Dakota Johnson Thinks Sex Toys Shouldn’t Look “Ridiculous”
For the newest launch, cone, founder of Maude Éva Goicochea and co-creative director Dakota Johnson talked to NYLON about sexual wellness and inclusivity, and creating products that make these topics more approachable.
Sexual wellness brand, Maude, is best known in the space for un-gendered sex tools and chic bath and body products specifically designed to help customers approach intimacy in a modern way. The company was founded in 2018 by Éva Goicochea, and just last year, actress Dakota Johnson joined the team as an investor and co-creative director. The mission of the brand is not only to elevate sexual experience, but also to destigmatize conversations surrounding sex. Every device and product in the line is something you wouldn’t mind if it was left out on your bedside table or bathroom counter. There is nary a product that comes in a bright bachelorette party pink or purple; instead the vibrators come in colors like clay, charcoal, or dark green. Their body products, including shine, a personal lubricant, would look at home next to any Aesop or Byredo bottle.
Tuesday, November 9, Maude enters a new device category with their first anal plug named cone. It’s a product they’ve always always planned on creating, but also developed based on the continuous feedback of their customers. “We were seeing a lot of people say, ‘we want anal toys, we really love the vibe, but it needs a base’. So [cone] very much echoes the same shape of the vibe,” says Goicochea. “We are creating products that can be used for people that are already really comfortable with anal sex, but also make people who maybe want to try it feel like this is an approachable product.”
Taking the taboo out of the conversation surrounding anal sex is just the next stop on Maude’s trajectory. They know where they stand as leaders in the sexual wellness space: “I've observed a lot of companies trying to be Maude,” says Johnson. “But, imitation is the highest form of flattery, so that that's great.”
Below, Dakota and Éva talk to NYLON about Maude’s progress, their personal favorite products, and cone as the newest addition to the brand.
Dakota, what has the experience has been like working on Maude?
Dakota Johnson: Usually with partnerships like this, you don't get to be involved at all as the person in my shoes, but the reason why this was so interesting to me is because I get to work really closely with everyone. Eva and I text a lot, it's truly a collaboration. I am a part of everything and it feels amazing because it's a subject that I care a lot about and I think is deeply important for the betterment of humankind. I think that we have really big dreams and massive capabilities and I'm just excited for what I believe we can do.
How do you see the connection between the products Maude creates and and normalizing the conversation around sex?
DJ: For so long sexual wellness products have been marketed as toys and they look ridiculous. I don't want some crazy looking pink thing in my house. All of Maude’s products are something that you could have on your nightstand, they are totally discreet and chic and also kind of elevate sexual play. It's not taboo and it's not ridiculous to explore your sexuality with products. It's so natural and it's so normal.
Éva Goicochea: Dakota and I talk about this all the time, but the subtext of everything around us is sex all the time, yet the industry itself has become the last frontier. So many things out in the world borrow from sex and romance aesthetics. And then you get to the [sexual wellness] industry and you're like, “What is this?”
We feel this great responsibility to not only bring some sense of romance and intimacy to the industry and to elevate it, but in doing that, we will hopefully affect other generations to be responsible and comfortable and happy with the subject.
Why was cone the next product you wanted to create?
EG: We were always built with this idea of being as inclusive as possible, so we knew that we wanted to make an anal device. We were a lot getting a lot of feedback. We just want vibe, but with a base.
Cone for us was about going into a more inclusive space. Not only are we creating products that can be used for people that are already really comfortable with anal sex, but also for people who maybe want to try it, and feel like this is an approachable product. It's really this basic beautiful object and tool. Our products, especially the devices, are really meant to be your foundational sexual wellness items. And we think just in the size and the materials and the colors, it's something really universal.
What are your favorites items from Maude?
EG: I think burn. Burn is amazing.
DJ: I'm our number one customer. But my actual favorite product is wash because there's something the idea of my body being clean and smelling exactly as it's supposed to with its own pH balance is really sexy to me. Even the unscented wash has this specific smell that is so clean and simple and low key, but it's very, very good.
How do think the market around sexual wellness has changed and what do you think your part has been in that?
EG: I don't want to take too much credit for the market changing. There were startups in sexual wellness before us, but they were really, really female focused and predominantly focused on women in their twenties. We’ve started to see that shift a lot. Now not only are we seeing focuses across age groups, but we’re also seeing companies starting to take on a more gender neutral approach.
I say this all the time, but sex is a basic human need. It's like eating and sleeping and I think gendering it just is not really helpful to breaking the ice or having these conversations. If you happen to be heterosexual, for instance, and you're having conversations with your partner, bringing home gendered products isn’t helpful. Sex is for everybody and no matter your gender, you should be able to have these great products. That's why we think about it in such a neutral way. Also, sex and gender are not the same thing. So to conflate them is doing a disservice.
DJ: I've observed a lot of companies trying to be Maude. But, imitation is the highest form of flattery, so that that's great. I'm just really intrigued by how the conversation is growing and expanding, especially in the US. But I have dreams for a global conversation, which is not simple. As Eva said sex a basic human need and it's just so interesting that some people are denied that need and shamed and discouraged or taken advantage of. I feel the more that goes on the more I am encouraged to continue talking.
Maude’s newest launch, cone is available starting today on getmaude.com.