Means Sexual Liberation
Even a decade ago, owning a pleasure device of any kind felt slightly shameful. It was as though it was a secret to be hidden away, in our most private drawer only to be seen on dark lonely nights (or maybe this was just my experience). This feeling was in part due to how sex toys were manufactured to be blatantly realistic and obnoxiously large. Let's just say before the 90s, vibrators were not discrete—or cute, for that matter.
As we continue to shift our cultural narratives surrounding sexuality, we are able to propel a ripple effect throughout the industries dedicated to catering to our sexual desires. The pleasure toy industry has been slowly but surely shifting alongside us toward the prioritization of women’s pleasure along with innovations for transgender pleasure as well. There is an emphasis on innovative, anatomically-driven designs and celebrating women designers who are modernizing the industry. They are helping us to comfortably explore our sexuality and desires without feeling shame or that there is a one-size-fits-all approach.
Below are some of the leading pleasure brands started mainly by women founders who are leading the industry into a new frontier of empowerment and liberation.
Price | $75–$135
This badass sex toy brand was started by two female founders: one is a credentialed sexologist and the other an established engineer and MIT alumnus. Dame’s devices are futuristic—the Eva, for instance, resembles an alien baby. Their designs are truly a glimpse of how sex toys can be revolutionized and challenge our ideas of what these products should look like. The two founders are continuously developing new and innovative products all.
Price | Free with in-app purchases
This pleasure brand doesn’t sell toys, but rather "imaginative sexual experiences" through storytelling. Dipsea is an app created by another set of badass ladies changing the game. The steamy stories are rooted in three principles: real, elevated, and feminist, pulling from narratives that allow for women to feel empowered in their own pleasure. Dipsea is essentially a pleasure-inducing listening experience that is customized to your desires and mood. Choose how you listen with options like "In Bed" or "With Partner," then choose stories with titles like "Submerged."
Price | $35–$149
Crave was founded by a female industrial designer with a goal to create sophisticated and appealing products to help change the narrative around women's pleasure. In fact, some are so elegant that it’s okay to have them in plain sight. We love the portability and sleekness of these devices, making them feel less like a secret to be hidden away. The "Vesper," for instance, doubles as a fashionable necklace and a vibrator, giving the wearer a sense of pride about their sexual desires. It’s almost like wearing a badge of honor!
Price | $65
This fascinating contraption is a revolutionary device that offers those who experience painful or uncomfortable penetrative sex some relief. The brand was founded by a woman who experienced painful sex and went on a journey to create something to alleviate the pain. During her research, she found that one in every 10 women experiences pain during sex. This staggering research inspired her to create the Ohnut. The product is BPA-, phthalate-, and latex-free and made from FDA-approved body-safe material.
Price | $70–$200
We just love how artistic and beautiful these sex toys are. Made entirely out of natural crystals and minerals, Chakrubs is derived from the word "Chakra" which is Sanskrit for "energy wheels." This handcrafted brand was created by a woman inspired to energize other women. These toys help to not only pleasure but also heal, calm, and rejuvenate the "energetic body" with the help of natural materials.
Price | $25–$80
We appreciate the minimalist approach to this inclusive and beautifully-designed "bedroom essentials" brand, Maude. Their goal is to help modernize the pleasure industry by selling body-safe products that not only look cute on your nightstand but are functional—like their "burn" candle that also doubles as a massage oil and their vibrator that looks like a cool art piece.
Price | $10–$128
This brand, Unbound, is fully women-led and women-run with an emphasis on creating a feminist space for women to explore and experience their own unique sexuality. Their products are discreet, playful, and inclusive. The Palma Vibrator Ring is a favorite—it’s a gorgeous multi-speed waterproof vibrator ring you can also wear out. As the website says, it’s a secret that can also be right there in the open.
8. Je Joue
Price | $60–$100
With an emphasis on being sex-positive, Je Joue sells uniquely designed pleasure devices that are “sophisticated and elegantly naughty,” as described on their website. Their approach to their eye-catching products is to empower and facilitate sexual exploration. Their designers worked with gynecologists and midwives to help shape the tools specifically for the female anatomy—so they’re made to do the job right!
Sexual exploration can be a powerfully healing self-care practice and is, of course, different for each individual person. As we move into a future that further encourages us to embrace our sexualities and desires, let’s all give ourselves the freedom to explore.
Courtney Jay Higgins is the Associate Editor at The Good Trade. She is also a Yoga Instructor, vegetarian, wellness and fashion enthusiast. Originally from Colorado, her soul found California when she came to get her degree in Visual Communications at the Fashion Institute Of Design & Merchandising. She has a background in telling a story through writing, creative direction and content creation. Check out her blog and Instagram for her unique perspective on the mergence of fashion and spirituality.