Yes – virgins can use a menstrual cup or tampon. The hymen is often thought of as a closed “door” that is “broken” when a person has intercourse for the first time. The hymen actually comes in various forms and virtually all of them have openings of varying degrees.
Will a menstrual cup break your hymen?
By the time your period begins and you’re considering using a tampon or a menstrual cup the hymen may not exist at all or has worn/torn away naturally through various exercises and self-exploration. The bike riding, skateboarding, and gymnastics you did? Those things may have already have done the trick. That’s not to say some of the hymen doesn’t remain, but you won’t know until you look with a mirror. You can also inquire with your care provider at your gynecological exam.
The concept of virginity is especially problematic when it comes to assigning this as a milestone of “breaking” the hymen when many have so little of it remaining when they do have intercourse for the first time. We throw the word “virgin” around a lot but it’s not a physical change as much as it is a cultural idea. The videos by Adam Ruins Everything on the Hymen Myth and The Virginity Fraud TEDx Talk are both excellent resources for more on “virginity.”
Is it okay for teens to use a menstrual cup?
As for using a menstrual cup when you are a young teen and as a virgin, this can be done as long as you’re comfortable. There is a certain level of maturity to using a menstrual cup or tampons. Leaving any product in longer than you should is a health risk. For menstrual cups, you should leave your cup in no longer than 12 hours to avoid an increased risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome. While the risk is low, cups are not risk-free. 12 hours is a long time but if you are forgetful by nature you may want to set alarms on your phone for morning and night to check your cup.
Tips for your for the first time:
- Try the cup when you’re not on your period. This makes the “mess” factor a nonissue and allows you to focus more on the mechanics of folding and inserting the cup stress-free.
- Try the Punch-Down fold first. This fold has a narrow point of insertion similar to the size of a tampon and has a place to hold and keep folded.
- Try a silicone-safe lubricant on the cup. This is especially beneficial if your hymen is present in full or in part. It will make the cup go in easier. Try only applying the lubricant to the rim so that you can continue gripping the cup easily.
- Try various positions while inserting. Most people prefer placing a leg up onto a toilet seat or bathtub edge. You can try squatting or even lying down. Angling your body can help and in time you will find the best position for you.
If things are uncomfortable or painful stop and take a break. You can always try again in a month or two or ten. Your menstrual cup lasts up to 10 years so it will be there for you when you’re ready.
It can be scary!
Even adults are sometimes nervous about trying a cup for the first time. I’ve met very few people who weren’t in my travels. Yet nearly all of them say they’re so glad they did. Using a cup is worth the trial and the bonus is that you become more familiar with your body. It’s an empowering experience and I wish I’d known about them in my teens.
Not sure which cup is the best to start with? Try taking the menstrual cup quiz from Period Nirvana! The Period Nirvana quiz features multiple teen menstrual cup outcomes.