Natalia Hailes and Ashley Spivak: Educate Yourself on Your Reproductive Health the Right Way

August 22 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Embracing Your Brilliant Body

A quote from author J.K. Rowling on the internet got me thinking. It poses a serious question: Is being fat really the worst thing there is? What about being cruel or vain? The way our bodies appear, at least to us, is often a roadblock when it comes to living fully. Stretch marks delay beach days and pimples postpone date nights. Ladies, I’m tired of putting off pleasurable moments because I’m being a bully to myself. Today, I dare you to accept an aspect of yourself that you’ve been afraid to approve.


Speaking of bodies, let’s talk about one way we use them: sexy time. It’s pretty crucial to not only accept our bodies, but to also know about our romantic partner’s body. While many of us learned about the birds and the bees on a yellow school bus, kids these days turn to digital sources. These sources can be super helpful, but can also be about as accurate as what that weird kid Dylan told me in fifth grade. See, the sexual-health information out there isn’t all that good. When 177 sexual-health sites were examined in a study, less than half addressed contraception, and about one-third included inaccurate information about abortion.

WOMEN TO WATCH: Natalia Hailes and Ashley Spivak, Co-founders of Cycles + Sex

If we don’t rely on WebMD to officially diagnose our symptoms, why do we trust any site that pops up on our Google search to learn about sex? It’s probably because no one site fully covers the ins and outs (Ahem!) of sex. Today’s Women to Watch, Natalia Hailes and Ashley Spivak, say, “No more!” to misinformation and shame with their website, Cycles + Sex.

Cycles + Sex is the go-to source for millennial ladies, with its straight-to-the-point approach and cool 1990s vibe. Regardless of whether or not you’re sexually active, Cycles + Sex has a wide breadth of educational resources about what the heck’s going on with your body. One of the crucial topics covered is in the first half of the name: cycles. Through informative pieces, including those titled "Hormones 101" and "Remedies," Natalia and Ashley offer succinct info about lady problems.

Cycles + Sex is inclusive, covering trans and non-binary subjects, policies that affect women today and fertility. Breaking down barriers and talking about taboos is the name of the Cycles + Sex game, and we’re here for it. Natalia and Ashley explain that they hope the site empowers and promotes acceptance.

The site’s creation was a natural extension of these women’s careers. Before collaborating as reproductive-health educators, they both worked independently as nutritionists. Ashley noticed many of her clients were pregnant, and she was taken aback by the lack of information about the body out there for women. Now women from 18 to 50 can be equipped with expert knowledge, making Cycles + Sex a resource worth sharing. The results speak for themselves: Last year, more than 800 folks attended a Cycles + Sex event to learn about underreported topics like endometriosis and painful sex.

As Natalia points out, many of us feel disconnected to our bodies. We often try to soldier on without knowing the finer details of why something’s happening. Ashley and Natalia hope that by being more knowledgeable and in tune with our bodies, women can know what our options are and who’s there to support us throughout our reproductive journeys. Let’s take these founders’ leads. Let’s break the cycle and actually start talking about our cycles, shall we?

Natalia and Ashley know it can be difficult for women to talk about what's going on with their bodies. While it isn't always easy to have these conversations, it's necessary to because we can't work efficiently without being physically healthy first. Check out three tips on how to take care of your body by clicking here, or if you're listening via podcast, head over to!


Author Diane Mariechild said:

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”

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