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Sexual wellness app Kama
Kama founder Chloe MacintoshPhotography Annie Collinge

Kama is the sexual wellness app making pleasure part of your daily routine


TextBrit Dawson

Founder Chloe Macintosh discusses prioritising sexual desire, improving sex education, and teaching users how to squirt during ‘Wet January’

When the world first went into lockdown, people were forced to find creative ways to, shall we say, get off. There was virtual sex parties, drive-thru strip clubs, and even Twitter-controlled vibrating buttplugs.

But now we’re in lockdown three, and it’s safe to say the novelty of wanking into a laptop camera has definitely worn off. So, at a time when there’s nothing to do except eat, sleep, masturbate, repeat (yes, that’s a Fatboy Slim reference), why not transform yourself into an expert of one of these skills? As you already did sourdough and banana bread in the first lockdown, and you – like all of us – were born a pro at sleeping, it’s time to turn your focus to self-pleasure.

Enter Kama, a new sexual wellness app which offers mindful sex practices to help you master your body. From daily exercises to maximise your orgasms to educational content from a panel of experts, Kama aims to make sexual pleasure part of your daily routine – whether alone or with a partner (or partners – COVID-safe, obviously). “Sex is probably the only thing in our lives that we want to be really good at, and yet we don’t practice,” founder Chloe Macintosh tells Dazed. “Why don’t we approach our sexuality the same way that we do for the other things we care about?”

As well as offering physical advice and handy tips to improve your sex life, Kama is also beginning to work with psychosexual therapists to develop practices and guidance to support those struggling with trauma. “There’s been some painful feedback from women in particular, who are really desperate to find solutions for problems that aren’t being addressed,” Macintosh continues. “Kama’s psychosexual embodiment practices can have a very positive effect on these conditions.”

Throughout last month, Kama was running ‘Wet January’, centring female pleasure by focusing on the coveted practice of squirting. Fair warning: your journey to sexual discovery may lead you to peeing in the bathtub. Here, Dazed Beauty speaks to Macintosh about the idea behind Kama, why it’s important to prioritise pleasure, and how to bust shame-inducing sexual myths.

Where did the idea for Kama come from?

Chloe Macintosh: The idea came more than 12 years ago. I was looking for a place to inform myself about my sexuality as a young mother; I was a bit lost with how to reconnect with my body while balancing being a mother, wife, and founder. There was very little available, and what was there was mostly porn, which wasn’t what I was looking for. This is when I realised that there was a big opportunity for an aspirational brand that could help with curating the best of the industry – bringing together product recommendation, curated content, and listings for the best practitioners in the field. Sex is probably the only thing in our lives that we want to be really good at, and yet we don’t practice. Why don’t we approach our sexuality the same way that we do for the other things we care about?

The name appears to be inspired by the Kama Sutra – in what ways does your app go further than the ancient Indian book? To what extent is it inspired by its lessons?

Chloe Macintosh: We’re not connecting with the Kama Sutra, but the notion of Kama, which in Sanskrit means ‘desire, wish, longing’. Kama often connotes sexual desire and longing in contemporary literature, but the concept more broadly refers to any desire, wish, passion, longing, or pleasure of the senses, and may be without sexual connotations.

“Sex is probably the only thing in our lives that we want to be really good at, and yet we don’t practice” – Chloe Macintosh, founder, Kama

Can you tell me a bit about your own sex education? How might it have been different had you had Kama as a tool?

Chloe Macintosh: I had no sex education whatsover. I grew up with a single mother and my sister in a one-bedroom flat, so there was no privacy. We were also quite prudish and there was no nudity. I discovered my clitoris by accident while doing a fitness exercise in my bedroom when I was about 14, and didn’t have an orgasm until I was in my mid-20s. If I had Kama at the time, I probably wouldn’t have left my bedroom for quite a long time!

We see a direct correlation between the type of environment people grow up in and their ability to surrender into sexual pleasure. The more open and free we are, and the more we welcome sexuality as a topic of conversation, the more orgasmic people intend to be in their adult lives. However, if, like me, you don’t get any exposure and there’s shame and a lack of knowledge, then finding your pleasure and orgasms can be very difficult.

What’s lacking from modern, mainstream sex education?

Chloe Macintosh: Firstly, here we are launching a sexual wellness brand in the 21st century and we still can’t show any genitals whatsoever on any social media platform. Mainstream sex education is lacking in applicability and reality; it’s not applicable because it tells us how to do things with function, instead of teaching us how to maximise pleasure. When it comes to reality, the only other sex education we have is pornography, and that’s made for the camera – it’s nothing to do with how to feel, how to be in the body, and how to actually connect.

Kama’s currently running a campaign called ‘Wet January’, which aims to centre female pleasure. Why do you think women’s sexuality and pleasure is still stigmatised?

Chloe Macintosh: Female pleasure is the most under-researched and underfunded area of our health, which means that if you’re looking for really strong academic references on topics like the female orgasm or female ejaculation, you’ll only find a handful of research. What Kama is doing is creating an environment to capture real data on a large scale in order to learn about sexual behaviours from a diverse group of people.

‘Wet January’ aims to remind people that sex is messy, and as long as it feels good and is natural, then we should access all our potential. Squirting is a very natural process that takes place in our bodies when we’re really aroused; it’s a release of fluids which come from both the bladder and other glands and is an experience that’s accessible to all of us. Sadly, it’s been stigmatised to a single question: is it pee or not? Instead, what we could do is ask women who’ve experienced squirting, ‘What is the experience? How do you feel about it?’

“When your brain is motivated towards pleasure and is drawn to pleasurable experiences, you start feeling better” – Chloe Macintosh, founder, Kama

Why is it so important to focus on our sexual pleasure, particularly in lockdown?

Chloe Macintosh: A recent study of sexual pleasure showed that regular sexual activity is the number one factor in maintaining psychological, sexual, and relational health. The brain is getting a whole lot of feedback from the body, and making predictions on what it will need to do in the future – then it creates emotions to motivate us towards that. So, if all we’re doing is trying to avoid pain and stress, then our bodies are creating emotions around avoiding pain, which develops numbness in the heart, mind, and body. 

When your brain is motivated towards pleasure and is drawn to pleasurable experiences, you start feeling better. That’s the reason we focus on creating a pleasure practice at Kama, it’s really a way to create balance in our systems. We often look at pleasure based on our access to material things, but pleasure and desire are what drive our evolution, so it’s important we connect with them if we want to create a world that’s healthy and sustainable.

What’s your hope for the future of Kama?

Chloe Macintosh: My hope is that we captured the imagination of this new generation, who look at the world in a very different way from how it’s been seen before. I’m really hopeful that this generation is able to make decisions for themselves – not wanting to conform and follow the old models of binary thinking and patriarchal structures. I hope Kama takes people on a journey to look past sex as either a familial duty, or a dark secret – unless that’s your kink, of course – and see sex as a space of curiosity, exploration, and safety. I want it to become like your fitness, a part of your daily routine.

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