Backed with $800,000 in Silicon Valley venture capital, a queer woman from Oakland is launching a national online platform focused on pleasure education for women and gender diverse people.
On Nov. 3, technology entrepreneur Andrea Barrica, 27, launched her latest startup, O.School ( https://www.o.school/ ), with five daily livestreams of sex education for college-aged and older adults. The programming will happen between 4 and 9 p.m. Pacific Time daily, where viewers will have the chance to chat with experts and share their personal experiences.
Initially a free service, among the first topics scheduled are masturbation, why pleasure is important, how to unlearn cultural and religious shame around pleasure, and having an open mind around sexual preferences.
The school will accept donations from participants and, eventually, will add a membership component for certain programs.
Barrica said the school will offer courses, led by instructors from around the country, to help participants unlearn elements of problematic sex education they may have previously encountered. Classes will focus on issues specifically facing queer people and people of color, addressing sexual trauma, and celebrating female sexuality and pleasure, she said.
The new venture is co-sponsored by the Center for Sex and Culture, headed by Carol Queen, a well-known sex educator, and Good Vibrations, a San Francisco-based business that sells sex toys and other erotic products.
Barrica first became interested in starting this venture after she left InDinero, an accounting company she helped found, and became a venture partner at 500 Startups, a global venture capital seed fund.
"Growing up, I didn't have access to sex education and when I started asking other women" about their educational experiences, she said, learned that most felt the same.
"As a nation, we don't even offer the most heteronormative education," let alone material that is focused on gender diverse people, she said in a telephone interview with the Bay Area Reporter.
The company now has six employees and more than 20 instructors who will teach the classes, Barrica said.
Originally published in the Bay Area Reporter.