A Happy Ending for Her: Closing the Pleasure Gap
As women everywhere are closing gender gaps in pay and entrepreneurship, we question why more of us aren’t talking about closing the pleasure gap as well.
The pleasure gap refers to the “disparity in satisfaction that people with vulvas experience in the bedroom, versus their cis male counterparts.” It’s no secret that men and women achieve orgasm differently and for the most part, in heterosexual couples, it’s the female partner whose satisfaction falls short. Ultimately, “pleasure is not equitable” and as women, we distinctly know that the pleasure gap is a real existing problem. Founded by sexologist Alexandra Fine and engineer Janet Lieberman, Dame is on a mission to empower women to embrace their sexuality and finally close the infamous pleasure gap through their stylish and smart toys made to compromise mediocrity.
It’s commonly known that sexual wellness products aren’t made using the same standards as other consumer products, especially in the electronics industry. In an interview with Bird, Dame co-founder Alexandra states, “The world has less expectations for sex toys, and as a result there are less regulations for them. Whether it's intentional or not, that definitely trickles down to the way they are made.” The FDA currently does not have any regulations for sex toys unless categorized as a medical device. So for the most part, sex toys hang out in a regulatory limbo – ignored and underappreciated.
Plus, sex toys are often marketed as a “novelty product” or “gag gift” abandoning the intimacy and pleasure parts. Sex toys are a topic people often shy away from and female masturbation is still very much considered a taboo topic. Generally, heterosexual couples don’t talk about using sex toys either or what they want in bed because they fear embarrassment and/or rejection. The prevalence of sex toys in LGBTQ+ relationships is also important to consider but still not commonly talked about. No one has really been out there deliberately bragging about their vibrator and how many orgasms they achieved with it – until now.
Finally, women’s pleasure has entered mainstream media. More women now than ever feel comfortable talking about their sex lives and sexual wellness. Once a neglected subject matter, it’s important to note that the onset of menopause and certain medical treatments such as chemotherapy can result in painful intercourse. But in the last decade, thanks to recent widespread feminist movements and the portrayal of genuine palpable sex in media and television shows like Sex and the City and Girls, we have raised awareness within the medical field, wellness publications, and the general media. Now, women can openly and securely talk about their real experiences.
However, our work is still not over. According to Dame, Cis-women are four times more likely to say that sex wasn’t pleasurable in the past year while cis-men have 20 to 50% more orgasms as heterosexual cis-women in partnered situations. This gap is even larger than the pay gap between women and men!
So why aren’t women having as many orgasms as men? Nearly 75% of women say they need clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm, or at least make orgasm feel better. This is not always realized in the bedroom, or at least it is underappreciated. Additionally, more than 50% of women have reported faking an orgasm, further extending the myth that penetration alone can lead to mind-blowing orgasms. This is where Dame comes into play to help close the pleasure gap with their sexual wellness products.
Dame believes that it should feel good to buy a vibrator for yourself, a partner, or a friend. Their products are created by women for women to fit their intimate needs and provide the utmost pleasure. The sexual wellness brand also creates their products with aesthetics in mind – something that will both be functional and look so good on your night stand that you might even want to show it off.
Based in New York, perhaps the most open-minded city in the United States, co-founder Alexandra loves the fact that it’s no big deal to everyday city people that she owns a sex toy company. “That’s the attitude we try to take as a business. We're trying not to make a big deal in our marketing, we don’t want to be over-sexualizing or over-medicalizing or over-sensationalizing.”
Yes! Sexual wellness should be a topic we are all comfortable talking about. It is completely normal to have sex and use sex toys no matter what your gender or sexual preference is. Topics like these should be a part of the larger ordinary conversation to help destigmatize gender norms.
Sexual culture is always evolving and we want to be a part of the movement. At Yes She May, we aim to create conversations with our founders and consumers by introducing a variety of consciously curated women-owned brands in a range of product categories. We are excited to launch sex toys because having intimate products available now in the same place as our other thoughtful products for self-care and wellness is a huge step towards prioritizing women’s pleasure and normalizing conversations surrounding sex.