Mindful Masturbation | An Interview with Chakrubs Founder, Vanessa Cuccia
Honest talk on in invention, spirituality, community, and self assurance, with Vanessa Cuccia of Chakrubs.
I know that you were a guest of the woman with the largest crystal collection in America when you had the idea for Chakrubs, but how exactly did it click?
I had been ruminating a great deal on the lack I had become so accustomed to when it came to my sex life. Working at The Pleasure Chest helped me educate myself and I learned for the past six years I was being sexually abused by my boyfriend. I subconsciously learned to dissociate from myself during sex to deal with the feeling of being used as a sex toy myself. My pleasure was never a priority and I had lost myself. Working at the shop was wonderful for so many reasons. I felt comfortable enough to begin shopping around for a sex toy in order to please myself - but it became apparent that I needed something deeper than an orgasm. I needed to connect with myself - to the part of me that I had ignored for so long. Because I had become friends with a spiritual teacher my spiritual curiosity spiked and I reignited my love of crystals. Crystals felt good in my hands, I wanted to be touching one all the time. I even took them to the sex shop with me. When I saw the wand-shaped one that woman had, I immediately felt an intense idea of incorporating crystals into sexuality. I don’t say this to everyone - but I do feel as though the crystals were telling me to bring them to the world in this way. I knew I wanted it for myself, and I knew other people would benefit from it as well. The name came almost immediately, Chakrubs, and that evening I knew my life had changed.
You’ve told the story about how even though the people who you were with were all deeply into crystals and their healing abilities; they all seemed shocked at your suggestion that they could be used as sex toys. What do you think made you take that as an implication that Chakrubs should happen, as opposed to interpreting that experience as a sign that maybe people wouldn’t be open to the product or the concept?
Inside my heart this was a clear sign that there was still a disconnect between our pleasure and what we call spirituality. They looked at me as if I was trashy - beneath them, as if it was absurd to speak of pleasure in combination with spiritual practices. The people who prided themselves on spiritual platforms like non-judgement were judging me in a way I had never experienced. I felt more comfortable with my coworkers at the sex toy shop then I did in this house. Why was sex such taboo? Considered dirty, less-than, juvenile? This was a signal to me that there was great healing to be had. A way for people who were interested in spirituality to feel comfortable with this aspect of humanity.
How vital do you feel living in a place like the Redwood forest at the time of developing Chakrubs was to finding the first focus group and audience for it?
It was so vital. At that house I had an amazing support system. I had a business-minded friend who encouraged me to just “get the product in your hand” to make the dream a reality. I had a shaman-friend who helped [me] cosmically understand the monetary exchanges that were to take place in order to move forward, I had women who were constant reminders of the divine feminine who taught me about compassionate communication. They became the initial designers and tested the first-ever chakrubs. They still have those to this day.
With all you’ve learned from being in the business you are now, to having been exposed to crystal experts, and sort of working on becoming a sex toy expert at Pleasure Chest, why is it that you feel people are more open to talking about spirituality than sexuality; even when they merge?
It’s hard for me to say now, since my circles have changed so much that I feel these topics are open now. I’ve noticed a shift in comfortability when it comes to both topics of spirituality and sexuality. I suppose I’ve created a world for myself where I can feel so comfortable in these topics.
We’re in a time when people want to know and feel good about what they’re putting into their bodies, and there’s also a higher chance that the average person would be aware of things like chakras, energy points in the body, as well as crystal healing power. Knowing this, and also knowing about how sexually exploratory people can be via your experience working in a sex shop, did you feel that you knew the timing was right as far as having an available market for Chakrubs?
I knew the timing was right. It was more intuition based than research based - but I did know.
Many people are choosing to explore spirituality and work on getting into a state of wellness, it’s an essential thing that now seems very popular because it’s become a trendy thing; with something as ageless as sex involved in what you have to offer with Chakrubs, do you feel that the use of them will outlast any fads attached to spirituality and wellness?
I’m thinking about this a lot now. Chakrubs is definitely a fun “buzzword” and is “trendy” - but it holds up to the lasting desires and needs we have. They also last a lifetime with proper care - so not only is it speaking to people on a spiritual and emotional level, but a economical one as well. There is depth and integrity behind my brand, and these things aren’t fads they are lifestyles. I don’t think I’ll ever move on to a different kind of sex toy.
The Chakrubs website says that they remove blocks caused by sexual trauma and extract repressed emotions. Can you tell me a bit about how?
Crystal therapy is about facilitating our natural ability to heal ourselves through the movement of energy. Dis-ease is when energy is stuck and this happens when we face trauma. Crystals encourage the movement of energy and when we are intentionally combining that idea with our sexual pleasure we shift our frequency to healthier ones.
Masturbation as time for mindfulness seems like a common sense point of view, especially when you think of the function of something like a body scan, still, it isn’t one that I’ve heard before. Had you picked that up somewhere, or was it something that just clicked when creating the Chakrub?
I may have picked it up somewhere, but again, it was an intuitive feeling I had at the time. Since then I have seen some studies about when we experience pleasure and the mind going into a state like it does while meditating.
I’m one of those people who consciously thinks about the connection of things, and so thinking about the chakras, and the energy held in crystals, and sex as this thing that’s older than anyone on earth (… it’s energy it’s nature)… it just all made sense to me. But is there a common sort of person you find yourself trying to convince about the benefit or difference of using healing crystals for sex toys, and is there particular information that tends to win them over?
I never try to convince anyone of anything. I only explain what I know to be true for myself. If it resonates with a person, that’s wonderful. But if a person isn’t open to these ideas I have no desire in convincing them.