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The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

I started writing this review a few days after I put the book down. That was during the first week of October. But I realized I needed some time to take it all in. Then, Soma Nami had organized a meetup for conversations around this book with Kenyan readers and the author. So I decided to give it a chance before continuing the review, and I am so glad I did. 

 

So, here’s what I think about the book. 

 

To some extent, you would think that this book is nothing more but super erotic stories of African women. But no. What it offers are super intimate, insightful, and eye-opening stories into the lives of African women in the continent and diaspora. 

 

Some of the stories will leave you in awe because, what are these free lives that women, even those we would consider aged or happy and comfortable in marriages, are living! Others will leave you heartbroken and crying because of the abuse many have undergone, sexual, emotional, and physical, not just in adult life but as children. And more often than not, you will find yourself relating to more stories than you could ever imagine. 

 

After reading the book and attending the conversations held by Soma Nami, I realized that almost every African woman who reads this book would certainly relate to some of the stories. So, please, do yourself a favor and get your copy (this is my recommendation). 

 

What I loved about Nana’s approach in the book was the raw, honest, and super straightforward tone. Some might find it boring, but if you think about it, it is like reading or listening to a story from your fellow sisters without the added effects of literature for an overly dramatic story. It makes every story unique, with its voice and the need for you to pay closer attention to it without letting it get lost in the pages of other stories. 

 

Then there’s the flow. So, the book is divided into three sections, Self Discovery, Freedom, and Healing. Through the chapters in these sections, you see women discover their sexuality and watch them choose freedom over what to do with their bodies. And finally, you’ll admire the work that many are doing to heal from all sorts of abuse. 

 

Third, the fact that the book covered women from all walks of life, from those in the continent to those in the diaspora, those in monogamous and polyamory relationships, women from different religions and generations, and those in the LGBTQ community. However, I felt that most women in these interviews were from or living in the diaspora. I would honestly want to hear more from women living in the continent and those from the east and central countries in the continent.  

 

And finally, the fact that we are talking and writing about the sex lives of African women in broad daylight. I mean, we’ve been brought up thinking and treating any topics about sex as taboo. As I have learned and experienced, most ladies are only told not to play with boys, especially when they hit puberty. Nothing more. And if you get to hear anything, it is in hushed tones. Everything else you learn on your own. It is even worse if women are heard talking about their sexual escapades. All this will do is earn you a name I am not willing to write here. This book is changing the narrative. 

 

“We all need healing of some sort, and when it comes to sex there is a whole lot of healing that Black and African women need. Healing from child sexual abuse, healing from abusive relationships, healing from the violence perpetuated on our bodies, and the violence we ourselves may cause to others. One of the ways in which women heal is by speaking out about the sexual harm they have experienced.” ~ Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah 

 

Should you read the book? In my opinion, absolutely yes. But, be warned, there are some triggering stories, like rape, FGM, and abortions (and this last one is probably not in the way you think). Nevertheless, you might embark on your self-discovery and healing journey.

 

See other book recommendations here

 

 

My ★ Rating 4.5

Goodreads ★ Rating 4.46 (as of October 2021)

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