In the current climate where women are told what they can and cannot do with their bodies, some sex toy companies are turning the page and showing people that having sex and loving sex is not shameful or embarrassing. With statement rings that double as vibrators, golden bangle handcuffs, purple butt plugs reminiscent of Prince’s “love” symbol, and glass holographic dildos, Unbound Babes, a “rebellious, feminist brand focused on making sexual pleasure accessible to all,” is working to eliminate the stigma around enjoying sex and talking about sex. Along with magazine articles on topics in sex education like guides to anal play or CBD lube, Unbound Babes makes stunning sex toys and wearable accessories for personal and shared pleasure. And they’re doing so while including people of all races, gender-identities, and sexualities. Although Unbound often addresses the shopper as “she,” they make a conscious note that “she” refers to anyone who “finds Unbound’s products and philosophy useful to them.”
While women often carry the burden of sex shaming, the topic of sex positivity isn’t just for the white, cis woman; it’s for trans women, women of color, people identifying as non-binary, people with vaginas who don’t identify as women, everything in between. The experiences of individual people are unique, and this includes sexual experiences. It is important to open up a conversation about sex, but this conversation cannot exist if it includes only one population and excludes everyone else. Talking about sex, enjoying sex, teaching others how to have sex in a safe and consensual way is not shameful.
Sex positivity is not about accepting only the O’Keeffe-like vaginas and holographic dildos—although they are mesmerizing. It includes the things that people are afraid to talk about: safe sex, BDSM, consent, bodily fluids, foreplay, and masturbation. Unbound is cognizant of this, and makes a conscious effort, through guides on anal play or finding the right strap on, an Instagram account full of sex-related memes, and magazine articles on political and social movements surrounding sexuality, to be a leader in changing how sex is explored and talked about, not only by sex toy companies and media, but everyone. By opening up the conversation of individual sexual power, pleasure and health, not only for straight and cis-gender men and women, but proudly embracing those on the margins outside of immediate convenience, Unbound Babes is enabling pleasure for all bodies.
Words by Michelle Glans
Directed by Izzy Jefferis and Ariela Basson
Photographed by Patty Alvarez and Anika Kumar
Cover Photograph by Patty Alvarez