There is some serious change on the horizon.
From the inspiring women transforming the way we research, teach and learn, to the brave entrepreneurs creating innovative products by and for women — strong female role models are rising up and making their mark.
And we're loving every second of it.
Here are six of our favorite female leaders breaking taboos and paving the way for more women to achieve better, safer, and improved sexual health.
#1 - Meika Hollender, Embracing a Healthy Attitude around Sex
“I want women to know that sex is awesome and healthy and not just about making babies." — Meika Hollender, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Sustain Natural
26 year-old entrepreneur and sexual revolutionary Meika Hollender challenges us to 'think with our vaginas'. In 2013, she co-founded sexual health company Sustain Natural with her dad (yes, really). Sustain manufactures a diverse range of natural, vagina-related products. Whether it's a fragrance-free tampon, ultra-thin vegan condom or organic lavender lube, Meika's products will keep your vagina oh-so happy and healthy. Plus, 10% of Sustain's profits are donated to women's reproductive healthcare organizations around the globe. We love it!
#2 - Dr. Sara McClelland, Advocating Intimate Justice
"My research focuses on studies of the 'intimate imagination,' defined as the expectations individuals develop for what they deserve to feel, experience, and avoid in their intimate lives." — Dr. Sara McClelland, Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies & Psychology, University of Michigan
In the past, researchers who wanted to measure sexual satisfaction would use a common physiological response, like an orgasm, or ask subjects to rate their level of satisfaction. But sex isn't that simple. Dr. Sara McClelland created the "Intimate Justice" framework to help researchers account for the complex sociopolitical factors that have an undeniable impact on how we feel about sex. Sara's groundbreaking research helps account for sexuality, race and gender in sexual research — the stuff that many researchers would rather not think about, let alone control for. Yet, the subtle differences in who we are and how we were raised are fundamental to a future where everyone is entitled to great intimate health.
#3 - Peggy Orenstein, Closing the Orgasm Gap for Future Generations
"If we truly want young people to engage safely, ethically and yes, enjoyably, it's time to have open, honest discussions about what happens after "yes," and that includes breaking the biggest taboo of all and talking to young people about women's capacity for and entitlement to sexual pleasure."
— Peggy Orenstein, Author & Speaker
Peggy Orenstein is a fearless feminist and author of the prolific New York Times bestseller, Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. Her deeply insightful research and analysis makes us think twice about the way we talk to ourselves — and our girls — about taboo topics like sex, pleasure and just how much sex and pleasure we're entitled to. (Hint: It's WAY more than we've been led to believe.)
#4 - Bethany Edwards, Helping Women Reclaim their Privacy
"We are the inventors, we are the engineers, the designers, we are the business leaders. And we think that's an important story for women to be inspired by products like this and women in general to start creating products for themselves for things that they see unmet needs in." — Bethany Edwards, Co-Founder & CEO, Lia Diagnostics
In 2015, grad student Bethany Edwards set out to solve one of every woman's biggest unmet needs: privacy. And that's exactly why Lia pregnancy tests are flushable (and completely biodegradable). For any woman who — for any number of valid reasons — doesn't want broadcast the latest updates in her reproductive health, Lia is a game-changer. And for more than 4 million women in abusive relationships, where pregnancy is known to increase violence, it could even be life-saving.
#5 - Andrea Barrica, Transforming Sex Ed
“The core mission that we have is for people to unlearn shame, own their desires and just be comfortable in their bodies.” — Andrea Barrica, Founder of O.School
For Andrea Barrica, growing up in a Filipino American Catholic family meant that the topic of sex was completely off the table. "The only thing that I was ever taught about sex was not to have it until I was married," says the former tech investor. In 2017, Andrea launched O.School, the free online platform providing next-gen sex ed to underrepresented communities. O.School offers free, livestreamed classes from over 65 pleasure professionals all around the world. Together, they go where no high school teacher dare go, offering empowering information on ALL aspects of sexual health, including; sex after trauma, sex in the LBGTQ+ community, sex in communities of color, and creating a culture of sexual respect.
#6 – Colette Courtion, Changing Women’s Lives from the Inside Out
“At Joylux, we’re committed to improving the quality of life in women who experience pelvic floor issues. Our products help women feel confident again to exercise, laugh, and love without worry or embarrassment. Our mission is to empower women to live their best lives!” — Colette Courtion, CEO & Founder, Joylux, Inc.
Last but never least, our own Colette Courtion is on a mission to transform the narrative around women’s intimate health and empower more women to live their best lives. For more than 1 in 3 women suffering from pelvic floor issues, some of life’s simplest yet most fulfilling activities are often out of reach. And that’s just not ok.
Colette teamed up with leading medical professionals to create vFit, the world’s first-ever home use vaginal rejuvenation device. vFit is an accessible alternative to costly, invasive vaginal rejuvenation methods and the perfect tool for busy women and moms who refuse to give up their right to better intimate health.
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