Quinn Founder Caroline Spiegel Wellness Interview
Welcome to The Simple Things, a wellness series dedicated to the routines and rituals that bring a sense of well-being to our daily lives. As the name implies, sometimes it’s not about making seismic shifts in our day-to-day—simple actions can be just as impactful for ourselves and for those in our community. This week, we’re chatting with Caroline Spiegel—founder of audio erotica app Quinn—about her daily rituals, her sexual wellness journey, and the importance of exploring and owning your pleasure.
What role has wellness played in your life?
“I think wellness can sometimes be weaponized against women to be a synonym for improving yourself. Things really shifted for me when I realized that wellness didn’t have to mean changing myself. For example, I used to think a really rigid pilates schedule was wellness. Now I ask okay how does my body feel today? Do I want to take a long hot shower or watch a show or cuddle my dog? In a way wellness is sort of a catchall term and so it can mean whatever serves you. Just learning that has been my journey.”
What is your relationship with wellness like right now? What are some of your daily rituals?
“This might sound really simple, but walking my dog is the most therapeutic thing for me.
“I do my best thinking when I’m walking. I’ll do laps around our neighborhood, listen to a podcast, or sometimes just walk in silence and it’s so nice. To be outdoors is another big thing [for me]. I try to force myself to be out in the fresh air because it feels so good.”
Having built your business around audio, I’m curious to know if you’ve always enjoyed listening to podcasts. What about this specific form of media appeals to you?
“You know, I think I have a very active imagination. I remember feeling bummed when I saw the Harry Potter movies because I was like, oh that’s so not what it looks like [in my head]. I don’t like having a pre-scripted image whether it’s with porn or with a book or whatever; I like creating the imagery in my mind. That’s probably why I love consuming audio.”
What has been your experience with sexual wellness?
“Quinn actually came out of a time in my life where I was struggling with sexual dysfunction. One thing I often talk about is how the FDA has approved sexual dysfunction medications for men over [age] 40. The research into female libido is very stunted and inadequate.
“When I found audio erotica, it really felt like it was a match for how I experienced sex and desire. Since then I’ve used Quinn religiously. I think it’s really important to engage your sexual imagination and to explore what you actually like in tandem or even before having another human being involved in your sex life. I’m a big fan of taking responsibility for your own sexual wellness and your own pleasure. Value yourself enough [to say] I want to figure out what I like and it’s not just a performance for someone else.”
How do you think sex fits into the wider wellness conversation?
“I think there’s a lot of shame around sexual wellness and pleasure so it can be an easy part of the wellness spectrum to forget or deprioritize. Everyone’s had this experience where you’re really stressed and the last thing you want to do is have sex. How could we rewire that so sex actually sounds like a de-stressor?
“I think a lot of that is stopping with the ‘shoulds’ around sex. For example, you ‘should’ look this way, smell this way, feel this way, do this thing, say this thing. There’s so much noise in our brains around what sex is supposed to look like and I think the most important thing is to listen to yourself and what authentically feels good to you.”
Photo: Caroline Spiegel
Do you think there is a relationship between porn and sexual wellness?
“I do think a lot of mainstream visual porn reinforces that ‘should’ around sex. I would [ask myself] where my beliefs about sex come from? How do I figure out what I really like and am I interested in figuring out what I really like? What do I need to feel interested? I don’t think we should take porn at face value and I don’t think we should take it and run with it as a script for our own lives. Everyone’s different and everyone likes different stuff. Just explore.”
What would your advice be to someone who is exploring audio erotica for the first time?
“I would say try our newbie playlist and some of our guided sessions. A lot of people like guided masturbations because if you just want to turn your brain off and have someone tell you to try this or that, it’s very relaxing. It’s like a guided meditation. It can be intimidating to create a sexual wellness routine so it’s nice to have that instructional vibe. Then I would say explore, and if you don’t like something that’s totally fine. Try to turn off the judgment zone in your brain and have fun.
“One important thing with Quinn is that it’s all acting which I think gives people a safer place to explore fantasies. I talk to a lot of women who have questions when they watch visual porn. How old is this person? Where are they? Are they both safe? Are they both healthy? There’s a lot of unknown variables when you’re consuming free porn on a free site with lots of unverified content floating around. That obviously takes you out of the moment. So what we try to create on Quinn is a place where you feel safe and comfortable exploring your own fantasies. We have rules against non-consent, against incest, bestiality, all sorts of things like that. It’s meant to be a place where we have voice actors and it’s pretend and playful.”
Are there any other leaders in this space that you admire or look up to?
“I really admire Cindy Gallop, who was one of the first people to ever enter this space. She has a company called Make Love Not Porn. This woman, Kiki [Freedman] has a company called Hey Jane, which is online medical abortion care. It’s so important because you can’t really have a conversation about sexual wellness if our basic reproductive rights are up for debate.”
Is it ever a challenge to set boundaries and separate your work life from your personal life?
“Oh, definitely [laughs]. I’m notorious for always being on my phone and I’m really trying to work on it. One of my favorite things is napping because even when I am getting a massage or trying to go on a walk I somehow always end up back on my phone. When I’m asleep I obviously can’t do that.
“I definitely struggle with the boundaries. I certainly am not one to give advice on that, but something that’s helped is saying to myself nothing bad will happen if I don’t check this right now. Just reassuring myself that the world will not burn even though something feels urgent.”
What has been one of the biggest lessons Quinn has taught you?
“I recently started saying, rest don’t quit to myself as sort of a mantra. It is definitely a lesson that I’ve had to learn. There will be really tough days and it’s okay to take a step back, take a deep breath, and rest. Do whatever you need to do and then get back into it. Expecting yourself to be at a hundred percent every day isn’t realistic. People think rest is quitting when it’s not — it’s necessary for success.”