My Native Admission Statement: Melanie Cristol is the founder & CEO of Lorals, a sexual wellness brand that helps people across the world have more frequent — and more pleasurable — intimate experiences. Melanie and Lorals have been featured in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Fast Company, Autostraddle, Playboy, and other publications worldwide. She is a frequent podcast guest on shows such as Art of Manufacturing, Girl Boner, How Cum, and Women Who Tech.
Prior to founding Lorals, Melanie worked as an attorney at the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where she represented consumer-products, healthcare, and technology companies, as well as individuals. In a highlight of her legal career, Melanie was part of the legal team that secured gay marriage rights for the western United States. She has also fought for LGBTQ rights in California and Ohio as a field organizer with the National LGBTQ Task Force.
How did you get into the industry?
I came up with the idea for Lorals when I was on a vacation and needed a dental dam. I knew it would be impossible to buy one, since they’re not popular enough to be sold in most stores (particularly on the coast of Mexico!). But even if we’d been able to get one, the idea of using it felt like a bummer. I wanted to feel sexy and confident and have a wonderful and easy intimate experience, and dental dams just didn’t fit the bill.
I started having conversations with friends about their oral sex experiences, and I heard over and over again that they said no to oral for a variety of reasons, even when they wanted to be saying yes. Some said no because they were concerned about STDs, others because they felt self-conscious, others because they’d been through sexual trauma and the experience felt too intimate, and others because their partners had beards or chapped lips and oral sex physically hurt. I realized that stylish and thin latex panties could help so many people say yes to oral sex more often, and I quit my job to create Lorals.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We plan to expand to a wider range of products, including another size, a see-through version, an STI-protection version, a masculine style, different colors, and additional sexual wellness products. We’re excited about the future!
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
People are always so surprised at how soft the material is, and how comfortable Lorals are on the body. It feels like you’re wearing nothing at all! People also love the sensations they feel during oral -- they can feel the warmth, the movements, the pressure, everything -- without any of the worries that sometimes come with oral. And also, everyone’s excited to try rimming!
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Lorals, of course!
Dr. Tung’s stainless steel tongue cleaner - it makes my mouth so clean!
Squatty Potty - once you squat, you’ll never go back
Mack’s kid-size wax earplugs - they’re the perfect size for my ears, and they keep out allll the sound
Everything from Ikea - so efficient and so much fun to assemble!
My 10-year-old leather jacket - it’s soft, the perfect amount of warmth, and unique, and I wear it everywhere
What else to know?
I’ve had a fun few weeks doing a variety of speaking engagements, from “Manufacturing Physical Products” at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit, to a Women of Sex Tech panel produced by XBIZ, to a workshop on oral sex and rimming techniques at the Sex Expo!