IN THE V ZONE
Here how to care for the precious cargo we keep undercover
by Genevieve Monsma
During at least one of the check-up appointments in the months after giving birth, many women will be given the “green light” to have sex with their partners again. They will also likely be warned by their practitioner that, if they are breastfeeding, pregnancy can still occur, so to take the proper precautionary measures. For some of us (myself very much included) it’s a warning that will make you quite literally laugh out loud. The notion that I, in my postpartum state of perpetual exhaustion, infrequent showering, regular leaking of milk and blood, and frequent delirium, would also muster up the desire for, well, desire—when all I could think about was sweet, sweet sleep—was hilarious.
There’s a physical reason for the dip in sex drive that happens postpartum. “When a woman is pregnant her reproductive hormones are elevated and after giving birth they crash,” says Julia Arenson, a Brooklyn-based doula. “This results in a dip in estrogen, which can cause low sex drive and vaginal dryness, making sex feel painful.” There’s also an evolutionary reason for it: “It’s basically her body’s natural way of ensuring that she takes the time to properly heal and focus on caring for the baby instead of on trying to have another one,” says Vanessa Marin, a psychotherapist and writer specializing in sex therapy.
Hormonal cascades aside, there’s also the simple fact that reality as you know it has drastically changed. “Your body feels like it doesn’t belong to you anymore; you’re stressed and anxious about keeping your baby alive and doing everything ‘right’; you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and seriously lacking sleep; and you’re adjusting to what it’s like to see yourself as a ‘mom’ and how that fits in with your previously held identity,” says Marin. “How could your sex drive not change?” While it’s not as common, even partners who didn’t physically give birth can experience their own libido loss. “That’s most likely due to tiredness related to newborn care, the stress on the individual and relationship that a baby can bring, or also a fear of ‘hurting’ the partner who gave birth,” Eilber explains.
Many women also still simply find themselves in a great deal of physical pain in the months postpartum after going through what is, by all accounts, a significant trauma for the body. If you are breastfeeding, that can pose its own roadblocks for the libido. “When you are breastfeeding, hormones like oxytocin [often referred to as the ‘love hormone’] and prolactin increase,” says Arenson. “Oxytocin flows during the bonding and breastfeeding process, and this can replace some of the urge to connect intimately through sex.” The accompanying lower levels of estrogen and testosterone can, adds Karyn Eilber, M.D., a urologist focused on female pelvic medicine, negatively impact the libido as well.
“’Estrogen is to the vagina what lotion is to the face,’ says Karyn Eilber, MD, a urologist in California who specializes in female pelvic medicine.”
“’Regularly engaging the vaginal tissue helps it maintain some pliability,” Dr. Eilber says. ‘If sex is painful, use a lubricant to minimize the friction or tug on fragile vaginal walls.” Try … water-based Glissant Sea Salt & Caramel Intimate Lubricant Spray ($55, glissantlove.com), which is best for when condoms are used.”
Last, and perhaps most important, guess what happens to the vagina after menopause (without hormone placement)? Blood vessels can become smaller and result in changes in the collagen composition that make the vaginal wall thinner and weaker. Increased collagen has also been associated with prolapse. Unfortunately, women don't have daily erections to increase pelvic blood flow, so what's a woman to do? “Sex can definitely increase pelvic blood flow, but most people can't or don't want to do this every day,” says Karyn Eilber, MD, Associate Professor of Urology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and co-founder of Glissant, makers of luxe lubricants. Put simply: Daily use of a vibrator is good for increasing the blood flow to your vag to keep it functioning optimally.
Cannabis Beauty And Wellness Company Leaders On Where The CBD Market Is Heading
APRIL 20, 2021
More than two years out from the federal Farm Bill that legalized the hemp trade in the United States and ushered in a beauty industry CBD boom, we wanted to check in with cannabis beauty and wellness brand founders and executives about the future of the CBD market. We asked 34 of them to answer the following question: What’s something you think will be big or decrease in importance for cannabis beauty and wellness going forward?
Cannabis wellness, specifically CBD, is going to continue to grow in the beauty and wellness space for people with sensitivities. The miraculous properties of cannabis have always been touted, but, as time goes on and more research is done with cannabis (mainly CBD), it's presumed anti-inflammatory, analgesic, muscle relaxant, antimicrobial effects, etc., are being firmly established. Because of this, beauty products will now more confidently be able to say they are hypoallergenic or appropriate for all skin types, including sensitive skin. I also think products containing CBD will be less likely to harbor bacteria or other organisms. That’s why we chose to include CBD in our L’Huile d’Amour lubricant.
Bluemercury Is Expanding Its Intimate Wellness Line—Here’s Why Lubricants Being in the Beauty Aisle Matters
s part of your next beauty haul, you might also be able to add personal lubricant to you IRL and digital cart alike if you’re shopping at Bluemercury, at least. Today, the beauty brand and retailer is massively expanding its intimate wellness category, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. On the digital front, Bluemercury is adding “intimate
care” and “feminine care” sections to the wellness category of the site. It’s also adding more products from maternity brand Hatch, postpartum brand Ebi, sexual wellness brand Glissant, (by Dr. Karyn Eilber) and intimate care line Dr. Janine Mahon to its slate of product offerings. But why now, why Bluemercury, and—most importantly—why should you care?
Notably, the development comes alongside a larger shift of the public moving to embrace sexual and intimate wellness as a component of general wellness. In the midst of the pandemic, it’s become clear that many folks are waking up to the reality that self pleasure is self care, and that growing understanding has given way to destigmatization and sexual openness. Now, sexual education isn’t just part of your high school curriculum, but an ongoing journey worthy of your attention as you grow and change throughout the seasons of life. That thirst for knowledge is often accompanied by a desire for products to maximize personal experience, and Bluemercury has taken note that, in the past year especially, folks are invested in their sexual wellness.
According to brand representatives, offerings focused on intimate care have seen double-digit sales growth in the past year (they wouldn’t give up the specifics, but did share the growth to be compelling). And that growth in demand is accompanied by supply. In the past year, Bluemercury has grown to stock 50 products from 14 brands that focus on the intimate and feminine care sector, up from 12 products and four brands the year before.
The four new brands are woman-founded and informed in mission by events vulva-owners deal with throughout life. “These are all brands that have strong founder stories, beautiful packaging, best-in-class ingredients, and we test everything,” says Tracy Kline, senior vice president of merchandising, marketing, and digital at Bluemercury. “The [products] need to work. It’s not just about what’s good for you—they need to deliver results.”
At different points in your life cycle, you might have radically different needs, and being able to cater to those needs with the help of easy-to-find products can help you feel great about whatever it is you’re navigating.
Kline also sees Bluemercury’s expansion into intimate care as a form of community care. By educating its beauty experts and then passing that education down to clients and customers, the brand hopes to not only offer positive solutions to common issues, but also continue to destigmatize sexual health issues with which vulva-owners contend. At different points in your life cycle, you might have radically different needs, and being able to cater to those needs with the help of easy-to-find products can help you feel great about whatever it is you’re navigating.
So consider this expansion a continuation of the growing dialogue around outspoken sexual health and wellness—and another way to embrace how we all think of beauty. Because an outward appearance only goes so far if you don’t have the ease and confidence about your body. “Beauty is about the overall feeling, inside and out—and if you’re not feeling good about yourself, that takes a toll on everything,” says Kline. “So the most important piece is just the normalization, the conversation, whether it’s sexual health, and challenges of your pregnancy journey, or menopause.”
Community Highlights: Meet Renée Garacochea of GLISSANT
Today we’d like to introduce you to Renee Garacochea.
Hi Renee, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
The inspiration for GLISSANT started with my co-founder, Dr. Karyn Eilber, a Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery specialist who wanted to help her patients who were struggling with sexual wellness. After repeatedly listening to her patients say that they avoided sexual activity because of vaginal dryness and pain, and they wanted a natural lubricant without hormones or irritating chemicals (and maybe even some aphrodisiacs!) she turned to me to help create a product that fit their needs. With my 25-year experience in the beauty industry of formulating products with natural oils and extracts combined with my co-founder’s scientific knowledge, we first created GLISSANT FDA-cleared sea-salt & caramel water-based intimate lubricant.
During development of our first lubricant, my sister unfortunately was diagnosed with brain cancer that had spread throughout her body. I personally witnessed the power of CBD (cannabidiol) to alleviate my sister’s suffering when nothing else could. This inspired me to create a second lubricant with CBD to really help with pain: GLISSANT Intimate Huile d’amour was born. This formulates is an oil-based lube that not only has CBD but also CBG (cannabigerol, “the mother of all cannabinoids”) and carefully curated herbs that have aphrodisiac and other natural sexual enhancing properties. This product can (and should) be sprayed in mouth 15 20 minutes before intimate activity to heighten your experience! Those of us who have been married a long long time really appreciate a little something extra and we aim to please! That’s why our motto is…Love. Replenish. Repeat!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We launched a week before Covid hit…enough said!
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We are a business that’s created by women, owned by women and for women. Going through menopause is no joke and most of us have no clue what that even means. I thought it was about just not having your period and it turns out that’s the only highlight! We aim to inform women and help them through this change of life, afterall we aren’t dead yet! Sex is a big part of life and having pain with intercourse isn’t fun so we are here to help with our lube, along with Dr. Eilber blogs and answering any and all questions we receive from women. I know you are not supposed to make business personal but this is personal for me, with my sister being my inspiration and myself going through menopause, it is personal. I’m proud of everything we’ve done with GLISSANT or I wouldn’t of have done it all.
What makes you happy?
My family and my sweet dogs!
$55.00 CBD & CBG Intimate Huile D’Amour
$55.00 FDA Sea Salt & Caramel Lubricant
$16.00 LAVAGE DE CORPS MARIGOLD & ARNICA PETALS BODY WASH
11 Sex Positions That Pair Reaaaally Well With Weed
By Jill Hamilton
While the experts still can't seem to find some definitive, beyond-refutable evidence that CBD is the game-changing cure-all many say it is, it's still seen as an It elixir (sorry, bone broth) and touted as a remedy for everything from anxiety and skin issues like acne, redness and irritation to calming inflammation. CBD is so part of Life As We Know It that a CBD subscription is even something you can get.
CBD *might* also help with sex. The thing is...we don't really know. CBD lovers say that it increases blood flood to your vagina, clit, and anus which translates to deeper arousal. CBD's anti-inflammatory qualities can help folks with sexual pain. (FWIW, CBD is not the same as regular weed, which contains THC and activates the sexual arousal part of the brain. Nobody will be getting high on CBD except on life.)
And just the ritual of using a CBD product completely helps with arousal when you think about it. You have to acquire it (creating anticipation) and rub it into your vulva or wherever for like 15 minutes (enforced foreplay). All that makes you automatically more mindful and attuned to your body.
The Lap of Love
If you find a CBD oil that's also edible, it'll work for oral too. A few sprays for your mouth, a few sprays on a nearby vulva, bum or even a penis (hell, give it a try), wait ten minutes then get to it. “The texture, scent and taste appeal to all the senses so that you will want to take your time — which is beneficial to all part(ies) involved,” says Karyn Eilber, MD, Associate Professor of Urology and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and co-founder of Glissant, makers of luxe lubricants.
SHOP NOW CBD & CBG infused Huile D'Amour, $55, Glissantlove.com
CBD & CBG Oil-Based Spray Lubricant
The world simply needed a spray lube that can pass for a lipstick. New sexual wellness brand Glissant sells a curated selection of luxe lubes made with soothing, natural ingredients like CBD, evening primrose oil, and horny goat leaf. Plus, it was created by Karyn Eilber, M.D., a physician specializing in female pelvic medicine at Cedars-Sinai, so you know it’s good.
21 Chic Sex Toys You’ll Actually Want to Leave on Your Nightstand
By Kelsey Clark
The taboo surrounding sex is incredibly deep-seated—it’s been discussed in hushed tones behind closed doors for literal centuries. But new sexual wellness brands like Maude, Hers, and Dame are normalizing sexual health and exploration for a new generation of women and men, one aesthetically pleasing vibrator at a time.
Ahead, 21 chic sex toys that are pretty enough to leave on your nightstand, bathroom counter, fireplace mantel, coffee table—wherever, really.
Women’s Wellness Roundup
FEBRUARY 16, 2021
rom elevated intimate care, to skin care designed for that time of the month, to a wellness-forward makeup brand, here are the latest women’s wellness launches.
BY AMBER KATZ
GLISSANT INTIMATE CARE
This intimate care range was created by Dr. Karyn Eilber, a physician at Cedars-Sinai, specializing in female pelvic medicine, and entrepreneur Renee Garacochea. Renee has founded Fauna, a pet grooming line, and Knotty Girl, an all-natural hair care collection.
How did this new range come to be? Dr. Eilber heard from her patients that they avoid sexual activity because of pain due to vaginal dryness. She was thus inspired to create a natural lubricant without hormones or harsh chemicals, after finding that there was nothing she could recommend on the market. “Women would come back to me and tell me that the lubricants they tried irritated them more; they felt like they got a vaginal infection after that,” Dr. Eilber said. Meanwhile, Renee’s 20-plus years of knowledge formulating products using natural oils and extracts perfectly complemented Dr. Eilber’s medical and research background.
Glissant products contain carefully curated natural and organic skin care and aphrodisiac ingredients that offer a luxurious experience in addition to soothing and alleviating pain in the most intimate parts. The range is launching with a Sea Salt & Caramel Intimate Lubricant Spray and Intimate Huile D’amour Spray. The lubricant spray is water-based and compatible with natural rubber latex, polyurethane and polyisoprene condoms. As for ingredients, it contains L arginine, which is found in Viagra and increases blood flow. “It increases sensation and helps a woman lubricate on her own,” Dr. Eilber explained. Hyaluronic acid and lactic acid are also included, which are also found in the natural lubrication of the vagina.
The Intimate Huile D’Amour Spray is infused with 100mg of CBD, CBG and formulated with botanicals that are said to enhance pleasure –– with natural and organic ingredients, no hormones and no harsh chemicals. This spray is not compatible with condoms, does not contain THC and contains nut products. Glissant’s refillable packaging system is interchangeable between products. Each is $55, $35 for a refill. Glissant is available at glissantlove.com.
Make Sex Fun Again: Two New Lube Choices With Powerful Extra Ingredients
Glissant was founded by two women who have the perfect credentials for addressing women's sexual issues in a beautiful, sensuous way.
The first sex issue a new company called Glissant solves is where to store your lube. You know what we’re talking about. You can’t just leave it out after all, in case nosy kids–or grandkids–come around. Glissant’s lube comes in beautiful packaging; it looks like a larger version of a Chanel lipstick. So, you can keep it right out in the open, on your night stand next to your crossword and your reading glasses, and boom! you’re ready to go whenever, without the fumbling and searching for the good stuff.
But that’s only the beginning of what the two Glissant founders have thought of when it comes to lubrication. The women come with the perfect credentials for addressing women’s sexual predicaments in a beautiful, sensuous way. Dr. Karyn Eilber is a physician and surgeon at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Hospital, specializing in female pelvic medicine; her friend and co-founder Renee Garacochea has more than 25 years of experience formulating beauty products using natural oils and extracts.
Eilber’s patients often told her that they didn’t have sex because the dryness made it hurt, and they didn’t fare much better using the lubes found on the market. “Women would come back to me and tell me that the lubricants they tried irritated them more; they felt like they got a vaginal infection after that,” Eilber says.
Oil or Water?
This is what prompted Eilber to turn to Garacochea to work on a solution with her. Glissant (which means “slippery” in French) offers a water-based lube with a sea salt and caramel flavor, and yes “flavor” is the appropriate word here, hinting at the hoped-for activity that might take place. This lube, which has been cleared by the FDA as a medical device, also contains hyaluronic acid, which adds to a woman’s own natural moisture, lactic acid for a healthy vaginal pH, and l-arginine, known to have “Viagra” like effects, the company says.
The ingredients in each product enhance your own natural response.
The other option is an oil-based formula called Huile d’Amour. The key ingredients in this lube are CBD and CBG, which is another cannabinoid, and has been shown to reduce inflammation, according to the founders. The two cannabinoids used together produce what’s known as the “entourage effect,” the founders say, where the properties of each are amplified.
With the help of a Chinese herbalist, Glissant infused Huile d’Amour with a slew of traditional aphrodisiacs, including ginseng, maca, allium, and horny goat leaf (great name that last one). Garacochea advises that you spray a little in your mouth (completely safe) to really get in the mood.
“Our lubes are not just lubes,” says Eilber. “The ingredients in each product enhance your own natural response.”
At least two other ways Glissant makes lube easy and comfortable for you. They’re each sprays, which means you can direct the lube where it’s needed without getting your hands all goopy. Also, the beautiful containers are refillable, which makes sense for the environment and your wallet. The lube retails for $55, and a one-ounce refill goes for $35.
To get the biggest impact, the founders suggest using the water and the oil lube together. “You can try them individually,” says Eilber, “or mix them together to get the best of both.”
Garacochea says a good lube is a worthwhile indulgence. “Look at it this way. You can just take a bath or you can have a bath with beautiful bath salts and candles to make it special,” she says. “Same with lube. You can use whatever, or you can use something really luxurious that will be a better experience for both of you.”
GLISSANT founders Renée Garacochea and Dr. Karyn Eilber
26 SEXY GIFTS BOTH YOU AND YOUR PARTNER WILL NEVER GET ENOUGH OF
Valentine’s Day is the day for giving (and receiving) love, after all.
UPDATED: FEB 8, 2021
Glissant Valentine's Gift Set
Consider this the most luxurious lube you'll ever come across: Its lightweight formula is powered by ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, lactic acid, and L-arginine to treat your body to an unexpected pampering session while you get in the mood. Plus, it has the seductive taste of sea salt and caramel that's good enough to eat (which you can do because it's edible!).
JENNIFER HUSSEIN Beauty Editor Jennifer is the Beauty Editor for BestProducts.com, where she’s testing out everything from the latest lip gloss to the craziest skincare trend sweeping the online beauty-verse.
Make Valentine's Day even more ROMANTIC with the GLISSANT Valentine's Gift Set! This sexy gift set includes a Sea Salt & Caramel Intimate Lubricant Spray along with a refill. Their spray is an enticing and luxurious water-based lubricant. It is blended with sea salt & caramel and helps to ease discomfort with intimate activity. It helps to hydrate the most personal areas while enhancing pleasure for both you and your Valentine! This is definitely a romantic gift that you can both share on Valentine's Day!
GLISSANT Valentine's Gift Set
Celebrate Valentine’s Day With the Best CBD-Infused Intimacy Products
February 8, 2021
For couples who are new to exploring the world of intimacy products, INTIMATE HUILE D’AMOUR SPRAY by GLISSANT comes in an approachable, refillable, discreet outer shell. Resembling a tube of elegant lipstick, you can leave this on your nightstand and no one would ever guess that it’s actually a bottle of lube.
This doctor-formulated spray contains 100mg of CBD and CBG, in addition to all-natural botanical oils and herbal aphrodisiacs. Being designed for topical and ingestible use, you can spritz a few sprays in your mouth before applying liberally to the genitalia.
The evening primrose oil combined with cannabinoids increases blood flow to your intimate parts, and the dash of peppermint and cinnamon provide a cooling sensation followed by a burst of warmth.
Glissant is French for “sliding,” or “slippery” which speaks for itself. The company is co-founded by Renee Garacochea and a Urologist, Dr. Karyn Eilber, who describes their product as “a modern-day lubricant for the empowered woman.” Glissant Intimate Huile D’amour (oil of love) lubricant spray is infused with 100 mg of CBD and CBG for the entourage effect, and botanicals known by faeries to promote seduction. Ginseng, maca, allium, and horny goat leaf are rumored to be aphrodisiacs, while CBD, CBG, and evening primrose oil may heighten sensation by increasing blood flow to private parts. A smidge of peppermint creates a cooling sensation, like High on Love’s O gel, but with a hint of spicy cinnamon for balance. Provocative and playful with sleek, sexy, black packaging, this luxuriant product line is the Chanel of CBD lubes.
Leave it to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion to write the ultimate guide for being an empowered sex-worker (or a feminist free spirit, depending on your point of view). While these divas will have us believe their WAPs are an all-natural by-product of their divine ferocity, mere mortals may achieve WAPness with cannabis and CBD-based, consumer packaged goods (CPGs) including the ones below.
11 CANNABIS PRODUCTS FOR MAINTAINING A WAP
Informative interview with Dr. Eilber
Glissant’s Luxe Lube Merges CBD And Traditional Chinese Medicine
AUGUST 25, 2020