You Need Help: Can My Spouse and I Boil Our Menstrual Cups Together?

Q:

Can my spouse and I boil our menstrual cups to sanitize them at the same time — like in the same pot in one go? To me it feels unsanitary, but as they point out, anything in or on the cup has been in or on our hands and mouths, so…is there any sanitary reason NOT to?

A:

Let me preface this by saying: I am not a medical professional! But I am someone who menstruates, and while I do not personally use a menstrual cup (didn’t work for me!), I have loads of people in my life who do, and I spoke to some of them about if they have specific experience with co-boiling menstrual cups and shall now present that information to you to do with what you will!

While I was met with a lot of “it’s probably fine”-style answers, one immediate hesitation from folks was the question of whether you and your spouse are perfectly synced. It’s possible you are, and if so, wow kudos on the queer magic of that! My partner and I are synced not in the sense of starting/stopping our cycles at the same time but rather in the sense that we almost perfectly take turns so that at least one of us is almost always on our period except for MAYBE a week-ish a month. FUN! (Okay, partially exaggerating, I’m also kind of irregular so sometimes it’s not as all-consuming). You really should be boiling your cups right after your period so you’re not allowing bacteria to build up. Even if your cycles are ending only a day or so apart, it would be advisable to just boil separately, timed to when you each end.

But assuming you are ending on the same day and the cups are ready for boiling at the same time, again, the opinions of my non-medical but queer and cup-using pals were basically that it’s okay to do if it’s okay with you. Assuming you already engage in regular fluid exchange with each other, this isn’t really all that different and in fact isn’t really the same as fluid exchange during sex because you are sanitizing both items. (I assume you use the pot you boil the cups in for other purposes, because it’s not like the pot is being contaminated during the process.) It’s advised to clean your cups before boiling, so they’re already going in with some level of fluid removal, too. Someone else I spoke with said she puts silicon-based sex toys in the top rack of her dishwasher and still puts dishes on the bottom rack. Everything is getting cleans/sanitized together like one big happy family.

Of course, technically any time you’re inserting something into your body, there’s a risk of bacteria. But I haven’t been able to find compelling evidence anywhere online that boiling two cups from two different people who are already regularly exchanging fluids would increase this chance.

All that said, if the idea of it simply doesn’t sit right with you, then I think it’s perfectly fine to tell your spouse you’d rather just boil them separately! We all have little things we’re particular about, and if this is your thing, that’s okay! As one of the people I spoke with put it: There are other ways to save water. And boiling them separately doesn’t amount to LOADS of extra time.

And if you have further questions or concerns, please do reach out to a health professional — especially one who specializes in sexual health or menstrual health — for for information. I’m kind of surprised I couldn’t find any instances of people asking this exact question anywhere else online! It does sound like a uniquely queer conundrum. Would love to hear what people in the comments might advise based on personal experience or knowledge!


You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 858 articles for us.

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