Spotlight: 9 Women Of Color Dominating Sexual Wellness


Spotlight: 9 Women Of Color Dominating Sexual Wellness

Women of color are taking over the sexual wellness world in a much-needed effort to address health and pleasure inequities around the globe.

In honor of International Womens Month, we thought it was only right to celebrate these sexual wellness entrepreneurs and everything they do to make the industry more inclusive and welcoming for marginalized people while representing for young girls who need more diverse role models in business.

From sex toy brand founders to women behind the scenes and creators of erotic lit, these are the bold women of color making waves in sexual health and changing what leadership looks like.

1. Melissa Saavedra of Steamy Lit

Latina-owned Steamy Lit, run by Melissa Saavedra, is pioneering change in erotic literature by bringing more diversity into romance novels. Saavedra grew up wanting to see more of herself and her culture represented in books, and her passion lies in showcasing marginalized authors of color and those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. 

This trailblazer also founded Steamy Lit Con, a convention that honors the romance genre while giving a voice to those who have been historically underrepresented. 

Saavedra shares, “As a woman of color talking about sex and sexuality is hard. We live in a world where we (WOC) tend to be sexualized but the minute we take power of that sexuality we are shamed. A lot of us grow in households and communities in which sex is taboo and shameful and I think as someone working in this space in can be hard to have those conversations because you also have to unlearn shame.”

2. Eden Chiang, Diana Lin, Winxi Kan and Simona Xu of The Oh Collective

These four women of Chinese descent were all raised in the West but joined forces after they met in Shanghai when working for Nike. In 2020, they decided to launch the science-backed Oh Collective, which sells intimacy products, sex toys, and more. The four friends were all raised by second-generation Asian immigrant parents and experienced shame around their own sexual experiences. After seeing the benefits of putting their bodies first, they started the Oh Collective to reclaim their pleasure and encourage their followers to do the same in a safe space with open, honest discussions. 

Eden Chiang adds, ”The sex industry as a whole has traditionally been dominated by men and continues to be so to this day. We aim to instill confidence in all women and encourage them to explore their pleasure. As Asian founders ourselves, we want to represent women in the sex industry and demonstrate that embracing and celebrating pleasure is empowering, even in the face of conservative and traditional upbringing.”

3. Nina Saini of Little Leaf Agency

London-based Nina Saini is the founder of MediaBitch™ and the COO at Little Leaf Agency which specializes in sexual wellness PR and communication. Saini has worked in the sexual health and adult lifestyle sector for the past two decades, working with several prestigious clients worldwide. A master of business development strategies, project management and more, Saini wears many hats in the industry.

Saini tells us, “As a woman and as a person of colour, one of the biggest challenges (and advantages!) I’ve faced is that people underestimate me. I am shy at first and sometimes this is misinterpreted as me being “timid” or a “pushover.” As a result, others think they can bully you into doing things their way. 

However, they soon learn that I am very strong minded, focused and determined and that I absolutely love overcoming a challenge. It’s an advantage because people don’t see me coming!”

4. Rebecca Alvarez of Bloomi

Minimalist intimacy brand Bloomi, which is now in Target, was co-founded by sexual wellness entrepreneur Rebecca Alvarez, a proud daughter of immigrants who aims to dispel sexual taboos within the Latinx community and normalize more open conversations about pleasure. She’s also one of the first Latinas in the United States to raise more than $1M in venture capital. 

As a well-versed sexologist, creating truly high-quality sexual health products is important to Alvarez, especially since Latina and Black women tend to be more vulnerable to infections.

5. Dr Tara of Luvbites

Sexual communications expert Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, and moved to the US in the mid-2000s. Growing up in a conservative country shrouded in sexual repression, Dr. Tara was always curious about sexuality, which wasn’t openly discussed. After shedding the shame and taking her power back, Dr. Tara began a successful relationship coaching business and started her inspiring Luvbites podcast while amassing a large social media following.

On challenges she faces in the industry, the sex educator shares, “I’m a tenured professor with a PhD but when I’m teaching in the classroom, promoting my podcast, or putting out social media content, there are still negative comments about my qualifications and my identity. 

Even in business deals, there are lots of amazing brand partners but from time to time I have to deal with misogynistic people who treat WOC disrespectfully. However, I try to always focus on what’s thriving and serve my purpose with dedication and positivity.”

6. Chelsea Downs of New York Toy Collective

Making for a more inclusive world beyond cis-het standards, New York Toy Collective is one of the top sex toy and accessory retailers changing the world and proving that. This International Womens Month, Downs and her company is proving that definition of a woman is often broader than the narrow stereotypes of the word. Chelsea Downs co-founded the company with a focus on gender affirmation and queer adult sexual pleasure. 

Selling items like premium silicone packers, STP products, binders, and dildos, Downs works hard to provide durable and functional products for this community at an affordable price point, creating more synergy between the physical and the emotional in consumers for better gender expression. Much of her team is non-binary and trans, allowing for a more authentic perspective when bringing these products to market. 

7. Kandi Burruss of Bedroom Kandi

Kandi Burruss, who recently left “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” to focus on her other endeavours, is also the founder of her own sexual wellness venture to empower and educate people. Bedroom Kandi is an inclusive lifestyle company offering intimate toys and beyond, with top quality and body-safe products. They work to support a diverse community with efforts like sourcing organic free-trade shea butter for Bedroom Kandi’s Giving Tree line from women’s cooperatives in Ghana. 

8. Leeza Mangaldas of Leezu’s

Cultural taboo around sex is deeply engrained in different places around the world, and sex educator and best-selling author Leeza Mangaldas is doing everything she can to educate people on the topic the way they deserve. She’s earned over a million followers in the process. In the South Asian community, many parents believe that sex ed is a form of corruption for their kids, but in reality, access to this information is the best way to keep people safe and healthy. 

From exploring beyond the binary to discussing pre-marital sex, this female sexual wellness entrepreneur answers her fans’ questions and shares additional insights. She also has her own sex toy and intimacy brand called Leezu’s, offering whimsical and colorful toys.

9. Sachee Malhotra of That Sassy Thing

Sexual wellness entrepreneur Sachee Malhotra founded That Sassy Thing after her painful experiences with the hormonal condition PCOS, which every 2 in 5 Indian women are diagnosed with. After realizing there was a significant gap in the South Asian market, Malhotra came up with That Sassy Thing. 

This playful and approachable brand sells products that inspire women and vulva owners of South Asian descent to explore their sexuality and bodies without the stigma. Her brand also has free online sex ed masterclasses that offer comprehensive tips not just about sex but subjects like intimacy, gender, and consent. 



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