If only 4% of women report internal penetration as their most reliable route to climax, then why has the vibrator industry been built around products shaped like penises? The reasons are clear, as you’ll discover in this episode of the Busine$$ of the V. Women’s sexual pleasure is finally moving into the mainstream and Alex Fine, co-founder of Dame Products, explains why.
Designed by and for women, Dame Products has taken vibrators into a new realm – one that encourages open conversation about sexuality. Alex explains the process by which she and her team at Dame put together their products, paying close attention to details such as shape, colors, safe materials and the experience itself. In an industry historically dominated by men, Dame’s products are all about listening to women. The result? Women’s sex toys are now readily available on the shelves of retail outlets like Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom’s.
This Week’s Hot Flash
Some 70% of women do not orgasm from penetration, but a curtain of silence persists. Where ads for erectile dysfunction products appear regularly on primetime TV, products to support women’s sexual health are siloed or snubbed. After being denied billboard space by the NY public transportation authority, Alex has taken the issue head-on with a lawsuit she believes will expose and demonstrate this double standard once and for all.
The stigma around women’s health and sexual well-being won’t disappear until the shame is lifted. Don’t miss this lively conversation about everything from the economic impact of pandemic on the vibrator business (excellent!) to the colorful way in which a six-year-old Alex was first introduced to human sexuality (healthy and judgment-free!).
Contacts for Alex Fine:
Topics Covered with Alex Fine of Dame Products
- Alex shares some of her backstory and in particular an early-childhood experience that fostered her interest in sexuality, including gender fluidity.
- Why normalizing women’s sexuality and products is at the heart of Alex’s drive to create Dame and make tools for sexual pleasure an everyday product available in mainstream retail outlets.
- Dame products are designed very intentionally, down to the millimeter, with specific attention to packaging, colors, shape and user experience.
- The focus of design was not on internal penetration, which only a small fraction of women find their most reliable route to orgasm.
- Alex highlights some of the innovations about which she is most proud.
- Two elements that are unique to Dame products:
- Dame vibrators are designed by women.
- A wide community of women testers have contributed valuable feedback in the development of products now and into the future.
- Dame has fostered community not only around its products but also as a means for women to express their sexual needs and issues.
- Alex has found the conversations on Dame’s Facebook group and other chat forums helpful in better understanding how to evolve and improve products.
- Pandemic Pleasure: Covid-19 sparked an “explosion in sales” for Dame products and is still impacting people’s sexual decision-making by:
- Offering an alternative to meeting new sexual partners/dating.
- Refreshing long-term sexual relationships for couples home together 24/7.
- Prompting more conversations of all kinds around sexuality.
- A little about Alex’s lawsuit against the New York public transportation system and the barriers she encountered when trying to place advertisements for her products – while ads about erectile dysfunction are meanwhile fully on display.
Quotes from The Interview with Sexologist, Alex Fine:
05:00 – “When you’re six years old you can ask honest questions without judgment in a way that I think as you get older gets harder and harder to do.”
09:22 – “Through business – through capitalism – we can implicitly tell people that these products are normal or not normal to use.”
11:16 – “Just like most industries, this industry was run by men for a very, very long time and arguably is still run by men. And men seemed to think that what women wanted for pleasure looked like a penis.”
11:49 – “When we’re about female pleasure, to design most things for internal pleasure just doesn’t really line up with their experience.”
13:18 – “One of my favorite innovations … is that with most of our products you can feel without looking which side is up and which side is down.”
17:27 – “Shame itself has prevented innovation because if people are unwilling to talk about what they want, what they like, what they need … the designers can’t solve those problems.”
27:05 – “Making this change in the world and fighting — that fight feels important.”