Let's Talk About Sex | In Conversation with Alex Fine, Dame Co-Founder & CEO
Feb 12, 2020
We had the great pleasure (too early for the sex puns?) of chatting with Alex Fine, one of the leading forces behind Dame, the company looking to disrupt the sex tech industry through challenging the way most of us think about, talk about, and have sex.
Along with her Co-Founder, Janet Lieberman the Dame team, "engineers for sexual wellness by building welcoming community, designing innovative tools, and bringing life-changing education to your bedroom."
From vulvas to vibrators, we learned so much from Alex. Enjoy the convo!
Alex, you're a sexologist. For those of us new in this arena, tell us what that means.
Basically, sexology is the scientific study of human sexuality—including human sexual interests, behaviors, and functions.
We're so curious, how does one become a sexologist? What led you down this path and made you so passionate about sexual wellness and the products you create?
I've always been interested in sexuality. As far back as I can remember, it seemed like a really natural thing to be curious about. In grade school, I had an aunt who took me to a party where drag queens and non-cisgender folks were present.
I remember going back to class the next day and discussing it with my friends and getting in trouble by my teacher. That not only sparked my interest in sexuality and gender, but our inability to speak openly about them.
(Almost) all people come from sex, and yet it’s something we, as a society, still struggle to discuss. Early on, I discovered my passion for improving our culture’s relationship and experience of sex.
I went on to earn my Masters in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in sex therapy from Columbia University. I felt that, personally, I could make a bigger difference by starting a company – so that’s what I set out to do.
As CEO of Dame, you've built your whole business around sex. Talking about it, educating your audience on it, and finding ways to improve it. In a society that often avoids the topic all together, how have you learned to lean in?
We are always trying to make the world a happier place one vagina at a time. When we first started, we were one of few companies making sex toys led by people with vulvas – who understood firsthand the anatomy we were designing for.
Now, we’re being joined by so many women and nonbinary folks looking to disrupt sex tech. Not only is this raising the standard for the toys and products we see on the market, but also shifting the conversation to a less cis-male centric view on sex.
We’re always working on new products, and looking to do whatever we can to position the industry and ourselves more clearly in the wellness space by courting more mainstream retailers, trying to work on advertising restrictions, and of course, by expanding our product line.
We have a lot of work to do, but we’re absolutely making progress. I am hopeful that the industry will continue to be more diverse in years to come.
You're on a mission to close the pleasure gap. Tell us more.
The pleasure gap is the disparity in satisfaction that people with vulvas experience in the bedroom, versus their cis male counterparts. The fact that the majority of people with vulvas need clitoral stimulation for pleasurable sex is more widely understood than it was a decade ago—and this is opening up doors for so many people with vulvas to explore sex with clitoral touch as a focal point, with or without penetration.
From the lens of holistic health, what tips and tricks do you have for spicing things up in the bedroom, naturally?
It definitely starts with open communication. It can be scary, but talk with your partner (committed or not) about what does and doesn't feel good to you, ahead of engaging in sexual activity.
If that includes using vibrators in the bedroom, awesome! If it doesn't, that's cool too. From there, have an exchange about what you both like, what you fantasize about, and some things you've always wanted to try.
Be patient with each other as you go through the motions of figuring out your pleasure preferences—it'll definitely pay off in the long run!
From your perspective, what's the #1 thing we don't, but should talk about when it comes to our sexual health?
I still feel that our collective understanding of sex is heteronormative. I bet most people in the world will tell you sex starts when a penis enters a vagina, and ends when the man ejaculates. Sex is can be so many things. Bodies are so complex and embracing those nuances is what sexual health is all about.
p.s. In NYC? Visit Intimate Space, their wellness popup now through February 16.