Andrea Barrica has a slutty girl dream job. She is the CEO and co-founder of O.school, an online platform dedicated to non-judgemental learning on all things sex and dating. O.school works through a dynamic combination of articles, videos, live streaming, and chat to provide accessible and shame-free sex education. Even the oldest of pros can learn something new at O.school, and that’s why we, at Slutty Girl Problems, are such big fans.
Recently, SGP had the opportunity to chat with Andrea about her experience creating and running O.school, what it’s like being a sex educator, and how to stand your ground when it comes to saying “No” during sexual encounters.
What inspired you to create O.school, and what was the journey leading up to it?
It’s been a lifelong journey to get here, inspired by my own experiences and needs. Most of my adult life I have been working on healing my relationship to my own identity and sexual expression, and a lot of that came through amazing in-person support – whether therapy or brilliant workshops and facilitated spaces. I had an epiphany that I was so lucky to even have access to this kind of support, living in California, while billions of people around the world don’t even have access to basic information about their bodies and sex. I knew I wanted to make comfortable, honest, supportive conversations about sex accessible to those billions of people.
When I started looking into what kind of resources existed around sex and pleasure online several years ago, I was shocked to find that there was little to nothing between Planned Parenthood and PornHub. Information was being presented in either a rather clinical way or a sensationalistic, entertainment-focused way.
So, we are building O.school to be a welcoming, online resource to learn about all things sexuality – like a non-judgemental friend you could ask anything about sex or dating. We have been building it for around 1.5 years now.
Before O.school, I had years of experience in the startup world where I built an accounting software company and was a venture capitalist at a global venture capital seed fund.
What does O.school do differently from other sex education platforms?
One thing that makes us unique is that in addition to educating people, we’re creating spaces to listen and validate our community. We have a whole Facebook group called O.vershare that is dedicated to hearing submitted stories about sex and dating.
We also work hard to engage people who might not label themselves by the common terms used in the sex education space – ‘sex-positive,’ ‘feminist,’ or what have you – but who are willing to learn something new to have a healthier and happier sex life. And that kind of inclusion and accessibility is part of our vision and strategy to reach billions around the world.
Describe what your typical workday is like.
Since we are a startup, every day is different. My three main jobs as the CEO of O.school are to maintain the vision of the company over time, make sure we don’t run out of money, and hire the best possible people.
What has been the most rewarding part of O.school for you?
The most rewarding part of working on O.school has been, hands-down, talking to our community members and hearing how O.school has helped them be more confident and have healthier, happier lives and relationships. Hundreds of college students on our speaking tour have told me I was the first person in their life who validated their sexuality. A 70 year-old woman said O.school educators helped her become interested in having sex with her wife for the first time in a long time. There are too many examples to list off, let alone my own personal growth through this process.
What are some of the most common misconceptions, insecurities, or questions you deal with most often in your role as a sex educator?
The most common question I get is some variation of “Am I weird? Is it okay that I like this?” People always think that they’re too much or not enough, and my main advice would be to accept that your desires just are your desires. Stop judging them.
Can you offer any words of wisdom for readers interested in pursuing a career in sex education?
Assess which part of the ecosystem you want to be part of. There are so many options – you can be a therapist, sex educator for all sorts of constituencies, social worker, run a business, and much more…try to find the role that intersects with your strengths and your work-style, because fitting yourself into a box that you think a ‘sex educator’ should fit into will ultimately be a challenge.
What advice can you offer to women who have embraced the feminist ‘slutty girl’ label, but still struggle with saying “no” at times?
Have really good self-care and meditation practices so that you can get used to being present in your body and present to your desires. Choose a mantra that you can get into your head while you meditate and that you can remind yourself of before or during any encounters with others. Some examples of mantras could be, “I want what I want,” or “I go at the pace that I want.” My personal mantra is “sex is an expression of my loving spirit;” it helps me center myself to what sex is about for me. When I feel an ability to be present and a connection to my core values like that, I am more able to naturally and easily share with my partners what is working and not working for me.
Before we close, does O.School have any special upcoming projects or streams that readers should look out for?
Yes! Check out our clitoris video! We’ve created custom animations to teach people about a super misunderstood or neglected, yet amazing, part of the body.
Readers can also check out our livestreams with amazing educators, via our calendar, at https://o.school/live/.