Let’s Talk About *Safe* Sex: Q&A with Slipp Health

Let’s Talk About *Safe* Sex: Q&A with Slipp Health

Hormonal birth control isn’t your only option. Yet, for many reasons, it seems to be the option most favorably promoted to women. Slipp, a “female-first” condom brand, is changing that. Simply put, we deserve to have more shame-free options when it comes to birth control.

I first came across Slipp on Instagram. I was captivated by the content I saw because it was honest, unfiltered, informative, and very relatable. The message that “safe sex is self-care,” stuck with me. I appreciated how conversations around sex and sexual health were happening on the page. I knew that I wanted to bring some of that conversation to the blog, so I slid into Slipp’s DMs and got in touch with Victoria, the founder of Slipp.

In our Q&A discussion, we chat about shame-free protection, setting boundaries, and consent. I’m excited for you to read along and join the convo!

Q: First, can you share a bit about yourself and Slipp?

A: My name is Victoria Lyons and I’m the Founder of Slipp Health – a “female-first” condom brand (not to be confused with ‘female condoms’!).

Our mission is to minimize the barriers that prevent women from buying/carrying/using condoms and help people feel in control of their reproductive health.

Our condoms are delivered discreetly to customers’ doors so they can avoid the awkward trip to the condom aisle; and developed with simple ingredients for optimal vaginal health.

Q: What inspired you to start Slipp?

A: I have personally sought out non-hormonal birth control methods and been frustrated with the lack of options on the market. 

In doing so, I found condoms to be a great option: they are highly effective; they don’t come with the side effects of many other methods; and they’re pretty affordable (relatively speaking).

But I learned that women, in particular, feel awkward about condoms.

  • 68% of women say they feel uncomfortable buying condoms
  • 82% of sexually-active women say they don’t carry condoms with them
  • And women are more likely than men to feel uncomfortable enforcing the use of a condom

On top of that, I felt like the condoms on the market weren’t speaking to women about their reproductive health concerns. So I decided to step in and try to fill that gap in the market.

Q: What have been some challenges and successes so far in starting your business?

A: Challenges: Where to begin?! There are so so so many components to starting a business. I think one of the hardest things is not knowing what you don’t know. There’s no guidebook to starting this specific business. So I’m constantly learning on the fly. The good part is that since there are so many challenges, there are lots of opportunities to overcome them and become more and more confident in my ability to do so.

Successes: I am honestly just so happy to have gotten this far! To have a physical product that I can see and touch is so exciting. I can’t wait for our upcoming launch and to continue to grow from here.

Q: Why do you believe there is such a stigma around condoms?

A: I think women, in particular, experience a stigma around buying/carrying condoms. There actually used to be a law that carrying condoms as a woman could be used as evidence of prostitution (crazy, I know).

There’s this notion that carrying condoms as a woman is promiscuous. Yet, when a man is carrying condoms they’re generally seen as responsible. I think the reasons for this are complex and deeply rooted in the history of gender inequality and purity culture.

I think it’s important to normalize women carrying condoms so that more of us can feel in control of our sexual health.

Q: When you say shame-free protection, what does that mean to you?

A: I think there should be no shame in taking care of your body, and no one should make you feel uncomfortable for enforcing the use of a condom. 

Q: What would you say to women who are hesitant to carry condoms?

Personally, I think carrying condoms feels empowering. It sends a message that you’re in control of your sexual health and you care enough about your body to take care of it.

Q: According to Slipp’s page, women are more likely to feel uncomfortable enforcing the use of a condom. What advice would you have for women that may empower them to set boundaries in the bedroom? 

A: Women – more than men – tend to have an ingrained belief that they should put their partner’s pleasure above their own wants/desires (you can thank the patriarchy for that!). 

However, there are a few things that might help you feel more comfortable enforcing the use of a condom:

  1. Bringing your own condoms can help you feel more ownership over your contraceptive choice, making you feel more confident asserting your desire to use one.
  2. Keep them somewhere handy! Sometimes people tell me they think condoms “kill the mood.” But often that has to do with having to scramble to find one. If you keep them somewhere handy, you can seamlessly put one on with little interruption.
  3. Have conversations about contraception BEFORE you’re in the heat of the moment. Communication is key – so take the opportunity to discuss your contraceptive choices before you’re in the heat of the moment so that all parties are on the same page.
  4. Remind yourself that healthcare is self-care – safe sex included! You don’t want your sexual experience to be tainted with worry and fear after it’s over because you didn’t take the proper precautions. Sex is so much better when you feel safe, healthy, and protected!

A: Absolutely. 

For one, I think consent is more than saying “yes.” Consent is an enthusiastic yes, and should involve continuous feedback (in other words: you can change your mind at any time). For example, try saying things like, “is this ok?” “do you want to keep going?” etc. to check in with your partner over time.

Also, I don’t think there’s enough of a conversation about the importance of getting consent before having sex without protection. If you choose to not use protection, it’s important that both/all individuals are on board with that decision, and have clearly consented to it. Don’t assume your partner is on birth control, or that they’re okay with it. It should also be agreed upon each time you engage in sex.

Q: Where can we keep up with you?

A: @slipphealth on all platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter)! Or check out slipp.org to sign up for our mailing list to know when we launch (soon!).

Chatting Entrepreneurship and Mental Health with Brianne Helfrich

Chatting Entrepreneurship and Mental Health with Brianne Helfrich

Brianne Helfrich is a college student, CEO, and podcast host. She is originally from Edmonton, Alberta, but she currently lives in Pittsburgh where she is completing a master’s program before attending medical school. During the pandemic, she started her clothing brand, Helfrich Collective.

Brianne and I recently connected on Instagram, and as soon as I heard a bit of her story, I knew that I wanted to have her on the blog. To say the least, she’s making things happen, and I admire that. Throughout our Q&A, Brianne tells it how it is about starting her business, finding balance, and creating positive habits.

Q: What inspired you to start your business, Helfrich Collective?

A: During the pandemic, I started going through my own mental health struggles. I needed something to look forward to and work hard on, but I also wanted to give back and raise awareness. So, I randomly decided to start my own clothing brand that donates to various charities for each collection.

Q: What prepared you to start your business?

A: Honestly, I had no preparation before starting HC. I kind of jumped into it and as a STEM major, I had no business background. Thankfully, I was able to surround myself with people who understood the business side of HC and they have helped guide me along the way. A big thing that I’m thankful for is that I was taught and brought up with a strong work ethic. Like any business, it takes a lot of work and isn’t an overnight success type of thing. It’s very easy to get discouraged when starting your own business, so my resiliency has definitely helped the process.

Q: How do you balance being a CEO and attending school?

A: To be honest, most of the time I don’t balance it very well. I want to do the best I can at everything, so sometimes that means overworking myself and pushing myself a bit too hard. It’s something I’m working on because I know it’s not healthy for me and leads me to insane burnout. I think a big thing for me is prioritizing and planning ahead. It helps alleviate my anxiety and helps with my time management when I know what’s coming up and can prepare ahead of time. Another big thing is asking for help whenever I need it. Sometimes I can delegate tasks or even get advice when I feel like I’m having a tough time balancing.

Q: What are some positive habits that you’ve created in your life?

A: Positive habits I’ve created in my life are the usual things like working out, eating what makes me feel good, saying positive affirmations, etc. But one big thing that has really helped transform my life was seeking help and going to therapy. This has made such a positive impact on how I view myself and the world. Learning that it’s okay to not be okay and having a safe outlet to talk/express my feelings has been so impactful.

Q: What does a day in your life look like?

A: My days are pretty similar during the week, but normally I wake up around 5 am. I’ll then head to the gym (it’s my favorite way to de-stress), workout for a little bit, then go home and get ready for the day. I then head off to clinicals and school. I am constantly working on Helfrich Collective, so I’ll send emails, prep for launches, contact manufacturers, etc. all throughout the day. Then when I get home from school, I normally do any homework I have, make some dinner/watch TV/facetime my family and friends, and go to bed early.

Q: What advice would you give other 20-somethings who want to start their own businesses?

A: Just start. You will always feel like you aren’t ready or not prepared enough, but you learn by doing. It’s normal to make mistakes, so take everything as a learning curve and grow from it. Just believe in yourself, work hard and you can achieve anything.

Q: Where can we keep up with you?

A: Instagram @briannehelfrich & @helfrichcollective, TikTok @briannehelfrich & @helfrichcollective, shop HC at Helfrichcollective.com, and listen to Welcome to the Collective.

On-Air with the Millennial Girls

On-Air with the Millennial Girls

Racquel Goldy and Natasha Salehi are the entertaining and relatable duo known as the Millennial Girls. On their podcast, they share personal stories and behind-the-scenes fun from their experiences as Miami radio personalities. I am excited to have them on the blog to share their opinions and insights as millennials and women who work in media.

I asked them questions all about podcasting, millennial stereotypes, working in radio, and personal branding. We also discussed the topic of imposter syndrome. I hope you can learn something from my Q&A with the Millennial Girls; I know I did!

Let’s get into it, and let me introduce you to Racquel and Natasha!

About the Girls

Racquel hosted the afternoon drive-time radio show for Revolution 93.5 FM. In addition, she has covered red carpets as a correspondent for events like the Billboard Music Awards, iHeart Fiesta, and the Creative Arts Emmys. Her second passion project is creating Kpop Reaction Videos on YouTube.

Natasha graduated with a BA in Advertising. She started out managing social media for Revolution 93.5 FM. Then, she moved into a co-host spot on the morning show. Most recently, she was in the solo midday slot. Her second passion project is cooking live and sharing recipes on Instagram.

Q: Why did you start a podcast together?

A: Both being radio personalities in Miami, magic would happen when we would do things together, like getting featured in Billboard for our exclusive with Martin Garrix. We considered starting our own podcast on the side to “keep the dream alive”, so to speak, then the pandemic hit and we were let go from our jobs. We really had no other option but to create our own brand! 

With the podcast world booming, we felt this was the right place to keep ourselves relevant but also niche. As a radio personality, you are really only showing 20% of your “real” personality on-air. We knew this was a place to not take ourselves so seriously, and we wanted to be as real and relatable as possible.

We’re both experienced in public speaking, Natasha is the master editor for all things video/audio/social, and Racquel is the Queen of PR. So what better partnership right? That’s how the Millennial Girls Podcast was born.

Q: What inspired you to choose the name “Millennial Girls”?

A: Natasha woke up in the middle of her sleep one night at 3 am and texted Racquel “MILLENNIAL GIRLS”. Both being millennials, we felt it was broad enough to create a brand name as well as title our community made up of millennial females.

Q: What millennial stereotypes do you disagree with?

A: People think our generation is lazy and entitled, but in reality, we bust our butts to do what makes us happy, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a large paycheck! Not to mention we are the guinea pigs of social media which leads us to comparison culture.

Q: What millennial stereotypes do you agree with?

A: Having the confidence to question authority, achievement-oriented, and obsessed with technology. I mean we did create social media… Mark Zuckerberg, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger are all millennials.

Q: What has been your favorite opportunity that you’ve had through working in media?

A: Our greatest accomplishment was when we were given the opportunity to interview Martin Garrix shortly before Ultra and Miami Music Week. Our goal was to get an exclusive, and we did! The interview went viral on all EDM platforms including Billboard. 

Q: How do you view social media and personal branding in your field?

A: Social media and personal branding are part of your resume. Especially being in entertainment and radio, everything is based on how much engagement and how many followers you have across all platforms from YouTube to TikTok. If you don’t post on all platforms or don’t consistently post, unfortunately, you become “irrelevant”.

Q: Do you ever deal with imposter syndrome or comparison? How do you overcome it?

A: All the time. When you know you have to continuously post on social media, not only post, but also post great content, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of insecurity and comparison culture.

We overcome it by not concerning ourselves with other people and “cleaning out our social media closet” by unfollowing profiles that don’t motivate or inspire us. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we compare our own content to our past content and ask ourselves if it’s better and more creative. If it’s not, we go back to the drawing board and improve ourselves.

Q: What advice would you give to others who want to start a podcast?

A: Starting a podcast that you want to ultimately build as a brand on your own is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. First and foremost, the podcast has to be entertaining and bring value.

You have to have the right equipment, acoustics, editing software/tools, decide where to host your podcast, outreach to potential sponsors, outreach to potential guests, get your audience to share, consistent social media promotion, weekly episodes, keep your numbers up and growing, find ways to start making an income whether it be through retail sales or collabs… it’s not easy.

If you’re in it for the long haul, have patience, are consistent, and are ok with not being an overnight success, then get on that microphone and start podcasting!

Q: Where can we keep up with you?

A: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Apple Podcasts, and on our website.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

A: Sharing, following, liking, commenting, reviewing, and subscribing are all ways you can support our podcast! We know it’s a lot to ask, but it’s a simple click, right?