34 GENIUS INTERVIEW Andrea Barrica
streaming product was a custom product built with Wowza, since many live streaming tools prohibit sexual content. We currently use Webflow for our CMS and Wistia to host our video content. FEED: Who are the O.school team and how do they work together? And how do you develop new content? ANDREA BARRICA: The internet is great at allowing people from different communities, different regions, different identities, and different educational approaches to produce knowledge. What the internet hasn’t been good at doing is harnessing all of that knowledge, or separating it from the massive amount of ignorance, rumour, fear-mongering, outdated thought and just general misinformation available. What O.school does is to create a dependable, non-judgemental resource on all issues related to sex and sexuality. We build from a knowledge base of our sex educators, therapists, coaches and medical doctors, as well as other writers, researchers and journalists to produce specific, medically accurate, stigma-free articles relating to sexuality and dating. We have an amazing team of freelancers across the world, who work with our editors to create content where they have specific knowledge.
THERE’S NO COMPLETE GUIDEBOOK FOR HOW TO DEAL WITH SEX AND SEXUALITY , BUT WE CAN HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND HOW OTHER PEOPLE HAVE DONE IT
FEED: What are you hoping to develop in the future, particularly around video or other online content? ANDREA BARRICA: When we launched, we were really focused on live-streaming classes, and in connecting all of these amazing sex educators who were working in different communities across the country and the world. We quickly realised that the need was even more basic than that, so we’ve shifted some of our focus to creating articles, guides, graphics and video content that can be accessible at any time, and ranges from advanced to rudimentary. As for the future, we plan to continue building and iterating tools that create transformative spaces that help people feel safe, share their stories, explore new content and also interact with us as a brand. Live, interactive video is one medium, but we are exploring many other ways to help create transformative experiences that help people learn about themselves and their sexuality. One tool that we plan to release is our ‘orgasm order form’. One day, I ordered a sandwich from a Whole Foods grocery store by filling out a short form about my sandwich preferences. It occurred to me that this experience could help people communicate about pleasure, so we created a simple PDF. People loved it, so now we are creating an interactive online version. FEED: Can you talk about online content, including social media, and it’s influence – for good and ill – on sexuality? ANDREA BARRICA: People still talk about the internet as if it’s this new thing that has disrupted the world, but it’s more than two decades old. That means that a lot of content you stumble across is really outdated. And for someone who is trying to find out information about gender identity or STI prevention or menopause, there’s no dependable way to really know if what
We also work with partners in the community to develop specific content, such as first person video essays, or more pointed opinion pieces, or individuals who can fill out the content with individual voices. Because sexuality is never by the numbers. It’s individual. We’re trying to provide our users with factual resources, certainly, but also with ways of existing in the world, of negotiating consent, of coming out, of healing from trauma. There’s no complete guidebook for how to deal with sex and sexuality, but we can help people understand how other people have done it. Most of all, we see ourselves not as a static media site but as an organism, a community. Something that is both responsive and curated, and that engages with those who come to us in a way that a traditional medical site or a Wikipedia-type resource does not.
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