If you’re a girl and the headline of this piece doesn’t immediately trigger memories of trawling through Facebook threads of sexual advice for some scalding tea, you’ve obviously been living under a rock. With over 114,000 members, Girl Related - After Dark is one of the most well-known sex advice/NSFW Facebook groups in the country. After Dark is the sister page of Girl Related, a general girl advice group, and the brainchild of Libbyanna Cee. With 10 admins, thousands of members, hundreds of posts a day and an ATMS collaboration deal, how did it start in the first place?
“Girl Related started years ago when I felt like I had no one to talk to. I was the eldest in my family and never really had a big sister icon. The group was shared around by some friends of mine and just steadily kept growing,” Lib told Massive.
“There was so much sex talk on the group that people got uncomfortable accessing at work so we decided to start another platform. Originally called "Sexual Thursday" (OG if you remember that!) which was a disaster as members thought they could only post on that day! Soon, After Dark was born and honestly the rest is history, the group is still growing to this day.”
‘Sexual Thursday’ jogged a memory buried in the banks of my subconscious. I remember scrolling through the group as a wide-eyed 16 year old in 2014, my final year of high school. Like Lib, I never had an older sister to learn about the horizontal mambo. I thought I was a slut because I’d kissed more than one guy and felt a burning shame whenever I looked twice at the detachable shower head in the family bathroom. I also genuinely believed that having sex made your hips grow wider.
“There tends to be a mutual feeling about school sex education and not gaining enough up to date information, so you can join our group at 16 (legal sex age in NZ),” Lib said.
Not only did I use the page as a myth-busting bible, I also think it instilled my OG feminist values. I read countless anonymous posts saying, “This happened to me, is this okay?” answered with resounding no’s and offers of support. It was here that I first learnt about red flags and gas-lighting. It also gave me the strength to say no to whichever half-comatose, DC snapback-wearing redneck was trying to grope me at a country town hall party.
Lib and Janelle, one of GR After Dark’s admins, are also proud of the nurturing community they’ve created.
“For the most part, the members on our pages are incredibly supportive. So when girls reach out for advice, there are so many members who are able to share their experiences and help other girls. It’s awesome to see girls coming together.”
“We have seen some amazing outcomes from anonymous posts and it’s a good feeling hearing about a positive impact you’ve made on someone… This is our volunteer work to give back to our community and support mental health.”
But in the same vein, if you put a hundred thousand girls in one place, there’s bound to be some cattiness. The group certainly isn’t an echo chamber when asking for advice and I’d hate to be on the receiving end of some of the fork tongued comments. This is where GR - After Dark’s admins step in.
“We pride ourselves on being open and transparent with members and have strict rules about bullying and health, which we believe is what sets us apart from other groups. We are a safe space for all women,” Lib said.
One of the ways they enforce this is a strict no tagging rule; “DO NOT tag your friends in anon/sensitive posts just to laugh at them.” Screenshots are also a surefire way to get yourself blocked as the admins are strict in keeping the page safe from outsiders.
“We take safety and security really seriously. All admins sign confidentiality agreements and we have a big database of support networks to send our women who need professional advice.”
Admins like Janelle receive 100-200 pending posts a day from members alone, a lot of which are anonymous members sending in sensitive or triggering subject matter. With a full-time job to manage on top of being an admin on the page, Janelle said it’s important to take a step back sometimes.
“If you don’t prioritise your mental health, it can definitely take a toll on you. We encourage the girls to have breaks from the pages regularly so that they can separate themselves from the sensitive situations that we are confronted with.”
But she makes it clear that the positives far outweigh the negatives.
“It definitely can be rewarding. When girls come to us, and are genuine in thanking us for the support we have provided, it makes it all worth it. We deal with a lot of flack from members, but when we get positive feedback it’s really reassuring and reminds us why we do this role!”
It’s not always triggering content and tear-jerking stories; the page is also somewhere to go to submit your embarrassing sexscapade or share a relatable meme. It’s also a great way to meet people, Lib and Janelle said.
“Lots of us have made lifelong friends from meeting/commenting on the groups and then hanging out in real life.”
Girl Related - After Dark has the same energy as that sealed section in the Girlfriend and Creme magazines we read as pre-teens. It makes you feel powerful, included and like you know something saucy that your parents or total drip of a white cis boyfriend don’t.