Rosebud Woman’s founder and CEO Christine Marie Mason on women’s sexuality and self-love as self-care
By Amy Grief
Before formally launchingRosebud Womanabout two years ago, Christine Marie Mason couldn’t shake the idea of starting anintimate wellnessline for women. The former tech founder and CEO turned yogi, podcast host, and author created a line of plant-based personal wellness products that aims to help women of all ages tap into their sensuality, while addressing common but often hush-hush concerns, such as dryness, irritation, and lack of sensation. Mason, a mother and grandmother, spoke to Indigo about the importance of intimate wellness and the lingering taboos around women’s sexuality.
What is intimate wellness?
Instead of calling her line of beautifully packaged oils, balms, and wipes sexual wellness products, Mason refers to them as intimate wellness products. They’re meant to help women explore and embrace their own bodies and tap into their sensuality (how they experience the world through their senses) every day. “I think women live in their bodies from birth to almost 100 now, 365 days a year, 24/7, for themselves, independent of their sexuality or their sexual activity,” she says. For Mason, an intimate wellness practice is about embracing self-love as self-care and learning to enjoy and find pleasure in your body from head to toe.
What are some of the taboos you see around women’s sexuality?
Mason surveyed 3,000 American women about their intimate needs before starting Rosebud Woman. Pre-COVID-19, she and her team would hold multi-generational women’s circles to talk about what it’s like to inhabit a woman’s body, which gave her insight into the deep-rooted taboos and feelings of shame around how women think about—and talk about—their bodies and sexuality.
“The first taboo is having a vagina. You know that it exists, but it’s kind of under wraps,” says Mason. “And that means there’s no education. I see a future where you can say elbow, labia. Big toe, clitoris,” she says.
Along with better education, Mason sees another taboo around speaking about women’s life cycles—from menstruation to menopause, as well as finding pleasure later in life. “Women are fully human, sensual and sexual for their entire lives. We need to see that and speak to that more,” she says. For Mason, a third taboo is about female pleasure itself. “Can you ask for what you need? Can you ask for what you desire? Do you know what you desire?”
As more and more intimate and sexual wellness brands come to market, Mason is slowly starting to see these taboos around female sexuality lift—fuelled in part by the #MeToo movement and collective pushback against the dominant masculine culture. Case in point: when launching Rosebud Woman in 2018, Mason couldn’t advertise her products on Facebook. “Last month, we could put up an ad with ‘vulva approved,’ and they didn’t blink,” she says.
How can you embrace an intimate wellness self-care practice?