Sex sells. Maude wants to sell it better – and the brand’s three female founders, Eva Goicochea, Dina Epstein and Maya Bodinger, are intent on disrupting the sex industry. Together they’ve combined their experience in retail, strategy and product development (Epstein was head of “toy” design at kinky lux label Kiki de Montparnasse), to create a line of products that puts the sexy back in sex (to)y. The goodies? Sleekly designed condoms, lubes and vibrators, simplified, sustainable and of particularly high quality – but still very much about getting it on.
They also put a feminist spin on an often gender-biased industry – which they inform us dates back to avery unsexy bit of history-as-inspiration. Little did we know that condoms were readily available and distributed (to male soldiers) in the mid-1800s – and then along came Anthony Comstock, a fervently religious military man, who lobbied for the making the sale of anything deemed “obscene” illegal, including condoms. Thus was born the Comstock Act of 1873.
It wasn’t until the 1930s that the issue caught the attention of the FDA, which went on to create universal standards. Until this time condoms were sold in unmarked packaging so as not to attract attention. A popular supplier, Three Merry Widows, named their ‘rubbers’ Mabel, Agnes and Beckie. ‘Maude’ in name and design is a nod to the widows, the subversively beautiful packaging of that time, while “fighting the stigma of sex—much like they did almost 150 years ago,” says Goicochea. “While Maude is a female name, the spirit of Maude stands for all.”
As the big brands rushed in, companies like Trojan did loads of advertising to not only gain legitimacy, as Goicochea notes, but to get doctors on their side. She sneers, “And so began the era of Trojan: Overtly sexual condoms that defined sex through a hypermasculine lens.” Outdated…and terribly boring.
Maude is just the opposite, representing “interesting, diverse and real voices.” It’s pro-sex and progressive – or as Goicochea puts it: “Sex is great. Do it. We support the quickie. But wear a condom please.”
Maudern sex debuted February 14.