Where would you begin if you wanted to unlearn everything you know about sex?
If you could go back in time and rid yourself of all the stuff you learned about sex that was wrong, where would you start? What would you do if given the chance to confront everything about sex and sexuality that you’ve ever felt ashamed about? Would you seek out an online school for advice?
O.school is an online platform, launching in Fall 2017, that will give you the sex advice you’ve always wanted. A group of 35 sex educators, at least half of whom are queer and many of whom are people of color, will tackle all your questions about sex and pleasure via live online seminars and chats.
“There’s not an equal distribution of sex ed in this country,” says founder Andrea Barrica. “Not everyone has a safe space to talk about it and ask questions, so we want to provide that.”
According to Barrica, O.school is unlike other resources on sex education. For one thing, it provides a place to learn about things that might be new for folks, like consent, pansexuality, and BDSM. The goal of O.school isn’t necessarily to up the number of people who are having sex, instead it’s more about those who are already having sex being able to find pleasure and confidence in it.
“We want people to live better lives and feel comfortable with their own desires,” explains Barrica. “If sex is part of that, that’s great, but overall, we want people to know that it’s okay to have whatever desire you have, as long as there’s consent, agency, and education.”
O.school uses its channels as larger platforms to discuss topics like sex after trauma or after other life-altering events, such as an STI diagnosis. The school also takes you through the importance of experimenting with sex toys, why you should prioritize masturbating and how to unlearn the negative associations to words like ‘slut.’
O.school is unflinching in its attention of these topics – no euphemisms here. Its instructors are committed to bringing you information like the kind you always deserved to have, instead of the fear based kind (i.e. abstinence-only education) you might have had up until you were old enough to start figuring stuff out for yourself. Whether or not we want to admit it, we all have some serious shame built up as a result of what we’ve been told or not told, not to mention what we’ve internalized by just breathing in the air of misogyny that’s around us on a daily basis. It’s even more rare to find a source of sex education that reflects the realities of our identities. That’s why it’s important that O.school folks are people of color, of all religions, queer, fat, femme, straight, anti-racist, and overall, pro-pleasure.
Of all the elements that have been missing from what we’ve been told about sex, pleasure is probably the most glaring of omissions, and it’s O.school’s focus. Shame and stigma stand in the way of us really being able to access our own pleasure – being told that we don’t deserve to feel good, that a man’s pleasure is the most important, and that seeking out sexual satisfaction makes us bad people can be real mood killers.
So, to review: At O.school, which you can access via your own personal computer, you can listen to great classes with educators who are deeply invested in helping folks get in touch with their bodies and what makes them feel good. You can watch alone or with your friends, and while the rest of the internet is a minefield of sexist and racist garbage, O.school’s chats are moderated. For the time being, you can’t enter into a chat unless you know someone affiliated with the project.
If O.school sounds like what you’ve been looking for your whole life, sign up on their wait list to get notified when it’s up and running.