Sexual wellness brand Maude has launched a new sex toy, just in time for holiday gifting… and if you think that's weird, be prepared for Dakota Johnson to convince you otherwise. (Spoiler: It's a butt plug that happens to look like a mini Christmas tree, and it comes in a chic moss-green shade, making it all the more festive in a stocking!)
Dubbed 'cone', the anal plug has been in the works since Johnson joined the sexual wellness brand as co-creative director and investor last year. "When I first came onto the company, I asked if there would ever be some kind of an anal product because I know that there are so many people that are curious about it and, you know, there are so many parts of one's anus that are erogenous zones that I think could just be fun for people to explore," Johnson tells InStyle.
Entering this new territory, so to speak, is also a logical next step for a brand that has always taken an inclusive, genderless approach to its products. "We wanted to create products that also catered to anal sex as a basic part of the sexual experience," Maude CEO and founder Éva Goicochea says in a press release. "So often, this category is treated as a kink or taboo when it's something that every type of person can engage in."
A bit about the plug itself: Just like the rest of Maude's products, it's made from body-safe, soft-touch, FDA-grade silicone that's waterproof, durable, and easy to clean. The tapered plug, which mirrors the structural shape and design of the brand's first vibe is considered "starter size," and was designed with input from Maude's customers, both male and female, to be "really approachable, especially for new users," Tyler Aldridge, Maude's director of product, tells InStyle. Ringing in at $30, it's also affordable for those who want to experiment with butt plug play without making a major investment first.
The Maude team knows as well as anyone that an anal plug tends to be more stigmatized and taboo than other sexual wellness products. But, as Goicochea tells InStyle, continuing to talk about it as something you shouldn't be ashamed of is how we can change perspectives and "chart a new way to speak about the category." And, as Dakota Johnson points out, look how far we've come with vibrators.
"Just as an anal plug is 'taboo', a lot of women think a vibrator is taboo — and a lot of women can't orgasm from penetrative sex alone. I think that that fact is obviously becoming more well-known, but there are people that I have gifted a vibe to, and it's been their first vibrator, and that is a very cool thing to do," Johnson tells InStyle. "But similarly with cone, you know, stimulating a man's prostate or even a female's A-zone can add so much to sex and also be beneficial for prostate health," she adds, skillfully putting into action her mission to make taking care of your body in a sexual way, and talking about it, as normal as skincare or exercise.
In fact, educating people on 'taboo' topics is one of the most rewarding parts of working with an intimacy brand, she says. "A lot of men and women will be like, I heard you're involved in this company and they always kind of have a hushed voice [when they ask questions]. And I'm like, it's totally cool! I love being able to speak about sexual wellness, standing behind Maude," Johnson says. "It has sparked a conversation that is so necessary. As Eva says, sexuality is a basic human need and it's so true. Everyone should have access to quality education, first of all, and products surrounding sexual wellness."
Shop now: $30; getmaude.com
So, yeah, Johnson is very serious when she says you should gift an anal plug to everyone on your holiday shopping list — but she is also still game to joke about it. "Oh, this is going in everybody's stocking. Are you kidding? It's the perfect stocking stuffer. You think your uncle hasn't wanted a butt plug his entire life? You're lying," Johnson says with a laugh.
"I think it's a thing a lot of people don't want to buy for themselves. First of all, namely, because they're called 'butt plugs,' and everyone's going to be like, Oh God, I'm not going to buy that. I don't want that on my credit card statement," she continues, before seamlessly transitioning back to serious mode, and demonstrating why she is so perfectly suited to this job of de-stigmatizing sexual wellness. "But people are more curious than you want to believe they are, and people are more sexual than they want to believe they are. I think everyone should have a cone for Christmas."
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