How is it that so many of us are more sure of what we want on a sandwich than in our sexual pleasure? On this episode of Busine$$ of the V, Dr. Alyssa Dweck and Rachel Braun Scherl take on this question along with their guest, Andrea Barrica. Her sexual education platform, the O.School, has carved out a niche by providing a safe place for people in search of science-based and accessible information. Over the past five years Andrea’s team at O.School have compiled a treasure trove of data and insights about the predilections, fears and curiosity among a wide range of people who are sexually active – or would like to be!
Part of the magic at O.School has been creating a resource that offers judgment-free information and language that is not only familiar but inclusive. As a result, many other sites have introduced similarly candid conversation around sexual health and wellness. Andrea finds that the video content, polling and data analysis her platform provides creates a sense of community and tremendous engagement among people who find comfort (and shed shame) around a variety of behaviors.
The O.School’s “Orgasm Order Form” is a great point of entry for many first-time website visitors. The result of an “aha” moment while waiting in line to place a sandwich order at Whole Foods, Andrea and her team have put together a series of questions to help us figure out what we do – or do not – appreciate sexually at least as well as we know whether we want mustard and pickles! Enjoy this frank, fun conversation about the important work Andrea is doing and how O.School is poised to partner with reproductive- and sexual health-related businesses and provide data and access to voices in this quickly evolving space.
If you’d like to try out O.School’s sexual pleasure order form, just click here.
Click here to subscribe or listen to previous episodes of the Busine$$ of the V podcast with Rachel Braun Scherl and Dr. Alyssa Dweck.
- About the idea and progression of O.School, which started in 2016, at a time when venture capital firms still weren’t keen to take on products and services related to sexual and reproductive health.
- Google until fairly recently offered only a wasteland between scientific information about sex and an assortment of porn. O.School has stepped into fill that gap with credible, accessible content about sex and pleasure.
- Judgment-free is a central value at O.School, where Andrea is combatting some of the alienating, even misogynistic, information she has seen floating around on the internet.
- Pivoting from video streaming and expanding to provide educational platforms that feature polls, data, voices and experiences.
- How Andrea hatched a pleasure-related brainstorm while waiting in line for a sandwich at Whole Foods!
- Queer people don’t have scripts in the same way that heteronormative people do, growing up with so much mainstream media imagery. O.School and other sources for sexual education are helping to expand the conversation and flesh out data.
- About low libido: Dr. Dweck shares strategies she has deployed to help foster conversation and clarity around sexual likes, wants, needs.
- Rachel highlights how important being anatomically frank and open is when it comes to children, who are more likely to report abuse and observe boundaries when they have been given accurate terminology.
- Andrea shares more insights that have come out of the O.School “Orgasm Order Form” experience, in which tens of thousands of people have participated, including the prevalence of blocks, shame and shyness among people of all ages.
- O.School anonymizes and shares polling data, which sparks conversation or knowledge exchange that the community finds freeing and permission-giving.
- About the types of businesses that consult O.School for market research and marketplace support.
- O.School is aware of its skewed audience and is always looking at ways to enfranchise voices that are hidden.
- O.School has been giving education away for free for five years, which has earned the company credibility to partner for market research, content and advisory services.
- Andrea explains why the biggest challenge to business success in the sexual wellness space is marketing, customer acquisition and the challenge to reach people – all of which are extremely costly.
Dr. Dweck wraps up the episode with reflections on the intricate mix of ingredients in the sexual stew that O.School is exploring, including the psychological and relational aspects.
(6:52) – “What O.School is today is a trusted place to learn about sex. When you google things about sex today, Google wants to show you things that are trusted. Before we existed that was really tough. Today what we’ve built are science-based articles about sex and pleasure.”
(07:25) – “We use the playbook of a science-based, medically accurate resource, but we use words that people use, like ‘blow job’ instead of ‘fellatio.’ ”
(09:24) – “The good news is that sites like O.School are opening up a conversation where people aren’t afraid or embarrassed to bring up subject matter that might have been off-limits even just a couple of years ago.” (Dr. Dweck)
(17:34) – “Some people think that sex ed is just for kids … but there are 60-year-old women in this country who are not ready for something like an ‘Orgasm Order Form.’ ”
(22:28) – “The data helps us complicate all of those (sexual assumption) monoliths.”
(25:42) – “The most conservative people around sex, they’re not without curiosity about sex. It just can’t be about them … and that’s why we put the judgment-free ahead of science-based sometimes.”
(26:12) – “There’s a shame barrier that we have to cross and just being someone that you can say anything to is really, really, really important.”
(28:53) – “For medical-based companies and people with different business models, content is like the forgotten step-child of their business.”
(29:02) – “It’s really tough to invest in, it’s really tough to show a positive ROI and everyone’s getting killed on customer acquisition costs. I would venture to say the biggest barrier in sexual wellness today is marketing, customer acquisition and the cost to reach people.”
Andrea is a serial founder, ex-investor, contributor to New York Times, SELF, and Forbes.com, author of Sextech Revolution, the Future of Sexual Wellness. She’s a professional public speaker who has given talks at TED Unplugged, SXSW, Women in Tech Festival, and more.
Personal Website: www.andreabarrica.com