Sex and Cannabis – A conversation with Katie Enright, founder of Lavinia (page 106)
In September of 2021, Lavinia launched their first product, a silicone-based cannabis lubricant called oh.hi. Seeing how the combination of sex and cannabis is becoming more and more popular in the realm of sexual wellness, EAN asked Katie Enright, the founder of Lavinia, for an interview to learn more about this trend.
Let’s jump right into it: Why do sex and cannabis go so well together?
Katie Enright: Cannabis is a vasodilator, which means that it increases the size of the blood vessels and as a result the blood flow is increased. You notice the same effect when you smoke cannabis and your eyes become bloodshot. The same thing happens when cannabis is directly applied to our vulva, vagina or anus, making them more sensitive to touch. Increased blood flow = increased pleasure.
Why has it taken so long for the sexual benefits of cannabis to come to the fore?
Katie: Well, cannabis has been illegal for so long, it’s no wonder we’re just finding these wonderful effects from the plant now. For me, I was training for a marathon and making my own balms and was stunned by how much it helped. I researched more and learned it had potential for sex, but I couldn’t find a non-coconut oil based product. So, I made my own silicone lubricant, oh.hi.
Interest in sexual wellness and sexual health has grown rapidly in recent years. Is the increased interest in ‘sex and cannabis’ a result of this trend?
Katie: The longer that cannabis is legalized, it becomes less taboo to talk about and consume. My mother for example, uses
CBD and that was unheard of not too long ago. I think it’s more about getting away from the smear campaign that plagued cannabis for decades, than any new trend. And with sex, it’s a similar thing. We’re more open to discussing the topic, what gives us pleasure, and how to make sex as great as possible.
There is still a need for clarification when it comes to THC and CBD. Could you shed some light on the differences between the two?
Katie: The cannabis plant has many different cannabinoids, THC and CBD are the two most popular. The main difference between them is that THC is psychoactive, meaning it will give you a head high.
Now to your brand: On your website, it says ‘I realized that the product I really wanted to exist …didn’t’ – was that the birth of Lavinia?
Katie: Yes! At first, I just wanted to be a cannabis, sexual product consumer, but all that was available at the time was coconut oil based. Unfortunately, coconut oil-based lubricants can lead to yeast infections. Not something I wanted for sure.
How would you describe your brand philosophy?
Katie: Live life to the climax! This means so many different things to different people. To one person it can mean sleeping until noon and great solo sex, while for another it’s hiking and multiple partners. We want to encourage people to live their life to the fullest.
There are numerous THC and cannabis products in today’s sexual wellness market. How important is it to be perceived as a brand in this competitive marketplace?
Katie: What sets Lavinia apart is that we’re a silicone-based lubricant. I find that to be the most effective lubricant, it’s waterproof (great for vaginal or anal sex) and doesn’t have any unwanted side effects. It is also a condom-safe lubricant, unlike many oil-based ones.
Communication is known to be a cornerstone of branding. How does Lavinia communicate with its customers?
Katie: 100% agreed, but with two taboo topics like cannabis and sex, traditional means are not available to us. Making connections with consumers through the people on the ground, in our case budtenders at dispensaries, is the best way to speak to our target audience.
oh.hi, your first product, launched in September 2021. What can you tell us about this lubricant? What ingredients have been used in its creation?
Katie: Simply: It’s magic sauce. A silicone-based one. We have found that the best approach is to keep it simple.
Can you tell us something bout the effect of the oh.hi lubricant?
Katie: It makes the area where it’s applied more sensitive to touch, which is a very good thing if you’re looking for more intense, powerful orgasms. oh.hi gives the users all of that simply by applying, waiting for 15-30 minutes, and then enjoying sexual activity as normal.
For oh.hi, you got support from dermatologist Dr. Kristina Collins. Why did you take this route? And how much research and development time goes into these products?
Katie: We were in R&D for a year and a half and did 25 different formulas before we settled on the most orgasmic mix of THC and CBD. It’s really important to have a medical expert to be able to describe exactly what happens in your body and why. Dr. Kristina Collins is a natural fit. She’s a Harvard-trained, board-certified dermatologist who has been an advocate for women’s health for over a decade.
Which target groups does Lavinia cater to?
Katie: Anybody who is interested in having a better sexual experience!
Your products contain no glycerine, no glycol, no parabens, they are latex-compatible and hypoallergenic, unscented, unflavored, and vegan. How important are these features for your target group?
Katie: Our bodies are so complex, especially the vulva and vagina. It’s important to have the cleanest ingredients possible for those sensitive areas. We also use dimethicone, which is a FDA approved silicone.
Which distribution channels do you use? Cannabis products are not legal everywhere…
Katie: In the US, the laws regarding cannabis are state by state, so right now, we are only in California as that’s where we manufacture. We hope to bring Lavinia to the masses though, and federal legalization feels like it’s right around the corner.
Many countries are thinking about bringing cannabis out of illegality – what would that mean for you? How do you evaluate the potential for cannabis products if they could be offered everywhere legally?
Katie: It would completely change the game for us. Right now, we’re not allowed to advertise on social media and can barely speak about the product in a meaningful way. Legalization would mean we could operate like any normal business. The potential is limitless if the laws are changed.
What will happen with Lavinia in the future? Are you planning to launch more products? How will you continue with your mission to educate and de-taboo ‘sex and cannabis’?
Katie: Our whole goal as a company is to enhance people’s sex lives through cannabis. We have a lot of products in R&D with the
sole mission of doing just that. I can’t give any details on that quite yet, but trust us, you’ll be saying ‘oh, hello’ pretty soon!
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