These Female-Founded Sex Toy Brands Are Putting Women First

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In 2022, girls can buy their intercourse toys and different intimacy merchandise from the identical retailers they depend on for his or her $40 lipsticks and indie designer clothes. They might come within the type of stunning, wearable jewellery or they could be as innocuous as an objet d’artwork. There are a number of causes for the enlargement and evolution of this business, however for those who take a peek behind a few of the most buzzworthy (pun supposed) manufacturers within the enterprise it’s possible you’ll discover one main factor in widespread: A girl on the helm. Regardless of their various aesthetics and features, extra female-founded intercourse toy manufacturers are working to make women’s orgasms extra accessible and pleasurable — sans any sense of disgrace.

It is first essential to state the maybe apparent truth that every one individuals who establish as girls are completely different. They might have various anatomy and experiences that may form their sexual preferences and the way they understand pleasure. That mentioned, manufacturers like those interviewed right here deal with elements that, by and huge, women-identifying shoppers weren’t seeing represented available in the market, together with extra fashionable design (versus novelty), clever and inclusive advertising and marketing, and cautious consideration of widespread erogenous zones.

We solely embrace merchandise which were independently chosen by TZR’s editorial group. However, we might obtain a portion of gross sales if you are going to buy a product by means of a hyperlink on this article.


Starting with the anatomical side, earlier than the final decade or so, most intercourse toys weren’t designed with the nuances of vulvas in thoughts. When Dame launched in 2014, that was the purpose of founder Alexandra Fine. “[At that time] we have been one of many few firms who made intercourse toys for individuals with vulvas, by individuals with vulvas — who understood the anatomy of who we have been designing for,” Fine tells TZR. “Many intercourse toys are marketed as novelty merchandise, however that wasn’t my expertise with sexual pleasure.”

The first providing Fine developed to fill this hole was a vibrator designed to suit snugly contained in the labia for hand-free clitoral stimulation. “I had an thought for a vibrator that could possibly be worn throughout penetrative intercourse to assist shut the pleasure hole,” she explains. “I joined forces with an MIT-trained engineer to make my kitchen experiments into real-life merchandise, and collectively, we launched with Eva, the primary actually wearable {couples}’ vibrator.” To date, Eva is considered one of Dame’s bestsellers, however the model has additionally expanded its vulva-focused pleasure merchandise, together with the Aer, a suction toy that simulates oral intercourse, the Pom, an ergonomic, palm-sized vibe that’s versatile sufficient to hug any erogenous zone, and the Arc, a curved vibrator designed for exterior (clitoral) and inner (g-spot) stimulation, amongst others.

“Our vibrators are designed to cater to all physique sorts and desires, in order that much more individuals can begin exploring their pleasure,” says Fine. “We have a whole analysis arm of our product improvement course of referred to as Dame Labs, which allows us to make use of actual, human suggestions throughout the gender spectrum to deliberately and thoughtfully design merchandise. As one of many few sexual pleasure firms to include human suggestions to our engineering course of, we’re proud to create a secure house to host sincere conversations that assist individuals discover sexuality and well being.” And Dame’s inclusive strategy hasn’t gone unnoticed: In February, it turned the primary pleasure product and sexual wellness manufacturers to be carried by Sephora, a transfer that exhibits the destigmatization (and significance of) girls’s sexual well being.


Six years earlier than the launch of Dame, Ti Chang, designer and co-founder of Crave, was additionally looking for to fill a spot for ladies within the intimacy product market, one she believed was on account of lack of illustration inside sexual wellness manufacturers. “On a primary stage, I didn’t see merchandise that have been correctly designed with the rigor and seriousness of contemporary shopper merchandise, which features a group that truly mirrored the individuals they have been designing for,” she shares. “I didn’t see merchandise with nice consumer experiences, since a overwhelming majority of merchandise needed to be stashed or hid in embarrassment, and that is nonetheless the case in the present day.”

Chang first based INCOQNITO in 2008, a line of intercourse toys that multifunctioned as jewellery. She later teamed up with entrepreneur Michael Topolovac to co-create what Crave is in the present day: A women-led group devoted to providing girls a part of magnificence and emotion of their sexual well being merchandise — most famously the Vespa, a stainless-steel (accessible in silver, rose gold, and 24-carat gold finishes) vibrator designed to be worn as a necklace.

“I needed to design one thing that made individuals really feel validated and delightful for his or her sexual wants,” Chang says. “Truly stunning pleasure merchandise that individuals didn’t really feel ashamed about, and which are welcomed into their life as ecstatically as a brand new piece of bijou didn’t exist. I needed to create merchandise that empower individuals to welcome pleasure into their life as a result of I imagine self-pleasure must be a stupendous expertise of honoring your self.” In addition to the famed Vespa, Crave gives a number of different types of vibrator, all with the identical consideration to a modern, horny design and severe performance.


Maude, based by Eva Goicochea in 2018, equally appeared to revolutionize the business with a contemporary strategy to sexual well being. The CEO, who welcomed Dakota Johnson as an investor and Co-Creative Director in 2020, mixed her expertise as a former legislative aide in healthcare along with her enterprise and branding savvy (she led content material methods at Everlane and Josie Maran earlier than founding her first firm, Tinker Watches) when she launched maude with a handful of minimalist, gender fluid merchandise.

While maude’s choices — together with private massagers, pure latex condoms, lubricant, and most just lately an anal cone and all-natural libido-boosting gummies — will not be designed expressly for many who establish as girls, Goicochea goals to create merchandise that really feel inclusive to girls amongst different underserved shopper classes. “Time and time once more we hear concerning the approachability of our product line, that on high of being body-safe and design-centric, all the pieces from the elements to the colour palette is confidence-boosting and accessible,” the founder tells TZR. “We imagine sexual wellness must be approached like every a part of wellness: The merchandise must be secure, easy-to-use, and delivered in a pleasant means making the client really feel snug and empowered.”

A mission for Goicochea has all the time been to interrupt previous obstacles and taboos, carving out a spot for intimacy merchandise to stay throughout the panorama of so many different well-made, artistically designed way of life merchandise. Maude, which is presently bought at Sephora, Nordstrom, Detox Market, Standard Dose, Saks Fifth Avenue, and extra main retailers, has already managed to do that in just some years — and its founder says that’s just the start. “I’m excited for maude and sexual wellness to seek out much more shelf house — digitally and bodily — the place you store for the remainder of your private care routine,” she says. “As a class that sits on the intersection of physique care, scent, and wellness, it is smart for it to be approached with the identical visibility.”


Polly Rodriguez, CEO and co-Founder of Unbound, started her enterprise as a retailer for sexual wellness manufacturers in 2013. Four years in, she had begun to see what areas of enchancment have been wanted and he or she and co-founder Sarah Jayne launched their very own line to deal with them. One of the primary areas of concern was pricing. “[We] realized there was an enormous alternative to create a product line that delivered on affordability with out compromising on high quality, design, and body-safe supplies,” Rodriguez explains. By opting to promote their merchandise direct to shopper, Unbound was in a position to create a line with the standard they required at an accessible value level. Toys and equipment together with vibrators, plugs, cuffs, paddles, and extra at the moment are accessible beneath the $75 mark.

Another hole Unbound’s founders dedicated to fill was distinctive customer support. “We additionally felt [that] was actually missing within the business and so we invested in best-in-class coaching and assist for our neighborhood,” says Rodriguez. “Our customer support is persistently one of many issues individuals love most about Unbound — we’re pleasant, approachable, and quick as hell.”

Since the launch of Unbound’s personal line, Rodriguez has watched the business evolve — in no small elements to the persistent efforts of manufacturers like hers. “When we first tried to get our merchandise in mainstream retailers, we might be handed off to the lingerie division after which shortly deemed too risqué to inventory in-store,” she explains. Like a few of the aforementioned manufacturers, Unbound has change into extra extensively accessible through mainstream retailers together with Urban Outfitters, FabFitFun, and Madewell. “I solely see this pattern persevering with as extra retailers are realizing that their prospects will not be intimidated or ashamed to buy on this class, in reality, they’re excited to those merchandise championed by the retailers they already know and love,” Rodriguez provides.


A fast look on the social media messaging from Lioness and it turns into abundantly clear that it is a model dedicated to not solely destigmatizing feminine sexuality, however championing it. “My co-founder Anna and I constructed Lioness for the hundreds of thousands of girls and folks with vulvas who’ve questions on intercourse and pleasure however have few methods to study extra about their very own our bodies,” expresses Liz Klinger, the corporate’s CEO and co-founder. “A query we regularly hear from individuals is ‘Am I regular?’ The reply is usually sure however, earlier than Lioness, there hasn’t been a approach to see what your regular seems to be like.”

Lioness accomplishes its mission not solely by sharing inclusive and affirming messages on its Instagram and TiokayTookay platforms (co-founder Anna Lee has over 400,000 followers who tune in for frank, open, and infrequently hilarious content material about sexuality), however by providing its prospects tech-savvy instruments they will use to prioritize their pleasure in an intuitive and user-friendly means. “Lioness brings expertise beforehand solely seen in cutting-edge analysis labs to shoppers within the type of a simple-to-use gadget and app that gives biofeedback over time,” Klinger explains. “It’s much like different private well being monitoring gadgets like Oura for sleep, Muse for stress, or Clue for interval monitoring.”

The Lioness 2.0 makes use of biofeedback expertise to gather knowledge, permitting the consumer to tailor their sexual experiences to their particular person wants — with the purpose of giving them their greatest orgasms ever. “The Lioness is constructed with a collection of superior precision sensors that, when paired with the app, can let customers visualize their arousal and orgasm,” the co-founder tells TZR. “Along with completely different notes individuals can add about their experiences, they will begin seeing what their very own baseline expertise seems to be like and the way it can change over time from a large number of various elements — from espresso, sleep, medicines, hormones, being with or and not using a accomplice, and extra.” As Lioness’ motto goes, by no means measured, by no means improved.

With the expansion of the model, Klinger says that knowledge and analysis from their female-led groups will proceed to tell its choices and consumer expertise. “In 2020, Lioness began a analysis platform to attach researchers with Lioness customers enthusiastic about taking part in research to contribute to a greater understanding of sexual perform and well being,” she explains. “This yr, I’m blissful to say that a number of researchers are publishing papers and presenting their findings to the analysis and medical communities. I’m wanting ahead to extra collaborations like this to deliver extra science about girls’s sexual response to researchers, medical doctors, and in the end the individuals.”

Le Wand

With practically 20 years expertise within the sexual wellness business, Le Wand founder Alicia Sinclair was in a position to construct her personal model to deal with what she personally felt was most disappointing about intercourse toys geared in the direction of girls. But above all, she hoped for a extra welcoming panorama than she was ushered into. “In the early years of my profession, I don’t assume that anybody took me critically,” Sinclair explains. “I felt very dismissed, tokenized, and was paid considerably decrease than my male counterparts. It’s laughable how little I used to be valued by my employers and the way uncomfortable I typically felt when interacting with co-workers and shoppers. It felt like there was no expectation for males to deal with girls with dignity.”

This expertise left Sinclair with a case of imposter syndrome. While she acknowledges the truth that the business has come a good distance since she began out, it’s nonetheless dominated by males, and as a businesswoman she notices the largest obstacles within the advertising and marketing of her model. “There is a lot gatekeeping by massive firms like Google, Meta, TiokayTookay, and so on.,” she says. “Every time we predict we discover a technique that works, it seems like a brand new algorithm or a brand new algorithm units us again.”

But Sinclair isn’t letting these obstacles get in the best way, as she explains that Le Wand stays on its toes, considering outdoors the field to proceed transferring ahead in its mission. “We’re pushing the envelope for our business in new and thrilling methods,” the intercourse educator and entrepreneur tells TZR. “Like the current launch of a commercial that begs the questions: Why is pleasure one thing girls and femme-id’ing individuals have been taught to really feel a lot disgrace round for therefore lengthy? Why *should not* we have the ability to promote our merchandise freely?”

As for what sorts of merchandise Sinclair needed to see in the marketplace, it was all about bringing an previous favourite into the current day. “I’ve all the time been a wand individual,” she explains. “It was my first intercourse toy and remains to be my go-to. I discovered myself wanting by means of my very own eyes, as a shopper, and continuously feeling dissatisfied. The merchandise felt stale and previous, with many wands wanting like copies of merchandise that had been in the marketplace for 50 years. My purpose was to raise the class, the product design, and complement the model with complete sex-positive schooling.”

First on her listing of must-haves for a reimagined wand? Something her buyer needed to point out off. “[Le Wand products] are highly effective, fashionable, effectively designed, made with quite a lot of distinctive supplies, all the time licensed body-safe, arrive in gift-worthy packaging, and so they all the time really feel luxurious.” The model’s private massagers are provided with glittery or graphic handles and prospects also can store elegant bondage equipment, crystal and stainless-steel toys, and different fashionable pleasure-enhancing merchandise on Le Wand’s web site.

Sinclair continues this intercourse constructive messaging by means of Le Wand’s weblog, Rumble & Buzz. Featuring dozens of articles by intercourse educators, she goals to offer girls and femme-identifying individuals with a shame-free useful resource for generally requested questions. “It’s excessive time outdated gatekeeping and pearl clutching round pleasure merchandise involves an finish, and Le Wand is main that cost,” the intimacy business vet tells TZR. And with increasingly female-led brands with this similar mission in thoughts, it actually seems to be just like the tides are turning.

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