Kerry Washington Is On A Mission To Improve Sex Ed: ‘People Are Left To Navigate These Issues Alone’


Actress Kerry Washington wants to educate people about sex and reproductive wellness. Washington’s partnership with Winx Health, a Gen-Z sexual and vaginal health brand, is giving her the space to spread the word. Sex education has been a lifelong passion, and she continues to pursue it as an advisor and investor in the brand.

“When I was a teenager, I started working with a theater and education program that did a lot of sexuality education in high schools and community centers,” the Scandal actress told PEOPLE during an interview. “And we wrote these skits about health and wellness and safer sex issues and homosexuality and abortion, and just sort of trafficking in this space has been important to me for a long time.”

Washington thinks spreading the word about reproductive health is especially important presently because of the many changes around reproductive health rights in the country. There have been statewide abortion bans over the past few years following the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade in 2022, which eliminated federal abortion rights.

“Right now, it’s weird. It’s like — I wouldn’t say that I’m partnering with the company to be an activist, but just operating in the space of sexual health feels like a radical act right now, because of the attacks on reproductive rights and the attacks on education,” Washington said.

“I really want to amplify the important work that [Winx] is doing around women’s health education and just make sure that people are informed,” she continued. The ability to really know ourselves and take care of ourselves allows us to love ourselves and to live empowered lives of choice as women.”

In addition to educating women about reproductive health, Washington wants to tackle another connected issue–voting. She believes that much of the legislation can be reversed if the right candidates are elected in November.

The Little Fires Everywhere actress has been open about being a victim of sexual abuse in addition to having an abortion in her twenties, so she advocates from a place of experience. She has also been vulnerable about how her parent’s sexual experiences have impacted her in Thicker Than Water, her 2023 memoir.

“In a lot of ways, my memoir is about the secrets of my mother’s sexual wellness and my parents’ own shame around their journey into parenthood, how that affected our lives as a family,” she said. “And so I think as I was exploring these themes of how we relate to our bodies, how we keep secrets about our bodies, about our sexuality, about our sexual health, my dad keeping secrets about his sexual health, my mom keeping secrets about hers, and her health in general.”

In the book, Washington reveals her experience finding out her dad isn’t her biological father.

“I think we truly are as sick as our secrets,” Washington added. “And so I think for me, this space of sexuality education is also about shaking off the shame so that we can live with more freedom and a sense of liberation in our day-to-day lives, really de-stigmatizing health and sexuality.”

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