I began my first serious, long-term college relationship during the fall semester of my sophomore year. Around the same time, I made it a personal goal to take my sexual health more seriously, mainly because my sex education experience in high school was a total nightmare—I realized I was clueless when it came to practicing healthy intimacy habits.
My school district back home only required us to take one sex ed class, and it taught us nothing beyond the stereotypical narrative of practicing abstinence and understanding the basic use of condoms when abstinence failed (and, let’s be honest, preaching abstinence to a bunch of hormonal high schoolers almost always fails).
Taking a more active role in my sexual health once I got to college
Although being equipped with a basic level of sex-related knowledge didn’t harm my personal high school experience, as I never had a relationship where sex was considered, my lack of knowledge did start to affect me negatively once I got to college and started seriously dating people. I quickly realized that while I knew the basics of sex, I didn’t know much besides that. I was lectured on the importance of using condoms in my high school sex ed class, sure—but with so many brands, textures, and even flavors of condoms, which were the best ones to use? Was there even a difference? What other methods of birth control were out there? How could I know if I was having sex correctly? Was there even a correct way to have sex?
I was admittedly more than a little oblivious. Even important components of sex, like foreplay and aftercare, never crossed my mind as something I should expect or ask for from my sexual partners. Talking with my friends about their sexual experiences, I quickly found out that I wasn’t alone in my lack of knowledge, and that it was also negatively impacting their own relationships with sex and masturbation. Therefore, I decided to take a more active role in my sexual health and started seeking out more information independently. This initial search manifested itself in a Her Campus article I wrote back in September 2021, titled, “Sex-Positive Instagram Accounts You Should Follow.” In the article, I documented a few sex-positive brands I was using at the time to educate myself. At the top of that list was a fairly new sexual wellness brand called maude, a company I was initially drawn to because of my familiarity with the Co-Creative Director, actress Dakota Johnson. Little did I know, maude would soon become one of the most helpful and influential brands in my own sexual health journey, creating a lasting impact that would extend far past that original article I wrote back in 2021.
origins of maude
Éva Goicochea, the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of maude, created the company after her previous negative experiences as a legislative aid in healthcare. Tired of seeing the same confusing, outdated practices within the sexual wellness industry, she decided to create her own company with the goal of introducing informative and inclusive products. With the addition of actress Dakota Johnson as Co-Creative Director, maude gained a lot of media attention, appearing in publications like Vogue, Forbes and The New York Times, and soon the company became a breath of fresh air in a $77 billion sexual wellness market that had been previously dominated by the same male-dominated and outdated corporations.
Even recently, Goicochea was named one of 100 Innovators in 2023 by Vogue Business. These innovators are hand-selected by Vogue Business editors as people at the forefront of the beauty industry. By winning this award, Goicochea cements her original goal with maude as being an inspiring change within the sexual wellness industry for a new generation of customers.
dedication to advocating for better sexual health education
Mirroring my own bad experiences with sex ed in high school, maude has been outspoken about this issue: “Just 42.8% of all high schools and 17.6% of middle schools in the US provide all topics identified by the CDC as critical sex education topics” (maude). One of maude’s main brand initiatives includes supporting inclusive sexual health and education for all people. As I’ve learned, sexual education is essential to supporting healthy sexual health practices later in life. I made it a goal to teach myself in college, but many people end up going through life without adequate sexual health education or a desire to learn. Some of the organizations maude partners with include Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and Advocates for Youth and Peer Health Exchange. These organizations advocate for reproductive freedom and legislative change when it comes to better sex education in schools.
innovative and high-quality products
My journey with maude products began when I purchased the vibe. Since then, I have bought and tested many of their other products, including almost all of the devices, several of the body wash scents, a few packs of ultra-thin latex condoms, and the shave oil x ingrown hair oil combo. Not only are all the maude products I’ve used high-quality, but their design is extremely appealing. Most sexual device brands I know of use bright colors like hot pink, but I find myself preferring the neutral tones of maude more. Additionally, maude’s device designs are attractive—at first glance, it’s not obvious what they’re meant for, instead, they look like mini modern art pieces.
compelling online presence
Another aspect I love about maude is their online presence. As someone studying strategic communications with an emphasis on public relations, there’s nothing more satisfying to me than a strong, consistent brand voice. And maude has one of the strongest, most consistent brand voices. Combining the neutral, dark green aesthetic from the brand’s website, maude’s Instagram also ties in retro, old Hollywood themes. Mixing informational posts, product launches and news about developments within the sexual wellness industry, it’s one of my favorite social media accounts I follow. Additionally, maude offers several curated playlists on Spotify, which I love to play whenever I’m cooking or having a wine night with friends.
One of the most unique aspects of maude is the company’s online publication called “the maudern”. The publication provides “weekly dispatches by maude on modern intimacy through the arts, culture, science, and relationships” (“the maudern”), I’ve been able to read so many informative articles about topics like sex drives, financial intimacy, male g-spots and climax anxiety.
Whether you find yourself wanting to learn more about sex, advocate for political issues like better sex education and access to contraceptives, or are just looking for a new high-quality vibrator, I recommend maude. If you know me in person, you’ve probably already heard about maude because I talk about it so often. But I can’t praise this brand enough. Between the products and “the maudern”, I’ve been able to learn so much about myself and what my expectations are for my sexual experiences. I’ve also become more confident talking about sex, as evident from this article, and I’ve since become an advocate for the importance of everyone embarking on their own sexual wellness journey.