While today I’m the co-founder and CEO of the sexual-wellness company Dame Products, sexuality in its many forms has always been a prominent topic in my life. In grade school, for instance, I got in trouble with my teacher after telling my class about a party I attended with my aunt where drag queens and non-cisgender folks were among the attendees. That not only sparked my interest in sexuality and gender, but also in what was then, at least, a societal inability to speak openly about those topics. So it should really come as no surprise that when I discovered Sex and the City, I embraced Samantha Jones as a role model of sorts who further fueled my interest in sexuality, owning a business, and being self-sufficient.
I recall watching, awe-inspired, as this fiery, independent, sexually liberated woman not only navigated the world knowing what she wanted, but also knowing how to lead a pack. To this day, these are traits I value and strive to hone and cultivate in myself, and seeing how much they impacted me as a young girl, I’d want nothing less than Samantha Jones as a role model for my hypothetical daughter (who, to be clear, doesn’t exist yet, but one day may).
Samantha Jones’s quest to fulfill her needs and desires makes her a timeless role model for young girls and adult women alike.
Back in the late ’90s and early aughts when Sex and the City filmed, we watched Samantha’s three best friends—Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, and Miranda Hobbes—explore relationships and find themselves in cheeky sexual scenarios often rife with doubt, being inside their own heads, and prioritizing a partner’s desires over their own. But Samantha? She always accessed her energy and self-assurance unapologetically. Her quest to fulfill her needs and desires makes her a timeless role model for young girls and adult women alike.
Sure, at the time, Samantha’s character seemed particularly provocative—and as a result, many in society marginalized her, treating her like a caricature rather than an earnest portrait of a real woman. But it’s 2020 now, and on top of tweeting #WeShouldAllBeMirandas, we’re talking more and more about sexuality, kicking out the male-centric model of the sextech industry, and opening up missions to close the pleasure gap (which is one of our founding values at Dame Products).
In fact, though the show aired its final episode 16 years ago, I still think we have quite a bit to learn from the way Samantha embodies her sexuality. And while it’s no question that she’s often slut-shamed for sleeping with a number of men (and women) in any given episode, I say shame on the slut shamers—and so does Samantha. When she’s shamed by her doctor for not knowing her list of sexual partners, she handles it with an assured coolness. When she’s denied a PR job from a man on the basis of gender identification, she triumphantly declares how sexist his accusation is for not hiring her—and ends up getting the job.
Samantha is, hands down, the most put-together character on the show and always has a plan of action for following her intuition and not hesitating when she feels love or lust toward someone, and she rocks that narrative powerfully. All those things impressed me as a young girl—and are admirable traits I’d want my daughter to exhibit.
And why, Samantha, specifically? Well, to me, Carrie doesn’t embody as strong a sense of sex positivity or ownership over her decisions, often skewing insecure and idealizing toxic men. Miranda—while totally empowering for her professional success and financial independence that women can and should hold in high regard—isn’t a character I’d suggest emulating too closely; I’d never want my daughter’s professional success to be a common pitfall for the opportunity for her to have personal happiness. And while Charlotte is fiercely loyal and an eternal optimist, she doesn’t feel like the embodiment of healthy sexual energy to me, as evidenced by her habit of repeatedly relying on others (namely, men) for validation.
Being a good leader should feel good, and that’s where Samantha takes the cake. She’s an independent woman who knows what she wants at any given time—in and out of the bedroom.
Samantha, though, is a leader. To be a leader, you must know what you want, and you must lead with equal parts brain and feel. Being a good leader should feel good, and that’s where Samantha takes the cake. She’s an independent woman who knows what she wants at any given time—in and out of the bedroom. She owns her own business, is always up for adventure, and even fights cancer powerfully and with grace and levity.
Of course, there are many more reasons to appreciate Samantha Jones: She’s the embodiment of how we should feel not only in our sexuality, but also as strong women in all avenues of life. As someone who creates sex toys, I want people to access this kind of thinking, this kind of ownership over their body—in and out of the bedroom. More importantly, I would want my own daughter to know she’s allowed to feel Samantha Jones-levels of confidence about sex and success, in a world where women are too often put down for either lacking in sexuality and ambition (you’re a prude) or being too sexual and successful (you’re a slut).
What Big Samantha Jones Energy boils down to, for me, is that sex can feel really good, and I want to help people access that pleasure so they can become more informed, respectful, and empathetic human beings. Because as Samantha wisely put it, “Who we are in bed is who we are in life—I’ve never met a man who was bad in bed who was good in life.” And I’m willing to bargain the same paradigm holds true for not just men, but all people, and not just being good at life, but being happy, fulfilled, and strong.
Speaking of women’s empowerment, here’s what it looks like to celebrate Women’s History Month in 2020. And, back to being empowered in the workplace, here’s what to do if you don’t see a Samantha Jones type in a position of power at your company.