9 New Products That Will Make Your Life (and Sexual Health) Better
One walk through the isles at your local drugstore and it's clear products created to use during sex have never incorporated women into their marketing plan. First of all, there is no regulation on what goes into the formulas, the very same formulas that are meant to go inside our bodies. The packaging, scents, and monikers assigned to each offering are drenched in toxic masculinity—and it's no surprise. Women are fed mixed messaging and misinformation in regards to sexuality their entire lives. There's the sexualization of women, sure, but then there's the shaming too. "Companies have historically marketed sex products toward men and their desires in such a way that women don't always feel they have agency in talking about or advocating for themselves when it comes to their sexual health products, even though products such as condoms are used by two people, not just one," Lola's co-founder Alex Friedman said at a recent event for the brand.
In recent years, though, there has been a shift in the marketplace. Female-run brands are creating their own offerings with safe, clean ingredients and efficacious formulas made with a woman's needs in mind. "Things are changing in a major way," Polly Rodriguez, the CEO and co-founder of Unbound, agrees. "We're seeing more and more women, femme, and non-binary founders building businesses to address the problems they personally experience. It's one of the most exciting times to be a part of the sex tech ecosystem—the level of innovation, design, and talent that are entering the industry rivals any sector I've ever worked in," she says. And it's about damn time. Yes, I am a woman who has sex. No I am not going to hide my tampons on the way to the bathroom. And, yes, lube and vibrators exist to make our sex lives better, along with a slew of other accessories. Below, find CBD oils, adaptogenic herbs, boric acid suppositories, organic condoms, and heating pads for when cramps are an issue, and a whole bunch of others. Keep scrolling for all the information you need to improve your sexual health and experiences.
Love Wellness The Killer ($20)
There is arguably nothing worse than a yeast infection, and the limited resources for diagnosing and treating them is all the more frustrating. That's exactly how Lo Bosworth—of The Hills fame—felt when she founded Love Wellness, a brand that offers natural, organic, and OB/GYN-approved options for vaginal health, as well as products for your mood, menstrual cycle, and skin. This offering in particular, a boric acid suppository treatment made from a mineral found in sea water, is incredibly special. It works to relieve yeast infections (even chronic ones resistant to other medications) by bringing your vaginal pH back to its normal range. She suggests you use it as a spot treatment, so to speak, when things feel a little off, or the full-course treatment.
Necessaire The Sex Gel ($20)
Founded by Into the Gloss co-founder Nick Axelrod and Estée Lauder veteran Randi Christiansen, Nécessaire offers just three body care essentials: a body wash, body lotion, and their Sex Gel. All the products are pH-balanced, full of skincare-quality ingredients, and free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates—making the brand a minimalist's dream, as well as both healthy and effective in equal measure. "Sex is just one thing you do with your body," Axelrod said in an interview with Faith a few months ago. "There should be a community and a platform for thinking and talking about your body holistically."
What's more, the water-based gel uses aloe vera and hyaluronic acid to give the "cushiony texture and glide," according to Christiansen, instead of the usual list of scary-sounding ingredients that have certainly not been approved by the FDA. That, and oil-based lubricants aren't safe to use with condoms, as they cause breakage. Another thing to note (if you're like me and spend more money on your sheets than your rent): "It won’t stain your sheets!" Axelrod added. "I've had too many fancy sheets stained by silicone- and oil-based lubes."
Foria Awaken ($48)
Another lubricant option, which is actually marketed as an "intimate massage oil" rather than solely for intercourse, offers up a more heightened experience. Formulated with all-natural botanical essences (including organic MCT coconut oil, broad-spectrum CBD from organically-grown hemp, kava root, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and peppermint and vanilla oils), it's meant to diminish discomfort while it increases blood flow and encourages muscular relaxation. Once applied, you can feel the warming sensation immediately (this is for real, I sprayed it on my hand and the effect was instant), but the full effects can take up to 15 minutes. The brand suggests four to eight sprays as a typical serving size.
The Good Patch Hemp-infused Period Patch ($12)
The Good Patch (which offers hemp-infused patches for hangovers, stress, and the sleep deprived) was born from La Mend, a site offering an array of safe, tested, pure, and potent phytocannabinoid products sourced from organically farmed, non-GMO plants. This one in particular works to temporarily relieve PMS-related discomfort, including cramps, aches, pains, and promote hormonal balance, courtesy of 15 milligrams of hemp extract, as well as menthol and black cohosh. Meant to be worn along your lower abdomen, the patch can be left for up to 12 hours and will offer sustained relief on even the most terrible of days.
Unbound Oh! To Go Bag ($34)
"Unbound was started because we believe there should be a better shopping experience when it comes to sexual wellness," Rodriguez told me. She continues, "Personally, I found myself at a shop on the side of the highway buying a vibrator for the first time, and feeling really uncomfortable with the whole process. I had just gone through radiation treatment for stage IIIC colorectal cancer and was going through menopause at 21. In an attempt to reclaim my sexuality, I wanted to explore products that could help, but ended up feeling really embarrassed instead. Ten years later, I started working on Unbound with my co-founder Sarah Jayne Kinney. If we don't take the opportunity to talk about sex in a healthy and medically accurate way, we're reducing ourselves to learn about sex via porn. And while I am very pro-ethical-porn, I don't think it should be the foundation for how we're learning about our bodies."
Unsurprisingly, most women I've spoken to have had similarly uncomfortable experiences when it came to purchasing any type of sex-related product. It's always been assumed (rather, stressed) that we should hide these products for fear of embarrassment or shame. Unbound is changing that. Now, they're offering up an easy-to-carry, mini bag filled with all the things you may need to keep with you. Nothing bulky, nothing inconvenient. In each bag comes a portable vibrator, water-based jelly lube, condoms, and a few serums that can help up the intensity if you so choose.
Ohnut Set of 3 ($65)
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, nearly nearly three out of four women will experience painful sex in their lives, either temporarily or long term. That means painful sex is common and absolutely an issue worth addressing—though we rarely talk about it above a hushed tone, if at all. Causes span the gamut from hormonal changes and skin issues to endometriosis, pelvic floor dysfunction, and mental health issues. Either way, Ohnut's external wearable may be able to help. "We've partnered with sexual medicine clinicians, holistic practitioners, and countless empathetic humans to understand where we can collectively generate the biggest impact on reviving human connection," Ohnut's site reads. "After all," they lament, "sex is never just physical and the path to sexual health solutions isn't always clear. Our products are designed to make simple physical adjustments, feel easy to talk about, and to make you feel loved." The accessory itself is created from FDA-approved, body-safe materials that are soft and stretchy, and it's worn at the base of your partner, whether that's a person or a toy. The rings compress down to act as a buffer during sex. Each set comes complete with four linking rings, so you can make simple adjustments based on what's comfortable for both you and your partner.