Melissa Hadley-Barrett and Divya Prabha 

Melissa: So, I am very excited to tell all our followers that we are now stocking the My ilo range of sex toys on our website. To showcase these products, we got our very talented intern Divya Prabha (Gen Z ) to interview the founders and take one for a test drive. Let’s hear what she has to say…

This may just be the perfect Mother’s day gift for the older woman who has everything!

Divya Prabha: What was just a casual dinner with their girlfriends was the start of it all, the Fremantle-based, environmentally friendly, future-of-feminism sexual wellness brand, my ilo. The idea was sparked upon the realisation that most of founders Claire Deeks and Luciana Burke’s friends had never masturbated, following Deeks’s pleasurable recount of her first pleasure toy.

Did you know that women’s sex toy ads are actually banned in some parts of the world? Why is it that women don’t get to talk about self-pleasure without judgement or any other sort of uncomfortable feeling, why is it not normalised yet, and why is there a stigma surrounding one of the best things about having female genitalia? People of this planet, I’m talking about the pleasures of female masturbation. Fact, women have more nerve endings in the clitoris than men do in their penis by a landslide, and therefore get to feel more, pleasure-wise.

Have you ever just walked into a sex store and found absolutely nobody in the store except the person behind the counter? How about the neon-coloured sex toys with the million buttons and the in-your-face pictures of women? And where the heck are all the sexy men? The reality is that we live in a world where it seems that women are made sexy for men. The sex toys for female-identified individuals are made by men for women, and there is not a single thought about what the consumers want. And if there is any thought, it is clearly not enough.

That is why Deeks spent months researching and formulating a way to create not just a toy, but a whole brand to make the experience of buying and using pleasure toys and products normalised, satisfying, and empowering.

When asked about why older women do not use pleasure toys, Burke believes that it was because of the generation that they were born.

Back in the day, masturbation was looked down upon and sex was only to be had to procreate. Burke also states that it will take a lot more to break down the barriers and buy their first pleasure toy and catch-up on all the body-exploring ventures they missed out on.

Older women aside, even now I know of women in their early 20s who would never say a word about self-pleasuring.

Why is it that even after a whole generation, we still cannot speak about such topics

Burke states that the cause is the conditioning we’ve gone through as young girls, passed down from our grandparents to our parents, to us. She believes that it is up to us to break down these barriers so that we can feel comfortable in our bodies and be open to talking about these topics.

You heard it here, folks! Deeks and Burke will be the future of normalising sexual pleasure and wellness to make sure no more women have to live life experiencing all this stigma.

Whilst most of the brand’s information can be found on their My ilo website, I had the pleasure of interviewing Deeks and Burke to answer some more burning questions I had about their brand.

 

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When asked about how they are different to other sexual wellness brands who are also offering environmentally conscious pleasure toys to the world, Deeks and Burke responded with the following words.

“When we started ilo we always kept in mind that we are the customer so we always thought about what we want when we started designing all of our products and how they will look and feel. I think the way we differ is definitely the way our products look (…) we’ve gone with a very chic design that is not intimidating for our customers ‘cuz we have a lot of first-time buyers.”

 

Took the words right out my mouth. Yes, we are looking for simple and chic-designed pleasure toys, not the ones that look like we are about to stuff ourselves with a motorised bright pink machine gun!

“Another huge reason is this whole idea that if you masturbate you are naughty or you are promiscuous or you are shameful because of the way it has been marketed.”

 

An excellent and insightful quote from Deeks. Most of us are indeed further prevented from buying a pleasure toy because of the way society has led us to believe that female masturbation is for ‘naughty girls’. Some of us just want to have a good time by ourselves, we’re not sluts for wanting that.

“We are made by women for women (…). A lot of our competitors are males in the industry and I find that it steers them in a direction that’s not what our generation is looking for.”

 

Deeks stated in the interview that they are also self-funded. The bright co-founder believes it makes a huge difference that they started small and became bigger because most of their competitors were capital-funded. This meant that in order to gain some quick profit, some of the products these competitors put on the market were not well-researched and only there for monetary gains, Deeks advised.

Deeks and Burke wishes for their products to leave the customer feeling safe, powerful, liberated, comfortable in their own skin, in tune with their body, and open to exploring different ways to self-pleasure.

“Our products can be used by men as well. Anyone from the LGBTIQA+ community. We designed our Curve [so that] it can also be used as a prostate vibrator.”

Although their audience is predominantly women, Deeks and Burke endeavour to reach out to the community to see what men would like as well.

It comes down to conversations, Deeks states. When they first started this company, their main questions were about what they, as customers, want and need to feel comfortable whilst masturbating. Additionally, Deeks and Burke turn to their trusted community on Instagram to understand what they would like and need so that they are more comfortable talking about masturbation and their sexual wellbeing in general. They also encourage them to ask questions and treat their Instagram page like an open space to share doubts which the My ilo experts can answer without judgement.

Another step to normalising sexual wellness was through My ilo’s wholesale partnership.

“We’ve been really lucky that we’ve had wholesalers who have never worked in this space before, such as beautiful boutique clothing stores and a lot of different skincare stores. It has been like ‘hey look our customers should be seeing these products and should be using these products’.”

Burke is excited to announce that My ilo products will be advertised right next to face creams and other self-care products!

One a business-related side note, Burke mentioned that they are donating $1 from every product sold to a charity called AMAZE, which is an online platform that provides education resources to those in need for all sex-related information including masturbation, puberty, and everything in between. The young co-founders realised that in order to really tackle down the issue that is the stigmatisation of self-pleasure and sex education, providing an opportunity for customers to take a look at the charity whilst shopping for their products can break down those walls and teach people a thing or two.

“I think [we should] keep growing our community, that is a huge one for us. It was a dream of ours to one day have physical workshops, get all the women together and have a sexologist there. What else in 10 years? Keep growing our wholesaler list, go international, and partner with other brands that really support our ideology.”

 

Burke stated that the two are already thinking of widening their range of products to include some pleasurable (fun!) additions to the room. If you take a look at their products page, you will see some card games have made its way to the list. Sexy card games? Sign me up!

Speaking to the My ilo founders really got my heart pumping and luckily, I also had the pleasure to try out one of their products!

The product I got was the My ilo Ring. It is very soft and smooth to the touch and had the ‘My ilo’ brand name on the inside. The subtle shade of yellow reminded me of lemons. The feel and look of this delicate yet powerful toy put my mind to ease as it was a naturally pleasing object to look at, unlike the usual brightly coloured sex toys we usually see in adult stores. Though the ring only comes in one size, it still fits okay as long as you close your fingers together and are using it against your body.

The downfall of this beautiful product started when I used some lubricant. Before turning the toy on and after my usage of it, I struggled to manoeuvre the on/off button. No matter what I did, I could not turn it on or off because it kept slipping away. Eventually I had to wipe off the lubricant in order to turn it off.

Another negative point was the sound. If your walls are thin or your room is too close to the middle of the house where your family/roommates hang, this toy would not be very ideal for you. As I said before, it is a powerful toy. Because of this, and the toy’s small frame, the vibrations can be quite loud. If one were to use it, it would be best to do so when no one is in the house.

Now if you don’t care about the slipperiness or your roomies/family hearing you, by all means go ahead! Use this gorgeous toy! It is made using medical-grade silicone and is 100% produced with your wants in mind. Not to mention, the My ilo Ring has 8 vibration patterns AND you can use it with your partner(s). So why the hell not!

Check the My ilo Products Below