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More and more of us have been taking a harder look at what goes into (and onto) our bodies, leading to a clean revolution that has transformed the beauty and skincare industries. But whether it’s out of embarrassment, habit, or convenience, so far we’ve tended to overlook what goes into the sexual health products we use around our body’s most sensitive areas — leaving many of us with skincare shelves crowded with all-natural products and nightstand drawers full of industrial chemicals and polymers.
Sexologist Rebecca Alvarez Story is trying to change that. She’s the founder of Bloomi, a sexual wellness brand built around a "Clean Standard" based on academic research and input from top sexual wellness experts. Bloomi offers a full line of lubes, toys, and more that are not only free from toxic ingredients and irritants, but luxurious to use.
SAYING NO TO STIGMA
“Growing up, I rarely had conversations about intimacy or sexuality,” Story says, “which often led to confusion and poor decisions. In the Latinx community, sex and sex education are oftentimes controversial or taboo topics, which makes it hard to navigate sex lives as adults.”
That lack of knowledge is what drove Story to pursue a masters in sexual wellness at UC Berkeley, and then go on to work as a researcher and product developer in the sexual wellness industry. After that, she found her dual calling as a sexologist and brand founder.
“In order to improve intimacy,” Story says, “you need access to the right resources.” However your local pharmacy (or bodega or supermarket or gas station) is most likely stocked with products full of glycerin, parabens, and other ingredients that are known to disrupt hormonal balances and irritate intimate skin, and you won’t find many alternatives even at the average health food store or specialty sex shop.
LET'S GET LUBRICATED
Bloomi aims to fill in the gaps with a line of products designed for whatever you’re getting up to in bed, before, during, and after. Their most popular and versatile offering is the Smooth Water-Based Personal Lubricant ($12/3oz.), which can be used anywhere on the body to add a luxurious, super-slick glide. It plays great with toys and is compatible with both latex and polyisoprene condoms. And with hydrating ingredients like organic sunflower seed, green tea, and hyaluronic acid, it’ll leave your intimate skin happy.
My personal favorite, the Delight Oil-Based Personal Lubricant ($15/3oz.) is a little more exotic, with an organic coconut and sunflower seed oil base that offers a slipperier feel and holds up longer than most water-based lubes, making it perfect for handjobs and butt play (although it’s not condom-friendly, and anecdotal evidence from cis-girl friends and online says to be careful with oil-based lubes for vaginal play because they can upset your biome).
THE TOY SECTION
The brand also offers a trio of super-fun toys made from medical-grade silicone. The Play Mini Vibrator ($35) packs a surprisingly potent kick in a small shape that feels good anywhere on the body you want to add some extra sensation, while still fitting comfortably in a bag or coat pocket if you want to surprise your lover the next time you come over. The Indulge Double-Sided Vibrator ($50) offers one end with the same powerful buzz and another side that’s vibrator-free soft silicone, putting two options in a comfortably curved shape that pushes right against the g-spot during vaginal play, and would also make a perfect beginners-level anal toy.
Despite being a big of a size queen when it comes to toys, I’ve surprisingly had the most fun with the Massage Clitoral and Body Vibrator ($40) a non-insertable vibrator that feels good all over the body as a massage device, but inevitably finds its way to more sensitive areas. It’s a great option for people who aren’t into (or just aren’t in the mood for) penetration, as well as for over-the-clothes play. Squeeze it between your body and your partner’s to turn dry humping from an appetizer to a main course.
Beyond lube and toys, Bloomi can also upgrade your foreplay and skincare routines with the Relax Body and Massage Oil ($20/3oz), which also doubles as an everyday body oil, made from anti-inflammatory sesame oil and skin-nourishing pumpkin seed oil with aromatherapeutic lavender. Go even further with the Desire Sensual Pleasure Oil ($20/.9oz), that blends coconut and passionfruit seed oils with herbal aphrodisiacs like damiana, cinnamon, and nutmeg, to add a little tingle to your most sensitive parts while you warm up. And when the action’s over, the aloe-based Cleanse Intimate Skin Foaming Wash ($12/3.4oz) keeps your private areas fresh and clean without throwing off your pH balance.
“The right resources” Story wants to provide people with can also mean information from a trusted source. “I originally created Bloomi so I could provide a trusted destination and inclusive sexual educational hub for improving intimacy and normalizing sexuality for my clients,” Story explains. “It evolved into a brand that helps anyone feel confident by making smart and well-informed decisions about their sexual wellness.”
The Bloomi site has a whole section of articles about sex and sexual health, covering everything from how to choose the right sex toy to the health benefits of masturbation. Unlike the “sex tips” that a lot of sexual health brands offer—which usually consist of a bunch of marketing language with a dash of usable information sprinkled on top—the articles are thorough, clear, and beginner-friendly (and also aren’t afraid to recommend competing brands in the clean sexual health space, such as German toymeisters Fun Factory). It’s like having your own sexologist to have on call when you can’t remember what kind of lube you’re supposed to use with what kind of condom.
Between Bloomi’s clean products and free information, Story hopes to set off a revolution not only in the sexual health industry, but also in the way we view sex and our bodies. “I always wanted to overcome the idea that sexual satisfaction is difficult to discuss and hard to attain,” she says. “The ultimate goal is for individuals to see their sexuality as a natural part of life and be comfortable talking about it, just as with any other health-related issue.”