This past Sunday, I attended CYCLES + SEX—billed as the premiere event “to teach you everything you need to know (but probably don’t) about sex, periods, body parts, hormones, birth, fluids and more!”
Now, as someone whose job title is “women’s hormonal health coach”, I spend a lot of time in this space, but it was still truly amazing to see so many women (and not just women!) having this conversation.
For me, the most exciting thing was seeing all of the innovative products and services that have been developed to serve women’s health and happiness. These ran the gamut from what I like to call “heritage health practices” to some really interesting inventions. For example, while herbal vaginal steams are something I often recommend for women, it’s rare to find a practitioner who is able to administer them. Thanks to Earth + Sky, attendees could experience this traditional healing behind a discrete partition right at the conference.
On the modern invention side, FemmyCycle demonstrated how their iteration of the menstrual cup, made of latex-free, plastic-free medical grade silicone, is super easy to use with a special feature that prevents spills as you remove it.
Cora, a brand of organic period products, was also represented, as well as VMAGIC and their “feminine lips stick” (“for your other lips”) made from an organic propolis and honey blend. Needless to say, I bought some.
I also walked away with a sample of FertileGirl’s delicious and high-on-nutrition snack bar. So many amazing things! This really only represented one third of the event.
Beyond the marketplace was a workshop space, packed to the gills with women learning about everything from doulas to orgasms—and sometimes orgasms during birth—to period and cycle issues. Period Pioneers like Jennifer Weiss-Wolf (check out her new book: Periods Gone Public), Holly Grigg-Spall (Sweetening the Pill) and Nicole Jardim (Fix Your Period) spoke on menstrual equity, birth control options and painful periods, respectively.
In case you’re wondering what the verdict on orgasms during birth was: possible, but probably not without some training, to paraphrase. A sneak peek of Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake’s “Sweetening the Pill” (inspired by the book of the same name by Holly Griggs-Spall) was also shown.
The third component was the sex component of course. Although interwoven into the entire event, event co-sponsor Pleasure Chest led workshops on understanding the female orgasm, asking for what you want in bed, and many more topics. I also learned that there are many, many different types of vibrators – and that they’re remote-controlled now. You learn something new every day.
CYCLES + SEX was co-created by Brilliant Bodies—founded by doulas Natalia Hailes and Ashley Spivak—and by Lauren Bile, an activist and entrepreneur (she co-founded The Big Quiet). Hats off to these ladies for pulling off an incredible event that lived up to its mission statement: “The time is now to activate, innovate and educate people and their bodies.”
Of note: There is a free podcast that features recordings of many of the day’s panels and speakers so we can all continue to benefit from the knowledge shared.
Kara DeDonato is a fertility health expert who works with women to troubleshoot their monthly cycles and digestion so that they can feel their best and be their best selves. Read her full bio here.
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