Interview: Gynae Girl Is the Instagram Account Encouraging South Asian Women to Talk About Sexual Health

  • Navi Ahluwalia

Interview with the founder of GynaeGirl, an Instagram account that seeks to explain common sexual health problems, encouraging young women to learn about their bodies and care about their sexual health, particularly in communities where the subject is not talked about or explained.

South Asian women do not talk about sexual health. It's a fact. Who we're sleeping with isn't regularly discussed in our catch ups with parents, periods aren't something that are forewarned from a young age, and what thrush feels like (and how common it is) is a conversation so readily avoided that most people don't even know they've had it. Tiffany Sequeira, also known as Gynae Girl, is here to change that. She started her informative Instagram account back in 2018 after she realised just how much of a gap there was in the sexual-health space.

By day, Sequeira is a pelvic-health physiotherapist working for the NHS. But at night, she spends her time sharing her knowledge on female anatomy, sexual wellness, and female pleasure. Topics she covers range from how to use a menstrual cup and bacterial vaginosis to period poverty and how to have better sex. We caught up with her to find out more about her platform and why raising awareness within the South Asian community is so important to her.

POPSUGAR: Gynae Girl is such a great idea for an account and it's so easy to look at, how did the idea come about?
Tiffany Sequeira: Thank you! It actually came about during a girls night out (as all good ideas do!). I was already working in women's health and my friends were constantly asking me questions about sex, vaginas, and periods, etc. One of them suggested I make an Instagram account, and that night we secured the name @gynaegirl on Instagram and the rest is history! We toyed with other names like TifFANNY and Vaginagirl, but I'm definitely glad we went with @gynaegirl.
"I hope that I have encouraged other brown girls to speak openly and seek medical advice about these taboo topics, too."
PS: The page has grown so much since it first started. Do you remember the thing that made it real for you?
TS: It honestly still hasn't hit me! Working with Superdrug for their "masturbation is self celebration campaign" or being on BBC Radio 5 was a massive deal. It will never fail to make me laugh that in the space of one day, I was up early to work on an NHS ward in full PPE and then spent that same evening talking on BBC radio about Gynae Girl.
It's also been so humbling having accounts like @theobgynmum, @lalalaletmeexplain, @clarebournephysio, and @thesexdoctor sharing some of my posts, because not only do I follow a lot of these accounts on Instagram myself, but they're also hugely influential names in the pelvic-health world.

PS: Why do you think it's important for female health to be discussed from an early age?
TS: I went to an all-girls school until I was 18, and it still shocks me how little was covered in regards to sex education and pelvic health. I think there is far too much of a focus on pregnancy and how to avoid getting pregnant. That's important but there are so many other important topics to cover, too. It also makes it seem as though the sole purpose of sex is to have babies!

I wanted to make sure there was more information out there about everything else. Pelvic floors for example; as a pelvic-health physio I know how important it is to take care of and how damage to the pelvic floor can affect you for the rest of your life. In terms of medical diagrams and physical models, there needs to be different colours shapes and sizes. I want to see brown and black skin, boobs that are different sizes, pubes, and stretch marks. We have come so far in terms of inclusivity and representation in advertising and magazines, so many different bodies are shown and it's amazing, but why is it that sex-ed videos and diagrams are usually only of skinny hair-free white women?

We still have a lot to discuss in terms of consent, female pleasure, and clitoral anatomy, too. I can't believe that, at my school, we covered male masturbation but not once did we discuss female masturbation. There's still not enough information out there about discharge and periods — especially in terms of what's normal and when to seek help — plus all the different types of sex and when to be concerned, e.g., post-coital bleeding, STI checks, and the morning-after pill.