With feminism becoming a term women and men now wear as a badge of honour it’s no great surprise that the millennial repacking of feminism is filtering into our bedrooms. Step forward Rea Deacon the founder of the ‘COS of sex toys,’ Perlesque who has thrown the garish genitals out of the bedroom and replaced them with snazzy sexual utensils and Sarah Welsh and Farah Kabir, the co founders of HANX, the condom brand that puts women first.
HANX doesn’t subscribe to the idea that condoms have to be loud and instead you should be proud to carry them. The girls from HANX, who repeatedly ignore jibes that they are having a “mid twenties crisis” with their new business venture, credit the rise of public figures openly talking about sex with the change between the sheets, “for example Emma Watson, an ambassador for OMG Yes (the platform devoted to female pleasure) talks willingly about sex and female pleasure. Such role models have the influence and power to transform a generation - as do their male counterparts!”
HANX and Perlesque stand united in the idea of empowering women through sex as Rea states, “companies like ours reduce the stigma attached to sex and what being a sexual person means. For too long girls were afraid to express their sexuality in fear of being labelled a ‘slut’ - hopefully through education and availably we can reduce those taboos and give girls the voice and access that they deserve.”
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Here is your Guide to feminist sex and why it really is revolutionizing your lives in and out of the bedroom…
SO what is feminist sex?
Rea Deacon, founder of Perlesque: “‘Feminist sex’ makes me think of a girl who is not afraid to ask for what she wants - she is vocal about what makes her happy and what it is she wants. I wouldn’t like to label it ‘feminist sex’ as it to us it is just sex, everyone should feel satisfied and valued during intimate times. However it is important that women stop just accepting the fact that they don’t climax with their partners - this needs to become a thing of the past and the ‘feminist sex’ movement is a nod towards empowering women to pipe up and tell their partners exactly what they need to do to please them. The female anatomy is complicated and women differ greatly as to what they enjoy, as do guys (without some guidance I am sure they feel a little lost at times) - what may have worked previously for them may not be what works for you. Speak up girls - but do it kindly.”
The Hanx Girls: “‘Gender equality in the bedroom,’ means that women have equal rights to their male counterparts to good sex. It is also about sexual freedom and currently many women are seen as promiscuous in ways that men would not. Freedom is a basic right. Equally everyone (both men and women) should be able to communicate what they want and be heard. Like everything with regards to feminism and equality it is about empowerment and this is exactly what HANX stands for.”
How are they revolutionizing the market?
Rea Deacon: “At Perlesque we wanted to create a space where people could retain a familiar shopping experience to what they are used to in other areas in their lives. A brand that stood apart from the usual shops you may find in Soho and online - a place without stigma. I wanted the toys to feel organic and be aesthetically pleasing so that they would be a natural inclusion to the bedroom as opposed to something that may shock or intimidate. Our toys are designed with the couple in mind -nothing is overly phallic or too large so that girls can feel confident suggesting them to their partners.”
HANX Girls: “We noticed the clear gap in the market for male condoms aimed at women. The dreaded condom aisle is filed with bright garish packaging, often marketed to promote a man's conquest and placed next to pregnancy kits or awkwardly behind the counter. Although the male condom is the only safe, non-hormonal and effective form of contraception that protects against sexually transmitted infections, there is still a stigma attached to women purchasing and carrying them. We have set out to change this whilst creating a condom that combines all the premium aspects into one. Not only is our Fair Trade latex all-natural we are clean scented, ultra-thin and packaged in discreet and beautiful boxes. HANX was born out of a need to allow women to take control of their sexual health without taboo or shame. Our condoms are sold in places intuitive to women including Coco De Mer and Wah Nails, as well as online via our subscription service.”
Bye bye plastic penises, hello ‘feminist friendly’ sex toys…
Rea Deacon: “We put a lot of effort into making sure our toys were designed with both solo users and couples in mind. Of course they are mainly designed with a female in mind as predominantly that is where our expertise lie but we encourage girls to get their partners involved and we by no means want to make anyone feel inferior or out done. I think that they are feminist friendly as they encourage girls to achieve climax without putting too much pressure on the man - our products are not overly phallic and I think this would appeal to the feminist around us - no one really wants a big plastic penis to play with.”
These girls are doing it for girl power…
Rea Deacon: “We are whole heartedly trying to empower women - when we were doing our research we found that a surprising number of women still feel unsatisfied after sex with their partners. We also found that they were happy with this and equally we found that men thought they were satisfying their partners! But how are they supposed to know if we say nothing. Our aim is to educate both men and women on being able to have the courage, confidence and the knowledge they need for them to achieve sexual satisfaction - we all know that a healthy sex life has many benefits with regards to our lives, it will also allow your relationship to flourish.”
HANX girls: “We want to change the lives of women, so they feel empowered to take control of their sexual health without the fear of judgement. To be able to carry a condom that’s not loud and garish and replace it with one that’s free of sleaze, free of shame and free of toxic ingredients. This equality and empowerment makes us feminist, of course, but that is something that should go without saying!”
These are products for women by women…
HANX girls: “It’s super important to us that our product is by women and for women. In this day in age we still face adversity when it comes to gender such as with pay and women's rights all over the world. It’s 2017 and we finally wanted to design a condom that took into consideration what women want. Women now, more than ever, care about what they put on and in their bodies. That's why we ensured, where possible, there are no nasty chemicals and the latex we use is 100% natural. We are also vegan certified, so rest assured that no animal by-products are found in our latex. HANX isn't just a condom brand, we are a lifestyle brand here to change behaviour and create a movement. We are providing a platform that educates, activates, engages and defies negative associations because women deserve to do it their way and feel in control.”
Exactly how is a woman’s relationship with sex changing?
HANX girls: “ I think we are having more open and honest discussions than ever before. It is a fine balance as sex is personal and unique to each person and they should have the right to remain private. Yet such candid conversations allow for different aspects that influence sex such as culture, personal experience and background to inform others and ensure women feel comfortable and confident when in comes to sex. Suppression and poor education only cause problems. There is a real female empowerment movement going on around the world with many inequalities being addressed now more than ever. Sexual health is rightly being talked about more readily than ever but there is still a way to go before people feel unashamed about sex and for the numerous stigmas to be abolished. Underlying it all, I believe, is positive education and ensuring we keep the dialogue open.”