The Sex Lives of African Women: Self Discovery, Freedom, and Healing (Paperback)
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Now in paperback and with journaling prompts, an Economist Best Book of the Year hailed as "Touching, joyful, defiant—and honest,” celebrating African women’s unique journeys toward sexual pleasure and liberation in this newly updated empowering, subversive collection of intimate stories.
"Dazzling... the tone is hopeful, resilient and accepting. Marked by the diversity of experiences shared, the wealth of intimate details, and the total lack of sensationalism, this is an astonishing report on the quest for sexual liberation."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
In these confessional pages, women control their own bodies and desires, work toward healing their painful pasts, and learn to assert their sexual power. Weaving a rich tapestry of experiences with a sex positive outlook, The Sex Lives of African Women is an empowering, subversive book that celebrates the liberation, individuality, and joy of African women's multifaceted sexuality.
From a queer community in Egypt, to polyamorous life in Senegal, and a reflection on the intersection of religion and pleasure in Cameroon, feminist author Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah explores the many layers of love and desire, its expression, and how it defines who we are.
Sekyiamah has spent decades talking openly and intimately to African women around the world about sex for her blog, “Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women.” For this book she spoke to over 30 African women across the globe while chronicling her own journey toward sexual freedom.
About the Author
Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah is a feminist activist, writer and blogger. She is the cofounder of Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, a website, podcast and festival that publishes and creates content that tells stories of African women’s experiences around sex, sexualities, and pleasure. Her writing can also be found in The Guardian, open Democracy, Essence, and elsewhere. She lives in Accra, Ghana.
"Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah is changing the way African women talk about sex."
"I really haven't read anything like it, in its treatment of African women's lives, sex lives, and sexualities. It breaks silences, it challenges stereotypes, it dismisses taboos, it throws social norms out the window, and most importantly, it defends our complexity and it gives us shelter and room for healing."
—NoViolet Bulawayo, author of Glory
"Touching, joyful, defiant -- and honest."
—The Economist, a Best Book of the Year
"Reading these stories is a reminder that the sexuality of African women is far from a monolith... a refreshing and emotional read."
"The honesty and frankness with which these women share their experiences of falling in love, lust, and their traumas, too, is fascinating…It’s the kind of book that inspires you to reconsider your own romantic preconceptions and to imagine new, healthier dynamics."
“Its stories are raw, unencumbered, exhilarating and, at times, enraging”
"The stories, as written by Sekyiamah, are mesmerizing. The women shared with her, and by extension with us, with true generosity."
"The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah is so important and groundbreaking in its treatment of African women’s sexualities it deserves to be consumed in every possible medium; a docuseries would be a great way to widen its reach."
—NoViolet Bulawayo, Elle.com
“An ambitious, moving account of women controlling their bodies and their destinies.”
"Sekyiamah’s book seeks to provide the roadmap to recovery through a collection of shared experiences...readers will resonate with the honesty of these stories, and hopefully feel more courageous to live their truth each day."
“Groundbreaking volume … The result is a candid, subversive and empowering read.”
"Dazzling ... the tone is hopeful, resilient, and accepting. Marked by the diversity of experiences shared, the wealth of intimate details, and the total lack of sensationalism, this is an astonishing report on the quest for sexual liberation."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Overflowing with candor, vulnerability, and juiciness, this collection of raw, tender stories that Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah has so lovingly gathered will upend all of your assumptions and stereotypes. These mothers, activists, writers, sex workers, and others share painful truths, evolving glories, and journeys toward love and freedom, in their own words. They are trans, queer, heterosexual, kinky, and say, 'To hell with labels.' Facing down dangers and double standards, they are healing. The Sex Lives of African Women captures the breadth and depth of the Diaspora with the intimacy of looking in a mirror. Marvelous!”
—Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
"The Sex Lives of African Women is a Pan-African feminist love offering to our ancestors, women living across the Diaspora and future generations to come. Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah delivers this love with honesty, levity and delicious prose. This book satiates my appetite for stories that take the interior lives of Black, African and Afro-descendant women seriously. It is simply unparalleled and right on time."
—Charlene A. Carruthers, author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements
"In these emotionally charged and refreshingly honest essays, this collection gives literal shape to women's sexuality and desires. Nothing less than stunning. Essential read! I couldn't put it down."
—Nicole Dennis-Benn, bestselling author of Patsy and Here Comes the Sun
"This collection affirms what we’ve known all along: African women are reclaiming their bodies and taking ownership of their sexual destinies. Every single story leaves you feeling deliciously empowered."
—Lola Shoneyin, author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives.
"These intimate confessions come from pansexual women, polyamorous women, queer women, trans women and those who identify as heterosexual. Some of their stories are heartbreaking, while others are liberating. Instead of having their stories told for them, they take the reins and find freedom in that, something that every woman deserves."
—Del Sandeen, Sisters from AARP
"Talking about sex is still taboo in most cultures and communities and these personal stories reveal a mind-blowing variety of sexualities, sex lives and relationships."
—Bernardine Evaristo, The Times UK
"Everyone will come away standing a little taller and breathing a little lighter, buoyed by the affirmation that we are all normal and that the marginal is central. The Sex Lives of African Women is a safe space: it is pure, unadulterated freedom."
—Jane Link, Big Black Books
"A book like none you will have read before... With sensitivity, this book has facilitated astonishing breaking of silences. ... Sekyiamah has delivered an extraordinarily dynamic work, true to her own precept that 'Freedom is a constant state of being … that we need to nurture and protect. Freedom is a safe home that one can return to over and over again.'”
—Margaret Busby, The Guardian