From Endometriosis to Women’s Pleasure products: One Woman’s quest to change the way we think about sex toys.

I was 14 when I was first diagnosed with Endo. After irregular periods and pelvic issues, a laparoscopy confirmed the diagnosis. I started the pill and had some reprieve for a few years. After countless visits to some of the “best known” gynaecologists in Sydney and multiple laparoscopy’s, I was told it was “in my head” and to go to a pain clinic. I think this is where my issues around pelvic pain really set in. A year later I found an amazing and kind gynaecologist who repeated a laparoscopy (number 5). He found varicose veins and tonnes of scar tissue but no endo. It seemed the pill was working as a treatment.

My first introduction to my body as a woman had been tainted by clinical, painful and embarrassing experiences which probably set the scene for what was to come later.

Sex initially was great (as great as it can be when you have zero idea what to expect and are an awkward teenager with little self-confidence). My first introduction to sex toys was at a seedy sex store in Kings Cross (Sydney’s version of the red-light district). An old man with a rocking 70s moustache sat behind the counter and pointed us in the direction of the biggest and quite frankly offensive dildos I had ever seen. I left with a small egg which looked cool and became one of my favourite toys (still is actually).

After the birth of my daughter, sex became extremely painful. After multiple visits to my OB and other health care professionals, I started pelvic floor physio. I had a condition known as “vaginismus”. The name itself is enough to make your vagina tense! Basically, it was involuntary spasm of the muscles of the vagina which made sex painful. Instead of relaxing they would tense up. Someone suggested using external stimulation with sex toys to try to relax the muscles before sex and during. The combination with lubricant was great and made the experience way better!

I was haunted by my first experience with sex toys and even though we have made some progress and there are certainly some stores and online boutiques that are amazing, there weren’t always products that I felt were luxurious and beautiful. So, this started my dream of creating sex toys.

I wanted a heart shape that could be left anywhere, and no one would suspect. I wanted it to be fun for couples and be able to be worn out (while using existing beautiful underwear). I wanted to challenge the notion that fellatio was all about the man and show women how powerful both giving and receiving pleasure can be, and I wanted an awesome external clitoral stimulator that would help the 75% of women who need this to be able to orgasm. And so, with some help along the way from several users, health care professionals and designers – I created my first product – Aphrodite. It was a long journey to get here but I am so excited for the opportunity to share this with women and help other women find ways to enjoy sex.

I feel very passionately that women should understand, be aware of and unashamed of their bodies. Whatever shape, size, colour you are – we all deserve pleasure and for the vast majority of us, with a little help and a lot of knowledge we can get there.

I look forward to sharing more as we go through this journey and hearing about your experiences too.

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Lara xx