Sexual Wellness & Self Love with Lovehoney Group’s Elisabeth Neumann
Lovehoney Group (LHG) is a sexual wellness company dedicated to sexual happiness and knowledge. Bringing together the industry’s pioneers, WOW Tech, Lovehoney and Amorana, the brand strives to educate and encourage everyone to embrace their needs and desires, whether it is with products or not. For women, there is Womanizer; for men, there is ARCWAVE; and ROMP and We-Vibe for all. It is never easy to be intimate and vulnerable with someone, especially when it comes to your personal tastes in the bedroom, but it can only get better if you are open to exploring and learning.
Amongst Lovehoney Group’s 650 professionals is User Research Manage & Sexologist Ms Elisabeth Neumann. With over 5 years of experience in researching and analysing the industry, she carries a depth of understanding and knowledge to identify the dynamic of contemporary discussions around sex. There is a gap between access to education that Neumann dedicates her knowledge and time to bridge. This is why we sat down with Ms Neumann, to, together, create a space to discuss sexual health, education and her work at Lovehoney Group.
1. How did you discover your interest for the field of sex and wellness?
I initially started my career as a social worker. In the contact with young adults, I realized that there is a big lack of sexual education and access to information about sexuality, and how important and empowering access to information is. The importance of these topics motivated me to specialize to become a sex educator, and, later, to study sexology. Also, sexuality is everywhere in our society, especially when we start to not only understand it as a sexual act itself, but all the dimensions that are connected to it and shape our life and identity: family planning, health, gender identity, equality, relationships, mental well-being, reproductive justice, intimacy, laws – these are only a few of many things included by the term sexuality.
Sharing knowledge, educating people and in the end empowering them to experience pleasure and self-determined sexuality on their own terms are the biggest motivations for me to do the work I am doing.
2. What do you love the most about your job?
I run a lot of interviews with testers, and these conversations I love most about my job. It is very important for me to create a space where people feel free and safe to share their stories, wishes, desires and fears with me. Sometimes, after a talk I get the feedback: “Thank you. I just realized I never talked to anyone that openly about myself. It was a very nice experience to reflect on myself”, which always leaves me with joy and gratefulness.
I also love to share knowledge and perspectives, as well as being able to never stop learning. In recent years, research on sexuality has become less stigmatized, and a lot of great articles and new insights are published every month. I love that I have the opportunity to educate myself and stay up to date.
"Sharing knowledge, educating people and in the end empowering them to experience pleasure and self-determined sexuality on their own terms are the biggest motivations for me to do the work I am doing."
- Elisabeth Neumann
3. What do you think is not talked about enough in relation to conversations about sex and sexual wellness?
Many topics are discussed, but the conversation stays quite superficial or don’t give people a better understanding of how to approach them. Let’s talk about consent as an example: While the importance of consent is often emphasized, discussions around the nuances of consent and effective communication during sexual encounters can be lacking.
Also, conversations about sex often focus on reproductive health or preventing negative outcomes, such as unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections, especially in educational contexts. However, discussions about pleasure and orgasm equality are equally important. This includes exploring and normalizing the idea that all individuals have a right to experience pleasure and that sexual encounters should be mutually satisfying.
4. How do you think the conversation about sex has improved or worsened in recent years?
In Western countries, conversations about sex have increased, hit the mainstream and de-stigmatized and normalized a variety of sexual behavior in recent years. Examples of this are discussions about sexual health, queer identities, consent, boundaries, pleasure and kinks. This development is a relevant improvement because they open discussions and encourage us as a society to talk about things that haven’t been talked about before.
Sadly, with the increasing visibility of liberal sexuality, self-determined choices, and queer identities, we also had to observe the rise of a moral backlash. There are forces who want to ban access to sexual health, regulate queer and female bodies, and are against this development. In this sense, we observe a worsening of conversation in recent years.
5. What do you wish to influence with Lovehoney Group?
I want to encourage people to explore their own sexual desires and pleasures. It can be a very powerful experience to discover one pleasure, and I wish everyone to be free to experience and explore themselves as they wish. Sex toys can be a powerful tool for self-discovery. We often get feedback from users who had their first orgasm ever thanks to our products and connect with their bodies in a new way.
I also hope that we can influence and shift the discussions about sexuality and show that self-pleasure and pleasure in relationships are perfectly normal and can be fun!
"Discussions shape our reality, and the way new generations grow up, and they create options for people."
- Elisabeth Neumann
6. What is the importance of discussion especially in conservative regions like Asia?
Discussions shape our reality, and the way new generations grow up, and they create options for people. Discussions about sexual wellness are important because most people have many questions and insecurities around sexuality. There are many blurry expectations and social norms, while conversations about real experiences are missing. This creates insecurities. Discussions educate people, which is important to manage personal risk and make educated choices.
The more role models out there showing that it is ok to talk and care about one’s own sexual well-being, the more it will be normalized.
All image courtesy of Lovehoney Group.