This Feminist Sex Toy Company Funds Sexual Freedom And Women’s Reproductive Health

As part of our commitment to the continual #resistance, as well as the greater movement to take down the patriarchy, we are all about sex-positive messages and brands, projects, and campaigns that champion the autonomy of women’s bodies and sexuality. For far too long, every aspect of women’s lives have been controlled by patriarchal traditions, whether that be politics, religion or both. Our culture has been steeped in puritanicalism which has led to the modern day obsession to diminish women’s sexuality.

We’re just now starting to see a tidal wave of change coming with movement like #MeToo, #yesallwomen, #churchtoo, #TimesUp and events like the Women’s March which have proven the anti-patriarchy groundswell is not going away, and we are literally outnumbering many of the movements and marches in recent history/

One woman who is familiar with the control of women’s sexual freedom is entrepreneur and advocate Sheila Oh, the co-founder of a feminist sex toy company called Knotty Vibes. She is a first-generation Nigerian-American woman who was raised i a strict Presbyterian household where sex was a taboo subject. Now that she is in her late 20’s, she has set out to make women’s reproductive health and sexual freedom, especially for Black women, her agenda.

Her interest in women’s reproductive health came about after a missed miscarriage diagnosis in 2017 which required a dilation and curettage ($25,000 cost). While she was fortunate to have insurance which covered it, she realized that not all women have access to good insurance coverage. Given current right-wing political efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and other free clinics due to them providing abortions, Sheila’s best friend and co-founder Courtney set out to start Knotty Vibes in Dec 2017 to raise funds for women-centric health centers and empowerment groups by providing sex toys at an affordable price.

Sexual autonomy and reproductive healthcare all in one place? Sign us up! We spoke with Sheila about her badass company, why the fight for reproductive healthcare and freedom is more important than ever, and which organizations she has partnered with to donate a portion of proceeds from the sale of sex toys on Knotty Vibes.

Tell us how the idea for Knotty Vibes came about?

Knotty Vibes is organization, which is founded in my quest for women’s freedom and equality. I remember the first time I went to sex toy shop. It was with my friend and cofounder Courtney, who was in a long distance relationship. The idea of taking a trip to a sex toy shop very exciting and intriguing especially since I was raised in a very strict household where sex was taboo.

When we entered the shop, we were overwhelmed by high prices I assumed this instance was a fluke and looked online and found high prices to be actually norm. A few years later, I have set out to make a change to make women’s sex toys more affordable with feminine design in mind. Additionally, provide free sex toys to bridge the orgasm gap between men and women while provide access to women’s reproductive healthcare by donation to women’s organizations and providing free menstrual cups through our online shop.

What were the types of messages you grew up with about sex, sexuality, and women’s bodies?

Growing up in a staunchly religious home, the heteronormative ideologies were pushed onto my siblings and myself. Sex was not on the table for discussion. It was assumed that I would figure out what that was once I got married to a men I was to keep myself for my husband’s enjoyment and to bear his children. My body was never mine and My growing body was to be covered, unseen and so hush-hush that I didn’t tell my mother I had started getting my period till 3 years after. There wasn’t a platform for discussing sexuality at all.

Why do you think sexual freedom is an important topic?

Sexual freedom is essential in the fight for women’s equality. Not only are women men paid less but we also have fewer orgasms than men do. Studies have shown that 91% of men vs 64% of women orgasm through intercourse! Masturbation, which we consider to be a crucial part of sexual freedom, helps close this gap!

When it comes to having multiple sexual partners, men are praised while women are bashed and called disrespectful names. This social disparity is both sexist and inhibitory to full sexual expression of women. While we at Knotty Vibes advocate for safe sex, we also advocate for women to have full reins of their body.

Why is the issue of sexual and reproductive freedom for black women especially important to you?

Sexual freedom is especially important for Black women as we are often overlooked in topics regarding sensuality and pleasure. For Black women. Finding pleasure in ourselves is a radical form of self love which does amazing for self confidence and self esteem.

With regards to reproductive freedom, statistics have shown Black women have the highest maternal mortality rate (4 times white women) and are three times as likely as white women to experience an unintended pregnancy, are also three times as likely as white women to obtain abortion services. Additionally Black women and Latinas account for 80% of reported female HIV/AIDS diagnoses, even though they represent only 25% of the U.S. female population. (Statistics from www.reproductiverights.org)

My goal is to tackle these disparities by advocating for access to reproductive healthcare by fundraising from sex toys sales at Knotty Vibes and using our social media platform to encourage safe sex practices.

Although it is 2018, we sadly still see so much misinformation and a block of scientific, fact-based info about reproductive health. How are you working to get important info out there through your company?

By signing up for our newsletters, our supporters receive monthly newsletters on summarized research topics regard sex and reproductive health. Additionally, we support organizations such as planned parenthood to ensure that girls and women stay informed on issues affecting their bodies.

When people hear “sex toy” it can elicit a whole spectrum of reactions, from good to bad. What do you want people to know about Knotty Vibes and its feminist sex toys?

Knotty vibes is a shame-free, safe space to purchase sex toys knowing that women’s pleasure is of utmost importance to us. Sexual pleasure is a natural and we at Knotty Vibes believe in closing the orgasm gap between women of all backgrounds. This includes providing free sex toys as well toys at affordable prices. Additionally, we gear our storefront and items to a female audience not to the male gaze (unlike other sex toy shops)

What was the event in your life that made you interested in reproductive health?

My interest in women’s reproductive health came from my 2017 missed miscarriage diagnosis, which required a dilation and curettage (~$25,000 cost). I was fortunate to have a comprehensive insurance. However, after sharing my experience with other women, I realized I was privileged many women have access to that much insurance coverage.

Can you tell us about some of the women’s health organizations and clinics you have partnered with to donate proceeds from your sales?

Via Pledgling, have partnered with Planned Parenthood, and 8 other women-centric organizations, which each of our client can choose to donate to. With Planned Parenthood, with hope to continue funding them keep women’s reproductive health services affordable to women of all socio-economic backgrounds.

How do you hope the general cultural conversations around women’s sexuality and reproductive health will change in the future?

My hope is that conversations regarding our sexuality and reproductive health will be normalized and celebrated to allow for women to not only fully express their sexuality, attain sexual fulfillment but to also seek reproductive health advice as needed.

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If you want to purchase an item from the Knotty Vibes store or learn more about their work to help reproductive health centers, visit the website.

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