Actress Jessica Biel has founded a sex education platform, which she hopes will “improve the sexual health IQ of women and their partners using funny, provocative and empowering online content”.
Jessica Biel wants us to talk about sex. She’s teamed up with the WCG, a non-profit dedicated to “empowering, educating and enabling women and girls to make informed choices and access critical reproductive health products and services”, to create Tryst – a sex positive platform designed to educate women about their sexual health.
“We believe sex is natural, healthy and fun — with or without a partner,” Tryst’s website reads. “We also believe it’s totally cool if you’re not having sex. The problem: Our culture often treats sex as something bad or shameful. And we don’t talk enough about the stuff we actually need to know about our bodies, our pleasure and our partners.”
“The word tryst means “a meeting place between lovers” and that’s what we hope to create—a safe meeting place for our community to share experiences, gather information and increase their sexual IQ,” Biel says. “We don’t think we have all the answers. But we’d like to be the place you come to and then we can say, “Oh, you’re interested in that? Check out this website. Check out this author. Look at this book or this article.” There are empowering, body-positive sources out there, but they aren’t always easy to find and we want to make them more visible.”
To launch the network, Biel has created this hilarious video with Chelsea Handler, in which Handler declares that “you have to check in with your vagina”.
“How else are you going to know what’s going on down there?!” she says.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem clearly approved, tweeting her thanks to Biel for starting the project.
Much of the platform is dedicated specifically to female pleasure, too. Biel believes that “understanding how your body works and what feels good is the foundation of our sexual health”. “But people rarely talk about these things!”.
“Sure, we joke about masturbation, but no one discusses it in a real way—and they should.” she says. “It’s an amazing way to safely explore your sexuality. If you skip the masturbation part, not only are you missing out on a lot of pleasure—which is a total bummer—you’re missing out on a crucial educational step.”
Biel says she truly got in touch with her own body following the birth of her son, Silas – and his birth even improved her sex life.
“It’s just made everything better because I feel more confident to just tell the truth,” she explained. “I feel confident to say, ‘You know what? I’m not feeling it,’ or, ‘This doesn’t feel good’ or, ‘I like this.’ And I think that takes a long time,” she says.
She’s also opened up to her own fantasies: “it was something I used to feel guilty about and I’ve since learned to embrace it,” she says. “This is who I am. It’s a wonderful part of sexuality and it can be a fun part of your intimate life alone or with a partner.”
Biel has also spoken frankly about the sex education she and husband Justin Timberlake are providing for their son.
“I have and 2 and a half year old and we’re starting sex education now,” she said at the 2018 MAKERS Conference. “We’re using technical terms. We shower together, and we say, ‘this is what I’ve got. This is what you’ve got.’ We just talk about it. I know it’s really young, but I really believe that if you start this early, there’s no shame.”
“I don’t want to tell him, ‘Keep your private parts,’ and this and that,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing. You have it and mine is different and it’s cool, man. We have to respect ourselves and respect each other. So I believe it starts really young.”
Image: Rex Features