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GRL Talk: The Sway

The Sway is a pleasure package delivery service, whose main mission is to go beyond missionary – which is a cause we can *definitely* get behind. Sinead O’hare and Genevieve Gransden founded the company after both feeling passionate about pleasure, and coming from advertising backgrounds. We caught up with the team about all things sexual wellness…

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Can you tell us what The Sway is? For those who haven’t discovered you yet.

The Sway is a revolutionary sexual wellness company that aims to promote positive sexual wellbeing, exploration and pleasure. In the midst of a cultural shift – that sees both physical and mental wellbeing is more important than ever, our sexual wellbeing doesn’t often enter the picture and that’s where The Sway comes in.

The Sway currently comprises of an online shop made up of all our favourite products in the sexual wellness world, but our main offering is our bi-monthly pleasure package subscription, where we send out bi-monthly themed and carefully curated products with supporting prompts, tips and games to help both you and your partner have fun and explore without the awkward questions. The Sway’s bi-monthly pleasure package subscription is the perfect, hassle-free way to keep your sex life on its toes.

This year we are focusing on launching a range of Sway occasion boxes to be sold on the online shop, outside of the subscription options which we are super excited about- stay tuned to find out more! All our Sway boxes promote exploration, discovery and communication – all whilst introducing you to brands, products and themes you may never have explored otherwise.

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What inspired you to start The Sway? Can you tell us a little about the women behind it?

Amongst other revelations, we came to the conclusion that in the midst
of a cultural shift that sees both physical and mental ‘wellbeing’ as more important than ever, sexual wellbeing never really entered the picture. Relationships evolve over time – often growing deeper and more profound – however the same can’t always be said for the sex, which often ends up taking the backseat in our busy lives. Between the yoga, facials and green juices we were purchasing to ‘look after ourselves’ neither of us was lifting a finger to keep our sex lives alive and kicking. The little shift in our minds, that sex is also something that needs ‘looking after’, was where The Sway was really born. 

We both (Sinead and Gen), are successful professional women in long term relationships, both Sinead and Gen realised that their busy work lives sometimes meant connecting with their partners was taking a backseat. In a current climate fixated on female empowerment, where more doors are opening for women than ever before, they realised to their dismay that a lot of women still do not feel comfortable enough to ask for what they want in bed. And so, The Sway was born.

What are some of the packages people can expect to receive when they sign up? And what feedback have you had on the boxes?

The Sway realise that you may not know what you’re into and ‘trying things out’
can be hard. That’s why every box is created and curated around a different theme – think sensual massage or light tease for example. Each Sway box brings with it a new experience, helping both partners work out what each other are into, and what they may not be into. In order for customers to get the most out of each theme, as well as the products included, every Sway box is accompanied by cleverly designed prompts, created to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. It’s that little voice that prompts “hey, this could be fun, let’s try it out…”, “are you into it”, “how does it feel”. The Sway, is a friendly, helping hand. It’s time to start looking after our sex lives, so whenever you’re ready – The Sway’s got you covered. The subscription boxes are delivered every two months, at a cost of £40 per box. Partnership and occasion boxes will be launching throughout this year, at costs between £40 and £200- the first in the series, The ‘We’ek End Away box yp[pis already available and includes a blindfold, massage candle and finger vibe amongst other fun prompts and products! We get a lot of positive feedback on our prompts and supporting content. These typically introduce the products, suggest ways to use them and help inspire new positions or conversations.

Customers particularly enjoy these as they help to create a whole experience out of the unboxing – engaging them and helping to break the ice – with many of them saying they like to make an evening out of it. We also get a lot of positive feedback around exploration, with customers praising The Sway for helping them push their themselves outside of their comfort zones whilst also allowing them to find out more about themselves, their partners and their desires.

Finally, we get great feedback on our products. Whilst initially thinking they’ll receive a box of vibrating items every month – customers are delighted to discover the range of surprising products we include – such as massage candles, blindfolds and games.

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You talk a lot about the orgasm gap, what are some ways we can help close it?

In order to close the gap, we need to understand how this gap came to be. So let’s break down some of the (false) assumptions that lead us to the problem: Until we acknowledge women’s sexual expectations, men will not prioritise women’s pleasure – believing it is not as important to women as it is to them.

Women aren’t that into sex anyway”

Society tells us that men are sexual beings who think about sex every 7 seconds, whilst women just aren’t. Therefore the general assumption is that men are always up for it and women lack sex drive. Although it may be correct that men have an avid interest in sex, the truth is that women do too – but up until now have not been supported by society enough to admit it or worse to openly discuss it. Until we acknowledge women’s sexual expectations, men will not prioritise women’s pleasure – believing it is not as important to women as it is to them.

“It’s harder for girls”

Orgasm inequity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Men are programmed by society to believe that women’s bodies are biologically complicated. With the vagina portrayed as an impossible puzzle, only few can crack. Therefore more often than not, they give up the fight, either for fear of failing or simply put off by the effort of trying.

This is then reflected onto women – who grow to believe that their own pleasure is inaccessible. Their vagina is mysterious and complex – too complex in fact for those without them to even begin to understand. Instilling in us the belief that achieving an orgasm will never be as simple with our partners as it is on our own. So we end up sorting ourselves out. But the truth is the female anatomy really isn’t that complicated – no more complicated than navigating one’s way around a penis, two balls and a foreskin anyway.

“I read it in a magazine”

From our teens onwards, women are faced with messaging from the media about sex – the pages of glossy mags plastered with tips and tricks more often than not regarding HOW to pleasure men. Those pages have now become the scrolling blogs of Bustle and Refinery29, but nevertheless, the messages are the same. Therefore by the time most of us encountered our first real-life penis, we had a pretty clear idea of what to do with it. But let’s be honest, the same cannot be said for men who I am pretty sure did not grow up reading about the ins and outs of the vagina or the pros and cons of achieving an orgasm through clitoral stimulation vs penetrative sex. Resulting in most of us beginning our sex lives with a rather dry and sore fingering – to put it plainly. But this gets me thinking. Maybe as women, we learnt the wrong way. I for one had sex long before I worked out exactly how I enjoyed pleasuring myself, therefore even if I had decided to tell my boyfriend at the time what I liked, I wouldn’t have known. So maybe as women, we need to start talking about masturbation earlier. I often hear mothers talking about the perils of rogue tissues in their teenage boys’ bedrooms but somehow I doubt the same conversations are being had about their daughters masturbating? But why not

“That doesn’t count as sex?”

When we talk about sex more often than not, we’re talking about penis-in-vagina intercourse. But let’s be real we know that most women (not all! – jealous tone) orgasm due to clitoral stimulation, not penetrative sex. And for most, clitoral stimulation would fall into the category of ‘foreplay’ when really for most women that ‘foreplay’ is what leads them to climax. Therefore when we consider ‘foreplay’ as a bonus rather than an expectation we incidentally de-prioritise women’s pleasure. We have to start seeing sex as a whole. From the first touch to the last. Sex does not begin and end with the insertion of a penis. The sooner we realise that, the better. With each and every one of these assumptions, it is very clear that there is an element of communication lacking. And a lot of that starts with women, not men. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Women need to take control of their own sexual fulfilment. Begin to have open conversations with their partners about what they want in bed, how they want it, how they pleasure themselves – admit they pleasure themselves in the first place! Yes, these are scary conversations to have. But do you know what’s scarier? Going without.

The same fear that keeps many women from speaking out in meetings or negotiating salaries also holds us back from asking for what we want in bed. Is the female orgasm really that elusive? No. Most of it manage it a couple of times a week – at least. Now I am not saying it is all down to women. However, in order for women to truly achieve orgasm equality, we need to start with a frank conversation about the inequality. We have to ask ourselves honestly, how are our partners supposed to mix it up when we haven’t told them we want more?

It is unrealistic to believe that one day your partner will miraculously know exactly how and what you like, that overnight he will become an orgasm expert, read your mind and find out the precise side of your clitoris that turns you on the most. That’s just not going to happen. Closing the orgasm gap has got the start with communication. And breaking habits. For starters let’s stop thinking that sex ends when your partner ejaculates. Sex isn’t all about a man’s big grand finale. So let’s stop acting as if it is.

Now for the question we ask all our GRL Talk interviewees – what would you go back and tell your 16-year-old-self if you could? 

Faking orgasms rarely leads to real orgasms.‘Foreplay’ is sex. LUBE- live it, love it, lube it!!

Follow The Sway here.

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