Lube is a must-have accessory for sex, but it’s not always the easiest thing to use: Many bottles require two hands, which makes for awkward fumbling, and they get slippery instantly (for obvious reasons).
That’s why Dame Products, the female-led sex toy company, has turned its attention to redesigning lube—and the bottle it comes in. Today, the startup, which was cofounded by an MIT-trained mechanical engineer, is launching an aloe-based lube that includes extracts from oat kernels, quinoa seeds, and green tea leaves. The company’s goal with the new formulation is to provide a natural, healthy lubricant matched to the vagina’s pH levels that can help women close the orgasm gap—a term that refers to a finding from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior that men tend to have more orgasms than women.
Dame Products got its start in 2014, and has made user testing and feedback a core part of its design process, which is focused on creating sex toy products for people with vaginas. The company got its start with a wildly popular Indiegogo campaign for a couple’s vibrator, and Dame has subsequently launched a series of sex toys including a small, ovular vibrator based on feedback from users who said they did not prefer the traditional vibrator shape. Now, the company’s user community has a formal name, Dame Labs, and anyone can sign up to try out products early.
While the company’s engineers were developing Dame’s lube, called Alu, they reached out to the Dame Labs community. In a survey of more than 1,400 people, a full third of respondents said that one of the biggest issues they had with lube was how slippery the bottle was.
As a result, Dame decided to reimagine the lube bottle as well as the lube inside. The result is a sleek blue bottle that fits snugly in your hand. It has a pump on top to make it easier to dispense lube with one hand. And users can also add on a patterned rubber grip that fits around the body of the bottle, providing more traction to fight slipperiness.
For the lube itself, Dame created an FDA-cleared formula that doesn’t have any of the dangerous ingredients that sometimes show up in lubricants. There’s no sugar that you can often find in flavored lubes, or glycerin, both of which can increase your risk of a yeast infection. There aren’t any parabens or preservatives designed to prevent bacteria growth.
It’s another example of the way that Dame is designing sex products with the humans who use them in mind. Previously, Dame designed a women’s vibrator ideal for clitoral stimulation that fits in the palm of the hand, with the hope of helping more women find sexual satisfaction.
But even as it’s taking on some of the biggest gaps in the sex toy industry, the company isn’t ignoring the smaller problems as well. Everyone has felt awkward pulling out lube that requires two hands to dispense, or floundered with a subsequently slippery bottle. It took a company that’s actively trying to solve sexual pain points—both small and large—to offer a simple solution.