Vogue – Since emerging onto the Hollywood scene five years ago, Dakota Johnson has been a thoroughly modern sex symbol. Of course, this is due in no small part to her role as Anastasia Steele in the film adaption of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, which served as a rousing introduction to the dynamics of a BDSM relationship for many. But that was just the beginning: As evidenced by her latest venture, the 31-year-old actress has every intention of continuing to push the sex-positive conversation forward off-screen, as well.
Today, Johnson announces her new role as investor and co-creative director of Maude, the sexual wellness brand that’s gained a cult following for its sleek, sculpture-like toys, organic condoms and personal lubricants, and powerful, pleasure-positive messaging. “Dakota so clearly embodies Maude’s mission,” says founder and CEO Eva Goicochea, whom Johnson will work with on the brand’s creative direction, developing new products and introducing new sustainability and awareness/education-oriented initiatives. “She fearlessly has taken on the subject of sex and intimacy through her work—becoming a powerful voice for inclusivity and progress. Her elevated eye for design and sharp sense of humor connect so seamlessly to our aesthetic.”
Amid the global pandemic, when many health experts are cautioning that you are your safest sex partner, and as sexual wellness becomes increasingly destigmatized across the gender and sexuality spectrums, the partnership comes at a pivotal time. Here, Johnson talks through her new role with Maude, why sexual wellness is self-care, and how she wants to further disrupt the space.
Congrats on your new role! How did you first get introduced to Maude and what about their brand mission speaks to you? I had heard whispers of Maude through some mutual friends that Eva and I have, and was always intrigued and impressed by the company. When the idea of a formal partnership was brought to me, Eva and I met over FaceTime because she was in NY and I was in LA, and even through a little screen it was immediately a no brainer. Our synergy was instantaneous, our core beliefs around the brand mission aligned, our dreams are mighty, and we just really like each other. Not only is Maude a WOC-founded company, it is boldly and intelligently forward thinking in an industry where the conversation and narrative around intimacy products is antiquated. I believe that sexual wellness is a fundamental human right. Consensual sex and intimate pleasure is self-care for all bodies. Every human should have access to quality sexual products regardless of their gender, adult age, or sexuality.
What sets Maude apart from other sex toy and sexual wellness brands? The sexual wellness industry has been owned by the same legacy companies for 100 years. The conversation is outdated and not conducive to contemporary humans. Customers usually face exclusively male or female focused product, or it is about being ‘naughty’ or ‘raunchy’ etc. Sexual wellness is self-care. To me, taking care of your body in a sexual way should be the same as taking care of your body in terms of nutrients, skincare, exercise, etc. Sex is important and special, and should be treated as such.
What is your favorite Maude product and why? I love a good vibe, for obvious reasons. But the pH-balanced Wash is wonderful. I am really soothed by the idea that a product I use on my body is helping my body be the best version of itself.
Why is sexual wellness so important, and why do we need to normalize conversations around it? Sexual wellness is essential to all humans. It is so important that every human feels included in and able to access this form of self-care, and that the conversation around sexual health is destigmatized. For too long sexual health has been poorly marketed, hyper aggressive, and highly gendered. Maude is focused on making sexual care a part of your wellness routine. While creating products and access to education and awareness about your own body and sexuality, we create the opportunity to properly care for your sexual self, free of taboo.
Sex positivity and pleasure are more top of mind for people than ever before. Why do you think that is? I think a lot of human beings have been evolving to a consciousness where the concept of all consensual sex, sexualities, orientations, gender expression and sexual self-care are no longer viewed as cloaked in shame or depravity, but rather essentially healthy and to be respected and nurtured. I think humans are tired of feeling like something so primal, so profoundly a part of being human, is not widely accepted let alone nurtured and given proper attention and education. Sex is the most intimate thing humans can do and I would love to see a world where not only do we become nonjudgmental and respectful of sex and our bodies, but we learn to give ourselves and our partners the proper care and attention our sweet human bodies deserve.