If you are a human who menstruates, it probably hasn’t escaped your notice that menstrual cups, or period cups, are all the rage right now. And for good reason: they’re simple, eco-friendly, body-safe and, when you consider the ongoing cost of pads or tampons, they’re also a good deal! But while you might assume that using a menstrual cup is purely practical, it also has other advantages over pads or tampons you may not have considered. In fact, using a menstrual cup can make you a better vagina owner over all.

Who knew a little silicone cup could do so much? Here are a few of the positive changes menstrual cups are putting out into the world.

Read: 5 New(ish) Things That Have Made Having a Vagina Way More Fun

They Help You Get to Know Your Vagina

In a world where a lot of people were taught not to touch themselves and vaginas are viewed as dirty and shameful, menstrual cups sell on just the opposite message: that a vagina is a part of your body and, therefore, no big deal. And, let’s be honest, using a menstrual cup involves really getting up in there.

Unlike a tampon, which uses a long applicator to keep your hands away from your business, a menstrual cup needs to be inserted with a finger. Doing this successfully requires a thorough understanding of the shape, angle and depth of your vagina, which is probably something you should know, right? In essence, menstrual cups force you to touch yourself as a part of basic, monthly self-care. And learning to insert a menstrual cup involves a bit of a learning curve, one that promotes an understanding of internal anatomy that, frankly, a lot of people may not otherwise have been given permission to have.

INTIMINA Lily Cup

They Put You In Touch With Your Period

A lot of period products are about distancing you from your body and its fluids. They aim to quickly absorb and package up that blood in the neatest, tidiest way possible. When you combine that with advertisements that can only bear to portray period blood as sterile blue liquid, it’s easy to get the message that periods are, well, gross.

Menstrual cups, however, don’t shy away from a process that is messy, bloody and inherently human. That big, old blood-streaked cup filled with the brown-red jelly of your womb’s discarded lining is right out there in in front you, in your hands. This is your body doing its thing, and menstrual cups suggest it isn’t something you need to distance yourself from or be disgusted by. Menstrual cups also give you a much better idea of how heavy your periods are, allowing you to monitor any changes that could signal health problems.

But They Keep You From Having to Think About It So Much

Having your period can be a pain, especially if you have a heavier flow. Are things cool down there or have you sprung a leak? Menstrual cups can help eliminate a lot of this stress and worrying because for most people, they only need to be changed every 12 hours. Get up in the morning, wash your cup, replace it and you’re good to go until it’s time to get ready for bed.

Boom. Having your period suddenly isn’t such a big deal. Plus, if you’re traveling or on the go, you won’t have to stuff your bag with pads or tampons, just in case. Just pop a collapsible menstrual cup like Lily Cup Compact from INTIMINA into its tiny case and you’re good to go.

INTIMINA Lily Cup Compact Menstrual Cup
Lily Cup Compact from INTIMINA folds right up into its little clam shell for easy packing.

They Have 0 Risks or Side Effects

Maxi pads aren’t much better than a diaper and tampons carry a (small) risk of infections like toxic shock syndrome. Some people also worry that some of the materials in typical commercial tampons aren’t entirely body safe. A handy period cup, on the other hand, are made of body-safe silicone, which doesn't grow bacteria and can even be boiled to get it squeaky-clean. Unlike other products that say that a little risk is or discomfort is just part of having a vagina, menstrual cups say forget that shit. Your vagina deserves the best. (Because it totally does.)

In a lot of ways, menstrual cups are both all the things that traditional menstrual products try not to be, and all the things we've always wished they were. They don't try to cover up or sanitize our bodies, but they also make that time of the month simpler, safer and more convenient. The bottom line? Your period isn't gross, but having it also doesn't have to suck. Menstrual cups take care of that problem - and your vagina - in all the ways it deserves. Get yours at your nearest Target or CVS store!