When it comes to conversations surrounding the birds and bees in Singapore—and for the most part, in Asia—talking openly about such topics remains largely frowned upon. In our conservative society, bringing up the topic of sex can often seem almost as taboo as doing the act in itself.
“In the modern world, we are caught between layers of influence that impact the way we have conversations around sex, our genitals, and in turn, vaginal health. These layers could be external (from cultural, racial and religious influences, to your upbringing, peers and media around you), or internal (your past experiences and how you make decisions based on those experiences),” shares Andrea Tan, a certified sexual wellness and relationship coach.
One of the many taboo topics includes conversations concerning self-pleasure, which in turn hinders sexual empowerment. A recent study by Womanizer found that the masturbation gap—a term coined to reference the rate that which those who identify as male and female masturbate—between both genders in Singapore is at 79%. On average, men in Singapore masturbate 136 times per year. Women do it 28 times.
But while the disparity remains, there has been a notable mindset shift within the past few years. Sex toys are now stocked on the shelves of mainstream retailers, while online sales have also peaked—especially during the lockdown period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Meryl Lim, founder of online sex toy retailer Good Vibes, which markets itself as a “beginner-friendly focused brand that offers a curated range of toys for women starting their pleasure journey”, sales increased nearly five-fold in 2021 during the lockdown.
“We are more than just a brand that sells sex toys,” asserts Lim, who’s also the co-founder of Apogee Collective, the parent company for Good Vibes and local women-forward e-commerce store Hedonist. The company, founded in 2021, aims to have diverse sexual wellness brands under its belt for a range of pleasure seekers. “Our mission is to help people explore their sexuality without any shame or judgement, and most importantly, to encourage everyone to stop apologising for how they feel. It’s all part of being human.”
We caught up more with Tan, Lim, as well as Viv Kan, a Hong Kong-based mindfulness and corporate wellness coach and former TEDx speaker, as they delve candidly into topics surrounding sexual empowerment, sexual wellness and how one can stay attuned to their body and desires.
Read more: What Does a Mindfulness Coach Actually Do?