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gallery May 16 2017

Meet O.school, the Pleasure Resistance

It may have been awhile since you thought about this, but sexual education generally sucks. Beyond the fact that it isn't even required everywhere and some schools are allowed to straight up lie, when it is done "properly" it typically focuses exclusively on hetero relationships and preventing disease. In other words, there's no mention of consent, pleasure or sex between folks of the same or diverse genders.

All of which can leave queer folks in a lurch when looking for answers to questions about our sex lives. This bare landscape is what led Latishia James, a self-described queer chaplain gone rogue and reproductive justice activist, to join the team creating O.school, a radical pleasure education platform.

"We want to create a safe space for women and gender-diverse people to unlearn a lot of the homophobic, transphobic and fatphobic myths that keep us from having fulfilling sex lives," Latishia, O.school's chief operating officer, explained. "We also want to amplify the work of educators who are doing this great sex and pleasure education all around the country."

O.school's platform offers live video streams and live chat with instructors who guide students through a diverse range of classes. The courses focus on unlearning shame, demystifying orgasms, being an ethical slut, enhancing intimate partnerships, learning about kink and sex after life-altering events like assault or pregnancy. (O.school is currently in closed beta, but interested readers can sign up for the wait list here.)

The site welcomes all, but centers women and gender-diverse folks. The founding team is comprised mostly of women—four of whom are queer and two of whom are women of color.

"As a queer woman, I don't have lots of resources for pleasure education created for queer women, by queer women," said Latishia. "That dearth of resources is really what motivates the O.school team to build this platform that solves for this issue."

As COO, Latishia is tasked with the nuts and bolts of O.school's many moving parts, including recruiting and encouraging its talented cast of sex and pleasure instructors. There's Afrosexology, two Black womyn pleasure advocates and activists whose courses center on creating a more sex-positive Black community through unlearning cultural shame; Sarah Brynn Holliday, a queer feminist sex blogger who teaches about how to reclaim your body after sexual trauma using sex toy; Mia Li is a self-identified queer, first-generation Filipinx who helps students demsystify the orgasm and many others.

"Our instructors are the heart of O.school," said Latishia. "We look for people from all kinds of backgrounds who can speak to a variety of experiences and talk to their students, not at their students."

The courses, too, represent a wide range of topics having to do with the body. Recent streams have centered around the relationship between sex and eating disorders, thriving after herpes and PrePing for pleasure, which is a guide to enjoying your sex-life even if you are at a high-risk for developing HIV.

"Now more than ever, it's so important to practice self-care and resistance. Pleasure can be a really powerful tool for both," said Latishia.

Tagged: love and sex
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