Making the switch from conventional period protection to menstrual cups is a big (and awesome!) step towards a better period and improved overall intimate health. Cups are one of the greatest things to happen to women’s periods since, well, forever. However, they’re new to a lot of people, so it makes sense that some think they’re a little strange. After all, cups weren’t even around when some of our moms were teenagers! So when you’re talking to your parents about cups, the number one thing to keep in mind is that they just want you to be healthy. You can reassure them with facts about how healthy menstrual cups are, but also give them your own reasons for wanting to try one and why they would be better for you specifically. Here are some things to remember when having that menstrual cup convo.
First things first!
Menstruation is a completely normal and healthy part of being a woman, and being able to talk about it without feeling gross or embarrassed is good for all of us. However, we know sometimes it can be weird talking about that stuff at first. If it’s your mom or sister you want to talk to, remember that she knows exactly what dealing with a period is like. So be open and upfront about your period and why you want to use a cup. She might not be convinced at first, but being comfortable talking to her is the first step on the way to getting your first cup and joining the menstrual cup revolution!
What do I say?
You might have an idea of what you want to say, but just like making a presentation at school, it helps to organize your thoughts. If you have to, bring notes! Showing that you’re prepared to have a serious conversation will show them that you have thought this through and have done your research.
- Explain what a menstrual cup is and how it works.
When you do so, make sure you’re using the proper words for a women’s anatomy – nothing ruins an adult conversation like the word “who-haa”! If you have trouble explaining it, you can prepare a little research to look at together. Check out the links below for the basics to get you started.
> Our “How does a menstrual cup work” article has both pictures and a great video that can help explain how cups work.
> If your mom is completely unfamiliar with cups, you can always tell her a bit about the history and show her this quick-start guide.
> Oh and one more thing: make sure you know (and can explain) how to look after your cup to make sure it stays clean and healthy. That way she knows that cups are completely safe to reuse, and that you’re responsible enough to keep it clean every time you use it.
- Talk about the benefits of menstrual cups
Why do you want to switch to a cup? The most important thing to say is that menstrual cups are healthier for you. You can explain that the best ones are made of medical-grade silicone, which means that unlike tampons they don’t have weird chemicals or gross fibers. Plus, it means they’re easier to insert, more comfortable and don’t dry you out or cause irritation like other menstrual products. Even better, you can safely wear them for up to 12 hours. Because they’re reusable, they save money (no need to buy boxes and boxes of tampons!) and the environment, because there’s no waste. It’s a win-win-win! Check out more reasons to switch to a cup here, and our comparison between tampons and pads.
- Explain why they’re the best choice – for you.
Think about why you really want to use cups – what are your main reasons? It’s good to show your parents the specific positive impact that a cup could have on your life. Are you at school for long hours because you play sports after classes or have a lot of other things going on? Do you find tampons uncomfortable or weird? Do pads make you feel really self-conscious? Why do you think menstrual cups will make it easier for you to handle your period? These will be different for every girl and woman, so make sure you can answer this question for yourself.
But how do I say it?
You can start the conversation by saying something like “Mom (or Dad, or Grandma – whoever you feel comfortable asking!), I’d like to talk to you about something personal. Can we go somewhere private?” Make sure you have some time to chat without interruptions, so that both of you can focus.
When you have their attention, calmly state that you’d like to try a cup, and would like to talk to them about why. Present your case in a mature, organized way, just like you would with a presentation at school. If possible, have your list of articles and websites ready for the two of you to look at together.
Let them ask questions, and if they need to, give them time to think about it. If they say “no” at first, ask why and make sure you listen to the reasons – maybe you can give a counter-argument. But make sure you don’t whine. If you act like an adult, they’ll treat you like one. And if they say no, you can always come back to the discussion later, or ask your doctor to help by talking to them with you.
How else can I prepare?
Now that you know what you’re going to say, and how to say it, it’ll also help you to be prepared for what they are likely to say to you. That way, you can be ready with a response.
Age and Size
Some parents might be concerned that menstrual cups aren’t right for growing girls. There are a lot of cups out there, designed for different types of users. The best cups for teenagers tend to be smaller and made out of super soft, flexible silicone so they’re more comfortable for your body. But every woman’s body is different, so it’s mostly about finding the cup that works best for you.
Virginity and the Hymen
This is another concern that some parents have, but menstrual cups do not affect virginity. Many people think that losing your virginity means that the hymen, the tissue at the entrance to your vagina, has been broken. In reality, this is wrong – there is a myth that the hymen completely covers the entrance to the vagina, but this isn’t true. The hymen has always had an opening or two in it to let vaginal fluid and discharge out of your body (or a penis in), and as you get older, it changes in size and shape. It’s through this hole that you insert a menstrual cup. (You can learn more about the hymen here). So don’t worry! The only way you can lose your virginity is by having sex. Menstrual cups have nothing to do with it.
There you have it – all you need to nail that cup conversation with a parent. Oh, one last thing: remember that talking about menstrual cups and periods doesn’t have to be uncomfortable! Periods are perfectly natural, so it’s important to be able to talk to your parents, friends and especially your doctor about this stuff. Talking to a parent about period protection is a good way to get comfortable with your own period and how you deal with it. You know cups will make your life easier, so now you just have to convince your mom it will too! And who knows – maybe you’ll even convince her to switch to a cup as well.
Please note that advice offered by Tips For Healthy Living may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.