There is no safe online space for people to ask questions about sex and pleasure without attracting vicious internet trolls, Andrea Barrica, Founder and CEO of O.school, said in a workshop on Tuesday titled ‘Sex, Power and Pleasure: The Sex Ed you Deserve.’
O.school is a shame-free online platform for pleasure education that is intersectional, trauma-informed, and entirely LGBTQ+ inclusive, Barrica explained. She said, “The de facto sex ed all over the world is porn, which is usually made by and for men, and we wanted to change that – you don’t want to learn how to drive from a NASCAR race.”
Barrica explained that 35 of the best sex educators in the country, and some from around the world, were brought onto the O.school platform, which is currently under beta-testing and can be accessed only by invite.
“We don’t want to be exclusive, but we do have to ensure a safe space for people to ask questions and keep out the trolls that are rampant on other platforms,” Barrica explained.
The O.school model has classes on various topics live-streamed to users, who will be able to ask instructors questions in a live chat, Barrica said. The level of classes is usually aimed at beginners and those who want to try things out, she added.
“When I went to my first kink meetup I was absolutely overwhelmed, I freaked because I was in a dungeon,” Barrica said, explaining the need for a safe platform for users to ask questions and explore interests.
There are six main categories under which videos are streamed, Barrica explained. #unlearn helps people overcome the shame around their bodies, instructs on how not to slut-shame others, and works to remove the religious and cultural stigma that often surrounds conversations around sex and pleasure. #elusiveo is centered around orgasm and climax, whether solo or with a partner.
“Women get taught how to say no, but we’re never taught how to negotiate!” Barrica explained, so O.school has a category of videos on #slutskills, a wide range of classes on sexual and non-sexual communication. #couples+ works on partnered sex, group sex and polyamory while #kinky explores BDSM, power-play, and the like.
Finally, #sexafter is a category that explores sex and sexual pleasure after traumatic events, be it cancer, a difficult pregnancy, or sexual assault, Barrica explained. Barrica hopes to keep this category of classes entirely free for users even if some of the other videos require a membership fee.
Pleasure education is important to dispel many of the myths surrounding pleasure, Barrica said. Audience members at the workshop elaborated on some of the reasons they believed pleasure education was important, including the divide in the manner that men and women are taught pleasure in sex ed, particularly masturbation. Barrica added that scientific research on female pleasure was ignored for many decades because male scientists never felt the need to study female pleasure.
In defending O.school against criticisms that the organization should focus on the many other ways that women have it worse, particularly reproductive rights, Barrica said that women should be thriving in the world, not just surviving. “I want to fight the patriarchy at the offense,” Barrica said, adding that all a woman had to do to join this movement was to go to her room, pull out a mirror, and look at herself.
In order to avoid any restrictions on content and workshopping, Barrica said that O.school did not receive any government funding, but is funded entirely by venture capitalists. “The patriarchy is funding its own demise, one orgasm at a time,” she laughed.
The workshop was attended by 25 people, of whom only one was male. Sponsored by the Women*s Center and Princeton Students for Gender Equality, the workshop took place at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening in the Lewis Center.