Who can pave a path for LGBTQ+ sexual expression, teach women to discover their naturally sexual bodies, enhance sex and communication for all couples, and design sex toys that fund charity efforts for young girls across the world?
Anyone with the power to achieve #whilebleeding!
INTIMINA celebrates women’s contributions to the sexual health space every day, but we believe there’s something extra special and pretty bad-ass about running a sex toy business #whilebleeding.
Having a period isn’t always easy on the body and mind, but every month, millions of women all over the globe are creating positive change for themselves and their communities while fighting the raging symptoms of PMS and multiple bathroom trips (to change their menstrual cups, of course) in-between biz meetings, phone calls and all-around hustling.
If it sounds exhausting and nearly impossible, that’s because it is! But despite the life-altering effects of menstruation, today’s incredible, intelligent women are never daunted – especially when they’re designing pleasure products.
We’ve gathered the inspiring back stories on 5 of the most successful, female founders and CEOs behind the modern movement for enhancing women’s intimate wellness. Read on and dream big, and all #whilebleeding!
Pleasure Pioneer #1: Temmy Wallace
Temmy Wallace is turning sex toy design and retail into a vehicle for life-changing philanthropy.
When is a vibrator so much more than a sex toy? When its’ proceeds help fund sexual health and happiness in parts of the world where sensual pleasure is non-existent for many women.
Temmy Wallace is the founder of iCandiStore.com, an online boutique brand with big goals and a passionate mission to change the world. Wallace’s company is based in Dallas, Texas, but the brand’s reach is aimed where sex education is most desperately needed.
Wallace, who was born and raised in Nigeria, regularly participates in multiple philanthropy projects across Africa. Last year, she traveled with her business to aid in bringing sex-ed to communities in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda. In 2020, she plans to continue her philanthropic travel with visits to Morocco and Nigeria.
A major focus of Wallace’s sex-ed efforts involves dismantling the archaic tradition of female genital mutilation, a dangerous practice that involves partial or full removal of the clitoris and labia. This torturous and often fully legal right-of-passage in certain cultures is performed on very young girls without anesthetic. Needless to say, the physical and mental scars left on women forced into this unsanitary and excruciating procedure last forever.
Wallace is continuously focused on bettering the sexual lives of all humans across the globe – a goal which she’ll be chasing feverishly throughout 2020.
Pleasure Pioneer #2: Stephanie Berman
Stephanie Berman, Creator of The Semenette and POP dildo, sees a wealth of untapped potential in the lesbian sex toy market.
You see, conception isn’t always so sexy, or even sexually arousing, when you’re anything other than a straight couple.
For most lesbians who choose in-vitro fertilization, the “sex” you’ll have to conceive is no hotter than a trip to the gynecologist. If you’re lucky enough to conceive at home, you’re still stuck using a turkey baster to “ejaculate” the donor sperm into your partner. It’s not exactly the kind of romantic story you’ll want to relay to your kids someday.
Sex toy CEO Stephanie Berman and her wife wanted their conception to look more like most couples: with romance, arousal and – how dare they?! – orgasms. The medical industry wasn’t going to help the Berman family achieve any sense of sensual conception, so just like that, The Semenette was born.
Berman’s invention, The Semette, is – simply put – a somewhat realistic dildo with a hollow tube running through it. Add some donor sperm into the squeezable bulb and you’ve got yourself a bonafide, ejaculating penis, albeit made of silicone.
Re-imagined as the POP dildo in recent years, Berman’s creation is now a luxury dong that’s perfect for all sorts of gay play. Though you can still conceive with POP, Berman also touts the toy’s benefits for Trans couples, polyamorous folks, and lesbians who want to add a little squirt-squirt of lube to their strap-on play.
Despite all our advances in sex toy design, lesbian-focused toys have yet to carve out the niche they deserve, but creative minds like Stephanie Bermin are helping pave a proper path for the LGBTQ+ community in pleasure products.
Pleasure Pioneer #3: Rosie Rees
Rosie Rees of Yoni Pleasure Palace is spreading the gospel of all-natural, motor-less sex toys.
The vibrator revolution carved an incredible path for women’s pleasure, but now a new generation of female orgasm pioneers are diverging from the crowd. Some might say they’re leading us right back to where we began, though with a new angle on digging deep into the heart of women’s sensuality.
Rosie Rees is the founder of Yoni Pleasure Palace, an online shop full of everything a babe needs to unleash her sexual potential – unless it requires batteries. Rees is part of a growing movement in the sexual health community that’s moving away from buzzing vibes and pulsing oral sex simulators to embrace a more gentle route to reach intense, full-body climaxes.
Rees’ product line is an undeniably stunning collection of body-safe crystals and glass. Insertable wands in every conceivable shape, material and curve and kegel-style yoni eggs stand out from even the fanciest of luxury vibrators in green jade, shimmery moonstone, royal purple amethyst, and baby pink rose quartz.
The company focuses on holistic sexuality and even offers crystal sex toy home parties, inviting women to discover their bodies through the growing trend of motor-less sex toys.
Pleasure Pioneer #4: Chelsea Downs
Chelsea Downs and the New York Toy Collective (NYTC) empowers gender expression with their handcrafted line of anatomical toys.
Sometimes simplicity truly is the most effective method. For boutique pleasure product manufacturer New York Toy Collective, creating high quality toys and fostering a sex positive culture are the only tenets necessary for building a truly ethical, empowering brand.
CEO Chelsea Downs and company co-founder Parker started the New York Toy Collective out of personal necessity. The two were in search of wearable pleasure gear that could easily transition from a night out to a play party.
Most major manufacturers overlook the fact that many queer-identifying folks use gendered toys for more than penetration or strap-on sex. As part of the queer community, Parker and Downs were familiar with widely-used products like packers – which create the illusion of a flaccid penis inside clothing – and stand-to-pee dongs – essentially hollow, realistic dildos equipped with a cup shape at the base that covers the vulva, allowing vagina owners to urinate down the long shaft while standing up.
NYTC began as a small in-home project, with customers actually coming over to Parker and Downs’ place to match their skin tone to a poured silicone dong.
Now the company has vastly expanded to a still-small but mighty manufacturing operation. NYTC can even claim an industry first: the capability of 3D printing true-to-life dongs, allowing consumers to create pleasure products molded after their own bodies.
NYTC has since become the ultimate resource for anyone with a playful approach to gender expression and the LGBTQ+ community. The company promises more true-to-skin tones that cater to folks of all races, normalizing a diverse approach to pleasure products that’s been a long time coming.
Pleasure Pioneer #5: LaDonna Wright
Secret VII® founder LaDonna Wright thinks your search for the perfect sensual card game is finally over.
Bedroom games that incite more pleasure than perplexity are a rarity. While sex board or card games sound fun in theory, far too many are poorly designed or try a little too hard to bring novelty to the table.
Sex and relationship expert and registered nurse LaDonna Wright fell into a similar sex game conundrum – though unfortunately for her, in the middle of an evening with her husband instead of while browsing retail trends. However, Wright’s initially frustrating date night soon spawned her pleasure product brainchild, the Secret VII® Adult Game.
Touted as “a provocative adult game for exploring minds,” Secret VII® skips all the silly bells and whistles and goes straight for the sex. Couples can choose from 400 cards filled with sensual tasks that can be performed on or by any gender, stacking 7 cards in a row and allowing the dice to decide which enticing task comes first.
Wright’s one-of-a-kind game, which she credits to her diverse professional background in the sex therapy and medical fields, creates opportunities for better communication between partners, no matter their age, gender identity, or relationship style.