Recently I had the privilege of meeting with Anna Leonarda, who created an app that came out this past August to connect people “who due to medical or personal reasons do not prioritize sex in building their relationships.”
Ashley: Tell me about your journey to create Entwine!
Anna: “I have always had painful intercourse. I thought to myself when I was younger that maybe this is just how it was supposed to be, or that it was normal. Eventually, over time of constantly having painful intercourse, I developed vaginismus. I’d only had one partner in my life and we had gotten married young. One day penetration wasn’t possible. I thought there was a block or something, so I went to the doctor. I had to do pelvic floor therapy, after an already low sex drive.
At 36, I received a breast cancer diagnosis. I lost all my hair and had a total hysterectomy and entered early menopause during that same year. Then, I went through a divorce! I thought to myself “how will I ever find a partner, surely it would be easier to either be single or accept being cheated on without sex in the picture.”
I created Entwine to take the sexual expectations out of dating and create a comfortable and safe environment to let people like myself enter the dating world without discomfort. “I know it’s a big taboo.”
Ashley: Wow, that’s so powerful and fills a huge need in the dating world.
Anna: Right. I started asking friends and found that they often found men with erectile dysfunction and realized it wasn’t fair. They often weren’t telling my friends about the ED until a few dates in because of the fear. So it got me thinking about how many reasons erectile problems can happen, or any type of sexual functioning problem and I thought to myself that I needed to do something.”
Ashley: It sounds like you’re really passionate. What kind of users would enjoy the app?
Anna: I always wanted to help people. I knew there was something more I could be doing, and that I wasn’t alone. This app is great for people who want to be loved but not have that kind of stress or pressure placed on the relationship. Someone who thinks to themselves that they’ve been waiting for an opportunity to meet a partner that will understand them and accept them as they are.
Anna is obviously very interested in not just her app, but connecting with others. Her face lights up as she tells me about messages she’s gotten from people in India, Canada, Pakistan, and the UK who are hopeful to be able to use her app in the near future. Although her app only came out in August, it’s clearly making an impact!
She tells me about negative experiences post-divorce. Experiences where she’d be honest about her sexual limitations, and men would be crude in response. They might say they can ‘cure’ her. Some going as far as to tell her she’ll never find love again.
Anna: I’d rather have the emotional connection than just the sexual connection. I know there are tons of us out there who feel the same. I want to protect as many people as I can that have these issues, and I want them to have hope.
Ashley: Sex is usually pretty private. What does disclosing the limitations look like on Entwine app?
Anna: “You don’t have to disclose any kind of sexual limitation. It’s up to you to free type it. I always recommend waiting until you meet them and know them more before disclosing your sexual limitations, but it’s all up to the person.”
Entwine is available on the app store for android users or online for Apple users. It’s free to download and create an account, and Anna has plans to take it worldwide. It’s relatively new, so be patient in finding a match!
She leaves me with this: “If you’re just sitting back and being quiet and wondering what you’re going to do, this app is for you. I want you to know that this is a good place to start and meet someone new because you won’t be embarrassed or rejected. It takes this uncomfortable piece of pressure off your shoulders, and this takes all of the burden off. I want it to be fair to all parties—not wanting you to feel manipulated into it staying with someone.”
“For the women reading this, it is curable (vaginismus), I’ve just chosen to not fix it. And you don’t have to either. You are worthy of love as is.”
That’s a lesson I think we all can take something from.
The good news is this discussion will continue and be Live on Kiss & Tell’s Podcast our first one on December 7th at 7 pm EST. You can join us and ask Anna as many questions as you may have…
If you liked reading this, you would enjoy reading the rest of the articles Kiss & Tell Magazine wrote under The Female Touch about women-run sexual health and wellness companies.
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