Meet 5 Kick-Ass Females Who Are Improving Sex for Women Everywhere

In the wake of the Duke University porn scandal, in which a female college freshman has been mercilessly attacked and mocked by her peers for working in adult entertainment to pay her tuition, I’ve found myself moping about, wondering how far America has really progressed when it comes to female sexuality. For every marker of movement in the right direction (birth control under the Affordable Care Act!) there seems to be an accompanying step backwards (slut shaming!). Feeling similarly depressed? Never fear. Here are five kick-ass lady entrepreneurs who are making America a better place for women’s sexuality. There's hope for us yet!

1. ALEXANDRA CHONG

Lulu, the app where women can review guys they've encountered in some romantic capacity (ie: hooked up with), is the brainchild of Alexandra Chong, who came up with the idea at a post-Valentine's day brunch with her girlfriends. Since its February 2013 launch, millions of ladies have downloaded Lulu to share their experiences and hopefully, make smarter future decisions. "Women tell us every day that the act of sharing with other women is nourishing and validating," Chong tells Bustle. "Women feel comfortable sharing in a female-only environment about sensitive topics like sex and relationships." Whether or not you've downloaded Lulu or think it's a gross invasion of men's privacy (bearing in mind that men must agree to be on Lulu), you have to respect the massive success of a women-oriented network that encourages empowerment through sharing experiences. "Women today get references for everything in their lives; they should get references for something as important as relationships and sex."

2. TI CHANG

Ti Chang, co-founder of the women-centric luxury sex toy company Crave, has an impressive pedigree, with degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology and Royal College of Art in London, as well as experience designing for Trek Bicycle and Goody Products. In 2010 with the launch of Crave, Chang is using her eye for design and utility to create irresistible — and beautiful — sex toy products for women. “Women have really suffered through a lot of bad products,” Chang tells Bustle. “We decided to be a female-centric brand because we believe we can make a meaningful contribution here. The are so many preconceived notions of what sex toys are (rubbery, phallic, and hot pink bunnies). It's time to have objects that really break the stereotype in a good, fashionable way.” Take Crave’s line of foreplay jewelry, which promotes the idea that “sexual fun doesn’t have to be on a bed or at home.” There’s the droplet, a 43-inch stainless steel necklace with silver pendants that can turn into “discreet nipple vibrators.” Even if I may not ever be confident enough to wear these, I a wholeheartedly support any and all objects that are increasing the ease, diversity, and versatility of sexual pleasure. Because honestly, who knows where and when your nipples will need stimulation.

3. EVY COWAN AND JENEEN DOUMITT

In November of 2009, Evy Cowan and Jeneen Doumitt decided to open a shop selling quality sex toys, awesome erotica, and female- and queer- friendly DVDs in Portland. The idea behind She Bop was to create a safe, sex-positive space for people of all genders to explore their sexuality and pleasure. "She Bop is female friendly, not female only," Cowan and Doumitt tell Bustle. "Our goal is to empower women in regards to their sexuality and their bodies. The more comfortable and knowledgeable a person is, the better sex they can have." And not only are they making sex better for women by selling awesome, high-quality sex toys, but they've also given thousands of dollars to local non-profits, often partnering with affordable health clinics, college campuses, and feminist organizations. They also offer classes, where you can learn about "everything from stimulating the G-spot to rope bondage." Make sure to check out their blog, which covers all the issues that really matter, from cock rings to dildos to fellatio.

4. DORIAN SOLOT

Sex Discussed Here! is a kick-ass organization that offers smart and funny sex education programs to universities, conferences, and institutions around the US, covering everything from safe sex to female orgasm to bisexuality. Over the past ten years, Sex Discussed Here! has presented over 700 programs in 39 states. Co-founder Dorian Solot plans programs and trains their team of sex educators. "I hope our brand of sex education teaching and writing is the wave of the future," Solot tells Bustle. "That people will leave sex ed feeling confident about what they want, how to communicate both "yes" and "no," be safe, be respected, and have fun at the same time." She's also the co-author of I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide, a must-read for women and men, which she wrote with Marshall Miller. "We wanted to write a book about female orgasm that was for men and women together, for people of all sexual orientations, that was FUN, a celebration. It amazed us when we realized such a book didn't already exist," she says.

Thanks to these women, we can feel more confident that things are moving in the right direction.

Images: Courtesy of George Zaidan, Crave, She Bop, Brown Daily Herald.