“At our age,” says Leah Fischer, “women should be having two to three orgasms a week for optimal pelvic floor health.”
“And this has nothing to do with pleasure,” adds Cass Redding. “Just keeping a good maintenance.”
Having both recently turned 50, Redding and Fisher wanted to find a passion project with a meaningful impact for midlife women like themselves. They wanted it to be something that would help challenge the stigma surrounding intimacy and take a more holistic view on wellbeing—mental, physical, and sexual.
This led them to create Intimate Wellbeing: their Okanagan-based sexual wellness company. While their site sells pleasure devices and natural lube, it’s also creating a community to help educate women and provide a safe space for them to talk about these things.
After receiving questions they couldn’t answer, they decided to organize recurring online seminars with pelvic floor physiotherapists, gynaecologists, sex therapists, and intimacy coaches. This includes experts such as Dr. Lori Brotto, who spoke about better sex through mindfulness, and Dr. Carolin Klein from the West Coast Centre for Sex Therapy, who spoke about arousal, libido, and the use of sex toys in the bedroom.
“There’s a massive stigma around toys and pleasure,” Fischer says via Zoom. “We’re here to have the conversation that self pleasure is not selfish, it’s self-care.”
While they originally used the pseudonyms Coco and Lola, they soon realized how much it would help their age group if they used their real names and faces. “By putting our faces to our project, we’re trying to help women feel comfortable about embracing their sexual health,” says Redding, “and even just talking to their doctor or talking to their friends.”
While conversations about sexual wellness are becoming more and more commonplace, Fischer says the topic is still very much taboo among women her age. The brand’s ability to post ads on Facebook and Instagram is also very limited due to Meta’s restrictive policies, and while they can advertise on Google, they need to be very cautious about how they word it.
Intimate Wellbeing wants to give women permission to start talking about sex and pleasure—in a safe, welcoming, and relaxed environment. “We are not experts; we are not trained professionally in the sexual health field,” says Fischer. “However, we are seeking out medical professionals, sexperts, and … we are sharing what we are finding.”
Redding and Fischer didn’t start using vibrators themselves until they were 32 and 47, respectively, and now they’re determined to share its benefits with as many women as they can “One of our underlying beliefs is that most women have had sex for the pleasure of their partners, more than for their own pleasure, over the years,” says Fischer. “And this needs to be changed. If you’re looking for permission, here it is; if you still need to hear it, let’s make it loud and clear. It is totally normal to masturbate.”