First, there was the menstrual cup. Then, there was the high-tech menstrual cup. And now, there’s the menstrual “disc,” a tampon alternative that can be worn while you get busy. (If you’re wondering why period innovations are everywhere these days, check out Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Periods Right Now?)
FLEX, “a new product for mess free period sex,” is being marketed as a revolutionary disposable device (like a tampon or condom, it’s good for one-time use only) that allows couples to have “uninterrupted period sex.” The flexible disc-like device, which can be worn for up to 12 hours, contours to the female body and works by creating a soft barrier to the cervix, temporarily blocking the flow of menstruation, the website explains. It also claims to be “virtually undetectable” by the wearer or her partner.
It’s also doc-approved, by at least one OB/GYN anyway. “Unlike other feminine hygiene products, FLEX conforms to any woman’s body making it the most comfortable product on the market. It’s safe, easy to use, BPA-free, and hypoallergenic, and is not associated with TSS,” says Jane Van Dis, M.D in a testimonial on the website. (Do You Know What’s In Your Tampon?)
FLEX also wants you to know their brand is about more than getting it on at any time of the month you so choose. Their goal is to empower couples and spark “positive conversations between men and women about the female body,” the founders say in their mission statement.
“We believe that a lot of stigma about women’s periods is driven by lack of education by men. We don’t think men are to blame. Many men have a natural curiosity about the female body, but society teaches us that period talk should be left to women,” they write. “Women spend almost a quarter of their lives menstruating, and if we can help make women feel even slightly less ashamed about her body during this time, we’ve accomplished our mission,” they conclude.
Want to give it a whirl yourself? FLEX will be available for pre-order later this month (the product is set to ship in September) but you can sign up for a free sample on their website now. TechCrunch reports that 20,000 people have already done so—and that FLEX could eventually be sold in stores (price TBD). Maybe someday soon you’ll see this device hanging next to the condoms and lube without even batting an eye.