Taking The Taboo Out of Sexual Health with Foria

Taking The Taboo Out of Sexual Health with Foria

For Kiana Reeves, pleasure is something more than hedonism.

The somatic sex educator, pelvic care practitioner and certified doula was initially driven by an interest in life’s most transformative moments. Her passion for sexual wellness, which she sees as a much-ignored arena, and her desire to support the well-being of “people with vulvas” ultimately led her to join the team as chief education officer at Foria, a pioneering cannabis and plant-driven health and sexual wellness company.

From helping support women with endometriosis to making sustainable choices for the planet to spearheading a Harvard-based study about the benefits of cannabis for sexual health, Foria is serious about their mission.

Here, Reeves talks about the importance of pleasure in daily life and of ridding these topics of their taboo:

LIVE THE PROCESS: What first inspired you to work in women’s reproductive and sexual health, as a doula and pelvic care practitioner?

KIANA REEVES: After graduating college with an independent degree in “Women, Agriculture, and Spirituality,” I became deeply interested in studying the moments in life that are transformative and change you forever. Birth is a moment that is indescribable, so I began my career in birth work as a full-spectrum doula, working with mothers and families during birth, postpartum, abortion and miscarriage.

After having two children and, then, having personal experience in the way I related to my sensuality and sexuality, I became very interested in integrating sexual wellness into my scope of the study. The more I looked around, the more I realized that, as a society, we didn’t have a lot of resources around female pleasure, intimacy and sexual wellness from a holistic perspective. This lead me into my next adventure: becoming a somatic sex educator and someone trained to do hands-on—and hands-in—pelvic work. I studied with Kimberly Johnson and Ellen Heed, two leaders in the field of hands-on integrative sexual and pelvic health.

My focus now is really on investigating the connection between wellness, sexuality, birth, intimacy and the many cycles women and people with vulvas experience during their lifetime. My background and passion for having an open dialogue around female sexual health and wellness ultimately led me to become a voice for Foria as chief education officer.

LTP: How and why did you wind up coming on board at Foria?

KR: I ended up here in a pretty roundabout way—part fate and part happy accident. As I mentioned, my background is in female sexual health and wellness as a somatic sex educator. I’ve also worked as a birth and postpartum doula for about 10 years and, in 2014, I co-founded a company with my sister called “The Tulip.” We were really interested in looking at traditional models of pelvic care from around the world and sharing them as a means to support the female life cycle through menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and beyond.

In 2016, I met Mathew, our founder, and planned some brand collaborations. I ended up joining the team as someone who could really help build meaningful conversations and innovation as a brand. We get to share the wisdom of plants and humans’ historical relationship with cannabis, and that continues to inspire me on a daily basis.

As I became familiar with our products, experiencing them myself and receiving feedback from customers about how their lives were changing, I realized that what we are doing is much farther-reaching than just selling products—we are, in fact, offering solutions that are fundamentally changing the way people experience sex, menstruation, postpartum and menopause. 

LTP: What is the company’s mission? And why is prioritizing women’s pleasure important?

KR: We were really the first brand to create comprehensive product lines for intimacy, relief and optimal well-being for women and people with vulvas. We have been so moved by the feedback from our community about how our products are changing lives, and it truly is our joy and mission to offer all-natural products that support important and under-served life experiences.

Pleasure is so important to us—and not just in some hedonistic way. Having moments of pleasure is a simple act of being in your body and present. In a time where we are all living in our heads, putting attention onto what feels good can relieve a huge amount of stress and bring us into our bodies and the moment. Pleasure can truly become a daily practice that brings joy, calm and resilience into the body.

The conversation surrounding sexual health and pleasure is still taboo, and Foria is working to put these conversations front and center. As the wellness industry grows, people are starting to realize that this is one area where we have paid very little attention. There is still a lot of misinformation and shame; and, honestly, this part of our lives can give us so much goodness if we know how to nurture it and know that we are not alone in some of our experiences. We believe that being a platform for this type of honesty around topics like menstruation, pleasure, endometriosis, menopause, painful sex, mental health and a whole-being approach to wellness is essential.

Another core part of our mission is that we are always trying to make better choices for the Earth and the living environment we share with other species. Our brand approach is simply being real, doing our part to care for our planet and all the other beings on it—including plants—via an unwavering commitment to clean ingredients, organic and regenerative farming and responsible packaging.

LTP: Can you tell us a bit about Foria’s collaborative study at Harvard right now?

KR: Our team has received amazing testimonials from women regarding our Relief suppositories. But, as we all know, testimonials aren’t the whole picture. So, we’re doing a study in collaboration with a Harvard professor who runs a cannabis research program at McLean Hospital. They’ll be tracking 400 women as they use our broad-spectrum CBD suppositories over the course of two menstrual cycles, and we hope to get a crystal clear picture of the percentage of people who benefit. These results should open the door for better dosage protocols, new product development and further studies on cannabis and how it can support sexual well-being.

LTP: The company supported Endometriosis Awareness this month. Why is that an important cause for Foria?

KR: Endometriosis is one of the most common issues we receive feedback about from our customers, as about 1/10 women in the US are currently diagnosed with it. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of options for the pain that “endo” causes during menstruation, daily life and especially a person’s sex life. There is currently no cure, so many women have been quietly suffering for decades. The possibility that cannabis might prove to be a breakthrough treatment is something we’re deeply excited about.

One of the biggest symptoms with endo is painful periods, so our menstrual suppositories are game-changers. We have a suppository available in California and Colorado called “Relief,” which has 60mg of THC and 10mg CBD—a very potent dose of cannabinoids delivered directly to where it’s needed most. We also have a 100mg broad-spectrum CBD suppository that is available worldwide and providing a tremendous benefit to our customers. Many of our clients with endo report that both suppository options do wonders for helping their cramps, pain and inflammation.

But we also hear from people who report unexpected, beneficial and often life-changing experiences using our sexual lubricants (Foria Pleasure and Foria Awaken). People tell us they’re finding simultaneous pain-relief along with increased pleasure and lubrication. We’re especially inspired by the feedback about Awaken. We formulated Awaken to be a zero-THC alternative to Pleasure. Instead of THC, you get the analgesic qualities of the kava, paired with the CBD and other herbs that are interacting with the endocannabinoid system—all helping to soothe pain and enhance the body’s natural arousal processes.

Apart from just our products, Foria is committed to continuing the conversation surrounding endometriosis and ensuring that no person should have to suffer in silence or feel alone in their journey. We are providing resources from experts across many fields of integrative health to address menstrual well-being, nutritional support and holistic approaches to supporting your body. 

LTP: What does happiness look like to you?

KR: Happiness, to me, is a feeling of deep balance in my life: one where I have the chance to continue growing and sharing the work I am passionate about, be present with and enjoy my two sons, spend time with my amazing community here in LA and continue to deepen my relationship with the natural world and my spirituality. It looks like slowing down, being more curious and playful and not adhering to societal ideas around productivity. 

LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?

KR: To me, “living the process” is being fully awake. If I can spend the day where I am actually aware and in the present moment and fully engaged in what I am doing, where I am not in my head with a list of 1,000 things to do, then I feel like I am where I want to be. If I am loving the people that deeply matter to me and showing up for those I care about, that is what makes me feel most alive and like I am contributing something worthy to this planet.

Cover image via Morten Lasskogen

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