We chat with Good Clean Love’s CEO Wendy Strgar about having a healthy relationship with our bodies and our partners.
Good Clean Love was one of the highlights of my first Cosmoprof event. With clean formulas that sounded too good to be true, they were part of the green section with a very unique proposal: Creating organic intimate products for women. From intimate washes to rebalancing lubricants or love oils, Good Clean Love’s mission is to democratize sexual wellness and bring some common sense to the world of feminine hygiene and intimacy products.
With an extensive product range, Good Clean Love is one of those few companies that cater to women at every stage of their lives. BioPhresh, a Vaginal Probiotic Supplement, is their latest launch geared towards helping restore healthy vaginal flora, promote urinary tract health, and lower the pH of the vagina. With four strains of probiotics specifically found in the vaginal tract, it is designed to slightly elevate the acidity of the vaginal flora to support its natural immunity against infections.
Wendy Strgar is Good Clean Love’s founder and an advocate for sexual freedom and a life well-lived. In our conversation, we chat about why petrochemicals are seriously messing up women’s vay-jays, why organic is the way to go for intimate products, and how to (really) work in your relationship goals for 2019. Care to join us for a fireside chat?
New York For Beginners: What motivated you to start Good Clean Love?
Wendy Strgar: I started Good Clean Love to save my own marriage. All of the products that were provided by my healthcare providers, and the ones that I could find in drugstores and adult stores, created extremely bad reactions for me. I didn’t understand how the combination of petrochemical ingredients in these products were impacting my health but they triggered terrible burning and itching for me. I believed then – as I do now – that women deserve healthy, organic and safe product choices for the most sensitive tissue in their bodies.
NYFB: Why is it important to choose organic products for healthy intimacy?
Wendy Strgar: It always surprised me how many women never questioned the ingredient base in their lubricants, but over time, it has become increasingly clear to many consumers that the same kind of care and attention they put into selecting hair and facial products needs to apply to their intimacy products. Perhaps even more so as this tissue is mucous membrane and is the most sensitive tissue in the body.
NYFB: What are the biggest health problems that synthetic chemical ingredients in lubricants, such as propylene glycol or methylparaben, can cause?
Wendy Strgar: Rather than looking at individual ingredients, what we have come to understand about lubricants is how the combination of multiple petrochemical ingredients makes the formulation hyperosmolar, a term I was unfamiliar with when I first started Good Clean Love. Osmolality is another way of saying salt balance – and when you use products that are highly concentrated, they pull all of the moisture out of the protective top layer of cells in the vagina. The subsequent shedding of the vaginal lining increases the risk of Bacterial Vaginosis by up to 3 times, which in turn increases the risk of many other sexually transmitted diseases.
NYFB: Your are a sex educator that is very vocal about educating women about their intimate health. Do you mind explaining to us what is Bacterial Vaginosis and how it can be avoided?
W.S.: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the most common sexual infection affecting 2 out of 5 women. It is also a condition which goes undiagnosed 80% of the time. BV is comparable to yeast infections, which are an overgrowth of yeast. With BV, the good bacteria is overrun by bad bacteria. Unfortunately BV increases the risk of HIV and other STD transmission by as much as 60%, and women are also more likely to transmit these diseases to their partners. Maintaining a healthy vaginal ecosystem is the key to avoiding recurrent bouts of BV.
NYFB: Do OB-Gyns test for bacterial vaginosis as part of their standard care?
W.S.: Many OB-Gyn’s are now much more vigilant about testing for BV as there are so many negative side effects of BV on pregnant women. So although there are not routine checks at annual exams for BV, doctors are increasingly aware.
NYFB: Elaborating on the above, there are many women who have pain with intercourse for different reasons (endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and other conditions.) What is your best advice for a healthy sexual life?
W.S.: Just as with gut health, spending time and investing in products that help to maintain our vaginal equilibrium supports overall health in many ways. Using natural products that support the natural low acidic pH and don’t disrupt the mucous membranes is the best method to maintain optimal vaginal health.
NYFB: The holidays are usually a stressful time for couples. What is your best advice to keep the spark even after a disastrous family meeting?
W.S.: Ironically it is usually the holidays, Valentine’s Day and anniversaries that reflect the highest break up rates for couples because not feeling seen or appreciated in our efforts is particularly acute. Likewise, dealing with unresolved family issues exaggerates issues we have with our partners. The best way to manage these holiday events is to deliberately increase our intentions to communicate by listening better and making more efforts to be kind with our tone of voice and physical presence. Paying attention to our partner’s triggers with compassion goes a long way in showing how much we care.
NYFB: How can we increase our capacity for love, and love better and more in 2019?
W.S.: This is a big question that we could spend hours discussing, but in an short elevator pitch I would say that there are four clear ways to love better. The first is to pay attention to how you think about your partner and your relationship. Even when you don’t say anything – other people know what we are thinking and our negative thoughts can and do poison our relationship. The second way is to think about how you show up in your relationship. This means different things to different people, but when your partner feels that you have their back, they can relax into being together with more trust. The third way is to spend as much time and resource on how you communicate as how you track your money. Truly, how we listen to each other and how much we are willing to self-disclose is money in the bank account of our heart. Finally, being intentional and deliberate about making regular dates for intimacy – even if it is only to cuddle or swap massages. Including physical conversations in our primary relationship is the glue that keeps the rest of the mess stable.