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If you are a person who gets a period, you can probably use a menstrual cup. Unlike products that absorb your flow, you insert a menstrual cup into your vagina to hold all the blood, and empty it a few times a day. Like most things that are period-related, this will all come down to your own personal comfort. Die-hard cup lovers love the eco-friendly and wallet-friendly aspects of the cup. But cups do come with a learning curve, and not everybody wants to go through all that.

The most convincing argument in favor of switching to a menstrual cup is the fact that it’s reusable. That’s a plus for your wallet, and for the environment. The average person who menstruates spends between $40 and $70 a year on pads or tampons, and those pads and tampons often wind up in landfills. (Before you feel any additional and unnecessary period shame, know that in the grand scheme of your personal waste, menstrual products are just a small sliver.) Menstrual cups can be used again and again for years, eliminating that waste and ultimately saving you money.

An additional advantage of the menstrual cup over pads and tampons is that you need to carry only one with you, not a handful. This makes cups popular among backpackers and other travelers who worry about carrying too much weight. Instead of having to keep a handful of pads and tampons around, you need just one cup. Plus, menstrual cups can hold up to an ounce of fluid at a time, which means they can handle far more than even the heaviest-duty tampons.

Lots of menstrual cup advocates also claim that using a cup eliminates the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. That is not true, and there was at least one confirmed case of TSS in a woman using a menstrual cup. But it’s nearly impossible to study the true risk of menstrual cups because they are still used by a relatively tiny slice of people and TSS is so rare. “There’s no reason to think that the risk would be lower or higher than with tampons, and unless we get a lot of case reports we’ll never know,” said Dr. Jen Gunter. Think about it this way: Less than one percent of people use a menstrual cup. And the chances of getting TSS is less than one in 100,000. Which means that trying to study TSS in menstrual cup use is incredibly hard because you’re trying to study something that could show up only in a tiny sliver of the population. So if you’re switching to cups purely out of fear of TSS, don’t. That said, just like with a tampon, it’s important not to leave a menstrual cup in for too long. You shouldn’t leave any cup in for more than 12 hours.

The dealbreaker for most people when it comes to menstrual cups is the learning curve. “The first few times you change it you might want to do that where you don’t worry about leaving it like there was a serial killer in there,” said Dr. Gunter. “I’m good at taking things in and out of vaginas, and the first time it was like WHOA!” It takes a while to get used to inserting and removing the cups, and even for pros, using a cup involves handling your menses more than pads or tampons. The cup catches and contains menstrual fluid, so using it means removing the cup and pouring out the fluid, then washing the cup. Some women I talked to said they came to really appreciate and enjoy this part as a way to better understand their own bodies, but that might not be something you’re into. So if the idea of closely interacting with your own menses grosses you out, the menstrual cup isn’t for you.

If you’re comfortable with blood and inserting things into your vagina by hand, and you’re willing to put in some work to get used to using something, and you’d like to save money and reduce your impact on the environment, a menstrual cup is a good choice.

This guide will help you find where to get started based on the layout of your vagina.

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What is up with lingerie shops thinking that size 10 is plus size, when it's six sizes below the American average? Madness! Well, here's a shop for those looking for sexy things sizes 12 to 28! Happy shopping, beautiful!

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When your friend is dating someone awful.

Excerpt: Controlling people make their victims second-guess everything. The person’s self-preservation instinct is still there, it’s just been stunned by the incredible speed and highs and lows of the relationship, but sometimes it does come through with “I can’t believe that Not Okay thing happened!” but by then the person can’t trust what’s real and not real. “Is the high of being in love real? Are the Not Okay things real? Are my friend’s warnings real? Since I don’t know what to believe and I want the love so badly, I choose love.”

Deep inside your friend knows everything he needs to know about how this is going to play out. Remind him that he’s smart, and strong, and good at making decisions, and that he has your respect, because an abuser will be doing the opposite. Detach from your own need to be right about this. Detach from your own need to control the outcome of your friend’s relationship. Remind your friend of his own strength. It could be the thing that breaks the spell.

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In this post, the author expands on the Five Love Languages (that is, the five primary ways that people express love), with the aim of being more inclusive, since the books that developed this concept are extremely heretonormative and reinforce some toxic gender roles. It's a great expansion.

In addition, the author suggests adding a few more languages of love to the list, including emotional labor.

Excerpt: Some quick examples of ways that emotional labour play out in relationships, especially mixed gender relationships: meal planning, chore-planning, maintaining relationships on your partner’s behalf (e.g. checking in with and planning get togethers with their mother, sister, cousins, etc), sending birthday cards, making dentist/doctor/therapist appointments, being their main -- or only -- outlet for processing feelings, soothing them, reassuring them, doing the bulk of domestic chores, doing the bulk of child-raising, taking the lead on parent-teacher issues, and on and on and on.

There is often a high requirement for emotional labour when someone is trying to develop their Acts of Solidarity and Belief love language -- helping them understand and process something that has been your lived experience; dealing with their cognitive dissonance and lashing out in response to said cognitive dissonance; holding space for their anguish as they recognize their complicity; soothing their guilt at past actions and current failures of allyship; swallowing your own rage/heartbreak/trauma in the face of these things. This swallowing of rage/heartbreak/trauma is often not just an attempt to not make your loved one defensive, but also a response to toxic stereotypes (for example, tamping your emotions down lest you be a "hysterical" woman or, for black women specifically, an "angry black woman") -- that have either been internalized or have such a toxic effect that you contort yourself to avoid the fallout of others’ failure to see past them.

It’s also the inequity of ranting about your day/life for two hours then, as you’re parting/going to bed/arriving at your destination saying “and how are you?”

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Having a hard time talking to a partner about breaking the routine in the bedroom? This map of human sexuality lays out fetishes and sexual interests over a landmass, allowing you to stick a pin on the places you've been, places you'd like to live and places you're keen to visit -- and maybe even cross out places you never want to think about again!

A clever way to turn a fraught conversation into a fun activity. Oh -- and the map comes with a glossary, just in case you don't know all the lingo (don't feel bad! I didn't know a lot of it the first time I used the map, either! Also, people are fascinating. It's a lot less weird to bring up your sexual interests when the map has at least 80 far, far weirder things on it 👌👌👌).

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Excerpt: The Malleus Maleficarum -- a 15th century witch hunting manual written by Heinrich Kramer -- is rife with obvious anxieties about female sexual desire. Folklorist Moira Smith notes, "Many of the crimes (maleficia) attributed to witches concerned sexuality: copulation with incubus devils, procuring abortions, causing sterility and stillbirth, and impeding sexual relations between husbands and wives."

In the Middle Ages, witches were thought to have various magical dick-ruining capabilities, the most sinister of which is the ability to make the sex organ vanish entirely. According to Smith, the Malleus Maleficarum details three specific case studies in which witches were said to have magically deprived men of their penises. The first two simply involve men having their genitals hidden by some magical illusion -- witches "can take away the male organ," Heinrich Kramer writes, "not indeed by despoiling the human body of it, but by concealing it with some glamour."

The third account notoriously mentions the phenomenon of witches keeping disembodied penises as pets. (Via +Kitty Stryker​)

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Excerpt: Here are a few questions that might help you decide when you’re being sex-positive and when you’re just being inappropriate:

1. Am I saying this to push the envelope, or would I want to say it even if it were socially acceptable to talk about?

2. Would I talk to this person this way if they were of a different gender? (This can work multiple ways. For example, we may not respect women’s boundaries, and we may assume men don’t even have boundaries. Further, we often think of trans and gender non-conforming folks as sexual curiosities.)

3. Did something this person has said or done just happen to turn me on, or did I go out of my way to obtain sexual pleasure through this interaction? If so, does the other person want me to?

4. Would I speak to a friend I had no romantic interest in this way, or am I trying to initiate romantic or sexual contact? If so, is it welcome?

5. Have I taken this person’s desires into consideration, or am I just thinking about my own?

6. Do the other person and I share the same goal for this conversation, or am I using them for a purpose they did not consent to?

7. Am I saying anything about another person’s body, sexuality, or personal life, or am I solely speaking for myself?

8. Has this person ever expressed discomfort with talking about sex in this way, or are they okay with it as far as I know?

9. Would people still be offended by my behavior if I were a man, or are they judging me unnecessarily harshly due to sexism?

10. Would people still be offended if I were discussing straight, cisgender people, or are there elements of homophobia or cissexism in their reaction?

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Upping your pleasure game in the vaginal department. 👌👌👌

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"Who am I to explain consent to you? I’m very square, married, living in the suburbs with my hardworking husband, and an irritating cat. But about once a month, roughly 60 people show up to our house for an all-night orgy." That's how this piece begins, and it's pretty good.
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