Investors have pumped $1 million into Dallas-based OB-GYN Dr. Lyndsey Harper's startup Rosy, seeing an opportunity to fund an app they believe could bridge an infrequently-discussed gap in health care: women's sexual health.
Harper was a practicing obstetrics and gynecology in Dallas in 2017 when she began hearing more from longtime clients about struggles with decreased sex drive and sexual dysfunction. Her realization that the medical community was unequipped to educate women on how to handle common sexual health issues and the taboo surrounding the subject spurred her to develop Rosy, she said.
"It goes back to centuries of people believing both in society and in the medical community that reproduction or sexual function on the women's side is to placate the needs of their male partners and also for reproductive reasons," Harper said. "But I don't think there's been a lot of conversation around female pleasure or owning the experience as our own."
So Harper left her private practice in 2018 and started developing Rosy full time, hoping to help improve the lives of the 30 million women who experience low libido. She describes Rosy's approach to tackling decreased sex drive as a holistic one, which includes educational content, community conversations and erotic fiction.
"I think there's a lot of women who would prefer to do a behavioral intervention rather than just take a pharmaceutical medication," she said.
Upon signing up for Rosy, users are immediately prompted to take a quiz to determine their sexual wellness score.
How many times have you reached climax in the past several weeks? In the past, was your level of sexual desire or interest good and satisfying to you? Are you bothered by your decreased level of sexual desire or interest? Could alcohol use or dissatisfaction with your partner be contributing to your lower sex drive?
The user's responses to these questions are designed to be a starting point for tracking sexual experiences and knowledge gained. Inside the app, the user is presented with a number of videos curated based on their score. The videos explain various causes of decreased sex drive and ways women can increase their level of desire.
The app is also intended to empower frank discussion about sex and relationships through anonymous community discussion boards. Women who may otherwise feel too uncomfortable can ask genuine questions and get feedback from others. Rosy launched its discussion board feature in January.
Rosy makes money based on a freemium pricing model. Users get access to a certain amount of educational videos and erotica for free and can pay $10 a month for premium "Masterclass" video content and additional erotica.
The app has also seen traction in the health care industry, where more than 2,500 providers and physicians are actively referring their patients to the platform.
"When you meet Lyndsey, it's apparent that she is on a mission to make health care resources more accessible to women by using technology," Rosy investor and founder of Tilt James Beshara said in a statement. "I had no idea this issue was so prevalent. Women don't have even close to the same number of resources as men, and investing in companies like Rosy is essential for closing that health care gap."
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