Student Showcase: Demi Whitnell
Over the last few weeks, Hype kicked off an exciting campaign with our Lovehoney students. The Lovehoney ambassadors have created some incredibly empowering content and we are so proud of their passion for opening the conversations about sexual happiness and sex-positivity!
For this month’s showcase, we wanted to spotlight one of our lovely #LovehoneyStudents, Demi. We sat down with them to talk about their current role as an ambassador, their work as a sex educator, and why its important that we talk openly about sex and ‘taboo’ topics online.
Hype: Hi Demi, tell us a bit about yourself!
Demi: Hey! My name is Demi, my pronouns are They/She, I am a queer, nonbinary qualified RSHE (relationship, sexual health education) educator in London. I specifically focus on queer RSHE, using both online platforms and in-person/virtual workshops to educate on all things queer and sexy! I am also currently undergoing an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture at Birkbeck University and work on a daily basis with disabled and vulnerable students from ages 11-15.
Hype: How did you get involved with the Lovehoney campaign to become one of our #LovehoneyStudents ?
Demi: I was lucky enough to be reached out to by one of the organisers of the campaign who loved my queer content over on my Instagram (s3xtheorywithdemi) and the rest is history!
Hype: You run an incredible and educational Instagram page that covers sex theory. What was your inspiration behind starting this account?
Demi: Thank you! I originally started this account with a simple interest in furthering my knowledge on sex and BDSM partially at the time. That slowly developed into figuring out my niche and love for queer RSHE, as well as coinciding with my own exploration of my gender identity and sexuality.
Hype: Where did your passion and interest for sex education come from?
Demi: During my last two years of my BA at QMUL, I began writing for QMUL’s magazine (which I later became Editor-in-Chief of) on gender, identity, LGBTQIA+ matters and sex! After a year of writing articles on all things from ‘awkward sex stories’ to ‘gaslighting’, I realised I really enjoyed discussing the nitty gritty of love, sex, identity and relationships which is why I decided to create a radio show on campus – Soft Limit! After several months of airing shows on campus, we went into lockdown and I had to stop my show – which is where my Instagram picked it up in may later that year and now we are here! I’ve always had a passion for sex education, I was always the go-to person friends would come to to ask questions about sex or identity, I guess that never changed!
Hype: Growing up, a lot of us didn’t experience a lot of great sex education. Whereas, some of us experienced nothing at all. How important is it for us to have inclusive and in-depth sex education in school?
Demi: Every individuals deserves inclusive, expansive and shame-free sex education. It’s literally life saving. Luckily, RSHE is now compulsory in the UK since last year, meaning our youth should be obtaining the latest and most inclusive sex education of any generation which is such a relief. Not only is RSHE important, but inclusive RSHE is vital. Ensuring that everyone in the room feels validated, receives the same time and resources as other individuals and feels safe within that space to explore and ask questions is something I take so seriously. It is also mandatory for schools to include LGBTQIA+ Content throughout their RSHE lessons, not just in a singular one-off, which again, is vital. Everyone regardless of gender identity, faith, race, sexuality deserves informed and expansive sex education that includes them.
Hype: We know that for some students, talking so openly about sex on their social medias can be scary. How do you feel about posting about sex-related content online and have you always been as comfortable?
Demi: I remember posting my first ever selfie with a sex toy and I was terrified! I didn’t even want to show my face in the photo as I was so anxious of the responses. So I wasn’t as confident as I am now, it took a lot of self-discovery and acceptance to feel completely and utterly sex positive! For myself personally, I had to tackle a lot of internalised misogyny when it came to self-pleasure and gender dysphoria (which I still struggle with today) – my biggest tip is to take it slow! Only show and share what you feel comfortable with! I started with a toy in my hand and no face showing, then I began to become more comfortable and confident with showing my face alongside a toy – now I’m eating lube on the internet so, you grow!
I also recommend that if you want to go down an ‘influencer’ or ‘educator’ root to ensure you know your stuff. I have a qualification in RSHE which allows me to feel so much more confident whenever I post or create content as I know what I’m talking about! There’s plenty of free online courses or resources you can use to better your understanding and knowledge! I always say that ‘knowledge is everything’, its one of the best tools you can have!
Hype: How have your friends, family and followers reacted to your Lovehoney content?
Demi: My family are super supportive and luckily have always been! They were super proud of me for working with such a big brand as Lovehoney. My partner is also super proud and loves that I send him the videos before everyone else – plus, who doesn’t love a partner who gets free sex toys! My followers have enjoyed me putting my queer spin on my content, that was my biggest goal for this campaign, to ensure that I am representing my community and educating them (and cis/het folk) on how self-pleasure can be queer!
Hype: If you could give only one piece of advice to your followers when it comes to self pleasure, what would it be?
Demi: Take it at your own pace! Especially if you are a queer, gender diverse individual – self-pleasure can bring a lot of dysphoria and dysmorphia, so its about taking baby steps, doing things that work for you, trialling things to figure out what works best for you and your body!
Hype: What would your advice be to those who are perhaps a bit apprehensive to explore their sexuality through using sex toys?
Demi: Toys do not say ANYTHING about your gender identity or sexuality! You can use any toy, on any body part and it says nothing about your gender identity or sexuality – so just have fun and explore!
Hype: What’s been the most enjoyable part of being a #Lovehoneystudent?
Demi: Mingling with people who are sex positive but perhaps not in my niche or community! I love discussing all things sex and it was great to chat with other sex positive people who weren’t necessarily part of my community. They were (and are) great people and they are creating content that will help others to feel more confident and comfortable with self-pleasure.
Hype: Finally, can you recommend some of your favourite sex-positive Instagram accounts?
For sex education:
Queer sex educators:
Sex positive accounts: