The Quest of a Queer Filipina to Broaden Sexual Wellness Education
Photo Credit via AndreaBarrica.com
Andrea Barrica is one of the most trailblazing Filipinas today. But looking at her upbringing, one would never expect her to become a pioneer in sex tech. Get to know Barrica and her impressive journey to educate others on topics many consider taboo.
Just a few decades ago, the term “sexual wellness” inspired confused stares and hushed voices. However, that’s far from the state today. This sector is slowly getting the attention it deserves and is predicted to be worth over $122 billion in just four years.
Considering its impact, sexual wellness is definitely not a topic worth bypassing. With 13 percent of investors agreeing that opportunities in sexual wellness and sex tech are immensely huge, navigating this industry is encouraged.
And at the forefront of the marriage of Silicon Valley and the evolving narrative on sex is Andrea Barrica, founder of startup O.School, which secured funding from tech companies such as NerdWallet, Oculus, and even Google Maps.
Getting to Know the Woman Leading the Revolution
Growing up in a traditional Filipino household, her future seemed to involved kids, marriage, and maybe a nursing career. When she was 20, a friend introduced her to software startup, inDinero, and this marked the beginning of something new.
Barrica is not a stranger to Silicon Valley. Her years at the traditionally male-dominated Silicon Valley enabled her to develop an understanding of how to achieve success. But despite having a glowing career in the industry, she felt as if her personal life needed help, particularly when it comes to sex.
In a candid tell-all article from Kubo, Barraca shared how problematic her upbringing was when it came to sexual education. Of course, this narrative is not new especially to Asian kids who grew up thinking sex was a taboo topic and should be avoided at all costs until one gets married.
From being forced to wear a shirt over her swimsuit to cover her breasts at 8th grade, believing she would go to hell for masturbating, and realizing she was in love with her middle school friend at 27 years old, her life has been a roller coaster, to say the least.
After she founded the sexual wellness company, O.School, she still had some unfinished business she had to take care of, and it involved educating her parents about important lessons on sex she missed out on. Her father, who she later found out was sexually abused when he was younger, went on to build her a giant clitoris to help educate other people about their bodies.
Upon first glance on O.School’s website, visitors are confounded with statements they would usually need to open an Incognito window to know more about.
“Ask me about sexting.”
“Ask me about big clit energy.”
“Ask me about vibrators.”
For others, these types of question may garner giggles, but make no mistake. The impact of an industry like this on young girls is absolutely mind-blowing. Think of O.School like the long-lost daughter of Porn and Planned Parenthood. It provides a much-needed troll-free sex education platform that can change the way people talk about trauma, sex, orgasms, and even consent.
A queer woman herself, Barrica promises to provide information for the LGBTQ+ community, and people of color for a legitimate intersectional experience. The interactive platform allows its members to engage with other learners and educators in a way unlike any other.
Providing both clinical advice and tackling sexual topics from a unique standpoint, Barrica is slowly becoming everyone’s favorite teacher. One of the most interesting approaches of her company is focusing on trauma and shame as a key component of sexual education. She teaches people that unlearning all their shame-based and negative beliefs about sex are possible, and this will help them know their bodies better.
Barrica understands one thing people should have understood ages ago – refusing to talk about sex will only make it more dangerous. As she’s pursuing to bridge that gap, she’s helping more people think outside an abstinence-centered sex education, and live life without fear and shame.