It was eight years ago when I walked into a small theatre in Hollywood, just off Santa Monica boulevard. A new acting class taught by an in-demand, Emmy-award winning director, Mary Lou Belli, was about to begin. The small theatre was dark, warm, and not unlike every beautiful, old theatre space. It proudly boasted rows of threadbare, red, and velvet seating. Small groups of actors gathered, chatting like old friends. It was there on that day I first met Katie Enright. She was holding a stack of papers, introducing herself to new faces, and passing out warm-ups like she was the boss–it appeared to me this was a strong attribute of hers–taking charge. It was not surprising to me at all that she was the assistant to the two-time Emmy award-winning director. I was even less surprised when the short film Katie directed herself, Dog Park, was a multi-award-winning film across the international film festival circuit–Nice, London, and Berlin to name a few. Katie has always excelled at the projects she takes on. When she decided to launch her company, Lavinia, I thought, oh, this will be good. When she announced the product was a cannabis-based lubricant, I thought, oh, this will be really good.
Today, we’re talking about sex, all sex, and how we may increase our collective pleasure with cannabis. I recently sat down with Katie to talk about her company Lavinia, sex, and her signature product, oh.hi.
GXRL: Thank you so much for talking with us.
Katie Enright: Thank you so much for having me.
GXRL: You’ve probably talked about sex now with over a hundred people in boardrooms, on Zooms, and with company letterhead that I’m going to assume the idea of modesty around the word sex itself is taboo to you so, I’m going to dive right in without beating around the proverbial bush. How did you discover the link between THC/Cannabis as a lubricant and sex?
KE: In the most non-sexual way possible, I was training for a marathon. I was looking for ways to recover my body and started learning more about cannabis. I did a ton of research and discovered that it could be used as a lubricant that really enhances orgasms. Research indicates that THC interacts with endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, which causes hormone changes and a cascade of effects. It also interacts with what are called peripheral endocannabinoid receptors, of which there are many in the pelvis. THC acting on these receptors may cause increased dopamine and oxytocin, which can increase sexual excitement and euphoria. Cannabinoids act on receptors throughout the body which can lead to vasodilation, or relaxation of the smooth muscle in the vessel walls. This is the reason why people may experience red eyes when they smoke marijuana—because the blood vessels in the eyes are temporarily enlarged. This same effect can happen anywhere in the body, and vasodilation below the belt can lead to greater circulation and engorgement of the genital tissues, which in turn creates heightened sensitivity and may promote orgasm! For me, the difference was night and day. With oh.hi, I have really intense orgasms and multiple orgasms, which in the past had been difficult for me.
GXRL: What was it about sexual intercourse that led you to formulate a lubricant for intimacy?
KE: Ha, no sex at all! I studied theology in school and almost became a nun, which of course, would include taking a vow of celibacy. When I decided not to become a nun, I felt clueless about sex and was very intimidated by it. So, I did what I always do when I’m feeling out of my depths: I studied. I took classes about how to give better oral sex. I studied everything I could get my hands on (no pun intended). Sadly, there wasn’t really a place where someone just starting their sexual journey could learn, grow, ask questions, and normalize discussing a sexual encounter during that time. A lot of people use pornography as their education, but pornography isn’t an honest representation of a healthy sexual experience. When I was creating this product, I was very mindful about building something that contributed to an honest dialogue about sex and masturbation. I love that you used the word intimacy because that’s a huge part of a sexual experience that isn’t spoken about, there’s a huge emotional aspect to sex—my goal is also to create a platform where we can talk about all aspects of a sexual encounter.
GXRL: Take me through the journey of creating this product.
KE: I first started making it in my kitchen just for myself and telling friends about it. After hearing about it, they wanted to try it, so I made some for them and so on. Before I knew it, strangers asked me about it, and that’s when I knew I was onto something. I was the type of person that everything had to be ‘just right’ in order for me to have an orgasm. For me, this lubricant took the pressure off because I know I’m going to have a great orgasm, so I didn’t have to worry about it. Now, I get to share that with others.
GXRL: What is it like to launch a company and a product in the middle of quarantine and a pandemic?
KE: Everything is taking just a little bit longer, but in a lot of ways, that’s been great—we’ve been able to spend extra time in R&D. I’ve been collaborating with our Ph.D. chemist, Paul Lessard. We’ve worked on 25 different formulas in order to get this one just right.
GXRL: What do you hope women will experience from this product?
KE: Well, of course, first and foremost amazing, unbelievable orgasms, but more than that—a more climactic life. An orgasm is so beneficial for our mind, body, and soul. It changes the relationship we have with ourselves and our partners. It creates confidence, both in the bedroom but also in everyday life. That’s why at Lavinia, our motto is “Live Life to the Climax.” We hope this product will encourage everyone to have a better, more climactic life.
GXRL: I met you and knew you as an amazing actress and director. Tell me, what led you to this new industry?
KE: As an actor, you always want to diversify and have different income streams because it’s too unstable just to have acting and nothing else to fall back on, so I’ve always had a side hustle. It just so happened that COVID-19 happened around the same time, slowing down the work in the entertainment industry, which let me focus 100% on starting this company. And let’s face it, the research is fun!
GXRL: Are there any last exciting tidbits you’d like to leave us?
KE: There’s a smart vibrator called the Lioness that features embedded sensors. When the vibrator is inserted, it measures pelvic floor movements, which is one of the best indicators for arousal and orgasms. During an orgasm, the pelvic floor muscles typically have a rhythmic squeezing and relaxing pattern. Although the rhythmic pattern may stay the same, the strength and the length of an orgasm can change depending on different factors. One of those factors is using oh.hi.
If you want to continue this discussion and have more questions, you can head to their website ohLavinia.com. There you’ll find support, facts, and Lavinia’s medical expert Dr. Kristina Collins. You can also join the conversation on Instagram @oh.lavinia.