Our guest today: Andrea Barrica
Andrea Barrica is the CEO and founder of O.school, a judgment-free educational platform to learn about sexuality and pleasure. As a queer woman of color, she’s been fighting to bring more humanity to the tech industry, and her mission is to create the world’s most trusted sexual wellness brand to help people increase their sexual health, power, and confidence. Previously, Andrea co-founded the leading financial solution for growing startups, inDinero.com, which now employs 150+ employees globally. She also served as a venture partner at 500 Startups, a global venture capital fund, where she worked with hundreds of startup companies.
Andrea was raised in a religious, conservative Filipino family that only taught abstinence and she only had fear-based sex education in public schools. Seeking support and information, Barrica could not find reliable resources and experienced harassment online. Determined that no one else should have to struggle like she did, Barrica launched O.school in 2017 to change the way people learn about sexuality.
Watch our interview
Andrea Barrica – Founder of O.school: Judgement-free, Sexual Wellness Education Plat – powered by Happy Scribe
Barrica from old school to join me. Thank you so much for being here, Andrea, and thanks for your time.
Thank you, Fei. I’m so excited to be here. Hey, everybody.
So I definitely want to do a brief intro for those of you who don’t know much about Old School. So Andrea is the founder and CEO, and this platform is something that it’s been introduced to me through my condom manager, actually, Anna Freeburg. And Old School is very powerful because it is a judgmentfree educational platform to learn about sexuality, sex, sexuality, pleasure through articles, online conversations, interactive experiences like the Orgasm Order form, which I did fill out yesterday. Previously, Andrea cofounded the accounting and tax platform. Andrea. Is it indonesia.com? Yeah, that’s right. Oh, wonderful. And you also served as a venture partner and entrepreneur in residence at 500 Startups. So that is one of the world’s most active global seed funds. My goodness, what a life. You’re still so young and you’ve done so much.
It feels that way, too, to hear all that, like, wow, that was a lot of things. But what’s so exciting is the time that we’re in, and I think so many people have multiple careers. I feel like the world of a linear career is gone. And so it’s so awesome to be able to mold it all together. And then just the other day, someone was like, what does accounting software have to do with sex? But really, the two things people have the most shame about it’s money and it’s sex. So I feel like it connects to me, but at the time, even sometimes it doesn’t feel like it connects, but it always, I think, comes together, like, backwards. I think Steve Jobs said that you connect the dots backwards, not when you’re in it. It is so true.
In retrospect, I’ve been podcasting since 2014. A lot of people still don’t realize that’s the case, and YouTubing for about two years. It is really in retrospect, I realize how all the knowledge, all the pieces of people, the hundreds of connections are coming together. So I really urge people who are many of my audience here are content creators and creative entrepreneurs. Many of them started in the year 2020, which was a pretty rough year for everyone. So a lot of them are like, how come I don’t see the progress? Am I even on the right track? Am I making progress? What are your thoughts? Because, Andrea, I feel like that’s kind of people will say, this is in your DNA. You’ve been doing this probably since you’re like, 15 or something.
Well, I had none of those dreams when I was 15. When I was 15, I was actually left home a little early. I did not get along with my parents at the time, and so I had a lot of conviction I was going to be a linguist. So I went to school for linguistics. I studied abroad in china. I did things that put me on a path. And then as soon as I finished college, my freshman roommate called me and she said, hey, I’m starting this accounting software, and I think you should completely drop everything. Drop your plans to move to China, move to Mountain View, and help me build this tech company. And she tried to get me excited. She’s like, hey, we got in the Y combinator. And I was like, I don’t know what that is. I had no clue about business tech, nothing. I didn’t even know about it. It was just completely a different world to me. And I think it was that naivete that allowed me to drop everything and just say, sure, I’ll help you. I did it because my friend was a woman in Tag in 2010.
There were very few women entrepreneurs that were doing things, and so that’s why I jumped ship. And then I did it again when I got into BC, and I did it again for old school. And I think it’s all about really listening to the universe and, like, the things that’s throwing at you and just being able to be brave enough to go, okay, let’s do it. Let’s jump in. But no, I never imagined this path for me. And at 15, if you told me I would be building technology or online sexual wellness things, I mean, I’m really building old school for 15 year old me. Like, I was so struggling back then. And that’s, I think, the beautiful thing too. When you look backwards, you can’t even imagine. You can’t even imagine, like, the things that you study, the things that you killed yourself for. Like, it all kind of works out in the end, but it also is so difficult to plan and project where you’re going to be.
Very true. There’s so much I want to talk about, honestly. I know I always say this, I’m excited about these conversations, but this one in particular is very meaningful to me, to a lot of us. I can already envision how I want to maybe share this conversation with some of the Facebook groups where I belong to, one of them being, like, subtle Asian YouTubers. There are a lot of part of your work. I think we want to really dive right in and people are excited to.
Be here is old school.
First of all, what does O stand for? I want to double check.
I stand for whatever people wanted to stand for. So definitely orgasm. Thing that comes to mind, but also is like an exclamation. Like, oh. And I think for us, orgasm is a common way that people see it, but you would be surprised how many people have their own interpretations of that. And there’s a lot of exploration and excitement and selflearning. And for me, sexuality isn’t just about sex. It’s about agency. It’s about figuring out what you like and what you don’t like. And since you’re such a creative and I so respect and I’m excited to be talking to a large audience of creators is if you look at the chakra energy, when you study that creative energy and sexual energy, they’re really related. And so it’s really about that for me, helping people figure out what sexuality is for them. And we know right now, for example, 1% of all people in the world are asexual. Like, they don’t really connect to sexual desire like other folks, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t have joy and times in their life when they go, oh. And so I really bring that up because I think some people think it’s just about orgasms, but it’s so much more than orgasms.
It’s really about figuring out for yourself what you really want to make you feel good and what doesn’t make you feel good.
That is so important, because I definitely identify with that. There is so much shame since I think especially women, in this case minority women of color, for our culture. Andrea kind of collectively referring to as Asian Americans. I know that you grew up in the household as well. That was on the conservative side, and so was mine, really. I think my parents were more open about it, but there were four or five years of living with my grandparents. It was something that we couldn’t talk about as a six year old. It was wrong for me to look at boys or girls in any way. I was very confused for a long time, frankly. And what was like for you, kinda for us to talk about our childhood before we dive in.
Well, very similar to FEI. I knew at a very young age, at my youngest age, is that it wasn’t okay to be naked, to explore, to ask questions. The only thing my parents taught me about sex was, don’t have it until you’re married. It was just a thing that we knew. We could watch violent movies, but we couldn’t watch sex scenes. Right. It was, like, funny because it wasn’t a lot of young people, they were censored from watching, like, really violent movies. I just remember I was five, I was watching Saving Private Ryan gore everywhere. My parents were like, this is completely appropriate for a young person. But if there was a kissing scene or a sex scene, it was like, no, you’re too young. This is bad. It was very clear to me. And yeah, I grew up with a lot of fear about the topic, a lot of shame. And when I speak to other Asianamericans, other Asian people who grew up in Asia, it’s just something that a lot of people feel unable to connect to, even like I know that for me, it was just so separate from what was. I really worked on school and my academic goals and my career goals, because sex was just a thing that felt not accessible to me.
And then when I started to want to learn and start to struggle and start to look through it, the Internet did not solve the problem for me. I was Googling things, and I was working in software. I was looking at Internet companies and businesses. I was googling around, and I just really wasn’t finding things. And that’s where old school came. So now old school, we build trusted information about sexuality. And the way that we think about it is there’s really great medical resources like Planned Parenthood and WebMD and healthline, and then there’s, like, porn on the other side, and we really just think about what’s in the middle there. There’s a lot of questions, a lot of ways of helping people get there and what exists now. There’s a lot of resources that exist, but there aren’t a lot of really, brands that come to mind, like, companies that come to mind that you can ask these awkward, hard questions to. And that’s where we focus.
And I feel like I almost want to pull out the website. I’m looking at it, but for people who are listening, watching now or later, o dot school. Very simple, very straightforward. And Andrew, I don’t think what people don’t understand is that you’re not trying to dance around the subject. I am very respectful of a lot of Ted Talks out there. I’ve watched many of them about, like, how to, you know, how to feel sexy. I think the conclusion at the end of the speeches usually is you should love yourself first, which I completely agree, but I think old school is very daring in the sense of diving in. We talked about the orgasm order form. Also, I got an email recently to say you did a survey of asking people who, you know, in your relationship who initiates sex first. And I was actually really surprised to see the results. Right. And actually, I want to dive in. Like, people who responded to us survey, are they mostly men or women? I assume women.
We have a really slid audience. It’s probably sometimes when you for example, when old school started, we were centering women, but men just kept showing up, and we’ve really grown to think beyond that. We also have you know, there are reports that there are more than a million nonbinary adults in the US. So even thinking about who we’re reaching, we’re getting a large swath of people who are identifying with not just even men and women, like, people identifying as non binary in that specific group. Usually we’re like 60 40 women to men, but then sometimes we get things where men are more comfortable to answer. And so we’re learning these things. Old school is really curious. Like, we are really a curious team. And so we’re always wondering, trying to take our assumptions, what will happen if we just ask people curious questions, never trying to delay it or arouse, but just start the conversation. And even me, when my team is putting out these polls, I answer them myself and I’m like, oh, I’ve never thought about that or how do I think about that? And I think it’s just an invitation for people to talk about it in a non, just like more of a science way, a more curious way and not this thing that you have to perform or be a certain way or not like pressure.
Because for example, with that question of initiation, we find that a lot of men really kind of sometimes want people to initiate to them and that’s one of their secret desire that maybe is not so accepted. Whereas people raises, women are expected to receive and maybe they want to initiate more. And we’re really trying to get at those types of trends or changes or the way that people want to be more open in thinking about sexuality than what we see in movies, what we see in porn or what we’ve been told. I know that for me, in my Filipino upbringing it was like men go get you, women, you have to wait. And there was this a lot of talk about being easy and if it’s easy to date a woman that it’s bad and it’s slutty and like all of these things are said to me and these are the things that I think that a lot of people, they don’t investigate sometimes. They’re like, oh, they don’t question it, they’re just like this is how it is and we like to open up that conversation.
Yeah, the opening of the conversation is definitely step one and normalizing. The conversation around sexuality is something that I’ve seen and I feel like I’m always looking for information around this because I am approaching my late thirty s at this point and I feel like I should know, truly know a lot more about that. And really as a content creator is a podcast where I’m going to open up this conversation. Especially being an Asian person, I feel like people I know, some of the audience are more drawn, some more drawn towards me because they feel like I understand their upbringing, their background. And secretly I also noticed whenever I go to YouTube, for instance, like I’m very drawn to other Asian creators content. So I’m really proud we’re able to do this. But what are some of the andrew, what are some of the challenges that you may have witnessed like earlier on versus now? Because now I realize old school. For instance, on Facebook, the group has nearly a million people. I think it’s approaching 9000 at this point. So the conversation is probably changing and shifting all the time. So what has that growth and experience been like for you?
It’s taught us so much and I had a lot of assumptions and things that I am continuing to return. I think a big one is the age of the people who come to o school. One of my frustrations that people think sex education is for young people and kids, and that is true. We need so much more comprehensive sex that it’s not even funny. In the US. Very little comprehensive sex that is happening, and that is a big problem. So put that aside. We also need to understand that throughout the entire lifecycle of a human being, there is a need for learning about sex. Because when you’re young, you’re learning about your body and how it works and relationships and sexuality, and then a few years later, there can be so many issues throughout a life cycle. You have anxiety and depression and what do you do? You have a baby, your partner has a child. Oh, you’re finding out that you have some queer desires. Oh my gosh, like a fetish has interested you. And there’s a freak out, potentially, because what does this mean? And maybe you want to explore something completely new.
What if you find that your sexuality and it’s more fluid through your life? Menopause, erectile dysfunction, there’s so many things throughout someone’s life that they need to be open to. And so our age at Old School, when I was started, I was really surprised to see how many people over 60 were coming. Like, I had a 75 year old woman ask us about blow job tips. Like, she had been in a marriage that didn’t have a lot of sex for a very long time. I think she was in her sixty s. And then she was starting to tape for the first time and having so many great sexual experiences shared with old school, how fun it was for her exploration, but was wondering if we had blowjob tips for her. And I said, this is great. With always teaching the team, we ended up writing an article about like, blowjob positions for people over 60, so like, their back doesn’t hurt or, you know, that’s something that our community taught me. I did not. Our content team, the editorial team, we’re learning from our community all the time. And the longer I do the work at Old School, the fewer assumptions that I feel like we should have and the more research we’re doing.
So the reason we do polls more than anything else is because there isn’t a lot of great sexual wellness data, period. In the academic world, the business world, any world. Like, we are starting to find that this is such an area that is underserved and also not well understood. Having close to a million people on Facebook has just given us, by the way, the very global audience, like over 100 countries. We get people from all over the world. And the level of questions, the level of curiosity has really showed me a there’s so many things that people don’t know and haven’t been taught, and there’s a lot of basics that be surprised. I still have people who don’t know where their pee comes out, who ask us basic, basic questions from all over the world. So that shows me a lot. And then you’ve got people who, you know, like I said, there are stereotypes and there’s so many people who sexuality don’t match that. And that is a beautiful thing. And so what my hope is with old school that we continue to normalize the conversation and also can understand and share how our understanding is developing.
Such a wonderful journey. And, you know, it’s interesting, like the platform we’re on right now, we won’t be able to see, for instance, comments from LinkedIn. It just won’t get posted here. But I’m really intrigued for people’s reactions as they’re stumbling upon stumbling upon this conversation and they kind of explore on their own time. But feel free to send us questions and anonymously as well if you’re on YouTube with your username. It’s not like we’re going to I’m not going to identify your name if you’re ever sending questions during the segment, but I think it’s so inviting. But Andrea, another area I have just enormous amount of respect for you is I think we both realize that what you’re doing here is absolutely not limited to sex and sexuality alone. You are also addressing sexting, safer sexing, which is great information for teenagers and perhaps parents and people over 60.
A lot of 60 year olds are like sexting for the first time. And we actually find that sexting rights in people who are older are increasing as well. The data that I’m seeing is that people of all ages are sexting. A lot of people who are lonely in the pandemic, and they’re starting. So, yes, young people are sexting. We know that about one in four. Wow. People under 18 are starting to experiment. And there’s a lot of fear around that. There’s a lot of things that we talk about on our site. There are safety precautions, of course, that have to be explained and parents should be aware. And also, it’s one of the safest forms of sexual expression there is. There’s no risk of pregnancy or sri from that. There are other risks, digital risks in the digital world that young people need to be educated about. But it’s also a beautiful thing that young people are expressing their sexuality, period. They should be. This is an opinion that I think a lot of people still feel like when you talk about young people and sex, it has to be about fear and don’t do it.
A lot of people who have sex said that’s the message is that if you have sex, you’re going to get pregnant, you’re going to get STI. It’s gonna be bad. Right. And that is important to give education about all the risks. Absolutely. And also it’s still important to realize that humans are sexual beings and we should be empowered to make the sexual choices that are right for us at the stage that we’re in. And that’s I think really important when we talk about sexting, is a great topic because there’s been a lot of mainstream articles that have come out about, oh my gosh, even though one of the last ones I read focused on, they could be potentially in trouble with the law for child porn. And like, all this fear and anxiety around new forms of technology and sexuality. And what I love to do is say the risk cleanly, but as we know, it’s abstinence only sex education, which right now is one of the more dominant sex education that are being offered in the United States at least. It doesn’t work to reduce rates of teen pregnancy. It doesn’t work to reduce rates of STIs, red an alltime high of STIs in the United States right now.
And so what I like to push people on is that we need to have more frank and real conversations about sexuality, not just spread this very harsh and very fear based message that if you do this, you’re at risk and this is a problem. Those are true. But leading with sex feels good. Pleasure feels good. It’s a part of our wellness. It’s just like mental health. It’s just like emotional health, spiritual health, physical health, sexual health. And I don’t know why. I do know why, actually. There’s a lot of reasons why, but there’s been a lot of forces in the last hundreds, maybe thousands of years that have taken sexual health out of the whole picture of health and wellness. And I really am excited that right now I am seeing we’re putting it back into the body. Basically, mental health was lacking. I don’t think we supported mental health as much. And I’m so glad to see that mental health is getting the attention it deserves. And now we can also pay attention to gender identity, sexual health, sexual wellness, this whole super important part of our lives.
I think it’s super smart to approach in a friendly way as opposed to the fear based learning and education which is permeated across different disciplines and industries. We turn on the TV, especially living in the US. It’s barely any good news left and everything’s very triggering. But at the same time, I think we’re aware. I think you’re walking that line. And I feel like this part is also really on brand. It’s so hard to do when we establish a company, people say, oh, this is not really on brand for you anymore. But you said data driven. Something I remember reading from a number of your articles. Basically 83% of the, I believe, social media platforms as well as tech platforms overall billed by men, yet the majority of the social media users are women. So there is a discrepancy there of how these technologies and platforms are being used. But at the same time, what I feel about what old school is doing ultimately is kind of putting that power, that control back into the women’s hands or people of color, people who are minorities too. Because when I say that, I don’t just mean initiating sex, but also there’s that piece of understanding yourself, even providing feedback.
I feel like I would love to hear you talk about the feedback portion because that part is really hard, at least from my experience talking to my female friends. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody not critiquing. But we talk about pleasure here and what works for you. But I don’t think women are naturally very open about that at all. And perhaps most men are not very accepting in terms of feedback, right? It’s almost like a shame or seen as a sign of weakness. And like, what do you think about feedback and communication when it comes to sex and pleasure?
It’s so challenging for people because let’s just look at stereotypes. Like to be a woman and to be a sexy woman. You see all the way that Victoria’s Secrets in the news now and like, all these different brands in the news. And there’s all these pressures to perform in a certain way. So for women it’s to be sexy, to be desirable, all of these pressures there. And then for men, it’s also there’s also a lot of pressures. Like to be a man, you have to have a lot of partners. There’s pressures on who should have the more partners, definitely, you know, there’s all these pressures. And so when you give feedback, when you have communication, it’s very sensitive. And what we find is most people that we speak to that come to us, we have data too as well, across the board. And we do see gender differences on comfort level, sharing desires with partners. And it’s, you know, men generally with the data that we’ve seen, we’ve recently done some market, some research and looked at our data. They’re a little bit more willing and confident to say this is what I want and what I don’t want.
And definitely for women it’s lower. So there’s a little more shame. Also just a lack of education. We don’t have clitoris education as much. And so we know the data. Straight women are having the fewest orgasms of any other group. Straight men, gay women, gay men, bisexual women, actually bisexual women. It’s closer to straight women. So sleeping I’m not trying to throw anyone on the bus here. It’s just an educate it’s a big education gap. And also there’s gendered stereotypes, expectations. Society has really kind of given us a lot of messages. And in this way, for queer people, there’s actually an advantage because there’s not representation. That’s a bad thing. Not having queer representation is not great. But when it comes to sexuality, there’s a little bit less of a script that’s fed to you. Because if you’re a straight woman and a straight man, you watch all these movies, you’re kind of like, this is how sex works. And we talk to straight women and straight men, and they have a very set. They have some expectations for how sex should go. And if you watch any movie, what is it like? They it’s like effortless and like kissing.
And then they fall into a bed like everyone’s having an orgasm at the same time, and it takes three minutes, and then it’s, like, over, right? Think about every movie is not even porn, just any movie. And when it doesn’t fit, that when it doesn’t happen like that. There’s a lot of oh, my God. Am I bad? Am I not good at sex? All this all these feelings come up for people. And so what we hope is that people go at their own pace, learn what feels good to them. I mean, it’s true that sometimes when I ask women, what do you like in bed? What feels good in bed? They don’t know. They’re like, I know I’m supposed to do this, this and this. And I’m like, yes, that’s great. What do you like? What brings you joy? I had a workshop, and I called up Making Your Delight list. I gave them assignments to go home and make lists. Not just sexual things, but anything that brought them a lot of bodily, physical joy. So I always give the example of getting my hair blow dried. I love getting my hair blow dried.
That’s a very positive, very, like, sexual experience for me. And I will tell my partners that I like that. And I try to start with non sexual things, because as soon as you get into sexual things, there’s all these you know, I don’t feel comfortable asking for that. I’m not ready for that. And so my advice to anyone who’s on that journey is start to just pay attention to what feels good. And masturbation is a really relevant topic, and we also find that comfort level, talking about masturbation is way lower in women than men, and this is an important tool to learn what you like. And so some people are ready to be on a masturbation journey, some people are not. And so for those people, that’s why I start with pick things that delight your body and start there, and then eventually maybe start adding things that are physical, sensual, sexual from there.
With the moment you said when you had that workshop, I was thinking, wow, if I were to be at that workshop, I probably have to look over to whoever’s next to me is like, what did you put on your list? Can I copy some of that? It’s it’s something that is so unintuitive to me. I’m just being very honest, I think recently worked with Dr. BJ. Miller on basically sexuality. There’s a webinar, and people there are 150 people really engaged in that conversation. And with him admitting that, it’s a really difficult and really challenging topic and his audience are primarily caregivers as well as people who. Have certain type of illness, different severity, but both groups are being impacted. Caregivers, not having the energy or feeling.
Like they should feel sexy, it is.
Not their role anymore.
Their role is absolutely. Having children affects a lot of people this way. Not all people. Some people feel more sexual as mothers, but some people feel like this weight of the caregiver role and of course there’s energy issues and stress and then anxiety and depression. There’s so much there. I’ll also share that this is not just women. I actually had the opportunity to be on Peep Pain, the rapper’s show, and I had him fill out a version of the Orgasm Order form Fee, which you mentioned. And there was a question of like, what things make you feel the best around that line? And he was like, wow. He’s like, I have had sex with a lot of people. And he was like, no one’s ever asked me this. And I was like, oh, that’s so great. Think about what’s the recipe for your ideal experience? And so even a rapper sometimes can learn. And you know, I think there’s a lot of stereotypes about that. But I think caregiver is a great example of people where I think a lot of people split themselves and they’re like, this is my public self, this is my public identity.
I am a mother, I am a professional, I am a CEO, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister, I’m all these things. And when you try to integrate sexuality in there, it can really challenge people because maybe there are internal judgments that we have. It was really difficult for me to integrate. I had a public facing, you kind of said in my bio, I was in venture capital, I had co founded accounting software. And when I started to build a school, a lot of people were like, you got to be careful with your brand. And I like, what do you mean? And they’re like, you’re going to really mess up. Like kind of just warning me that as soon as you go into sexuality, society is going to draw a box around you and put you in another category of person. And that’s one of the big reasons why I remain really outspoken about business and data and science, because it’s not just about like I think people think sexuality means you have to be sexy. And that’s actually not true at all. It’s about connection and learning and awareness and deep, deep work. Unlearning judgments that we may have, unlearning shame and pain.
We haven’t gotten to trauma. So many people in this country have had really traumatic experiences and healing. This is going to take a lot of that. Hello. I see we have guests coming in. Hi, everybody. Let me know if you have any questions. We’d love to love any audience questions. But yes, I love that you brought up the caregivers because what I really wish for everybody let’s talk about the flip side. A lot of people feel pressure to be sexy and sexual. And what I really like to tell those people is Old School stands for them too because a lot of people don’t really care about sex. Like it’s not that important to them. It’s like exercise or food. Some people are foodies and some people are gym rats. I love the gym. Some people love food and some people love sex. And I wish that they were just seen as that, like, some people are really into sex and some people just aren’t really into sex and that’s okay. And I feel like in the society we have today, we don’t give people the room to be either. It’s either we push people to be super sexy or we punish people for being sexy.
But what I want to see the world where you don’t have to care about being sexy or have sex or any of those things, but you should be educated in a way so that you know what the options are. Because I also think that a lot of people who would not a lot of women we have done experiments with studies. They don’t prioritize sex in their life. They have a lot of like it’s not for them or they don’t like it or they have pain or all these things. But when you work with them, some of them find that they love sex. Some of them that’s just part of who they are. They don’t care. But the issue is when you don’t give, especially we just heard straight women are having the fewest orgasms they may not be aware of how to feel good. If we change that, what would we have? That’s a question that I’m really trying to answer through our work with old school.
Again, it’s a very daring area. And for people who are watching this I know that we’ve talked about straight sex, but this platform is very much open to people of any sexual orientations. And I’m lucky enough to have a lot of my friends who are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual. I feel like we live in the world right now. It’s an opportunity to learn so much more. Again, I was born in the early 80s. Looking back, I realized what would my life be? How would that impact my maybe sexual orientation is not exactly the right label, but I think I would be exploring a lot more. I think I would be probably more open to it. For example, I just loved wearing boys clothes. I’m actually surprised that I grew up to be attracted to men. I’m actually, frankly a little surprised. But for the longest time I was really not comfortable. I didn’t like anything that was identifying myself as a woman. I found dresses to be really gross. I didn’t have long hair at all until I was 16, and so I basically look like a little boy. I remember being in first grade and girls would not let me go into the girls bathroom.
I remember having to hold my pee and just be miserable on to run home. Yes, all that actually happens, which I’ve never shared anywhere. But I’m just glad we’re kind of in a world where a lot of people are still struggling, but you create this safe environment for people to explore. So, Andre, I guess my question long winded is like, where do you see old school go next? What are there particular groups of people or questions you’re like so eager to answer to address for them?
Yeah, queerness is the future as you just see it. Gender queerness. I feel the same way as you on gender. Like, I knew about queerness. I grew up in a place where it was not okay to be gay, but you knew there were people who were gay, bisexual, and now young people, one third of gen z know someone who uses they them non gender conforming pronouns. Like that is huge. And then you see the number of people kind of trying to think beyond malefemale. It’s a lot of feelings people a lot of feelings about it. But it’s also showing that people are starting to really think beyond that. And I think that’s in general, a freeing thing. I think it’s challenging a lot of people, but it’s a freeing thing. It’s a liberating thing. And old school, we’ve always I’m queer. I came out in the middle of my life only five years ago. Really, maybe five, six years ago. I was in the closet for most of my life. I married young to please my parents, and that experience really connects me to people who are in different stages of their journey. We’re not all ready to be like out and proud.
And now I love helping people who are just exploring, too. Faye, I love that you shared that because many people have experiences growing up that you just stuck inside. I did. I know that I did. I wanted to be a good Filipino daughter to my parents, and for a lot of my youth, that meant covering up my very early attraction to women. I have a funny story where I went to a Catholic school at kindergarten and I ended up getting in trouble with the nuns because I would not leave the 8th grade girls alone. I was five years old and it was innocent and fun. And I was very curious why they couldn’t wear their bathing suits because I went to a very conservative Catholic school and little five year old me was running around very curious about that and that energy that I really want old school to be part of making it okay for people to express whatever is right for them. And that means globally. So I have a very global aspiration for oschool, we already reach people all over the world, but that is for me a guiding light. And then in terms of gender, sexual orientation, that’s the future that I see.
I don’t bet if I’m a betting person, I speak to investors about this. If I’m a betting person today, would you bet that people are going to be more sexually open or less? Are you going to bet that people are going to explore more and explore their sexual orientation? More or less. Social media has been a huge driver. There’s been lots of bullying and negative things, but there have also been an unprecedented amount of representation on social media. TikTok, Instagram. This has arguably given queer representation globally. So sometimes people think, oh, that’s just a Western thing, it’s not true. We now see people. If I had seen artists like Janelle Monet and I was 15, it would have changed my life. I would have been like that. I like that, and I’m like that. But, you know, I grew up also before that, and now I see Old School being something that people can Google and find and not find the things that I find. And what I’m hoping is even just finding a couple affirming resources can be life changing for a young person. And I think essentially what we’re all trying to do is make it OK to be whatever you’re going to be for sure.
One area. Andrew, I’m really excited about Old school, and I have a feeling I was really drawn towards a section where you invited people with disabilities. I know disability is this whole there’s a whole spectrum, right? We’re not addressing one particular disability, but I saw content that you’ve posted on YouTube. There’s content on your website. I was particularly touched because not only that, I’m currently working on a project called Enabled Disabled interviewing people currently focused on a lot of physical disabilities. But we know that our mental disabilities you want to go after too, is that we are hearing over and over again that people with disabilities are often seen as a sexual period without being questioned. For women in particular, years ago, doctor didn’t offer them PAP Smear because just assuming they’re not sexually active and it still is the case today. And that is such a barrier, especially when it comes to when I come to realize that we are going through life. At some point in our lives, we’re all going to experience one form or another type of disability, age, illness. What are your thoughts on that?
Yeah. I’ve had the pleasure of learning from many educators who work on the intersections of disability and sexuality and identity. I worked with one Eva Sweeney, amazing educator, has educated with Old School before and has taught me a lot about how to think about consent. For example, Eva’s a nonverbal sex educator and gave education on consent, which was super important because we think of, you know, like you said, it’s something that even verbal people struggle with giving verbal consent. And so we have so much to learn from people who are in bodies that are not in the ablebodied view of what like you said, humans come in all varieties of bodies and they can be sexual bodies, right? Like able bodied bodies can be asexual and differently abled. And disabled bodies can definitely be sexual and they should be given the agency education and access to express that. And absolutely, I think you’re right. I think people don’t think, they don’t realize we’re all going to go through it. And I think even older people arguably struggle with this. People assume, like, the older you get that you’re not going to be a sexual and that’s true for a lot of people, but it’s not true for everybody.
And it’s so important we need to, for example, extend sexual health education to older communities because they don’t use condoms as much. The STI rates are a little bit of an issue in these communities. And I think part of it is we as a society don’t want to think about our grandmothers and grandfathers and like, you know, in society as super sexual beings still, and the same with people with different abilities. And the truth is that that is not the case. We absolutely can learn a lot too from these folks. People with sexual dysfunction are a massive group of people and I have learned a lot from these folks too. Sex doesn’t have to be orgasm focused. Sex doesn’t have to be an act focus. Like I’ve learned from people whose expression of sexuality are completely organic and fits the people in the situation. Meaning that doesn’t have to be a penis and a vagina. There doesn’t have to be intercourse, doesn’t even have to be touched. Sometimes some people are having virtual sex, especially with a pandemic, the expression of sexuality. Masturbation is a type of sex. Mutual masturbation is a type of sex.
There are so many types of ways to express ourselves sexually that I have been inspired and learned from the disability community.
So beautifully said. It’s crazy because even though I know I’ve done these interviews so focus on business a lot of times growing one’s business, I realize been 45 minutes we haven’t even gotten there. So if I may just pivot a little bit because I want to promise Andrea I let her go at least a few minutes before 02:00 Eastern Time. Is, you sound to me like what people don’t realize sometimes is you are such a you are a content creator, you’re such a curator to decide what goes on the website, to focus on what’s actually useful and engaging at the same time as an entrepreneur. So this is kind of the little mini entrepreneur segment. I’ll definitely repurpose and create a little sound bite or audiograms from. This is what are some of the lessons learned as an entrepreneur? What are some of the advice that you can give to people to go about their journey of creating something that’s meaningful and engaging?
Absolutely. I’m a customer acquisition. That’s where I’m obsessed. Because sexual wellness as an industry, from a business perspective, is going to be massive. But the largest issue pressing personal care, sexual wellness, is the challenges with customer acquisition. Some of it is structural, can’t make a vibrator ad on Facebook, period. Full stop. There’s challenges like that. There’s challenges that are shame based, just like fintech. You would not share a bankruptcy article no matter how good the article is on bankruptcy. Same with sexual dysfunction or any of the issues that people have pain they don’t want to share. It doesn’t matter how good old schools content is, at the end of the day, there are forces that will prevent organic sharing and all of that. And so that’s been a massive focus for me. And what I love helping people with is really meeting their consumers where they are and going from first principles, because if I take playbooks from other industries, they just don’t work for sexual moments. Like it does not matter how awesome the playbook was, you have to invent one for things that we really don’t have a robust field. And so my advice to entrepreneurs is definitely first principles, meeting customers where they are.
I think more than ever today, people, especially younger audiences, Gen Z, they really a lot of people don’t want traditional marketing the way so giving really useful content. We learn from Google search. Google Trends. We really focus on what people are asking. It seems so basic, but I think a lot of people just miss those very fundamental things about content and creating content for people. And that’s like really being honest about the people who are coming to you. For example, a lot of people, I think brand marketing, you’re creating this aspirational brand. And in sexuality, there’s a lot of challenges with that. Because if you build the Victoria Secret, for example, right, it alienates a lot of people. And what we’re trying to do, I think there have been challenges with old school. We are so broad, we serve a lot of different audiences, and that can be really bad. Like a lot of people are like, focus, focus. But when you focus in sexual wellness, that for us was a really important business decision not to. Because if we focus, for example, on straight people, that doesn’t fit what we want to be long term.
And today it’s so important that your DNA reflects that. And so the solution for us has been really being clear about how we segment, how we build our customer acquisition funnels, how we think about growing the business, being a top funnel brand, meaning we’re not focusing on one specific group and trying to serve all their needs. Because that in a world where a lot of things are catered to the mainstream, a lot of things are catered to heterosexual people, to certain groups. And we I won’t say that we only focus on people in like, you know, who are minorities. Even sexuality is such a there’s so much that hasn’t been built that especially not just sex tech, but anything where you’re going into a space where there’s a consumer problem is so complex. That has been for us how we’ve focused our time, especially this year, is really figuring out the segment of the problem. For old school, we solve an information asymmetry problem on the Internet. There is not a lot out there when you search and we want to help solve that information asymmetry two companies, consumers, people don’t have data and information about sex.
It doesn’t exist. Like, we are trying to create that. And then three, we have to think beyond male. Like, we have to think beyond gender, age and relationship status to target on marketing. Like this is so common. Oh no, what happened to Andrea? I hope she will come back.
Guys, she’s back.
She’s back. Yay.
Sorry. Literally 2 seconds ago when you said not to focus on just a certain group, literally, you came right back within 5 seconds.
So amazing. Apologies for my internet. I don’t know what’s going on, but yeah, I just think people focus on age, which of course that’s how the ad platforms when you think about things, the targeting has to we have to think about people beyond millennial women do this and millennial men and do that. And those monoliths are really tough.
I so appreciate you saying that because a lot of people these days when I hear the word niche, like niche down, I get it. Where most people are trying to make a splash, they have to find something that they’re really good at. They have to look at the intersections. But I agree. I feel like for old school sounds like old school, but for old school it is about everyone. And maybe like we just said, for this conversation to be more fluid, for people to be more exploratory, it is to know that what people are liking. Frankly, I am personally interested in reading what people of other sexual orientations are enjoying. Maybe they’re able to explore so much more than what hetero relationships even know about. Right. I would say personally, through my friends, I agree with you that it sounds like heterosexual couples seem to have a lot less fun, a lot less in sync. But then I realized it makes a lot of sense of men often don’t know what brings pleasure, what brings pleasure for women because it just not I just don’t mean the genitals, but just like your bodies or your minds are constructed so differently and the two parties are always open to listening and receiving feedback.
So there are a lot of conflicts as opposed to yeah, so it’s so fascinating. Thank you so much, Andrea. What a fascinating conversation.
Thank you, Faye. I appreciate all that you shared too. And I think creators are usually adding to this movement all over, I see more and more people who are looking to explore gender identity, sexuality, and it should be it’s a business issue. Like if you want to reach consumers, you have to understand them. And if you don’t understand how sexual orientations and gender plays out and affects people in their life, you’re missing out on a big piece of the puzzle. And so I’m really excited to see more business people learn and start to really explore this area.
Yeah, that would be very exciting. My last question would be, are you currently how are you splitting your time? You have so many projects going on. Are you primarily focused on old school?
Well, school is my main love right now and we’re building, expanding again. We’re getting really into data and market research and different things. I think for the first few years of the business, we really focused on building the content and now we’re really starting to expand off of that. And so that’s been really awesome. Really fun.
Oh my goodness. Thank you so much. And I have links in the description below, whether we’re young, YouTube, LinkedIn, everywhere else. And I will be creating definitely some audio grant video grams from this. I absolutely enjoyed it. Thank you again so much, Andrew. I’m going to bring us offline and end the stream.
Bye guys. Whoever is watching.
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