Education & Empowerment: What Drives the EXSENS Team
By: Jessica Z.
I sat down with Rebecca Pinette-Dorin, North American Brand Manager for EXSENS, to talk about what the EXSENS brand represents globally, as well as what drives the EXSENS team.
What is the EXSENS brand all about?
Our team, which is made up almost entirely of women, sat down and talked about what we wanted our brand to represent. We decided that the EXSENS brand message needed to be positive, inclusive and strong, and that our primary focus should be to educate and empower women globally. We also agreed that we didn't want to be one of those businesses that just talks the talk, so, we made a commitment to invest in women, and keep our message positive and real. This has been a driving force for our team each and every day.
At EXSENS, we all feel that what we do has purpose (personally this is one of the reasons I work in the adult industry), and it is really amazing to know that we are having a global impact, helping women the world over to live happier, healthier lives.
What do you hope to teach women who discover the EXSENS brand?
We want all folks who identify as women - real women, living in the real world (not those fake airbrushed women we constantly see in the media) - to know that they are beautiful and worthy. We believe that women should feel 100% comfortable in their own skin. We want to break down stigmas surrounding sex and sexuality so that women can be more uninhibited, not just in the bedroom but also in everyday life!
While society as a whole has become super aware of the importance of paying attention to what they eat or use on their bodies, most people don't think about their lubricants, massage oils or arousal gels in the same way. The sensual products women have been using for years could potentially be really unhealthy for their bodies. Some of the most commonly used personal lubricants and sensual play products contain toxic ingredients that can upset the natural flora of a woman's body, or worse yet, encourage the transmission of STIs. It is part of our mission to encourage women to hold their intimate body products to a higher standard!
There are now lots of healthy options out there if women know to look for them. Our products, for example, are made of high quality, vegan ingredients sourced in Europe where our manufacturing facility is located. Our products are all paraben free, and we use organic and non-GMO ingredients whenever possible. Our packaging is all sustainably sourced and BPA free. There is no reason to settle for less!
EXSENS partners with Population Services International (PSI). This seems like a great fit. How did this partnership come about?
When we started looking for a partner who would be aligned with our purpose, we explored a number of options. Since we all feel strongly about helping women that find themselves in unsafe situations, we thought about supporting a women's shelter or a non-profit that helps victims of domestic violence and rape. However, our being a "sexy" company made this difficult because honestly and unfortunately, references to sex in any form, even encouraging positive, happy sex, can be a trigger for people who have been attacked or abused. We want to be a part of the solution for these women . . . not the problem. We would never want to trigger negative feelings and behaviors, so we accepted that this was not a good fit.
Then we came across Population Services International. They were perfect! They are all about supporting women globally and helping them have the families they choose and desire (which in many cases is no family at all). They educate women in underdeveloped nations about family planning, safe-sex, and everything that comes after.
What made PSI stand out? What sealed the deal?
First, PSI is fully integrated into the communities they help, which is fairly unique. They don't just show up, hand out condoms and call it a day. We love that almost all of their workers are in the field, living where they are helping. They dig in and get real - building relationships and fostering community.
We also love that 93 cents out of every dollar is spent on aid, not on "fundraising" or salaries for upper management. Plus we love their spirit and we appreciate that they were open to partnering with a sex-positive company!
How exactly does EXSENS support PSI?
We donate 1% of our sales (sales - not profits!) every year to PSI and we will continue to do so, so long as our purposes align.
We spread the word about PSI and support them in their efforts to build global awareness of the organization. We share stories and images to our social media platforms and we will be sharing more PSI news on our blog and in our e-zines in the coming months.
We hope that down the line, we are able to forge a larger partnership and we are starting to think about what that might look like!
Do organizations in the adult industry typically support charitable causes?
It’s not unusual. There are several US companies that I know of who give (some of them anonymously). It shouldn't be surprising - being in the adult industry does not make us morally corrupt or uninterested in having a positive impact. If anything, organizations in adult work harder to prove good intentions.
For "sexy" companies out there that are looking to give, there are so many great organizations that would love your help! Just off the top of my head, here are a few: The Brave Heart Foundation, The Ali Forney Center, Trinity Place Shelter (homeless LGBTQ youth have been on my mind lately), Project Coyote in LA, Red Umbrella Fund in NY, or there is always Amnesty International.