We wouldn’t be talking about sexual wellness in its entirety without discussing menopause, a facet of sexual health that has often been glossed over. Until now. Femtech’s recent developments around menopause and data that projects 1.1 billion women worldwide will reach perimenopause by 2025 seems to have finally opened us up to the "birds and the bees" talk we’ve all been missing—the one of the post-menses variety. So when a sexual wellness brand like Tabu shows up, eager and ready to take on the challenge, we say tell us more. Ahead, CEO and founder Natalie Waltz and medical experts share how Tabu is reshaping the way we think about sexual wellness as we get older.
Tabu, a play on the word taboo, is the remedy to decades of miseducation and misinformation about what sex looks like as we get older. More specifically, what sex looks like for women as we get older. What started as an eye-opening conversation with her mom led Waltz to want to further explore the lack of discussions surrounding menopause and adequate solutions.
This resulted in the creation of a sexual wellness brand that challenges the notion that female sexuality comes with an expiration date by emphasizing the benefits of a sexual wellness routine. "One of my main goals is to help people understand that sex can be therapeutic and not a vice," Waltz says. "By having these difficult conversations with our loved ones and healthcare professionals, and by drawing the lines between health and pleasure, we can start to truly normalize sex and the vital role it plays throughout our lives," she says.
Tabu pulls insight from doctors, therapists, and real people experiencing menopause to make sure everything they create aligns with their mission to celebrate and honor sexual wellness as we age. This includes discreet packaging and information to guide women as they enter into this new realm of using a sexual wellness product, perhaps for the first time. "With Tabu, you know that we’ll help walk you through products to solve the problems you’re having," she says.
After ample research and deliberation, Tabu launched its first product—The Kit—in October 2020. "I wanted to create a physical connection with women through a smart and elegant product experience rather than starting with services like telehealth." Though these services are in the brand’s future, The Kit is their debut into the sexual wellness space.
About The Kit
The Kit ($135) boasts an array of sexual wellness products, including a personal massager, organic lubricant, and a guide that shows you exactly how to use everything. Tabu's kit embodies the brand's mission to challenge the idea that female sexuality disappears when you reach a certain age. Because if you aren't sure by now, it most definitely does not. "While there seems to be a general understanding that sexual wellness is part of our overall health, most people still don't know why," starts Waltz. “To many, sex and pleasure is thought to be good for stress and your relationship. But that's just scratching the surface." She explains that there is a link between regular sexual activity and better sleep, lower blood pressure, improved lubrication, stronger vaginal muscles, reduced incontinence, increased libido, and even body confidence. With the multitude of benefits from regular sexual activity, it's a clear reason to develop a routine.
All of the products in the The Kit are made with simple, organic, and body-safe to help alleviate symptoms like vaginal dryness or pain during sex. Which, for the record, can also happen outside of menopause. "The massager is sleek and slender enough for insertion in most menopausal women, and it has the warming mechanism to stimulate blood flow," OB-GYN and Tabu medical advisor Brittany Klooster says. She explains that each ingredient for the lubricant was carefully chosen based on its potential to heal and nourish vaginal and vulvar tissues. Before you ask, no, not every lubricant on the market contains ingredients that do this.
"It was so thoughtfully designed," pelvic floor therapist and founder of Mountain to Sea PT, Dr. Heidi Gastler says. "Natalie did such a wonderful job at putting something together that can be used on its own without having to have that conversation." Tabu believes that there aren't enough conversations about menopause. For it to be a notable transition in a woman’s life, there’s an overt silence when it comes to menopause, which contributes to why women feel hesitant to speak up about the way their bodies are changing.
"I see many menopausal patients who have suffered in silence for years with dyspareunia (pain with intercourse) and urinary symptoms who were too afraid to bring it up with their doctor, let alone their family/friends," Dr. Klooster says. "Little do they know there are treatments for these symptoms, and Tabu is bringing that to light in the non-medical setting."
For women who feel uncomfortable talking about sex, shopping for sex products may not even be on their minds. Dr. Gastler explains that some women who muster up the courage to talk to their doctor often dismiss their concerns to get told to "Have a glass of wine to relax" or "Buy a vibrator," which isn’t sound medical advice. “Having an at-home kit like Tabu that comes complete with a personal massager, high-quality lubricant, and basic instructions is wonderful because it gives all women a self-treatment option that’s affordable, approachable, and well-designed," she says.
Everything in The Kit makes the process of self-play (or partner-play) more appealing for anyone looking to start a pleasure routine. Or to rearrange some things in their current routine.
I always want everyone to talk about tough (and taboo) topics as often as possible. For this reason alone, Tabu is on my list of brands to pay attention to. The brand offers a truly holistic way to treat menopause and gives you all of the tools you could ever need to create a sexual wellness routine that’s high-quality and affordable. If you were to decide you wanted to try a sexual wellness product for the first time and came across Tabu’s website, you’d feel confident and celebrated while scrolling down the page.
Waltz is thoughtful and considerate with what she creates, and that’s more than any of us can ever hope for when a new company pops up. And there’s something to be said about shining a bright light on menopause and pinpointing ways we can make this chapter of a woman’s life more enjoyable and less daunting in the most natural and accessible way.
Shifren JL, Gass ML. NAMS Recommendations for Clinical Care of Midlife Women Working Group. The North American Menopause Society recommendations for clinical care of midlife women. Menopause. 2014;21(10):1038-1062. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000319