dame products' alex fine is closing the pleasure gap one vibe at a time
Meet the woman normalizing the feminine sexual appetite one vibe at a time. Alex Fine, co-founder and CEO of Dame Products, a wellness brand created to close the pleasure gap, is using her platform to hold the kind of conversations that weren't available to her as she was exploring her own sexuality, sexual energy and drive. Her women-powered line of products range from vibrators, toys and accessories to lube, pillows and travels kits for O's on the go — and has broken even more barriers to female wellness by landing in Sephora. She spent time sharing her tips for how to keep that sexual/creative fire alive, masturbate "better" and find pleasure in your body.
We love the story of your principal telling your mom that you were the class seductress (in first grade!) and were inspired by powerful women using feminine power to get things. What is feminine power to you and how do you use yours?
Great question. I do feel like the first people that really taught me about feminine power were some drag queens who, when I was 6, showed me kind of how to strut your stuff and explained like, you know, how to work it essentially. And, then I also feel like there's the Madonna-Whore Complex. And oftentimes, I felt like the whores were getting what they wanted and it was the madonnas that were being left at home and had these sadder stories. But I think characters that were the whore more had their own businesses, had their own capital and were using their feminine powers, which I think, you know, the feminine powers are also shaped by the society that we're in. And they are often utilizing the male gaze for their advantage. I think that's the classic feminine power, using the attention that you can get from being sexually appealing. Then there’s also these other feminine powers that are about nurturing, connecting, understanding other people, reading a room… I think what is feminine, what is masculine is definitely socially constructed, but there are elements of it that feel like maybe they've been with us for a really long time around our ideas of feminine and masculine.
"I do think that I have a big KPI, I want to be making money, but I also want to look back on my week and be like, was it a five out of five? Were all five days generally enjoyable and pleasurable for me, because if they weren't, no amount of money is going to make me love my life."
I think I use mine. I do think that being a performer, that’s definitely one way I use mine, I think, as a leader, learning how to work a room and all of that stuff has been really helpful. I think that having empathy and caring about my team and trying to not just lead them and tell them what to do and come up with actions and strategies, but also to take beats, sit and listen, and reflect and those latter powers feel very feminine to me.
Where are we at as a culture on the slut shaming continuum? And how are you using your Dame platform to dismantle it?
First of all, I do feel like slut-shaming feels like the main reason why I started the whole company. I was slut-shamed and I think that that really sparked a fire in me, so just by speaking frankly, directly about sexual pleasure for women as no big deal is how Dame dismantles it. It just puts it out there shame-free and makes you realize it doesn't need to be a shameful experience. I think every culture is different and I don't think it's just this continuum. I think it's way more nuanced than that. There are different ways we can slut-shame. I think it's hard. I know every culture I go to thinks that they're the prudish culture. I would say we're probably, you know, medium in the slut-shaming world.
You talk a lot about closing the pleasure gap — and you make products to do just that — what can we do as women to shift our own mindsets and behavior around pleasure?
I think there's so many things. I think just reminding ourselves that we're entitled to it. I think that can be as simple as just self-care and not even sexual pleasure, reminding ourselves to go for a walk. We don't have to put everybody else's pleasure in front of ours. We're entitled to our own pleasure and it could be as small as just demanding our time, demanding that we get to go for a walk or take a bath. And of course, these future questions too, I'm going to have this motif of finding the time, being intentional with that time and putting in the work. If you want to go on vacation, you need to block off that time on your calendar and plan it and make it happen. And I think the same is true for pleasure and all the ways that pleasure can exist. And also affirmations.
How does your passion for passion and sex impact area, all areas of your life?
I think sex is adult play. We get to be creative and have fun. I think being creative in how I access pleasure and kind of problem solving, too, and be willing to take risks in my relationship, and redefining our relationship so that we can feel like we're sexy cause we're two individual people versus like the way I think sometimes when you've been together for a long time, it feels less sexy.
"...maybe for a whole week, you masturbate and you do not allow yourself to have an orgasm and see what that feels like. See if you can. I think that switching up the goal for yourself can help you find and explore pleasure."
So kind of just being honest and frank about what's going on and getting creative around how we can create more desire in our relationship and passion. I do think that I have a big KPI, I want to be making money, but I also want to look back on my week and be like, was it a five out of five? Were all five days generally enjoyable and pleasurable for me, because if they weren't, no amount of money is going to make me love my life.
You’ve said you’ve always been wired for sex… how is it possible to keep peeling that onion your entire life, exploring more of what you like and diving deeper into yourself not just for pleasure but also celebration, acceptance, worship?
You know, it's not. I was just pregnant and I was not horny at all while I was pregnant. Definitely made me realize like, oh yeah, sometimes there's wiring or biological reasons why our libidos are different between each other and within ourselves. And I think giving space for that is important, but then I also think that being intentional and active and putting the work in and finding the time to masturbate, to find pleasure, to read stories or watch content that's amusing, to listen to other people talk about pleasure and realize, oh, maybe I would like that. All of those things have helped me stay connected to it, but I was very humbled by the biological experience I just went through and how that changed my desire for desire. I do think worshiping and finding myself sexy is really important, especially as my body has changed. Toys are definitely a big part of that for me. They helped me access my pleasure deeper, but I also think it's nice to not use toys, too, sometimes.
What are your tips for masturbating “better”?
Right. Like what is better? I love that that's in quotes. I think it's definitely finding the time. I think that it's enjoying the journey. I think sometimes it's nice to just scratch the itch, but I think that it feels a lot more satisfying when we allow ourselves to enjoy the pleasure of the whole time 'til the things build and de-build. I think finding little games to play with yourself for fun, like maybe for a whole week, you masturbate and you do not allow yourself to have an orgasm and see what that feels like. See if you can. I think that switching up the goal for yourself can help you find and explore pleasure.
What advice do you have for women who feel ‘stuck’ sexually in terms of pleasure, connection to themselves and their partners?
I think that a good one is to create new boundaries that you have to be creative within. I can tell you from my first-hand experience, some of the best sex I had was when my husband and I weren't able to have penetrative sex. I think it got us to be more creative and I very much enjoyed myself. So maybe change up the boundaries and add new rules, like you have to start and stop having intercourse at least three times during the sex. So foreplay happens three additional times and not just beforehand or you're going to try a new position — there's so many little games we can play with ourselves.
You’re not just selling vibrators, you’re also helping people enjoy their bodies (and their lovers’ bodies) better — how can women do that with lingerie as well?
I wish more people just had a bigger diversity for what bodies can look like. It's been so powerful just to see different versions of sexy in my life. I think that lingerie can help us feel beautiful. There are so many different types of lingerie, but I think I went through this weird journey that a lot of feminists go through, where it was like realizing how much I did for the male gaze and then not wanting to do any of those things. And then slowly realizing like, actually I still don't really shave my legs, but sometimes when I shave my legs or I put on lingerie and I do something specifically for the male gaze and I get that or feel like I would get that, that does make me feel sexually powerful. So, owning it and being intentional with it has been really important, and lingerie is definitely a one way that I can access that and helps me see myself as sexy.
What are some ways you're switching up self-pleasure? How did Alex inspire you?