As an organisation working on pleasure and sexuality, this Women’s Day, we at Hidden Pockets, decided to focus on women empowerment through sexual pleasure. With that in mind, we had a conversation with Ute Wiemer, Founder – Lovetreats, an online adult toy store to understand women, sexual pleasure, how it all comes together to empower women and how women could discover sexual pleasure to experience that power.
How do you think discovering sexual pleasure empowers women?
That’s an interesting question. I think that in a lot of ways women when they grow up as adults are taught that female sexuality and pleasure are taboos. You are not supposed to talk about it. Often a lot of times female pleasure is discussed as not proper behaviour or as not being innocent. When a women is looking for sexual pleasure then may be probably she is a whore. I think discovering pleasure for women, is a way of empowering yourself. I wouldn’t say it is a way of empowering other women by talking about it but for every woman who discovers her own sexuality and sexual pleasure, it can be a way to empower herself. It is an individual journey for every woman. I’m convinced that it can really boost confidence. It can help you discover your own body and more confident in your own body. You may become more vocal about your needs with a partner being able to express what you like and don’t like. This, to me, would be the empowerment component of it.
Why do you think sexual pleasure needs to be given more prominence in terms of women empowerment?
I already spoke about it a little bit. I think why it is important is because currently it is not spoken about enough. Whenever we talk about sexual pleasure in the media, in movies, even often in conversation with friends say in a bar talking about it, it is usually discussed as something that is exclusively male which is not true. Sexual pleasure or desires is something that men and women have equally. But when it is often discussed publicly, it is often perceived as something male, which is why I think it is so important to also talk about female sexual pleasure. It is not given the same important right now for women as it is for men.
How would you define pleasure for women? What is your definition of pleasure as Lovetreats, an adult toy store?
That’s a hard one. Sexual pleasure can have a lot of different dimensions. For one, it could be orgasm or climaxing but then there are so many more components to it. I think it is also a very individual thing. I think every woman would define sexual pleasure for herself in a very different way. If you know what one woman likes it doesn’t mean that you know what any other woman likes. Women are very different from each other in the way they experience sexual pleasure. That’s why communication is also very important. That’s why we encourage our customers to come us with questions and we tell them to ask their partner what they like, what interests them and also dislike. I’d say broadly, from a Lovetreats point of view and from the products that we sell, we divide pleasure into two categories which is self-pleasure and pleasure with a partner. We have a bunch of products which are for female self-pleasure which is basically any product that can be used for masturbation. And then the other category would be pleasure with a partner which are products that can be used by couples, which often enhance both the partners’ pleasure. We also have products which are specifically designed to enhance female pleasure during intercourse.
What are some of the concerns that women have with respect to sexual pleasure?
Especially from the workshops and events that we have done, I sometimes saw that lot of women are concerned that looking for sexual pleasure in some way will make them (I hate the word) a slut. They are concerned that if they talk to their partner about their needs and what they want, then their partner would think that they are sex crazy. (Ute laughs) Or that they are too demanding or make their partner feel very insecure. So often that they feel that if women felt confident and vocal about their sexual needs, it would intimidate other people especially their partner. Others may think that they are being very selfish or enjoying sex too much. I don’t know if there’s a thing as enjoying sex too much (says laughing again.)
How do you address these concerns?
Usually I feel that once women hear other women talking about sexual pleasure then they open up really quickly. Then they also become more confident. Ok this woman is talking about it so it must be ok to talk about it. Someone else is feeling that way so it must be ok for me to be feeling that way. Especially women who are concerned about their partner – what will my partner think if I talk about this, I tell them that your partner will also enjoy sex more if they know that you are enjoying it. So it would help telling your partner what you like.
What are some ways that women can begin exploring pleasure without inhibitions especially for women in tier III & IV?
I think one of the first steps and the most important step is to explore masturbation and explore giving yourself pleasure. It is the best way to learn about your body and feel confident about your sexuality. It is also the best way to find out what you like. I wouldn’t even try and sell any women’s products in the first step. I would encourage them to explore pleasure by themselves.
What would you say are the products that women are interested? And why?
This is an interesting one. If you are talking about female pleasure, the number 1 bestseller on our site is vibrator for women. It is an indicator that women are paying attention to their own pleasure. Women are focusing on their own sexual pleasure. Most popular ones are rabbit vibrator. The special thing about those is that they have bunny ears. They became famous after they were on an episode of Sex and the City some 15 years ago. They are still among the most popular vibrator worldwide. Then we have travel size mini-vibrator which are also really popular. Some of them also come in shapes looking like lipstick, very discreet. You can just keep it in your makeup purse and nobody would know what it is. But it is actually a battery operated mini vibrator. On our site, we also sell personal lubricants that can enhance pleasure for women especially during sex. Extra-lubrication can be pleasurable. Then we also have accessories like fluffy handcuffs, blindfold and lingerie that are also bought by women a lot.
What are some tips/recommendation for women to maximise pleasure?
Take your time to get to know your own body. Take time for self-pleasure and to masturbate. It is the best way to learn what you actually like. Only when you know what you like, you can tell a partner what you like. So that would be my biggest tip. Take yourself seriously and put yourself first in a way and take the time to know your own body.
What are some of the health concerns with respect to sexual health?
Let me talk about the questions we get. One we hear a lot is women are concerned that if they use a vibrator or dildo, they will not be virgins anymore. It is nonsense but we hear that a lot. Women also ask a lot about contraceptive methods, how safe are condoms, how to use condoms, things like that.
How good would you say is the awareness on contraceptive methods?
The awareness is low. Women only use I-Pill that is supposed to be used only in emergency. They use it couple of times a month, which is dangerous. Lot of sex education is still needed.