Foria Celebrates Trailblazers in the Sexual Wellness Space

Here at Foria, we're celebrating some remarkable women, past and present, who have worked to shape the way we understand sexual health. History is a living, breathing thing, and it’s being made every day – which is why we’re also including some contemporary movers and shakers.

The truth is, we’re all still learning. And it’s important that we acknowledge the ways that women’s work – and the people doing it – are often unheralded and unsung in our history textbooks, yet their contributions have shaped our experiences when it comes to the most intimate aspects of our lives.

At Foria, we're on a mission to support intimate experiences across the lifespan, with our commitment to clean, organic & all-natural ingredients and no synthetic additives ever.

Our effective, innovative botanical formulas have been changing lives in the bedroom and beyond since 2014 and we're proud to be part of this ever-evolving space (you'll hear from some of our employees below!).

So without further ado, here are some women you definitely want to know.

Sheri Hite

Researcher and sex educator

In 1976, Shere Hite (b 1942) shocked the world with her magnum opus “The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality”. Some of her conclusions are easy to take for granted now – like how most women need clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm, and women can have orgasms without men – but at the time, they were seismic.

She was inspired to shatter Freudian narratives of women’s sexuality after meetings with the National Organization for Women, where participants revealed that they didn’t know much about how the female orgasm worked.

And people were very, very angry about it. Media attacks on Hite became so extreme that she actually renounced her American citizenship and settled in Germany, where she published more work about how individuals – men and women alike – regard their intimate lives. 

“Male sexology was laboratory based,” said Hite in her last interview. “Mine focused on real women’s experiences as recounted by them.” It might be hard to believe now, but she was one of the first who listened.

Nicolle Gonzales

Midwife and Indigenous activist

Born in 1980 in Waterflow, New Mexico, midwife Nicole Gonzales describes herself as “Navajo, and my clan is Tl’aashchi’I, Red Bottom clan, born for Tachii’nii, Red Running into the Water clan. Hashk’aa hadzohi, Yucca fruit-strung-out-in-a line clan, and Naasht’ezhi dine’e, Zuni clan.”

 She says that her experiences growing up on and off the Navajo reservation informed her belief that traditional healing practices and philosophies about health and wellness were vital to the care she provided when working as a Certified Nurse Midwife.

Gonzales is the founder of Changing Woman Initiative, a nonprofit organization with a mission to renew cultural birth knowledge as a way to reclaim Indigenous sovereignty of women’s medicine. With conventional healthcare historically inadequate or inaccessible to Indigenous communities, who are often mistreated or misunderstood by mainstream medicine, CWI aims to use the Midwifery wellness framework to address health disparities and provide a decolonized health care delivery model. 

As a mentor, activist and advocate, Gonzales’ work may forever change the way we think about the intersections of tradition, healthcare, and people’s medical and emotional needs – as well as uplifting communities that have been historically underserved.

Women’s work continues to change the world – and we’re here for it. 

What Inspires Foria Employees

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What Inspires Foria Employees

Betty Dodson

Masturbation and pleasure advocate

Masturbation guru Betty Dodson (b. 1929) started out as an artist, living and working in Manhattan from 1950 until the end of her life. Her journey of sexual self-discovery began after her divorce in 1965. With cultural mores shifting rapidly and the first rumblings of the sexual revolution underway, she began to make a name for herself as a frank, outspoken and pragmatic advocate for self-love and pleasure.

She may even have been the first person to recommend the Hitachi Magic Wand handheld massager as a masturbation aid, and she showed women how to use it effectively in small groups beginning in the late 60s. Indeed, Dodson soon became known as the queen of the masturbation workshop, bringing women together to explore their bodies in sex-positive, nonjudgmental settings for decades. And her memoir, “Sex for One”, has been translated into 25 languages.

So if you love your vibrator, you might just have Betty Dodson to thank!

Mary Kenner


Born in 1912 in North Carolina, Kenner was an inventor from a family of inventors. She still holds the record for the most patents ever filed by a Black woman – simple, ingenious devices aimed at making people’s everyday lives easier. 

And her most notable innovation was the sanitary belt, an ancestor of the maxi pad. She got the idea in the 1920s, a time when most women used rags to contain their flow – but rags didn’t stay in place very well. It was easy to stain clothing, a major drawback at a time when the household washing was done by hand. Kenner’s sanitary belt was designed to stabilize homemade pads and spare women’s undergarments.

She couldn’t afford to file the patent until 1957. Although other belts were patented before hers, Kenner worked tirelessly to improve her design. And the Sonn-Nap-Pack Company, who were initially interested in producing her version, rejected it when they found out she was Black.

The world has moved on from sanitary belts (though readers of earlier editions of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” may remember the reference). But once again, it’s easy to take for granted that women’s health was once a dark and private subject. Though racism prevented her from profiting off her invention, Mary Kenner’s empathetic pragmatism foretold a new era on the horizon.

There's so much more from Foria.

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