Want to raise $1 million? Promise women—and their significant others—a device that allows them to have sex during their periods without worrying about blood. Mashable reports the Flex Company received that amount in funding this month. The San Francisco-based startup, which calls its FLEX menstrual disc the anti-tampon, has been accepting orders online since April, reports the Telegraph. TechCrunch reports Flex has received orders for 250 million of its menstrual discs since then—and 20% of its customers have been men. Flex plans to start shipping menstrual discs in September. An Aug. 4 Medium post from founder Lauren Schulte explains FLEX is exclusively sold online, in a one-off eight-pack or via a monthly or quarterly subscription.
FLEX is a single-use menstrual cup that can be worn for up to 12 hours without the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. It's also hypoallergenic and latex-free, and can help "alleviate cramps." Because the discs collect menstrual fluid while being worn next to the cervix instead of in the vaginal canal, Flex says they can be worn during intercourse for "mess-free period sex." "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," Flex explains. Schulte explains the impetus for the company was her own experience, which included persistent yeast infections. "It wasn’t until a nurse practitioner mentioned that my cotton tampons could be to blame that I even considered the menstrual products I was using to be both impractical and harmful." (This company told its female workers to take time off for their periods.)