Sex ed videos made with $20 budget gaining traction online

A sexual health educator in Cumberland County is proving you don't need expensive sets or hired actors to get your message across.

Sexual health educator Rene Ross's 2 videos have more than 7,000 views each

In one video, Rene Ross reminds people not to leave their condoms out in their cold cars because they can break. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

A sexual health educator in rural Nova Scotia is proving you don't need expensive sets or hired actors to get your message across. 

Rene Ross, the lone employee and executive director at the Sexual Health Centre for Cumberland County, is producing no-nonsense videos about safe sex and sexual health.

And thanks to her trusty cellphone and the help of two NSCC students, the videos are garnering thousands of views on Facebook. 

"We don't have a budget for the videos, really," Ross told the CBC's Information Morning. "The last one the props cost us $5, and then the rest of the production cost $15. So that's pretty much what we had to work with."

The centre's first two videos were posted within the last two weeks and already have more than 7,000 views each on Facebook. The videos focus on everything from how to properly store condoms to why it's not a good idea to brush your teeth before sex. 

In the latest video, "What to do before doing it," Ross explains that if you brush or floss, you're more likely to bleed, which increases your chances of receiving or transmitting sexually transmitted infections.

That's why it's best to opt for a mint instead, she said. 

Ross said the idea behind the videos is to use online spaces where people already congregate to share practical tips in a fun way. 

It's also an effort to set the record straight because there's so much false information about sex available online, especially on social media, she said.

From left to right, Liandra Fahey, Rene Ross and Tiffany Beckstead produced the videos using Ross' cellphone. Fahey and Beckstead are students at the Nova Scotia Community College. (Submitted by Rene Ross)

While people between the ages of 15 and 24 still have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections, they're not the only ones who need to be reminded to practise safe sex, Ross said. 

"One of the fastest growing populations for STI rates is absolutely older adults and seniors, and so we're needing to do more and more outreach to that population across the county," she said. 

That's why Ross not only visits schools to educate students, but also makes presentations at seniors homes and legions.

"I'm trying to make it as fun and as relevant to our communities, and I think that's so important," she said.

Ross said one of the challenges of the impromptu project so far has been filming the videos all in one take because she just uses her cellphone and doesn't have editing software.

But that isn't stopping her from dreaming big. 

"There's so many more topics that we can do because sexual health is about so much more than also just, like, the act of sex. It's about our identity, our relationships with one another and with ourselves," said Ross. 

"So there's really a lot of wonderful potential there."

With files from CBC's Information Morning