Not only is the topic controversial, but sexual health can carry emotions, actions, and politics that include a broad spectrum of experiences from intense pleasure to gross, generalized offenses.
To isolate a single part of sexual health, like birth control, proves fruitless, because it’s constantly wrapped up in other topics. Some topics are easy to discuss. Others may be uncomfortable to talk about or difficult to listen to. Because these topics are present in our everyday lives, we want to begin exploring them. The more talk there is, the more normalized we can feel in our own skins.
Pill Club is always looking for role models in the field — individuals who have shattered barriers and redefined what it means to be empowered.
Meet Meika Hollender, the founder of Sustain.
Sustain offers natural condoms as well as other products such as lubricant, underwear, period cups, tampons, pads, and liners. Not only is Sustain revolutionizing sexual experiences, they’re also investing in solving problems with a multi-faceted lens. Without any hesitation, we present Meika — please enjoy!
Describe yourself in 3 sentences.
I’m the co-founder of Sustain, the first brand of all natural condoms, lubricants, and wipes marketed to women. I started Sustain because for too long women have been stigmatized for being sexual. I decided to change all that and create a brand that empowers women to take control of their sexual health with better, safer products.
I started Sustain because for too long women have been stigmatized for being sexual.
What does sex-positivity mean to you?
Sex-positivity to me means me in control of my body. It means never feeling ashamed for being sexual. It means never having sex with someone who makes you feel anything less than great about yourself. It means treating women and men equally when it comes to sex and never judging people for doing what’s natural.
Sustain serves as a model for other socially responsible and sustainable businesses. What inspired you to choose condoms as the agent of change?
Condoms are incredible because when you make them sustainably (i.e. Fair Trade latex, free of harmful chemicals), they are a net positive product. What that means is that by creating a product that prevents unplanned pregnancy and STDs, even with the minimal waste of throwing away the condom, the impact on people and the planet is overall positive.
My father and business partner, Jeffrey Hollender, the founder of Seventh Generation, was really inspired to get into the condom business because of its unique positioning as a net positive product. It’s critical to us that every single thing we make has a positive impact on our customers and the planet.
What vision do you have for Sustain in terms of breaking down barriers and/or reducing stigma around reproductive health?
My vision is to create a world where women talk about sex openly and honestly, and never with judgment. A world where women have the products, education, and information they need to get on top of their sexual health, where all sexual wellness products are created in a way that won’t harm them, their partners, or the world.
My vision is to create a world where women talk about sex openly and honestly, and never with judgment.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to teens and young adults?
To start talking about sex! The first step in having safe, fulfilling and pleasurable sex is to talk about it with friends, parents, doctors, and partners. By not talking about it, we end up putting ourselves and our bodies at risk, and ultimately perpetuate the stigma associated with women who are sexual.
Updated August, 2019. Originally published by Yenling Yang, Senior Patient Manager.