The Hustle: How One Founder is Fighting for Sexual Health Through Underwear

Sara Shokouhi is breaking the sexual health stigma.

Sara Shokouhi

Sara Shokouhi

Sara Shokouhi is a first-generation Iranian-American entrepreneur based in Los Angeles and the founder of b.WR (pronounced "b.WEAR"), an inclusive underwear brand prioritizing comfort and sexual health. The World Health Organization defines sexual health physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. "It is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity," WHO states. "Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships."

Shokouhi is a self-proclaimed sexual health champion, sustainable textile nerd, and wellness advocate. She founded b.WR in 2018 at 24-years-old and has been growing her company since. Ahead, we spoke to Shokouhi about building her health-first undergarment brand and how she's using it to break the stigma surrounding sex.

What inspired you to start b.WR? 

My intimate health was compromised a few years ago, and each morning I would open my underwear drawer and feel frustrated with my options. I was constantly uncomfortable and I couldn't figure out why. When I looked at the tags and labels, I saw nylon, spandex, polyester, and elastane, which are all different words for plastic. 

This prompted me to have more discussions with people about their underwear relationship, and I wasn't the only one with uncomfortable experiences like sweat, chafing, rashes—you name it. So b.WR was born to prioritize these issues and create soft, breathable, and sustainable products. I wanted to make underwear that feels liberating and elevates the idea of what it means to be truly comfortable.

Walk us through a day in your life as an entrepreneur. How do you get your day started?

I start every morning by getting in the best headspace. Some days consist of an obnoxiously long skincare routine, meditating, or journaling. No matter what's going on, I try to start every day with intention, which gets me excited and motivated.

I used to fall into the entrepreneur trap of doing everything at once, from financials, content creation, and sampling. However, now I try to establish a specific purpose to prioritize each day. On Mondays, I hold meetings to check in with all teams. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are for creative work like content creation, campaigns, and sampling fabric. Thursdays and Fridays are finance and operations days, with some preparing for the week ahead.

How and why have you integrated sexual wellness into your brand ethos? 

The brand resulted from a challenging personal experience where I felt uncomfortable and alone. It led me to find information to better deal with my mental and physical discomfort. I realized how much one week of sex-ed in high school didn't cut it.

Intimate discomfort can be debilitating and lead to isolation, fear, and shame. It may impact your self-confidence and even what you decide to wear in the morning. Still, nothing breaks my heart more than someone feeling anything less than confident in their sexual health. I believe that intimate comfort is a massive part of the sexual wellness conversation that is missing. 

I know I would've felt better if someone in my life said hey, I've gone through this before, and here's my experience. Because here's the thing: we are all sexual beings, yet the stigma around it is still prevalent and it keeps everyone in the dark. So my goal was never solely to provide underwear that relieves physical discomfort but to open up a space for community—kind of like the cool older sibling you wish you had. Our goal as a company is to foster a safe space to break down the stigmas of sexual health. I want us to get comfortable with uncomfortable conversations, which means openly discussing sex, body autonomy, and health in moments of intimacy and pleasure. 

What change do you hope to see within the sexual wellness industry? 

I would love to see more humanity and realness, and I want us to get to a place where it's cool to talk about sexual health. I want the narrative to be less about breaking barriers and more about recognizing that sexual health is something we all experience, so let's normalize those conversations.

What makes b.WR different? 

b.WR means nothing to me without our purpose. Wearing our logo around your waist shows you stand for something and it signifies that whoever wears this underwear values their sexual health and yours too.

What is the best piece of advice you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Find your people. You're going to need people who are willing to walk this journey with you. I started b.WR on my own, and I'm proud of that, but it was hard. And I realize now it's a fool's game to think you can do it all alone. So if you can, start with co-founders or team members that you can grow with.

What is one piece of career advice you'll never forget?

No person will be optimal at everything all the time, and this has been the biggest learning lesson for me. You can find people to join you on this journey who balance your weaknesses, making the process a lot easier and more enjoyable.

It makes the process easier and more enjoyable when you let go of guilt and the pressure to be great at everything rather than great at specific things, which is why you started your business in the first place. Always remind yourself why you're the one to do this.

How have (if at all) stigmas within the Persian community impacted the work you do with b.WEAR and the sexual wellness community? 

Any vibrant culture comes with expectations and traditions that can be difficult to break away from. I'm trying to break the stigma around sexual health, which is a raw and uncomfortable thing many people. Still, I think it's fair to say that discomfort and avoiding uncomfortable things can feel heightened in Persian culture.

Some systems and customs are ingrained in the Persian community and, at times, respecting these norms can feel limiting. For me, I think it's about finding a balance. I have so much love and respect for my culture and upbringing, so I think it's important to meet people where they are, and recognize that there are meaningful ways to influence culture and move towards social change.

What was a defining moment that has inspired you to break barriers? 

This journey has shifted quite a few times for me. When I started b.WR, the Girlboss narrative was very relevant, and there was a race for women to start businesses and embody masculine traits to get ahead. It's safe to say that narrative has played out as toxic in some cases. For me, a big motivation was looking at my dad and thinking I could be an entrepreneur just like him. Still, over time I realized leaning into my femininity and sensitivity is a massive strength.

A significant breakthrough was during a Leadership Incubator program at Vital Voices, a nonprofit that invests in women. I understood why being a woman of color is a superpower and why my voice is important. I realized how much women like me—first-generation, women of color, children of immigrants—have to offer in a space that wasn't designed to empower people like us. 

Article Sources
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  1. Dolezal L, Lyons B. Health-related shame: an affective determinant of health? Med Humanit. 2017;43(4):257-263.

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