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Sexual Health

How Bloomi Founder Rebecca Alvarez Is Revolutionizing Sexual Wellness

by Blair Wagner

@thebloomi

• By Blair Wagner

The world of sexual wellness can be clouded with misinformation. Rebecca Alvarez has made it her mission to clear it up. As the founder of Bloomi, the first online marketplace for clean intimate care, Rebecca has cultivated an inclusive space for sex positivity and education. Through her research she created the “Bloomi Clean Standard”, a revolutionary criteria for intimacy products that prioritizes ingredient transparency and health safety. I chatted with Rebecca about her journey as a sexologist, what her goals are with Bloomi, and why she advocates for sex positivity and sexual wellness.

BW

Tell me about yourself and your background. How did you get into sexual wellness and education?

RA

I am the daughter of two inspirational parents who immigrated here from Mexico. Growing up in the Bay Area exposed me to diverse groups of people and perspectives on sex positivity. Like many other Latinx households, my parents shared basic sex ed concepts once with ‘the talk,’ and my high school pushed Catholic abstinence-only sex education. Then in college at UC Berkeley, I was exposed to a world of ultimate sex positivity and liberation. All these experiences left an impression on me, and I became very interested in finding ways to share more sex-positive information with teens. I worked as a sex ed teacher for a few years before deciding to dive deep into the space to become a Sexologist. I have been on a mission for the last 10 years to help create things in the world that help people become well informed about their sexual wellness and inspire them to enjoy more satisfying lives.

BW

What inspired you to create Bloomi?

RA

My personal experiences with limited sex education early on in my life coupled with using intimate care products that constantly gave me infections was the starting point. I used to work at startups, helping them develop and test a variety of health and sexual wellness products. However, I wanted to create an easy way to access healthier alternatives, so I created what I could not find.

BW

You established the Bloomi Clean Standard as a core component of your marketplace. Why was it important for you to develop this?

RA

Before we launched Bloomi, we did months of research to develop the Bloomi Clean Standard. With no other standard in the US, I knew how important it was going to be to have set criteria for evaluating if a product is healthy or not. We have used the Standard to evaluate over 5,000 products for our marketplace — only about 2% make the cut.

BW

In addition to the Clean Standard, a part of Bloomi’s mission is the inclusion of BIPOC brands in the marketplace. What led you to focus on this?

RA

Simply explained, I want to make sure that our marketplace brands are diverse and that we elevate brands created by people of all backgrounds. At a deeper level, I’m personally aware of the added difficulties in scaling a business as a POC. We don’t always have the same advantages as others. Many kids from communities of color don’t get business or tech education in K-12, BIPOC folks have a decreased chance of securing capital compared to white counterparts, etc. When you are the first generation in your family to start a business, you usually don’t have the network of investors, mentors and peers to tap into.

BW

You often speak about the importance of intimacy and holistic sexual wellness in your work. What do these words mean to you?

RA

Intimacy refers to the connection you have with yourself or your partner(s). That is fundamental to our health and happiness — it’s more important than the sex act itself. Taking a holistic approach to your sexuality means it’s not just about the sex acts, it’s broader than that. For me, it’s important that people learn how their relationships, mental health, past traumas, and other important factors impact their sexual satisfaction.

Intimacy is fundamental to our health and happiness — it’s more important than the sex act itself.

BW

How does your cultural background influence the way that you approach sex education and wellness?

RA

I identify as Latinx, specifically Mexican-American. In my culture, topics like sex, vulvar hygiene and menstrual health are not discussed often, and it left me craving information as a young adult. I can therefore empathize with people who grew up with little comprehensive sex ed and have lots of questions about how to enjoy a more fulfilling sex life.

BW

What are some things you wish you knew before becoming a sexologist that you would share with people now?

RA

I didn’t realize that the majority of people experience very unpleasant or traumatic sexual experiences. In order to move through that and enjoy the sex life you want, you’re going to have to work through those experiences.

BW

What is some advice you would give to people wanting to explore their sexuality? 

RA

The single best thing you can do to improve your sexual confidence is to make time for self-exploration. Discovering your own body increases relationship satisfaction, orgasm frequency and quality, and overall happiness. I wish for everyone to have great solo-time exploring their bodies.

BW

What can we look forward to from Bloomi in the coming months? 

RA

You’ll notice that we are expanding the offerings on the marketplace. If you are in the market for some new pleasure items or want to learn how to use them, stay connected via our newsletter. We are also looking forward to some exciting launches later this year in the Bloomi line.

BW

What are your hopes for the future of sexual wellness and education?

RA

I want us all to be able to talk more openly about sex. I want all schools to give medically accurate and comprehensive sex education, starting in pre-school. I want sexual violence to stop. I want kids to be prepared for their menstrual cycles. I want adults to have the tools they need to live great sex lives.
bloomi rebecca alvarez

Interview courtesy of Rebecca Alvarez, MA.