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Sexual Empowerment with Gina Gutierrez

George Grombacher October 21, 2023

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Sexual Empowerment with Gina Gutierrez

LifeBlood: We talked about sexual empowerment, helping woman have better sex through story telling, and how feeling great is closer than you think, with Gina Gutierrez, CoFounder and Chief Creative Officer of Dipsea.       

Listen to learn why sex is as much mental as it is physical!

You can learn more about Gina at, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Gina Gutierrez

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Judy Gutierrez is the co founder and chief creative officer with dip. See they’re an organization how many wit helping women feel sexually, mentally and emotionally empowered. She has been featured in major outlets, including the New York Times, Vogue, and Elle. Welcome, Gina.

Gina Gutierrez 0:17
Thank you so much for having me. Pleasure. We’re

george grombacher 0:19
excited to have you on the show. Tell us a bit about your personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do.

Gina Gutierrez 0:25
Totally. So I am from a town outside of New York City called Oyster Bay, and had a to Gemini parents with two very different personas that I think made me who I am. My dad is a classic Brooklyn boy, grew up in a house multigenerational Italian neighborhood lived with his grandma, mom, aunts, uncles, you name, it really taught me the value of hard work taught me the value of trying and being an entrepreneur and I think really instilled the idea in me that there are no adults in the room that you have to be your own adults in a room, which I value greatly. And on the other side of things, my mom is from Switzerland, we actually all moved to New York from Zurich, where I was for the first couple years of my life. And she’s a painter. She’s an abstract painter. So my dad, kind of an entrepreneur, first of his family to go to college, in finance, working his way up that ladder, and my mom being this free spirit oil painter, I think creates a little bit of a picture of why I am the way that I am. She taught me the importance of beauty and beauty being not just something that is attractive to look it up, but kind of some truth underneath at all, which I think I’ve always been kind of itching to understand, what is that truth? What are these truths that matter in our lives. And she was also the youngest person to ever get admitted to, or at least at the time to ever get accepted into the Carl Jung Institute, which is one of the preeminent psychology institutes in the world. So the interest in psychology has also kind of always been a thread, I’d say in our family runs in the run from the family. And I, you know, so I grew up in New York, I did my undergraduate at Duke University, which I loved was a really amazing experience, I got a taste of the south and studied psychology there. I’ve always been interested in why people want what they want, and why people do different things. And they say they want and what makes people tick, and what makes people excited. And so even though that was always a clear through line, I don’t think it was super obvious to me in my undergrad, what I should do with that, you know, what kind of career paths made the most sense for me. So I would say, I got to my junior senior year really feeling like I need to figure out what was going to be next because it wasn’t written in stone, it wasn’t written in the stars for me. And kind of the classic companies recruited on campus, you saw that Goldman Sachs’s of the world, and you saw the veins, you know, management consulting firms, and banks loved recruiting from Duke. And so I wore a lot of pencil skirts that last year figuring out like, should I work at any of these places. And I felt kind of intuitively, not only was the work not for me that the sensibility wasn’t for me, so I needed to figure something else out. So the first job I took was at visa visa was one of the least typical recruiters on campus at the payments company. And they did something where they basically hired 10, undergrads a year of all sorts of colleges, and they wanted to put people inside the organization and move them around to give them a sense of all angles of the business. And I thought that that sounded amazing. I really wanted to go on the inside of something and figure out how it worked, how it worked before having to make a decision on what I was going to do every day for years. Turns out, you don’t have to make your long decisions anymore. The career trajectory that everyone follows has changed. But you know, that’s the advice of my parents, which makes sense. And it was also a one way ticket to California, which I really wanted to they’re based in San Francisco. So that was a really life changing opportunity for me. San Francisco was such an exciting place 10 or 12 years ago, it felt like startups were running the seen and felt like people my age, my peers, were doing some of the exciting stuff. They weren’t just working for the exciting people. It still felt a little bit like we were this pioneer outpost, because you know, back then, students set up Duke students out of Harvard, they were going to the banks, they weren’t going to Google yet. It was it was more that was more of a upstart path. Back then, before that really became kind of the cool thing to do. So I felt that pioneering energy there. And I was at visa for a year quickly realized that working at a company that wasn’t really close to a consumer wasn’t for me, I wanted to be really close to the buyers, the decision makers and a mentor of mine there Dorothy, Kilroy was really adamant that I needed to talk to her husband, who at the time was the partner at a branding agency. And that branding agency was called character and they were helping all these amazing startups in the Bay Area and some bigger companies to figure out who they should be in their spaces, what they should look like, what they should feel like how they would break through. And I had A coffee meeting with a sky. He was amazing. And it was the first time I ever invented a job from scratch. I basically asked the company to take a bet on me. And I said, you know, under pay me no problem. But like, bring me on in this new role. I think you could use strategy work, I think I could do it for you. And if doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But if it does, that would be amazing. So I did strategy work for them. It ended up being really, really important. I was a brand strategist kind of shaping the positioning, you know, what are the kind of storytelling opportunities that business has? And what kind of framework could we use to help express the writers and designers and product builders, what they should do kind of like ground like Ground Zero, like open the door? What is what is the first room that you see is kind of the work that I was doing. And it changed my life, I think it really helped me to understand that storytelling dramatically could shape the outcomes for businesses help people understand what you do, and why it matters. And then say it over and over again, keep repeating it make it really, really clear. Next up, after that, I joined a an architecture and interior design firm. And that might sound like a left turn. But actually, what I was thinking was that branding agencies at the time, were mostly focused on what your website looks like, what your packaging looks like, what maybe your message on a billboard looks like. And interior architecture firms were focused on what space is looked and felt like, and to me, that was just so much richer of an opportunity to affect people. So I again invented a job from scratch, I said, Hey, I think I could do strategy for you, I think I could bring clients in the door earlier, who are just figuring themselves out, we could build them a great brand that we feel excited to work on, and then have a great rapport with an executive team. So when they have more capital, and they when they have more need, they’ll come to us and say I’m ready to build a retail space, or I’m ready to build an office space. And that’s true. That offering I think really was important and expanded what the business was able to take on and also brought in clients earlier on that they’d ever been able to bring on before. And I love that work. But I’d already gotten the bug. I’ve been bit by the bug of my own thing. My dad says it’s inevitable that I became an entrepreneur. I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know if that’s true of anyone. But I think when you have an idea that you get excited about and you meet someone who you really respect and could build it with, it’s difficult to say no. So my next role after that was starting Dempsey, which was all of six years ago now. And I guess the rest is history, we can talk about plenty in that regard. But I’ve been in the Bay Area for 10 years now I live in Oakland, California with my husband, and I’m building what I think is really, really important game changing product to help people feel more empowered and alive in this world. And I think sex is just one of the most amazing kind of levers for us to do that.

george grombacher 7:45
Well, I appreciate you sharing the story. Thank you. So the problem that you’re currently viewing is that people aren’t feeling alive enough empowered enough at all?

Gina Gutierrez 7:57
Yeah. So when I first had the idea for Dipsy, I was using knowledge that I’d had since college. So back when I was in college, I had this really wild conversation with my best friends who was really interested in the person that she was seeing, she was really excited about him, dare I say she was in love with him. And she was having a not great sexual experience with them and wondering what that disconnect was. And I asked her once, like, what do you think about when you’re in bed with this person, and she looked at me with an absolutely blank stare, and said, I have no idea. And it helped me to realize that sex is as mental as it is physical, especially for women. And we haven’t been taught that at all, we’re only taught that sex is physical experiences to bodies together. And that’s all it is. And you get out of bed and you move on with your life. But it’s so much deeper and richer than that. And we really do realize that when something’s going wrong, when we’re preoccupied by something else, and we can’t leave work at the door, when we’re experiencing all sorts of dysfunction, because we’re distracted or unsure why we’re not feeling attracted to someone or all these things, all these dysfunctions help us realize it’s mental. But we don’t really think about it being mental when we’re thinking about it being amazing. So I had that insight back in college, I had no idea what to do with that insight. But I had that insight. And then, you know, fast forward 10 years, I was watching companies like calm and headspace do something revolutionary with audio. They weren’t just telling stories, or sharing information, like podcasts were doing and succeeding at, they were changing how people felt. And I wanted to do that too. And I felt that there was such an interesting opportunity, you can make something that felt immersive. So you really could kind of put your day at the door, and imaginative, which was so important. You know, when you look at the differences between how men and women engage with the internet, and I say the internet like when they’re typing and they’re searching for erotic content for themselves. Men are much more likely to type in a body part or sex act. Women are very unlikely to do that. Women are much more likely to say I want friends become lovers as a storyline or I want to hear you know fanfiction written about two celebrities that have never been together. People aren’t back Story and drama and chemistry and connection. They want stories. And I wanted to tell those stories. So I thought stories were this amazing unlock to help people feel more sexually empowered. And it was a story I had to convince people love that that was true. Because even though I think we intuitively understand that when you read Children, Aesop’s fairy tales, or Aesop’s Fables, you’re teaching them about morality, that fiction helps people learn, people were not so ready that fiction would help people learn about sex. But I deeply, deeply believe that that’s a major unlock for people is education that doesn’t feel like education, education that feels fun and entertaining and enjoyable. And so those were the first fights we had to win was, is that true?

george grombacher 10:43
Well, that’s super powerful. I was literally just, I just used the story of the little red hen this morning to talk about becoming more financially responsible to people. And it’s so it’s so true. You can use that for any so why not? Why not intimacy and sexuality?

Gina Gutierrez 11:01
Right, exactly. It’s a little more, and it’s one that recently came up for me, too. That’s so funny that you’ve been sharing it recently. Because it’s a counter intuitive tale today, I think, because it’s a little bit of, well, if you don’t participate in this with me, then you won’t get those earnings, which is obviously so important. But I think it’s not, it’s not one of the ones that’s top of mind and culture today. I think it’s an important one.

george grombacher 11:21
Yeah, for for sure. All right. So I appreciate I appreciate everything that that that you said, and I appreciate you sharing the backstory, when your friend was telling you that she just wasn’t having a good experience with a partner. And you asked her what she was thinking about. I my question I sort of had what what do you think she should be thinking about?

Gina Gutierrez 11:50
Great questions, I think my observation about that was we were not taught told or taught how to use our imaginations as a positive, versus our minds are just there to hold us back. They’re there to produce stress for us, they’re there to make us feel insecure. They’re telling us stories about whether the person’s enjoying it, or whether we’re doing a good enough job, or whatever negative experiences are coming up in our brains, we’re all very familiar with that, for way less familiar with wow, like, I’m really enjoying this, I love the way that my body looks, I love the way that we’re interacting, I want to ask for this, I might ask for this in this way. Because I have a sense of what that language could be. I can use my imagination and actually take myself other places, even inside this moment in bed in a dorm room. And wherever we were Durham, North Carolina, I can take myself wherever I want to be. Those are not things we’re taught. You know, I was in the TED stage last year talking about how it’s wild that we have all these tools for imagination to plan our dream houses. We can go on Pinterest plan our dream vacation, we can go on Airbnb plan, my amazing scene that I love to set myself up in to have amazing sex. That doesn’t exist. Well, now it does with gypsy.

george grombacher 13:03
So it’s everything.

Gina Gutierrez 13:07
sums it up just about everything. is a journey,

george grombacher 13:14
for sure, for sure. And you sort of touched on it if I’m apprehensive or I’m nervous. If I’m if I’m insecure from totally, totally in my head about, oh my gosh, does he or she liked what I’m doing? Does this feel good for he? Or she? Am I doing it? Right? Am I doing it wrong? Oh my gosh, I’m embarrassed, then how would I possibly enjoy that experience? Right? And how would I know any any different? So it is so much but solved? elegantly? And I don’t want to say simply but through story?

Gina Gutierrez 13:52
Yeah, I think it is simply I mean, we hope that people listen to a gypsy story and feel transported that it is a pleasurable experience unto its own. And that people feel like they can engage with their sexuality kind of on their terms. It’s not so hard. It’s easier, right? Like, there’s actually nothing wrong with you or your libido. You’re not an over anxious, overstressed person, just listen to a story and remind yourself that it’s actually easier than you think. So that’s kind of part one. Part two is that you might hear those characters in this fictional story interacting and say, Oh, it’s so easy to ask for consent that way, or it’s so easy to create a kind of safer environment of myself and make sure that we’re being safe and protected during sex that way, it’s not awkward. It’s not embarrassing. You could just say it like that. So that’s kind of part two. And then part three is Wow, I feel like my pilot light is turned on so that maybe I’m in year 20 of my marriage, and I get to say, wow, like that was such a fun story that ignited my imagination. It makes me feel more excited to say yes to an advance from my partner or maybe instigate myself. So I think there’s a lot of different ways that these stories come into people’s lives and improve their sex lives and beyond that, their lives overall.

george grombacher 14:57
That it totally makes sense. I wonder, I talk a lot about think a lot about goal setting and thinking about what I want and my beliefs and all those sorts of things. And we oftentimes screw up the order we think about, you know, I don’t think about how I want to feel or think about, once I get this thing, then I’ll feel that way. And why is sex any different to we’re trying to help people get there through story but and how do you want to feel when you’re How do you want to feel and think about your, your your role as a sexual being how you want to think and feel while you’re actually being intimate with somebody, it’s all these things. I’m trying to process everything and doing a better job explaining my thought process, Jenna? Well,

Gina Gutierrez 15:48
something that I hear hearing you speak is that like, we live in an optimizing culture, like we are always trying to make things a little bit better, a little bit more efficient. And goal setting is a huge part of that process. Like I want to be here in three months time, I want to be here in a year’s time. And a lot of that does discount how you feel like how you feel is very secondary. In fact, it’s actually maybe something you should control for to get you to where your goals are to optimize. And so what we’re suggesting is, I think, a relief to a lot of people, which is like your pleasure matters, and feeling good matters. And this is a space to do that. And this little universe that we create in this app. Dipsy is essentially an audio erotic app that you enter this app experience. And suddenly, you’re in a different world where you aren’t optimizing, and you aren’t achieving, and you aren’t goal building, you’re just enjoying, and that there’s actually intrinsic value in that. But there’s also kind of trickle effects that do have an optimizing effects like making your marriage better

george grombacher 16:41
for one. So how, how are people interacting with it? How is how was the initial is? I imagine that there’s a little bit of initial apprehension or shock or surprise, potentially? And then how does that how does the customer journey typically flow?

Gina Gutierrez 17:02
Yeah, so five years ago, we first launched the product. And we first were speaking with investors, investors warned us that growth would be more challenging, because it was likely the people wouldn’t talk about this experience, that would be very private. And we’ve overwhelmingly seen that that is not the case. That actually because we’ve built this brand that is beautiful, and that it is aspirational. And that feels cool. Women are more likely to say, Look at this cool thing. I want to show you this, I think you might like it too. Or, hey, book club. I love these stories. Maybe you like them too. Or even Hey, Mom, I wish that this existed for you. This is how it’s amazing for me. Like we are hearing stories like that all the time. So sure, talking about sex is not as easy as talking about the clothes that you wear or the groceries that you buy. That is true. There’s all sorts of cultural baggage and the type of food that remains. But in five years time we’ve seen not only has culture changed around awareness of some of these things, you know, audio erotica is a phrase that we eventually essentially had to make up because there wasn’t language for this stuff is now becoming more common parlance for Gen Z millennial women. That helps us out right people hear about Dipsy now, and we’re not like educating them from scratch on what this even is, they’re more likely to have some familiarity and say, I actually think I’ve heard of something like this. And then they’re just deciding whether they like the product, which is a very different experience than it was, you know, five years ago. And what we hear from people is amazing, you know, what people need in their lives as it relates to this subject is really different. No surprise there. What stories people like, is really different. Also, no surprise there. We’re all. We’re all delightfully normal, and how diverse our preferences are basically, like, no one is normal, and everyone is normal. It’s kind of the truth, right. And the things that we hear, are amazingly diverse, you know, I have talked to a young mom in Utah, who was really struggling to refined intimacy with her partner after having her second baby. And if she really helped with that, I talked to a nonbinary 19 year old who was a student at Pratt about their terrified dating after the pandemic, they didn’t know how to do it, they were embarrassed, they didn’t know what they were going to do if they ever had to get intimate with someone, and gypsy helped them feel more confident and how they might talk on a date or talking to bedroom. We’ve heard from people who’ve experienced trauma and you say, you know, I get how to get over the trauma, and I have the therapist in place. And I’m like, treating myself in these ways. I’m solving the problem. But what about afterwards? Do I get joy afterwards? Can I enjoy my sex life again? Is that ever possible for me and tipsy helps prove to them that safety is possible and these sorts of dynamics so we hear all sorts of amazing stories that are incredibly moving and very powerful. And then we also hear plenty people that are just like the stories are fun. I love the characters. I can’t wait to see what Ronan does next, or Jack and Gia do next because they love our characters. So there’s a myriad ways to enjoy tipsy but also to get something out of it and we’re just happy to be there for all of those. It’s It’s amazing that so many people get so much out of it.

george grombacher 19:58
I love it. Well, Gina Thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and how can people engage with tipsy?

Gina Gutierrez 20:05
Yeah, if you want to follow us on Instagram or on tick tock. We are always putting out an amazing very funny continent, Dipsy stories at Dipsy stories that’s spelled di p s EA stories. And if you would like to try out the product for yourself, we’d love to offer our listeners a complimentary 30 day free trial. If you go to www dot tipsy forward slash life lead you can find that there

george grombacher 20:33
Excellent. If you enjoyed as much as I did should show your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas find Dipsy on Tiktok and Instagram under Dipsy the IP s EA stories and check out all the great content they’re always creating and then go to Dipsy and take advantage of that 30 day free trial and everything else that the gene is working on. Thanks again, Gina. Thanks for having me. Till next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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