Interview with Liz Klinger, CEO + Anna Lee, VP of Engineering, Founders of Lioness


The following article is part of Like a Boss Girls’ Women’s History Month series, “Women Making History Today”.

What happens when you combine a sculpture artist with a mechanical design engineer? Well, in this case, you get one hell of a vibrator. Meet Liz Klinger and Anna Lee, two of the leading ladies behind Lioness, a revolutionary “smart vibrator” that brings a superior level of design, technology and education to the sex toy industry.

The Lioness vibrator is equipped with biofeedback sensors that track the user’s sexual response, transmitting that data directly to the user’s phone via a private app. Designed by two women who put attention into every detail, The Lioness is providing women with the unprecedented ability to learn how to maximize their pleasure. Read on to learn more about this BossGirl duo and the product being called “the FitBit of Vibrators”.

anna lee liz klinger lioness
Pictured: Anna Lee, VP Engineering (left) and Liz Klinger, CEO, Lioness


In honor of Women’s History Month (and in order to fully appreciate just how far we’ve, um, come), let’s start by taking a moment to dive into where the vibrator began.

In the Victorian era, many female patients went to their doctors suffering from ailments like anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, and “heaviness of the womb”, a condition that was commonly diagnosed as “hysteria”. (For the record, this condition is no longer recognized by medical professionals – so if your doctor tries to diagnose you with this ailment, RUN.) Hysteria (or what would roughly translate to “sexual frustration” today) could successfully be treated by a medical

c. 1906 Advertisement for the Barker Vibrator. (JAY PAULL/GETTY IMAGES)

professional who would administer a “pelvic massage” to induce a “hysterical paroxysm”, which is a fun term for an orgasm if social constructs deem you incapable of sexual pleasure.

For centuries, doctors routinely treated hysteria by administering pelvic massages. However, this was tedious, physically demanding work that led many doctors to suffer from chronic hand fatigue, an issue that was noted in medical journals of the early 19th century.  Finally, in 1880, a physician named Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville was able to leverage the recent technological advancements in electricity and patented the electromechanical vibrator for use as a medical instrument.

Initially, the vibrator was only created for use as a medical instrument, but not surprisingly, this new machine on the scene didn’t stay confined to doctors’ offices for very long. Since female sexuality was shrouded in stigmas of shame, sin and indecency for the majority of the 20th century, the vibrator was camouflaged by advertisers as a “personal massager” and existed primarily under the radar until mainstream discourse around the turn of the 21st century finally brought the vibrator out of the shadows and into the spotlight (thank you, Sex and the City). Today, an estimated one-third of American women own at least one vibrator, and companies like Lioness continue to innovate this game-changing product. Without further ado, let’s get the lowdown on Lioness.

Name & Job Title: Liz Klinger (Founder & CEO) and Anna Lee (VP of Engineering)

Company: Lioness

Currently based in: Oakland, CA

Quote that you live by:

Liz: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” – Steve Jobs

Growing up, several of my friends unexpectedly passed away. I learned that death is not something that just happens when you are sick or old. We are not invincible. I decided to focus on what was important to me and not to wait until there was a “perfect time” to do the things I wanted to do. None of us truly know how long we have, so it’s important to make the most of life right now.

Anna: “The Supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to.” – Lao-Tzu

I read this quote in the book Saltwater Buddha by Jaimal Yogis a few months ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. In fact, the whole book is full of goodness. I highly recommend it.

Name a woman in history that you admire & why:

Liz: My grandma. I hope I have inherited some of of her intelligence, risk-taking, and determination. She was a migrant worker who faced a lot of adversity throughout her life. She didn’t have the opportunity to attend school or learn English, which was a shame because she was extremely smart. Despite everything, she saved up to buy her own farm so she could be self-sustaining and provide her kids with a better life. She was able to make incredible strides that no one expected she’d be able to do as a Mexican woman in mid-20th century America.

Anna: Wow, talk about an impossible question! There are so many badass women I want to shout out. To name a woman from recent history, I’d like to give a shout-out to Tarana Burke, the founder of Just Be Inc. and the Me Too movement long before the hashtag. I am deeply grateful for her dedication to raise awareness for sexual abuse and now her work with Girls for Gender Equity to promote well-being of girls and women in all aspects of life. I believe that she encompasses everything about Lao-Tzu’s quote (above).

Your Superpower:

Liz: See below. I think Anna sums it up pretty nicely 😉

Anna: I’m really good at throwing away accumulated things from Liz’s hoarding habits. Liz is really good at retrieving back things I’ve thrown out. Hahaha

Fun fact about yourself:

Liz: I started my career as an artist! My work has been featured in gallery shows and magazines in settings ranging from northern New Hampshire galleries to Lower Manhattan pubs.

Anna: If I’m not working, I’m backpacking, surfing, and working on my container garden. I’d kill to live on a small beachside ranch/farm one day. Anyone have one I can move into?

lioness smart vibrator app
Pictured: The Lioness Smart Vibrator and App

The Lioness is the first “smart vibrator” of its kind, internally equipped with advanced biometric sensing technology

capable of tracking the user’s sexual response. Built-in sensors are able to measure pelvic floor force, motion and temperature, and the results from each session are visually mapped out and transmitted to the user via an encrypted private app. The user can tag each entry with notes in order to track the way that factors like alcohol consumption, menstrual cycle, mood or time of day can impact their sexual experience.

The scientific and educational nature of the data being collected is integral in destigmatizing and demystifying female sexuality. Fun Fact: Past research has found that female orgasms fall into one of three main patterns, known as Types I, II and IV, or what Liz and Anna have come to refer to as Ocean Wave, Volcano and Avalanche. Since scientific research on orgasm patterns has been limited, there is still a great deal left to learn- but in the meantime, The Lioness vibrator is empowering women by enabling them to learn more about their personal sexual response patterns and to develop a better understanding of their body.

Best of all, Liz Klinger and Anna Lee didn’t let advanced technology overshadow the importance of great design when they created The Lioness. Liz, a successful former sculpture/3D artist, and Anna, a mechanical engineer who helped launch some of Amazon’s most successful products at Amazon Lab126, were both aware of how important it was to pay attention to the details in order to create a great product. Liz and Anna focused on every aspect of the user’s experience, including features like a low battery indicator to make their product as incredible as possible.

The Lioness vibrator is available for purchase on their website, so get one today and get busy!


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