wis·per·ing /ˈ(h)wispər-ing: verb
to change the volume of our reproductive & sexual health conversations
wisp: Thank you for taking the time to share with wisp, could you tell us a little bit about your background?
Autumn: I am a 23 year old (24 next month) sex and intimacy educator from South Carolina. I was a late bloomer when it came to all things intimate so I learned a lot the hard way (not to mention South Carolina is one of the many states that teach abstinence-only sex education). When I got into my 20’s I grew tired of unsafe sexual and romantic exchanges due to lack of education and decided to get the answers I needed myself. The more I learned, the more excited I got and HAD to share. I created a platform to share, thinking it would just be like an online diary, but BOY was I wrong. Many people have this experience and the “diary” I started became what we know as @speakingofautumn today! :)
wisp: What do you like to do in your free time?
Autumn: I LOVE spending time with my nieces, tap dancing (yesssss, odd but it’s literally so fun), pole dancing, I’m a Tik Tok ADDICT, reading is my guilty pleasure (non-fiction because I’m a nerd), and I also rewatch Euphoria until they FINALLY drop a new season!
wisp: How did your life change when you first began experiencing symptoms?
Autumn: I was in high school when I first started experiencing symptoms and had no IDEA what it was. I thought my vagina was just broken and no one would like me because of it.
wisp: In what ways does your self-care routine characterize your life today—dating, personal life?
Autumn: My self-care routine now makes the WORLD of a difference in how I actively participate in life, love, dating, etc. I feel more confident, more inspired, and I have a larger capacity for joy and connection with others. I’m not constantly worried about what a potential partner may think of me because I’m finally knowledgeable and in control of my health and my care.
wisp: How did you first find out about wisp? What was the impact for you?
Autumn: I found Wisp randomly on Instagram and almost peed my pants out of excitement (lol). By the time I found Wisp I was already immersed in the sex education world but hadn’t found many businesses that were so candid, honest, and helpful when it came to intimate care. It makes me happy that the next young human with intimate hygiene concerns now has access to what I didn’t have when I was younger.
wisp: What do you think is the highlight of using wisp’s services?
Autumn: EASE OF ACCESS!! Growing up, the only option was to go to the gynecologist (keep in mind, I’ve never had a reproductive caregiver who LISTENED to my issues *this is not reflective of all gynecologists*), explain my issues (typically BV), hope he properly diagnosed me, and then wait for results (I was misdiagnosed SEVERAL times over SEVERAL years). That’s freaking frightening for a young teen and for a while I preferred dealing with the “devil I knew” (Bacterial Vaginosis) over going through such a lengthy process, getting so many people involved in my intimate care, just to end up back at square one. What young person wants to tell a handful of adults, “hey, my vagina stinks” just to get a *possible* solution.
wisp: Did you ever try any OTC meds or home remedies? What was successful and unsuccessful along the way?
Autumn: At a certain point towards the end of my teen hood I did turn to the internet and found random suppositories online to help with the general health of my vagina. They worked better than anything I had used or been prescribed before. I didn’t struggle with smell of other symptoms but I grew really concerned about the ingredients because they weren’t coming from a pharmacy or doctor. I was caught in a catch-22.
wisp: How has the use of telemedicine impacted the way you feel about healthcare and delivery medication?
Autumn: Telemedicine is literally the best thing that has happened to my intimate health ever (no joke). It’s FAR more accessible to myself and many people and that gives me hope. It’s not realistic for me to block out 2-3 hours of my day to go to the doctor and pharmacy every time I have an issue even when they DO treat my concerns appropriately.
wisp: Based on what you know now, what would you tell yourself back when you first began to experience symptoms?
Autumn: “Your lack of access to knowledge doesn’t determine your worth. Your health doesn’t determine your value. Experiencing intimate hygiene inconveniences happens to most people, it’s no big deal, and you will find the help you need. Wisp is on the way ;)”
wisp: What do you see as the biggest obstacle in reproductive health for women today?
Autumn: I feel the biggest obstacle in reproductive health is lack of awareness. While people today have way more access to the help they need, we can still continue to spread awareness and integrate positive reproductive health education into sex/intimacy education everywhere as opposed to scare tactics or simple lack of education.