Beyond Vibrators: How We’re Reaching New Heights in Sexual Wellness

Beyond Vibrators: How We’re Reaching New Heights in Sexual Wellness featured image
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I remember my teens, sifting through a box of books my mother had bought at a garage sale. As an avid reader, I often beat her to her them, devouring entire novels during long nights under a reading lamp. One day I picked up Erica Jong’s ‘Fear of Flying’—which by that time in the ’90s had been enlightening women’s minds for 20 years. While I can’t recall every salacious detail, I remember feeling the need to immediately take it to school and share the most descriptive pages with my friends. This was years before the internet and Sex and the City, but it shows how we learned about sex through a game of telephone. I shouldn’t say “sex,” but moreso female pleasure.

Thankfully, I’ve grown up and so has the way we talk about and understand sex in our lives. More than just a biological function, it’s become more universally recognized as a crucial aspect of our overall health and happiness. Taking control of our own pleasure is a modern form of self-care, but ramping up your libido isn’t anything new. Experts say there are a myriad ways to do it, some old, some new, we’re just more open to talking about it more now.

Featured Experts

  • Dr. Elizabeth Trattner is an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine expert based in Miami
  • Dr. Monica Grover is a board certified OBGYN and the Chief Medical Officer at VSPOT, based in New York
  • Samantha Marshall is the head of brand at sexual wellness brand Smile Makers 
  • Pietro Simone is an aesthetician and skin-care expert based in New York

“While there are loads of articles on men’s low libido and medical studies on herbs and supplements, there are not nearly enough studies to address women’s libido,” says acupuncturist and Chinese medicine expert Dr. Elizabeth Trattner. “Until recently, the topic has been swept under the table compared to men’s low libido and erectile dysfunction.” However, tides are changing and more women are talking about sexual wellness to not just feel good in the moment, but also long term. A healthy sex life can not only improve our mental health; it can also enhance our skin, strengthen our relationships with partners, reduce stress, and improve sleep and self-esteem. In other words, it’s vital.

Sticking Points

Dr. Trattner says that one very ancient way to enhance libido is through acupuncture, a practice long recognized for its ability to promote holistic well-being and improve sexual health. “Acupuncture treats low libido by balancing the flow of qi, or energy, through the body, boosting the root qi (or jing) in the kidneys, and increasing blood flow to reproductive organs,” she explains. Specific points on the body can trigger a host of sexual side effects. “For example, ‘Kidney 3,’ located on the inner ankle, and ‘Ren 4,’ located on the midline of the lower abdomen just below the navel. Targeting these areas can improve sexual function, reproductive health, and vitality,” she says.

“Each person will have a different variation of acupuncture points based on their underlying condition, so one size does not fit all,” she says. For more traditional approaches, Dr. Trattner says herbal therapies and Chinese medicine can also address underlying hormonal imbalances and stress that often contribute to sexual dysfunction.

Floor Routine

Want better control during sex? There’s a chair for that. The Emsella chair helps strengthen pelvic floor muscles as we age and it only takes 30 minutes. Patients can sit fully clothed on the chair while it stimulates thousands of contractions, akin to intense Kegel exercises. “High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic technology was traditionally used for body sculpting and core muscle strengthening,” explains New York OBGYN and chief medical officer at VSPOT, Monica Grover, MD. “We’re now seeing its benefits as a treatment for urinary incontinence and improve sexual function.”

Elvis Pelvis Floor Trainer
The Elvis Pelvic Floor Trainer is a smart Kegel exercise device that can help strengthen and tone pelvic floor muscles with real-time biofeedback via an app.

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Meanwhile, technology has spurred a new wave of sexual wellness products. “From wearable devices that track sexual activity and arousal to app-controlled vibrators and sexual wellness apps, technology has revolutionized the range of products available to enhance sexual pleasure and intimacy,” explains Dr. Grover.

Good Vibes

Smile Makers, a leading sexual wellness brand available at beauty stores, aims to destigmatize conversations about pleasure. Their approach integrates aesthetics, ergonomics and anatomical research, ensuring their products cater specifically to vulva anatomy and diverse pleasure preferences. “We began about 12 years ago to bring sexuality into the open, into everyday spaces where people feel comfortable purchasing wellness products,” says the head of brand, Sarah Marshall. This strategy has not only expanded Smile Makers’ presence to retailers like Sephora and Ulta but helped promote a cultural shift where pleasure is recognized alongside other wellness essentials. “We observed that beginners and the curious find beauty and wellness spaces more inviting for their purchases. Sephora’s inclusion of our products represents a significant milestone in mainstream retailing of sexual wellness,” adds Marshall.

Smile Makers The Tennis Pro
Marshall says Smile Maker’s playful product names, like the Tennis Pro, are inspired by real sexual fantasies. The brand aims to encourage open, shame-free discussions about pleasure. 

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Skintimate Care

Aesthetician Pietro Simone recommends incorporating a skin-care approach to your more delicate areas. He has even launched an innovative Intimate Beauty Menu at his New York spa. “The menu’s centerpiece, the Fierce Intimate Cream, is designed to restore moisture and promote a balanced skin microbiome.” Like facial skin care, he has designed it to target multiple skin concerns with stabilized vitamin C for radiant skin, a peptide delivery system for deep hydration and repair and a blend of botanical extracts for calming and anti-inflammatory effects. 

Pietro Simone’s Fierce Intimate Cream
Pietro Simone’s Fierce Intimate Cream helps restores moisture and promotes a balanced skin microbiome with a blend of botanical extracts for calming and anti-inflammatory effects.

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Regenerative Therapies

Dr. Grover says newer, more innovative technologies that we already use on the face and body are also transforming how we approach women’s sexual health. “For instance,” she explains, “PRP therapy, which involves using concentrated platelets from the patient’s own blood, has already been applied in various medical contexts, including aesthetics, for many years. Now, it’s being used to stimulate tissue regeneration and enhance sexual function in women experiencing conditions like female sexual arousal disorder or stress urinary incontinence.”

Similarly, CO2 fractional lasers and radio-frequency treatments, commonly used for skin tightening, are are also being applied to intimate areas. “These technologies help improve tissue elasticity and stimulate collagen production, ultimately enhancing sexual sensation and comfort,” Dr. Grover says.

Pleasure Principles

Not every sexual wellness solution requires a visit to the clinic or the use of high-tech devices. Simple DIY practices can also play a significant role in enhancing sexual wellness. Dr. Grover adds not to overlook the importance of simple connection. “Start talking with your partner, your friends; we need to first open the dialogue and get rid of the stigma behind sexual health and wellness.”

As I get older and closer to Samantha Jones’ age, I’m more willing to discuss my experiences with my sisters and friends—much like that earlier game of telephone—sharing what works and what doesn’t. I think they’re a bit keener to share as well, as sexuality remains such a huge part of our lives, even if we’ve reached our “peak” on paper. In reality, many of us will continue to explore new heights well into menopause and beyond. Thankfully, we can learn from each other how to sustain our pleasure principle long past what’s considered our “prime.”

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