If you’ve ever been to a sex shop, you can probably relate to feeling uncomfortable as you peruse neon-lit shelves filled with bright and tacky toys in a dim, basement-level space. It’s 2022, and yet shopping for pleasure products still often feels like a sleazy, taboo affair rather than an investment in sexual wellness.
That common experience is why Rachel Baker decided to found Lbdo, a Melbourne-based sexual wellness brand that aims to create inclusive and beautiful pleasure products that you’d be proud to have on your bedside table.
“I wanted to create products that were like art,” says Baker. “Products that you would feel proud to have because there is no shame in making time for things that feel good and having them on display.”
Prior to launching the business last May, she surveyed hundreds of people to get feedback and discovered that a lot of it was the same: products out there just weren’t speaking to them and weren’t worthy of a place on their nightstand. Armed with that knowledge, she began her prototype phase and worked closely with Australian designers and sexologists to bring her concept to life.
The result? The Essensual series, which includes an elegant palm-shaped vibrator that comes in the shades coral, lilac and stone, and lubes and oils that could easily be mistaken for perfume or skincare bottles. All products are made in Australia, vegan and cruelty-free, and are made with high-quality pharmaceutical-grade ingredients.
Lbdo also takes care not to use gendered language or give direct instructions on how to use products, instead encouraging consumers to use them in an intuitive way to discover what feels good for their bodies.
"There's no right or wrong way to experience pleasure."
But if you’re a little unsure of where to start and after some guidance, Lbdo also offers a series of free guided audios to help you get started and get in the mood.
“They’re similar to a guided meditation or a guided run, where you have someone talk you through the process of it,” says Baker. “It’s just a little bit more spicy and fun.”
Baker is also on a mission to change how the public defines sexual wellness, and wants to move away from the black and white perception that it’s based on the number of orgasms you have or how frequently you’re having sex. Instead, she wants people to see sexual wellness as part of overall wellness, and Lbdo’s range has expanded to include vitamins as a result.
“When you improve your energy levels, your hair, skin and nail health and your general health and wellbeing, all of those things work together to really improve how you feel about yourself,” says Baker. “That gives you the energy to invest in your relationships more - either with yourself or others - which is what sexual wellness is all about.”
You can explore the full range of products through Lbdo’s website, where you’ll also be able to access the guided meditations and the educational blog.