ColumnCraving better orgasms? Or just craving orgasms, period? You’re not alone.
Pleasure is a right, not a privilege, and Matthew Gerson, formerly of Sir Richard’s Condoms, created Foria, a cannabis-infused natural lubricant, on that premise. I chatted with him about the rollout of his breakthrough product, the epidemic of anorgasmic women, and how we can begin to shift the paradigm toward pleasure. (Full disclosure, Matthew is a friend of mine.)
Stefanie Weiss: What inspired the creation of FORIA?
Matthew Gerson: Foria was inspired by a long walk on the beach. Seriously though, it was during my dawn dog walks that I began to think about the possibility of using cannabis in a way that might address the needs of 50 percent of the adult female population in the U.S.
I spent a few years running the Sir Richard’s Condom Co. and during that time had the opportunity to speak with thousands of people about their intimate lives. During that time it was brought to my attention how unbalanced the FDA has been with regards to putting out safe and effective medicines for female sexual challenges. My personal use of cannabis as a sensual enhancer led me to research its historical use as an aphrodisiac, which dates back thousands of years into Asia. This is a plant that has been identified by countless cultures for its benefits to human sexuality and our quest for heightened pleasure and wellness.
SW: Why do you think that Viagra/Cialis et al. have been approved and on the market for so many years, and nothing exists for women?
MG: One of the books I was reading when developing Foria was “What Women Really Want, The Science of Female Desire.” It takes a deep look at the sexual issues facing women in the U.S. and has a pretty critical assessment of the FDA’s handling of what appears to be a national crisis. There is a great organization that is bringing attention to the disparity and possible latent sexism at the FDA. This is a very charged and complex subject and I recommend checking them out and supporting their efforts. (Eventhescore.org)
I see sexual health and orgasm as a part of the arc of wellness that we are all seeking in our lives. This seems to be the emergent trend within modern medical circles. Historically sexuality was left out of the conversation on basic approaches to health and wellness and was something that had to be hidden from view. This compartmentalizing has created huge obstacles for us as a culture to overcome, ones that we are only now starting to recognize.
SW: Have most of your customers been women who have trouble achieving orgasm rather than people who want to use FORIA recreationally? Have women with sexual imbalances (I prefer this term to “dysfunction”actually) reported that FORIA has helped?
MG: Our test groups included women across the pleasure spectrum between ages 21 and 70. The results that these women were experiencing was the fuel that kept us going through all of the legal and economic challenges that one faces when working in the cannabis industry. As plant medicine seems to work “with” the body as opposed to “on” the body each users experience is quite unique and we have found that the best person to talk to about Foria is a current user! As you know Stefanie, there is so much shaming in the sex space and we strive to not create expectations for what the plant will or will not do for our patients. We strive instead to create an open and safe opportunity for women to try Foria and see how it works with them and their specific needs. So far, this approach really seems to be working as the majority of our patients are referrals from other users.
SW: Do you believe there is an epidemic of anorgasmic women? Can we find a way to have better orgasms?
MG: Stress, pace of living in the digital era, environmental toxins with unknown effects on human sexual response, sex as a consumer activity, a cultural lack of body-based intelligence, horrendous sexual education standards, did I mention stress? Yes, living in the modern world we are dealing with some intense conditions that don’t make for easy access to orgasms for any of us, men or women.
SW: Do you think that FORIA and products like it will eventually have broader impact on the movement to develop research around women’s sexual imbalance?
MG: This is our desire. We would love to work with a university to get this type of research underway. There is so much we don’t know about cannabis and it’s relationship to female sexual function, there is so much possibility here and it is very exciting.
SW: Have menopausal women been using FORIA? Does it help with lubrication simply because of the coconut oil, or is there a property in the THC/cannabinoids that enhances lubrication?
MG: Yes, menopausal women have been some of our strongest advocates. They are reporting that for many it does help with dryness, loss of sensation as well as access to orgasm. The liquid coconut oil is certainly a great natural lubricant on it’s own. The “entourage effect” of the various cannabinoids might also be a primary factor in this response. Without further research all we have is the feedback from our users so it is not possible to say at this time.
SW: How often can one use FORIA without building up a tolerance?
MG: Foria use should be dictated by the specific needs of the individual. Tolerance would be a based on a multitude of factors such as, historical use of cannabis, strength of dosage for use, consistency of usage, body type, other health conditions, etc. As with other uses of marijuana both as medicine and for recreational purposes, the relationship with your unique body will vary quite dramatically from person to person.
SW: I haven’t smoked weed in a decade —am I likely to be more sensitive to FORIA?
MG: It is a good possibility and it really depends on how you use it. While taking Foria orally brings about a similar result to eating marijuana infused products, the interesting thing with using Foria as a topical application directly onto the vulva is that the overwhelming majority of our users and testers do not report any type of mental “high.” The primary effects are grounded in the body; heightened sensation leading up to and during orgasm as well as a body euphoria and feeling of deep relaxation.
SW: Medical marijuana was just approved in New York State (YAY) —do you have plans to make FORIA available here? Follow up —do you suspect more states will legalize and will you attempt to get it on the market shortly after?
MG: We are all standing on the shoulders of giants. Patient rights’ advocates, activists, historians, lawyers and conscientious law enforcement agents, countless people over the past five decades have committed so much of their lives so that the full potential of cannabis as medicine can be realized.
Personally, when I look at this movement and how rapidly public opinion is changing in favor of legalization, I see a movement that is powered by empathy. One that demands access to a plant that has real potential to mitigate the suffering of countless of Americans with various forms of challenges and serious ailments. A movement fueled by empathy crosses all party, philosophical and religious lines and is pretty much unstoppable. So yes, legalization on the national level will be a reality in our lifetime.
As for Foria, we are looking at other ways in which we might be able to make our medicinal available in as many states as possible. Colorado and Washington are the next two markets that we hope to be entering within the next few months.
SW: Thank you, Matthew!
MG: Thank you, Stefanie.
I’m so thrilled that there is a growing movement intent on providing shame-free pleasure to all. From Foria to orgasmic mediation to scholarship about women’s desire and libido, orgasm is becoming more accessible to those of us that haven’t been able to have it. Foria can be used with a partner or for solo sex — making it even more user-friendly. And that equals better orgasms for all of us — no one should be barred from this peak experience. If you’ve struggled with finding your orgasm, or you’d like to experience deeper, more profound orgasmic peaks, there’s something out there for you, and your biggest O yet.
Keep in touch with Stefanie on Twitter: @ecosexuality
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