This interview is from December 2016.
Just two years ago, Dame Products launched Eva, the first “truly wearable” couples’ vibrator – although no partner is needed to enjoy this toy. Featuring two flexible wings, the curious looking little vibe was designed to tuck under the labia. No hands, no hassle, just clitoral stimulation. Eight hundred thousand dollars later, Eva was the number one crowdfunded sex toy of all time. Surprised?
When you begin to consider the statistics surrounding female pleasure, you realize that Eva was born from necessity. The pleasure gap, the orgasm gap, whatever you want to call it, is a reality we women live with. What sucks more than not getting off? People ignoring the fact that you’re not getting off. That’s why Eva, in all it’s tiny lavender glory, is so wonderfully successful. It was designed with female pleasure in mind – a breath of fresh air for the sex toy industry.
Excited and inspired, we wanted to know more about the individuals behind the innovation. Last week we got to talk with co-founders Alexandra Fine and Janet Lieberman about their company, latest product, and of course, equal pleasure.
Q: Alexandra and Janet, we couldn’t help but notice you come from distinctly different professional fields (psychology and mechanical engineering, respectively). How did you meet? At what point were you like, “Let’s make a sex toy.”
AF: I got my advance degree in human psychology and sexuality at Columbia. For me, it was a bit more of a decision about when I decided to apply business to my degree in sex.
JL: I’d been a sex toy user for years, and, one day, three things occurred to me. First, that I had lower expectations for this product category than I did for other consumer electronics. Second, that there was no reason I shouldn’t be getting the same reliability or value for my money. The third epiphany was that I had the background and experience to be able to make that happen – I was an MIT-educated mechanical engineer who’d been working in consumer product development for 7 years.
AF: – Well, the whole thing is actually a coincidence. In June 2014, I met Janet through mutual acquaintances that strangely enough, thought we were the same person. Crazy, right? At that time, I had basically been going around from meet up to meet up, looking for engineer to help me bring my concept to life. At the same time, Janet had told a friend that she was starting a sex toy company – and voila! We got in touch, realized how similar our vision was and got to working.
As far as vibrators go, Eva’s really unique because it’s a hands-free vibrator that stays in place all on its own, without any extra straps or garments. It also stands out, because it focuses on clitoral stimulation during sex. Eva’s has flexible wings that keep the vibrator in place by comfortably tucking under a woman’s labia majora- and it’s equally as effective when used alone as it is when used with someone else. People took notice of the innovation, and soon after launching the campaign, Eva became the #1 crowdfunded sex toy, which was incredibly exciting and encouraging.
Q: Eva was hugely successful since its launching on Indiegogo. What do you contribute your success to?
JL: People saw the need! Our message around the Pleasure Gap really resonated with people. We’ve always found that directness is the best way to share our values with the customer. We want people to understand sex as a natural, fun part of their lives, and that means talking about it out in the open. Bringing pleasure and sex toys out of the shadows often means taking the first step and hoping people follow.
Q: Eva was designed to address the “pleasure gap”. Do you have any compelling figures or facts regarding the pleasure gap?
AF: Women are four times more likely to say sex “is not at all pleasurable.” They achieve orgasm half as often, and while there are lots of nuances with this statistic …. half as likely to climax is one of the largest gaps between the sexes.
Q: Good Clean Love's mission advocates equal pleasure as an essential component to healthy, and empowering sex. What advice would you give to young women who aren’t receiving reciprocal pleasure in sex?
JL: Believe you deserve it, and ask for it. If you’re viewing your pleasure as a bonus, so will your partners. We teach social graces in all aspects of life, but rarely in the bedroom. It’s more likely that your partners have never really considered pleasure equality than that they don’t want you to have it.
Q: Pleasure objects and lubricants are rarely discussed in sexual education. Lately there has been a movement for a “pleasure informed” sex ed in universities. Thoughts? Do you think sex ed should cover intimate products?
JL: If we want equal pleasure, we need to explain to young people what their options are for getting there. Porn has become the de facto sex ed for topics outside of STDs and pregnancy, but it’s hardly a reputable source of educational information.
Q: So if Eva was designed to close the pleasure gap, what was the focus for your vibe Fin?
JL: Fin’s intuitive design enhances the natural movements of intimate touching by adding vibration. Helping, once again, to close the pleasure gap by adding clitoral stimulation for women to sex between couples.
AF: I would say the same thing. Fin is designed to be a product both partners can get excited about using. We are again focusing on products that make people feel more pleasure together opposed to taking over the experience.
Q: Both of your vibrators have been sensational. We are super curious: what can we expect next from Dame Products? Are there any new works in progress?
JL: We’re always working on new products, as well as trying to make our existing products (Fin and Eva) better!