What’s In Your Box? Unpacking the Orgasm Gap with Christine Long
Christine Long wants women to come.
She wants women to come during sex. She wants women to come when they masturbate. Basically, she wants women to come whenever the hell they want. Long is a 28-year-old entrepreneur living in Brooklyn, New York, and is the founder of What’s In Your Box?, a line of specialized sex toy delivery boxes designed to get women off.
However, Long’s advocacy isn’t all fun and games. She’s making a political statement. The reason? Women are not actually having orgasms. At least, they are not having them as frequently as men.
Also troubling perhaps, is that the number of times women orgasm is vastly overestimated by men in heterosexual relationships. According to the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, 85 percent of men reported that their partner orgasmed during their last intimate encounter, while 64 percent of women actually reported reaching said climax.
For Long, this discrepancy is a serious issue.
“I didn’t have my first orgasm until I was a senior in college — and it was with my vibrator,” Long said sporting short, almond-colored bangs and a loose-fitting Notorious B.I.G. shirt.
She looks down and plays with her fingernails before she continues.
“I honestly didn’t even know I could have them. I just thought, ‘I have been having sex since I was 13 and I haven’t orgasmed, so I guess I am just one of those women who can’t orgasm.’”
But Long could, in fact, orgasm.
And she wanted other women to learn that they could orgasm, too. What began as a class project at the University of Delaware intended to address a problematic public health concept, eventually transformed into a profitable company aimed at giving women the tools they need in order to feel sexually empowered.
Long and her small team collaborate with women-focused brands to curate themed boxes — such as “Anti-Slut Shaming,” “Pussy Power” and “Livin’ Libido Loca” boxes, just to name a few — purchasable via their online store. Boxes can include cheeky items like “fuckboy repellent” or top-rated, clitoral vibrators, all aimed at optimal satisfaction and vaginal health.
“I think about what kind of products I want to include and then I kind of come up with the theme from there,” Long said. “I focus on products for sexual pleasure, vaginal wellness and women’s empowerment — the products every woman should have year-round.”
The company’s launch in 2016 was met with considerable enthusiasm. Since then, it has generated over $250,000 dollars in annual revenue and have amassed a social media presence of nearly 18,000 followers.
“WIYB is like having a trustworthy, sex-knowledgeable friend that recommends all these great products just for me,” one online commenter said in a review.
“I love how empowered I feel when I get my WIYB package in the mail!” wrote another. “It’s a great way to invest in my self-care.”
Long’s main consumers are women in their twenties, a demographic that she seeks to help after her own youthful sexual confusion and shame.
“I didn’t even really know how to pleasure myself, yet I was having a bunch of sex because it made me feel validated being desired by men,” Long said “which is fucked.”
Many of the brands included in Long’s boxes are products developed by members of The Women of Sex Tech, a New York-based organization of female and non-binary identifying entrepreneurs in the pleasure industry. The group, founded by sex toy entrepreneurs Polly Rodriguez and Lidia Bonilla, hosts events across the country and provides assistance for women looking to break into the sex tech industry.
Long said that being a member has provided her with a sense of support as she looks to make her mark in the business.
“We all experience a lot of challenges,” Long said. “You’re not alone in this process and there are other female business owners who are going through the same trials and tribulations.”
One of the community’s biggest qualms? Many mainstream sex toy products are not designed or marketed with women in mind.
Nina Haines is a 21-year-old former community manager at The Women of Sex Tech. Her job was to connect female and non-binary sex tech founders with both resources and support. To her, The Women of Sex Tech are redefining what it means to purchase sex toys.
“Companies like Unbound, Dame and What’s In Your Box? are important because they go against the grain of typical sex toy retailer offerings,” Haines said. “By moving vibrators into a safe, serious space, we can start to see them as tools of pleasure instead of trivial gag gifts.”
Haines lives in Brooklyn, New York and studies Gender and Sexuality at New York University.
Above all, however, Long wants women to utilize What’s In Your Box? as a means to reach a liberation that transcends sexual fulfillment.
“When you allow yourself the time and space to explore who you are without any outside messages shaping how you view yourself, it’s really beautiful what you can discover and learn,” Long said. “That’s really how you will feel more empowered inside the bedroom and outside the bedroom. By just being yourself.”