Japan has something of a contradictory reputation. While the media of the country can sometimes have a rather salacious approach to sex and sexuality, public displays of affection are very rare when out and about in real life. Sex is rarely discussed in polite company and the school curriculum for compulsory sex education is sterile and uninformative wherever it does exist.
Shelly, a Japanese-American talent and model, started her YouTube channel Shelly’s Bathroom (Shelly no Ofuroba) in December. Since then it’s grown tremendously in viewership, primarily due to her very frank and humorous approach to sex education. At the time of writing, Shelly’s Bathroom has over 114,000 subscribers and a passionate fanbase who take to her comments section to share anecdotes and ask questions…lots of questions.
▼ One of Shelly’s breakout successes: a video titled "My First Confession! One Embarrassing Thing That Happened to Me."
In the video above Shelly stresses the importance of good sex education by talking about an experience she had in high school. This experience wasn’t hers—a friend told her excitedly that she had had sex for the first time with her boyfriend. As she gushed excitedly about the details Shelly started to get concerned. They did it in a park? And then the guy…um, spilled on her stomach? And then he wiped it up?
“Wait, wait, wait, wait,” Shelly says to the camera with an expression of bewilderment on her face, “so where was the condom?!”
She then reveals that she got a lot of her own advice growing up from her two older sisters, who stressed the importance of safe sex and that Shelly shouldn’t trust a guy who wasn’t willing to use a condom with her. The disparity between herself and her friend, who saw zero need to make sure her boyfriend had a condom, was a vast one.
Then she tells the story of a girl at her high school who was rumored to have gone to an abortion clinic not once, but twice. “Not that a condom is 100% guaranteed to stop a pregnancy,” Shelly explains, “but anyway, her boyfriend refused to pay for the second trip. It’s your kid, you know?!”
She then says that while there are many kinds of people in the world, this cavalier approach to sex can cause emotional and physical damage. And sex shouldn’t be that way. She created this channel to help make sex into something more positive and to reduce the amount of mistakes young people will make.
And don’t worry, she had her own embarrassing story to tell too. She shared a conversation between herself and her then-boyfriend from when things began to get a little hot and heavy:
Boyfriend: Um, I don’t have a condom.
Shelly: Oh yeah? That’s a shame.
Boyfriend: Huh? So we’re not gonna do it?
Shelly: You’d do it?! We don’t have a condom, so that’s that!
Boyfriend: You gotta be kidding me!
Shelly: Fine, go buy some then! Even a convenience store sells condoms.
Boyfriend: Nooo, that’s embarrassing. It’s my local convenience store, I’m always shopping there.
Shelly: Then fine, it sucks but we can’t do it today.
Boyfriend: Well, I’m sure we could use like…cling wrap or something?
▼ “Could we really?! Idiot!”
Other videos cover important information like putting on a condom, and tips to stay safe on a night out. Her straightforward, blunt manner of addressing topics thought of as embarrassing or illicit has won her a legion of fans of all ages and genders, with men in particular surprised by how much they learned.
▼ She explains the basics of condoms here with guest Harry Sugiyama.
One male commenter, in particular, thanked her for talking so openly about the existence of male sexual assault victims as it helped him to come to terms with his own experiences of sexual harrassment. Others weren’t aware that condoms stop sexually-transmitted diseases and aren’t just a method to prevent pregnancy.
Talking about sex can be uncomfortable, but these videos are a low-pressure way to learn about how to stay safe and happy during one of the most vulnerable activities you can indulge in with another person. Thanks, Shelly.
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