My name is Michelle Shimmy and I am a professional pole dancer and instructor, and owner of the Pole Dance Academy in Sydney, Australia. Towards the end of last year, I half-jokingly made a post on facebook about how my proudest achievement of the year was learning how to use my Lunette cup, which is (for the uninitiated) a menstrual cup; a reusable cup for people who get their periods.
You can click on the screenshot below to view my Facebook post and read the 117 comments from other pole dancers sharing their experiences too!
I say half-jokingly because to be perfectly honest, I found it quite challenging to figure out how to use it to begin with. I didn’t know how to fold it, I wasn’t sure if I’d inserted it correctly, I had no idea how far was too far, AND being a pole dance instructor - I was paranoid about leakage. The whole experience made me feel like a teenage girl again, struggling to learn how to use tampons.
Nevertheless, I persevered. I tried it for one whole cycle, but just couldn’t get the hang of it. I was having to attempt insertion multiple times before I finally felt like it was in the right place. I decided it was too hard, and in spite of really wanting to switch to the cup, I gave up.
Then late last year, I found myself in a bind. My period had started, and I had no tampons at home. Deciding that I was not in the mood for the bunched-up-toilet-paper-in-my-undies waddle to the convenience store, I thought what the heck - I’ll give it another whirl.
And this time round, it was a breeze! I used it for my whole cycle. I even performed at a pole event while using it.
Everything a pole dancer needs!
Summer Pole Camp - the ULTIMATE test
Then came the ultimate test. As luck would have it, my period started the first day of the Pole Dance Academy Summer Pole Camp, which is a crazy intense week of pole workshops, acro/handstands workshops, lap dance workshops, photo shoots, and then to top it all off, A Midsummer Night’s Dream - the performance night at the end of camp.
I used the Lunette cup the entire week - I pole danced, inverted, did handstands, cartwheels, backbends, splits - you name it. I gave that cup a very rigorous testing of its capabilities, believe me! And to top it all off, I performed while using it as well, in a tiny little bejewelled baby pink costume.
Wearing a tiny costume and my Lunette cup!
And guess what? NOT A SINGLE MISHAP. Not even one. It did not leak.
I was so proud of myself I boasted about it on Facebook, and then to my surprise I was contacted by Lunette asking if I would like to do a collaboration with them. I was so excited about my achievements that I said I would like to detail my experiences in a blog.
The Low Down on Flow Town (sorry haha)
So now that I have figured out the Lunette cup, I am a complete convert. Let me give you a list of reasons why:
MONEY: The average Australian in the menstrual age bracket will spend over $12-$19K on menstruation related things during her lifetime - WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY! Save your money for your home deposit, ladies.
A Lunette cup is reusable and last up to ten years, and retails for between $55-70.
You only need to change it 2-3 times per 24 hours. Personally, I only needed to change it in the morning when I woke up, and then again before bed. To start with, I emptied it more often than I needed to (because I didn’t really trust it), but I soon worked out that twice a day was enough for me.
Less waste going to landfill - on average, we use between 11000-17000 tampons or pads each over the years we get our periods.
No chemicals, bleaches or chemicals - just medical grade silicone, for a healthy happy kitty.
Convenience - I never have to ask strangers for tampons or make late night dashes to the 24 hour convenience store.
No tampon string hanging out your pole shorts while you’re pole dancing! In fact, you could walk around butt naked while wearing a Lunette cup and no one would ever know you had you period.
My tips for using the Lunette cup
The first thing you need to understand is that it does not go in as far as a tampon. It took me a long time to work this out. It actually sits quite low, but the muscles of the vaginal wall hold it securely in place.
Trim the stem - if you can feel the stem once it’s inserted, then you need to trim it more. This will take trial and error, because you need to get it the right length for you body. It should be long enough that you can use it to pull the cup out, but not so long that you can feel it.
To insert, sit on the toilet or stand with a foot up on the bathtub or whatever is nearby. Fold it in half, then fold it in half again. It goes in easier if you run it under the tap so it’s wet. Once it’s in, it wants to spring open immediately. I use my thumb to hold it closed and slide it in a little further.
Once it’s in, check the base of the cup with your finger to see that it has expanded back to it’s original shape. If it’s still folded, it’s not in right. Just move it around until it expands.
To remove it, sit on the toilet, locate the stem, and bear down, like you’re trying to poop. Once you’ve got it, you can squeeze the base a little bit to break the seal, then it comes out and you can empty it in the toilet.
Wash it in the sink with water, or if there’s no sink you can just wipe it off with toilet paper and then re insert it. You can also get disposable wipes to clean it, but personally I just rinse it.
At the end of your period, boil it for ten minutes in a big pot of boiling water and then it’s good to go again! Make sure when you boil it that it doesn't touch the saucepan or it will melt.
And she lived happily ever after
There you have it! All you need to know about my adventures with the Lunette cup. I wish I’d made the switch earlier. If you’re hesitant because you’re worried about leakage, don’t be. As a pole dancer and instructor, I’m about as active as they come, and if it can withstand my lifestyle, then it can probably handle anything. The benefits are huge - both in terms of your bank account and the environmental impact, and it’s well worth putting the effort in to see if it’s right for you.
Good luck with it!
Michelle Shimmy xxx
PS If you've tried to cup, I'd love to hear your experiences with it! Comment below :-)