We chatted about all things sex with HANX, a brand dedicated to creating a range of sexual health products that are gynaecologist approved and designed to sit unashamedly in our bags and on our bedside tables.
From vegan condoms to water-based, vegan lube, HANX has all you need for your sexy time essentials! HANX has answered your sexual wellness questions that are rarely asked...
Why did you start HANX? How do HANX products (condoms and lubes) break sexual health norms?
My school friend Farah and I set up sexual wellness brand, HANX, after chatting about the infamous condom aisle… The garish packaging, the shame you feel being seen buying condoms, the negative feelings they conjure... Sex is supposed to be positive, yet the connotations with condoms are far from this, and the stigma around the only safe and non-hormonal form of contraception that protects from STIs is archaic and wrong. We felt that there was a lot to change in the condom itself, especially from a woman’s perspective. The tacky smell, the ingredients and sustainability aspects, the need for vegan options, the way they are sold and look in your bag/bedside table/ bathroom shelf, and ultimately the mission of the company you are buying from.
After a whole load of research (whilst both working full-time) and manufacturer visits, we took the leap to quit our day jobs and go full-time on HANX, launching officially in September 2017. HANX condoms have now been joined by a natural, water-based lubricant. We’re building a community proud to be open and honest about sexual wellness. Every aspect of design was thought of in detail, from the ingredients, how they are sourced and the packaging’s look, feel and purpose.
HANX condoms don’t contain casein, an animal protein usually found in condoms. Instead, thistle extract is used to create the silky smooth effect, and ensure we are vegan certified. We are ethically made in Germany out of natural and Fair Rubber latex, which means the latex plant workers get a fair wage and safe working conditions. We never test on animals and avoid nasty chemicals wherever possible. HANX condoms are also biodegradable after use.
Our water-based lubricant is as natural as possible and has a pH similar to that of the vagina, at 4.5. We are non-scented and as near to the natural thing as possible! Many lubricants on the market also contain 1lycerine (which can cause yeast infections), but not the HANX lube. We are also water-based, meaning we are compatible with latex condoms, unlike oil-based lubricants that dissolve latex and break the condom. On that note, lots of oil-based lube options (such as Vaseline or baby oil) can increase your likelihood of getting vaginal infections.
How has the HANX forum created a community for women to share openly about their sexual experiences?
Women have sex. It’s extremely good and fun, but for some reason, everyone’s still scared to talk to us about it. We end up feeling embarrassed about owning our sexuality and being stigmatised for that. Our HANX Life forum is a live and refreshingly honest, ongoing conversation on sexual health, feminine care and everything in between. Think Reddit but for sex. Think Mumsnet, but definitely without your mum.
We’re normalising open discussions about contraception and empowering women to take control of their sexual wellness. In doing this we hope to build a community of strong women who recognise they have the power to own their sexuality.
How does HANX aim to dispel taboos and stigmas attached to sex?
What is the orgasm gap? How can we address it?
The orgasm gap refers to the disparity between men and women experiencing orgasms. It’s multi-faceted, with heterosexual women coming out the worst, below lesbian women, gay men, or bisexual men and women. Research from the Kinsey Institute shows that women having sex with men orgasm a mere 63% of the time, whilst men orgasm over 85% of the time (both straight and gay men). Disappointingly for women of all sexual orientations, all male demographics came above having more orgasms than the female groups.
There is study after study noting this gap, many showing as much as 50% between women and men experiencing orgasms. In order to beat it, we must educate people more on the female anatomy as well as the male anatomy, and encourage a more open conversation around orgasms and pleasure.
See our article on more tips and tricks!
To use lube or not to use lube? What should we consider in the sheets?
We know there’s a common misconception that the use of lube means a poor sex drive, or not being turned on by the person that you’re with. People associate lube with postmenopausal women or illnesses, when actually that’s not always the case. There’s not enough education about why lube use is positive in sex, and it’s perpetuated by cultural messages saying that we shouldn’t need to have to use lubricant. There are many reasons that we have less vaginal lubrication, from stress, to time of the month.
Make sure you look at the ingredients in the lubricant, and make sure there are not lots of unnecessary additives. HANX lube has just 7 ingredients. Basically, as long as the lube is not disrupting your vaginal pH balance (which ours does not) then it should be used regularly, not only to support natural lubrication but to enhance sexual pleasure.
What are you top 3 sex tips?
What are your top 3 relationship tips?
HPV is one of the most common STIs. Can you break this down factually and debunk any myths?
HPV is a virus that infects the skin and the cells lining body cavities, with the main places for the infection being on the hands, mouth and genital areas. It is spread from person to person through close skin-to-skin contact, which is often during sexual activity. HPV is a very common infection and typically causes no symptoms at all, with around 80% of people will be infected with the virus at some point in their lives. Most of the time, our body will clear the infection on its own and we will never know we had it. However, in some cases, the infection stays around for much longer, becoming persistent.
There are hundreds of different types of HPV, of which most are harmless. However, there are roughly 12 types that can cause cancer, and these are called ‘high-risk’ types. Those who have persistent infections that are the ‘high-risk’ HPV types are the most likely to develop cancer in the future.
Any tips to figure out what to do when condoms break? Morning after pill? What should we know?
Condoms are 98% effective when used correctly but can occasionally break. As a medical device our condoms are CE certified and undergo rigorous testing to achieve this certification (exactly the same as all condoms). Whilst it is rare, as latex condoms (regardless of brand) are made from a natural material they can from time to time, split under different circumstances.
It’s possible that the size isn’t compatible with the condom-wearing partner. It’s also worth noting that only water-based lubricant is compatible with condoms, oil based lubricants will cause the condom to split.
We investigate every condom break and take any incident very seriously. If you’re at risk of pregnancy, and do not want to fall pregnant, it is important to seek out emergency contraception as quickly as possible. The sooner you get it, the more likely it is to be successful in preventing pregnancy.
There are many options, so discuss with a health professional before choosing the type best for you. See our blog for a review on the types of morning after pill and emergency contraception.
For more detail see HANX Naked Truths blog on HPV.
What do you believe is changing in the sexual health sector, and what more needs to be done?
Importantly, we need to open the conversation around sexual wellness, and improve sex education in schools. This is definitely improving, but we are far from where we need to be. Brands like HANX can play a huge part in this conversation. When it comes to women’s wellness, the future is open, honest and on our terms.
We want to educate and empower people to have positive sexual health. This includes sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive choices, what we put in and on our bodies, and the positive use of lube during sex.
Comments will be approved before showing up.