Talking Sex and Pleasure With Carole Radziwill and Robin Levine
“Let’s talk about orgasms.”
It shouldn’t still be difficult for so many women to do, but here we are. In a deeply patriarchal society. Surrounded by men who don’t understand the basics of the female body.
Anyway, Carole Radziwill and Robin Levine are determined to point us in a new direction.
“Absolutely,” Levine answers.
Truthfully, who wouldn’t? When it comes to orgasm during sex, there is a massive gender gap. In one 2015study, only six percent of the women surveyed reported always having an orgasm during intercourse; inanother, only 18.4 percent of women said that they could orgasm from penetration alone. Comparatively, a 2016study learned that heterosexual men orgasm from sex 95 percent of the time—and astudy published in 2019 concluded that 58.8 percent of women have faked an orgasm during sex.
That’s where Sex and Good’sOMG Formula comes in. The blend of natural libido-enhancing herbs includes maca and horny goat weed, which are both believed to increase sexual desire. “It increases blood flow to the area,” Levine, a self-described “supplement junkie,” explains via video from New York; Radziwill (who might be recognized fromThe Real Housewives of New York or her time as a correspondent for ABC News) is also on the line, calling in from her own New York home. “The horny goat weed is a really interesting story; it was an ancient Chinese herb, and farmers were seeing that the goats were hornier after they ate it.”
The two women came together to create Sex and Good after Levine got divorced and was wrapping her head around dating again. It had them thinking: when it comes to sex, what do women of all ages need? Answer: balanced hormones; more orgasms; and condoms that don’t have macho men on the front, for starters. (Cue Sex and Good’s chicly-designed and fully vegancondoms for that last point.) Levine, who has already made waves in sexuality and wellness thanks to her websiteCharlotte’s Book, took her love of supplements, her contacts in the health space, and her passion for brand-building to lay the foundation of Sex and Good. Paired with Radziwill’s innate curiosity, passion for information-sharing (she’s a journalist, after all), and desire to dismantle the stigma around female pleasure, and the result is a true dream team.
Aside from The OMG Formula, which they refer to as women’s Viagra, the brand sells a range of all-natural supplements designed forhormones;flora;prebiotics and probiotics; andomegas, among others. The pills and gummies support vaginal health for all ages, but particularly for women who are over 40—because sex is not just for the young. Not even close.
At the heart of it, that’s the thesis of theSex and the City reboot: create a show about women old enough to have gray hair who are still having sex and are still enjoying it, goddamnit. “Everyone has something to say,” the show’s star Sarah Jessica ParkertoldVogue in a recent cover story. “‘She has too many wrinkles, she doesn’t have enough wrinkles.’ It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better.”
While the series has yet to premiere, one can only hope it will show the characters having great sex—just like they did in their twenties and thirties. Maybe it will even depict the struggles that aging women (unlike aging men) face with decreased libido.
“Not being able to get or maintain an erection is a sign of aging, but that’s fixable—that’s a medical thing that’s serious, and they’ve come out with all these creams and pills and potions so men can continue having erections into their mid-to-late forties and fifties,” says Radziwill. “But no one really thinks about women’s health that way.”
Levine agrees. “Carole makes the point that there’s Viagra, and no one even thinks twice about it,” she says. “We actually have women write in and say, ‘My libido is low.’ It’s post-having kids and all these things, and they’re trying to make that an okay conversation—make it an okay thing to say, ‘What can I take for that?’”
“I think women don’t think they can take anything for it,” Radziwill adds. “It’s just ‘the natural course of aging.’ And then, you know, at that point they can’t stand their husbands.”
Jokes aside, Sex and Good is about dismantling the shame that women at all ages can feel when it comes to discussing sex, preparing for sex, and even loving sex.
“On one of my dates, I got shamed for having condoms,” Levine shares. “Like, it should be a good thing that I have condoms. There’s certainly that stigma against it. So I think we want to help arm women to own that sexual experience.”
Which means quality condoms, happy hormones, and yes—more orgasms.
“I think that there is still shame in not having an orgasm,” muses Radziwill. “But then it’s like, well, maybe you’re not because your hormones are out of balance. Or maybe your partner’s just not good.”