Before Sandy and I founded Playground, we both worked in the beauty and fashion industry, and admittedly, it was pretty glamorous at times. Being the first to market the hottest new products, working with powerful influencers, seeing the sales peaks after our latest campaign… the job was exciting, to say the least. I loved my job. It wasn’t until we founded Playground, though, that I really found a deeper meaning in my work. That seems a bit weird, right? How does someone find so much meaning in developing a personal lubricant of all things?
Can Personal Lubricant Change Lives?
Our work started with you first. Even though we set out to develop a new product, the more we researched and spoke with women about their experiences, the more we realized that we needed to do more than just create a new lubricant.
Research Indicates that Sexual Health Issues are Both Physical and Emotional
Hundreds of conversations and thousands of survey responses later, we discovered that sexual issues are pervasive among women and are historically overshadowed by those of men. For example, two percent of men experience pain with intercourse and five to 15 percent of men under the age of 40 experience erectile dysfunction. (01) Yet, the number of women who won’t have intercourse with their partners because it hurts too much is staggering in comparison. Sixty-one percent of women experience pain, discomfort, or arousal issues in the bedroom. (02) That’s six out of ten women!
Women told us how uncomfortable they feel going to the drugstore to buy sexual wellness products because someone might see them and pass judgment. We also heard how using lubricant, which alleviates dryness, increases comfort, and makes intercourse more pleasurable, makes women feel like they have a problem that needs to be fixed. Yes, you read that correctly. Lubricant makes women feel broken.
It’s Time to Address Women’s Sexual Health Needs
Sexual intimacy is a big deal, yet society isn’t adequately addressing women’s sexual health issues and concerns. There’s a relationship between sex and wellness that we’re just not discussing. But, we should. I just read a fascinating study about menopause and sex. Did you know that women who continue to have sex as they age delay menopause? (03) When there’s a lack of sexual activity, your body stops producing the hormones necessary to stay active. Your body thinks it should go into menopause. So, you see, there’s a whole aspect to sexual relationships that we’re overlooking. It’s time to help women think, talk, and feel differently about the topic.
What is the Sex and Wellness Council?
We knew that we needed to bury embarrassment, break our silence, and do what we do best as women: connect through conversations and lift each other up. So, we launched the Sex and Wellness Council. The Sex and Wellness Council is a panel of industry-leading experts that we brought together to spark open, candid conversations around sex. Together, we’re expanding our reach to help liberate views around sex and pleasure. We are excited to lead and champion the overall discussion around female sexuality, vitality, and health.
We Champion Women to Think of Sex as An Essential Part of Their Overall Wellness
We usually think about exercise, nutrition, and mental well-being when we think of wellness. How often do we think about intimacy’s emotional and physical benefits, though? After all, when sex is good, it makes us feel good. When it’s bad, well, we feel bad about ourselves. Think about the toll that takes on your mental well-being. Not to mention that it’s been well established that mental health affects our physical health. So, isn’t it time that we stop thinking about sex as just an act and look at the holistic effects?
Introducing Dr. Emily Morse, The Sex and Wellness Council’s Chief Sexologist
Now, let’s talk a little bit about our panel. First, there’s our Chief Sexologist, Dr. Emily Morse. Widely considered the leading sexpert for the modern couple, Doctor of Human Sexuality, Emily Morse hosts the number one rated sexuality podcast on iTunes, Sex with Emily. What we love about Emily is that she reminds us of Carrie Bradshaw, the main character in the popular TV and movie series Sex and the City. Emily is warm, funny, and puts it all out there in an honest but approachable way.
Meet our Medical Advisor, Dr. Shyama Mathews
We are fortunate to have Dr. Shyama Mathews from the prestigious Penn Medicine Princeton Health Institute on our panel. Dr. Mathews is a Board Certified OB/GYN, Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon, and NAMS Certified Menopause Specialist. I find Dr. Mathews to be compassionate and relatable, and I am thrilled that she is on our team to help educate and empower women regarding their sexual health. It’s not often you get access to a top practitioner’s experience and expertise outside of a doctor’s office.
Our Third Panel Member is Our Very Own Sandy Vukovic, Playground’s Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer
I’ve been working with Sandy for years now, and even after all this time, her knowledge of formulations, ingredients, and sustainability still amazes me. Her passion is truly contagious. When you hear her speak, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Before we founded Playground, Sandy spearheaded the development and helped grow some of the most iconic beauty brands on the market today, including Marc Jacobs Beauty, Kat Von D, bareMinerals, and Buxom Cosmetics. She is excited to share her knowledge with you so you can be more educated about what’s in the products you’re buying.
Tune In and Join Us!
The women on our council are known for their spirited conversations about sexual health. They have huge followings and are dedicated to building an even bigger platform to discuss, share, and connect with women on these important conversations. We’re excited to share these experts’ blogs and videos on our Sex and the Psyche page. Their featured Instagram Live events promise to be lively and informative, so make sure you tune in and participate. Also, our council members participate in medical conferences. Be sure to periodically check this page and our Instagram so you can stay up to date on the latest advances in sexual health and wellness.
Is the Sex and Wellness Council Just for Women?
I’ve been asked about whether the Sex and Wellness Council is solely for women. While we very much focus on women, men are part of the equation too. So yes, the Sex and Wellness Council is about the men in the room as well. We want the men in our lives to feel more comfortable discussing women’s sexual wellness. Unfortunately, a lot of men don’t understand the complexities of a woman's biology and reproductive organs, so they can’t really help in that area. Instead, they feel uncomfortable. Ultimately, it would be ideal to get everyone on the same page.
Ready to Join the Conversation?
Let’s normalize our conversations about sexual wellness. Have a question to ask? Want to hear what other women are talking about? Need an unbiased opinion? Follow us @hello.playground to join our Instagram Lives. Visit Sex and the Psyche to access the Sex and Wellness Council’s latest blog posts and podcasts. We’re looking forward to meeting you!
(01) National Library of Medicine (ncbi); Prevalence and correlates of three types of pelvic pain in a nationally representative sample. 5.2018
(02) National Library of Medicine (ncbi); What women need to know about pain during sex. 9.2018
(03) Health; Having regular sex can delay menopause, according to researchers. Jan 2020.