Sahil Gupta has an unlikely audience for his new start-up, namely, his mother’s kitty party group. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be surprising. After all, who can deny a mother’s right to brag about her child? But this is no ordinary business. What Sahil has co-founded, along with his wife Anushka, is the sexual wellness brand MyMuse, a new addition to a nascent space in India. With it, the newly married couple is shifting the conversation on sex from procreation to intimacy, connection, and pleasure.
“It’s very easy for adults and extended family members to ask, ‘When are you having a baby?’, versus talking about the actual act, the experience, the truth of it. The idea of pleasure, especially a woman’s pleasure, is always skipped,” says Anushka, who has previously worked across branding, design, marketing and events for companies like Only Much Louder and WeWork. “As an Indian woman especially, it was the biggest kind of unlearning for me to own the fact that this [MyMuse] is something I am doing, without it feeling improper or anything like that.”
As you like it
MyMuse was launched last September by husband-wife duo Sahil and Anushka Gupta
MyMuse started as a content platform last September, featuring stories on everything from foreplay and audio erotica to year-round allyship for the LGBTQI+ community. While that remains integral to the brand, by March this year it organically evolved into an e-commerce space as well, with its current range comprising an aromatherapy massage oil, ceramic soy wax candles, an aloe-based jelly or lubricant, and a ‘massager’ called Pulse, which has five vibration speeds and comes in a sleek suede storage pouch. Each product is understated and exudes a quiet luxury in the packaging, showcasing a softer approach to intimacy—one that’s in line with the couple’s philosophy as well as mirrors the cultural context in India.
“We want to encourage people to go on their own personal journeys. We want our products to be on one’s bedside table, not stashed in a sock drawer. They transcend the area of sex because they really are about intimacy, and that’s what we want to push forward. The idea is to make this approachable, accessible, discreet and unobtrusive—not shameful, but luxe,” says Sahil, who does know a thing or two about discretion. During our interview, he casually refers to his time at ‘business school’ without once mentioning Harvard, where he got his MBA, or Columbia University, where he majored in economics and philosophy.
Spark soy-wax candles feature four unique scents that come in a beautiful ceramic jar
From the time MyMuse was a concept, till the present, Anushka and Sahil have dated, gotten engaged and been married. Add to that a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and you have a singular set of circumstances for any new business, let alone one that not only pushes the boundaries of society but also of your own relationship. How do you build a business centred on sex and intimacy without it creeping into your own lives? Without it demanding personal conversations you hadn’t even considered before? Well, the short answer is: you don’t. Instead, you learn from it. “The one thing in relationships that is so important, especially when it comes to sex, is being comfortable talking to your partner about your likes, dislikes, about trying new things… and so on. And this has given us the impetus and courage to do so more than ever. More than increasing our own communication, it has really helped our families and friends to talk about this as well,” says Anushka. “For a lot of women, the massager in particular is a first-time device, which opens up the conversation further in their relationships.”
To be clear, MyMuse isn’t a gendered platform. Its founders assert that all products are for everyone. In fact, their research, prior to launching, took into account the needs and wants of heterosexual couples as well as queer couples, and the imagery on MyMuse's website is inclusive, too. However, it does reveal a hopeful outlook of masculinity, specifically in the context of a heterosexual relationship. What Sahil and Anushka noticed, in an admittedly small cross-section of men, is not machismo but rather a willingness—eagerness, even—to introduce, say, the massager in the bedroom and thereby a slow rejection of the idea that it’s solely a man’s job to satisfy a woman. “It’s interesting, but the notion of men threatened by being replaced by a device is gradually dying out. It’s actually turning into a compliment, the ability to centre female pleasure from a male perspective. The crass locker room talk is changing as women are starting to experience their own pleasure and realising that sex doesn’t end with the male orgasm. And it’s safe to say, if you’re not taking her seriously you’re not doing it right,” says Sahil. “The fundamental truth is: everyone is always looking to get better at sex.”Also read:
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