At Mayer Labs, we believe sex should be a source of joy, and we use the latest science and research to work with your body to enhance pleasure. Part of our mission is empowering people to know how the products they put on and in their bodies will impact them. This Women’s History month, we’re also recognizing how the bodies and sexuality of people with vaginas have been manipulated throughout history, including the fact that many achievements in the field of gynecology were developed through non-consensual, dehumanizing research on enslaved women and other women of color. Still, formal, ethically controlled clinical trials were not required to include female and non-white subjects until 1993, and even doctors practicing today have received little training on the clitoris or female sexual wellness in general. More recently, personal and sexual health products with questionable safety records, such as disinfectant douches and talc-based deodorant powders, have also been disproportionately marketed to people with vaginas–especially people of color—to change the way they smell or function. Ultimately, our nation’s discomfort with female sexuality has resulted in a lack of critical information about how female bodies work and how the products we create work upon them, and sometimes, even widespread disregard for health risks because of who they affect.
One product line where this is increasingly relevant is lubricant. Lubes can impact everything from vaginal health to fertility, and are notoriously marketed to cis-women. Although lube has existed commercially as a sexual aid since the early 1900s, recent research suggests that many lubricants currently on the market should be reformulated to avoid damaging sensitive genital tissue. pH is an important factor affecting the vaginal flora—using a product with a pH that is too high or too low can lead to irritation, bacterial vaginosis, or yeast infections. Additionally, the osmolality of a lubricant affects its safety and can even increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections among users. Studies have found links between high osmolality and the breakdown of the mucous membranes, which can cause irritation and increase infection risk. Some lubricants are formulated to absorb quickly, which may lead to dryness or unwanted friction in some users. In short, seemingly innocuous lubes can make sex feel great today but lead to skin and microbiome changes that put users’ health at risk tomorrow.
The consequences of prioritizing function in the moment, price, or the false promises of many lubes over short- and longer-term effects are substantial. Genital irritation can compromise someone’s day-to-day functioning as well as their sex life. Studies have linked recurring vaginal yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis to a greater risk of stress, low self-esteem, and even clinical depression. Sexually transmitted infections can have significant impacts on both health and mental health, and for people with uteruses, they can even affect fertility and fetal development. Too often, people—especially women—have been asked to tolerate side effects, health risks, or discomfort in exchange for the ability to have sex, even when their pleasure wasn’t considered a priority.
Only within the past few decades has science begun to meaningfully study and understand female sexual functioning and the potential effects of common sexual wellness and personal health products. When we know better, we must do better, and today, we have the scientific ability to create products that are both effective and suited to users’ bodies. Mayer Labs has proudly been channeling the latest research and top-quality ingredients into inclusive and effective products since the 1980s. Our lubricants are gentle, pH-balanced formulas that can be safely used anywhere. We produce our ultra-thin and sensitive condoms in a variety of shapes and sizes so everyone can find their perfect fit. Our passion is staying at the forefront of our industry’s evolution, following the science in whichever pleasurable direction it takes us, and advocating for everyone’s right to healthy sex along the way. We hope you’ll join us on our journey.