling away from the growing pool of urine between my feet and hoping (belatedly) that I had the foresight to leave the house with tissues. It is an art, but not one that any woman should ever have to perfect. Those days are over now.
I ordered the Shewee Extreme, meaning it comes with an extension pipe. This is apparently for if you’re doing an outdoor activity like skiing, which involves lots of bulky clothing. Which is legit, but that’s not what I’m going to use it for. Like Sarah Millican, I’m going to use it to show off. I’ll let you know how that goes.
ETA: I now actually do own a Shewee and I am still very pro the entire concept of Shewees, I’ve only actually used mine twice in the last year and one of those times was trying it out in the bathroom at home. I’ve had a few moments where I would have happily used it but did not have it on my person. This is because I rarely take it places with me because I very rarely leave the house with the express intention of peeing in public. But, you know, I also haven’t been camping in a while. Make of this what you will!
This is an app for your vagina.
I don’t like everything about Period Tracker. I dislike the way it tries to be coy. It appears as on your phone labelled as the demure “P Tracker” accompanied by an icon of a big red flower. Seriously, who is that fooling exactly? “P” Tracker + Big Red Flower is only mildly harder to put together than 2 + 2. My period is the least cartoony floral thing in the world, and I would prefer if the design of the app could reflect that.
At its most basic level of functionality, you literally just tell it PERIOD ON and PERIOD OFF as relevant. P Tracker then charts your cycle on a calendar, and as it gets to know you, it will tell you your average cycle length and when you should expect to be fertile. I find this useful, because whenever I go to get my lady bits checked out, the doctor is like “When was your last period?” and I’m like “Um… a few weeks ago, I guess?” and when she’s like “Well, okay, how long is your cycle?” I’m like “Um… longish?” and then she’s like “Okay, so you’re irregular?” and I literally just gaze at her blankly, because I DON’T KNOW. I used to think I was irregular because I never bothered to, you know, actually count. But according to P Tracker, I’m not, I just have an unusually long cycle which means my period falls later and later each month. This would have been useful information to have approximately every single time I convinced myself I must be pregnant because I was “late” again.
However, if you really like PT and want it to be your best friend, you can also entrust it with any number of the awful symptoms you experience before and during your period, such as cramps, acne, bloating, constipation, mood swings and eating everything you can lay your hands on within a ten mile radius.
You can also tell PT when you’ve been “Intimate”. Once again, I disapprove of PT’s coyness and would prefer if I could just tell it when I’ve had sex (and also possibly whether it was good or not, since we’re supposed to be besties!) When I think of being “Intimate” with someone, I picture myself sprawled across their lap in my rattiest pyjamas, watching a stupid movie and I keep talking over the movie, but then I get annoyed when I miss bits, but I can’t touch the remote because my hands are covered in delicious Doritos, so I keep making my partner rewind at my demand. I’m pretty sure my girl P to the Tracker does not want to hear that shit, so I generally just tell it if and when there was a penis in my vagina at any point.
In any case, your vagina is important. It deserves its own day planner.
I debated about including this one, since many vaginas are perfectly happy with a good old-fashioned DIY handjob, thank you very much, and others don’t really feel the need to masturbate at all, which is a fine and probably time-saving place to be in your life.
However, if you have ever considered getting a vibrator or wonder if a vibrator might be more fun than your hand or would really quite like to try a vibrator but don’t really know where to start or feel in any way vibe-curious, I have this advice:
GET A VIBRATOR.
I will not recommend a specific vibrator, because each vagina is a special snowflake and will enjoy different things. If you are in the US, I would recommend you get one from Early To Bed, which is a wonderful sex shop focused on female pleasure and they do things like Starter Kits and How-To Guides for anyone who is a bit daunted by the whole prospect. Also, I don’t own one, but apparently the official animal of single women is no longer the cat, it’s the Rabbit.
In the history of sexuality, there has been a distinct lack of emphasis on female pleasure. The female orgasm is viewed as some Everest of Manly Achievement that needs to be scaled in the bedroom and not, you know, a female orgasm. This is why many heterosexual women lie about orgasms; they feel that their partner’s manfeelings are more important than their own pleasure.
We all know the male comedian bit about figuring out masturbation at age 11/12 and literally thinking they had discovered the secret of the universe and sharing it with friends and thus the Never Ending Story of Wanking began. Female masturbation is a much more mysterious subject. Ladies often don’t discover it – and certainly don’t discuss it – until later in life. This often means a lady cannot communicate what she needs from her partner, because she does not know herself. Vibrator = hugely helpful not only for better masturbation but a better sex life overall!
Also, the simple knowledge that I have a vibrator at home has prevented me from making some truly awful decisions. Decisions named Steve who smell faintly of tacos and have inadvisable facial hair and think my name is Marina. Your own (clean, familiar, cosy) bed is infinitely more appealing when there is a vibrator or two stuffed under the mattress. Get a vibrator.
Kegels are good, they’re really easy, everyone should do kegels etc etc, but OMG DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET BARBELLS FOR YOUR VAGINA!?
Although, I honestly don’t know why I’m surprised at this point in the list. If your vagina can have a day planner, it can definitely have its own exercise routine. If there was a way to add the exercise routine TO the day planner, my vagina would be set for life. Although, now that I think about it, if my vagina has an exercise routine AND a day planner, my vagina is officially a more functional person than me. My vagina might realise that I don’t really have my shit together and it has kind of outgrown me as a person. Maybe my vagina will want to go on a break. And I can’t have that! I need my vagina for emotional support!
I know, I know, I’m being selfish. I just need to work harder at being the best person I can be for my vagina. It puts up with a lot. It deserves better. And so does yours! Accessories won’t fix everything, but they are a good place to start! Let your vagina know you appreciate it. Get your vagina an accessory today.