According to research conducted by the Kinsey Institute, men are almost always able to achieve orgasm through sex. Women, on the other hand, are not. For ladies, masturbation, oral sex and other activities intended to stimulate the clitoris, specifically, are much more predictable paths to orgasm than penetrative sex alone. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always take precedence in the bedroom. Perhaps that’s why the same school of research found that just 64 percent of women report having had an orgasm the last time they had sex. That’s an optimistic figure compared to other studies out there. One large-scale survey found that women experience about one orgasm for every three a man comes by. In academic circles, that’s known as the “orgasm gap.” Fortunately, there are two sex toy entrepreneurs on the scene trying to remedy the situation, one vagina at a time.
Alexandra Fine and Janet Lieberman are the women behind Dame Products, a sex toy company that Cosmopolitan magazine once referred to as a “total game-changer.” Their flagship product, Eva, was marketed as “the first handsfree, strap-free, non-intrusive couples’ vibrator.” The toy comes packed with three different vibration modes to provide maximum clitoral stimulation and two wings to keep it stationed in place. In that way, the design doesn’t obstruct any opportunity for penetrative sex to take place. More recently, they came out with Fin, a small vibrator that can be worn between the fingers. We had the opportunity speak with Fine, the company’s CEO, to learn more about their mission. Check out the conversation below.
We hope to continue to be a leader in the dialogue around the beauty plus the importance of sexuality.
XBIZ: How did Dame begin? How did two women find themselves heading a sex toy company?
Alexandra Fine: We were both young women starting sex toys companies in Brooklyn at the same time and our backgrounds were so different that we knew we had to use it to our benefit – and we teamed up to create Dame. I have spent years specializing in the study of sex. I'm a Columbia-educated expert and incredibly passionate about the subject — but I was looking for someone who knew how to get products made. That, Janet has been doing for years. Janet is an MIT-educated mechanical engineer with seven years of experience designing products and figuring out how to take a concept and get it into the hands of consumers.
XBIZ: How does Dame differ from other companies in the field?
Fine: We're research-driven — first and foremost. There are other sex toys on the market, but in our research, they were often not particularly effective for the woman, and/or negatively impacted the male experience. We strive to create the most non-intrusive, intuitive, and body-safe toys on the market — all while educating folks on the pleasure gap and presenting sex toys as totally normal — even beautiful — objects that act as a tool, not a replacement.
XBIZ: What major milestones has the company crossed?
Fine: Becoming the first sex toy company allowed to fund-raise on Kickstarter (with Fin), as well as the most well-funded sex toy on IndieGoGo (with Eva) has been really amazing. Crowdsourcing allows us to bring products to the market that people are really asking for and investing in, and that's a great feeling.
XBIZ: What’s the biggest challenge the company has faced?
Fine: One of the biggest challenges facing us, specifically as a fem tech company, is advertising regulations. We can't run ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Those challenges are the easiest to point out because of my lack of control over them …. We know orgasms are wonderful, I know I want everyone to have more of them, and they’re what a lot of women are looking to get out of the product. But I also know that perceiving orgasm as a goal or equating it with pleasure will not do anyone any good! Janet and I have spent a ton of time getting our messaging right!
XBIZ: Why do you think it is significant that Dame is headed by two women?
Fine: Ultimately, women know what other women want. We design products for female pleasure, so it's a no-brainer to us that we'd be using our own experiences, along with the experiences of thousands of other women, to bring the best possible products to market.
XBIZ: Could you discuss the differences between your products, Eva and Fin?
Fine: Our first invention, Eva, introduced a hands-free option. Fin serves as a fully hands-on device. We invented Eva in order to create a way for couples to still maintain use of their hands while using a sex toy — something that is not very common but for which we discovered there was a significant demand. Fin was born out of feedback that some people would prefer a more hands-on product that allowed them to augment natural touch.
XBIZ: Why do the DAME products highlight clitoral stimulation, in particular?
Fine: First off, all pleasure and stimulation are awesome! We are highlighting the clitoral stimulation for two main reasons. One, it is the epicenter from which most vulva-owner's sexual arousal comes. Studies have shown anywhere from 70–85 percent of females can only orgasm from external stimulation during sex. And two, people don't know that!
XBIZ: In what direction would you like to see the company go from here? What more do you hope to see Dame accomplish?
Fine: I want us to make more products by learning more from our customers. We are working on improving the products we already make while also holding focus groups and large-scale surveys to learn what we should make next. We also want to do more than just turn this research into products. We hope to continue to be a leader in the dialogue around the beauty plus the importance of sexuality.