Censorship. Spectrums. Consent. The Next Sexual Revolution Is Upon Us, And “the Talk” Needs To Be Revisited. Who Can We Trust To Lead The Conversation? Meet America’s Next Sex (Ed) Symbol.
It began with a kiss, as so many sexual awakenings do. Eileen Kelly, who attended Catholic schools in Seattle and comes from a devoutly religious family, still remembers how she felt when a teacher humiliated her for kissing a boy. “I was in third grade, I think, and it was just a peck on the cheek, but it had a lasting effect,” she says. “Shame was just so deeply rooted in how I grew up.”
Now 23, Kelly straddles the millennial generation and the coming-of-age Generation Z, a position that makes her one of the freshest faces in the movement to guarantee every person in this country access to a sex education that’s inclusive, gratifying and medically accurate. She wants her generation to participate in more honest conversations about sexuality, enter relationships with more realistic expectations and help demystify the stigmas that burden so many sexual curiosities and subcultures.
“The sex ed we wish we had” is the simple but purposeful mantra of Kelly’s brand, Killer and a Sweet Thang, which has exploded on Instagram and, since 2016, as a lifestyle website that publishes such pieces as “What Does Consent Look Like?” “Intro to BDSM Toys,” “PrEP 101” and “How Porn Has Affected Millennial Sex Lives.” Killer and a Sweet Thang launched as a Tumblr blog focusing on Kelly’s own sexual misadventures, but she soon realized first-person sexcapades weren’t enough.
“The defining moment,” she says, “was when I realized I was sharing only one perspective, which was a narrow one — that of a white woman who lives in a big, liberal city. I’ve always had access to health care, for example. If I wanted people to come to my website and be able to learn and connect, it needed to be intersectional. I needed stories across the board.”
Today, more than 100 people contribute stories to Killer and a Sweet Thang, which has spun off into another, more editorial-focused Instagram account, @birds.bees — the inspiration for Kelly’s PLAYBOY shoot. Accompanied by GIFs, erotic photography and an unrelenting directness, Killer and a Sweet Thang’s articles, columns and social posts target young people who may find technical writing or government-provided information about sex too polarizing, out of touch or impersonal.
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