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Sexuality is a concept that varies across different cultures and/or religions in the world. Female sexuality covers not only the female sexual identity but also female sexual behavior. Perception of female sexual experiences has evolved over the years from a cultural phenomenon that is almost like a taboo to talk about, to something being more frequently discussed today. The topic of sexuality has been silence in Africa for centuries. Because of the difficulty in embracing intimate and individual emotions and preferences, most women in Africa lose their voice in discussing sexual preferences and emotions with their partners.
The issue is, sexuality is a gender-specific social construct in Africa. Parents discourage children growing up in Africa from any sign of sexual stimulation with the idea that masturbation is sinful and morally wrong. Critiques about these ideas are normally non-existent because when the question of morality goes into play with an African, people shy away from these conversations. African men do not expect women to experience sexual satisfaction thus making most women in Africa ignorant to sexual pleasures and orgasms. Those men only expect African women to have sex because of childbearing. This patriarchal construct has succeeded in making its way to the tradition of female genital mutilation. Of course with this practice, the cutting off of the woman’s clitoris will ensure a woman will never experience sexual pleasure in her lifetime. These practices represent a misogynist view of what the female body is supposed to feel or give for it deprives a woman of the opportunity to control her sexuality and personal preferences.
With this, we will answer four tangible questions surrounding this subject, about the sexuality and sexual experiences of African women.
How does an African woman view her sexual experience and sexuality?
Because of concurrent stereotypes, it is easy to be labeled as oversexed when you are an African woman. While this is not the case, the African woman has to struggle to correct the different narratives about her sexuality. To her, sexuality encompasses everything that the wider public believes it’s not. Like any other woman from any other race that doesn’t go through the same levels of disbelief constantly thrown toward African women like a bone to a dog, sexual experiences are just that – something you experience and enjoy as a woman. Most African women struggle with desires that should be natural to them because of these beliefs that hide their sexuality. With the mindset of the female body being made for sex and procreation only, pleasure for many African women is stifled if not non-existent as it is seen as something to endure rather than explore or enjoy, as past occurrences and precedents have established the need to treat their sexuality that way.
Because of the moral construct of women and sex, the experiences of sex are often left out of sex education. Even when professionals try to educate young people about sex, sexually transmitted diseases and, family planning is usually the topic focused on. The conversation of individual experiences of sex is usually ignored or forgotten altogether. Women in Africa are shy or careful to talk about their sexual experiences with their partners with the fear of judgment of their morality. Most African men in parts of Africa often labeled women with contemporary sexual flavors and needs as wild, immoral and women unworthy of marriages, therefore, leading women neglecting to ask for, or initiate potential triggers of pleasure in the bedroom.
How to approach the experiences of sex and other sexual activities to women in Africa?
There has always been a huge difference between the messages given to African men and African women about sex and sexual experiences. Even during sex, the society cautions women to allow the man to take the lead and made to believe there are limits to what a woman can get from it. Pleasure is only meant for the man in these cases, so much that a huge percentage of African women didn’t realize they were just as entitled to the pleasures men have had for a long time.
We can approach these experiences by providing an educational platform that talks openly about sexual experiences, and activities without cultural criticisms. Teaching both young men and women to relearn the functions of the female body can help in changing societal expectations about sex. If the African society can take out the guilt of morality from a woman’s sexual conquest, more women will freely talk about their wants and needs with their partners.
This could also start from the root of the cause and work its way up. Although this tactic might seem ineffective for most since older African women have strong beliefs about labeling the hyper-sexual experiences of a woman as bad and the older generation would less likely accept a change in idea contrast to what they have lived by all their lives, they need to have eye-opening scenarios painted for them, which encourages them to look beyond their baseless ideologies and consider speaking more to their daughters and young women about sex.
How do you think, approach, and own your own orgasm?
There is a stiffness that comes with believing men should be the sole beneficiaries of pleasure that has to go. As an African woman, you are well allowed to explore your body, and mind for sexual triggers and reach your climax without the fear of being judged by someone. Be it your mother’s tiny voice in your head telling you God is mad at you for masturbating, or that person in your family who makes you feel dirty every time you feel the need to experience sexual pleasure. You can never fully experience sexual pleasure at its greatest peak if you don’t figure out how to turn yourself on. No one can give you what you can’t give yourself. Learning about your body helps to guard your partner to take you to those places you want to go or even higher. Your sexual experiences are most definitely natural and you should always answer Mother Nature when she calls! When you do reach that place, enjoy it without caring about anything else and anyone. Your sexual health should be as important as everything else you care about.
How does the younger generation view polygamy versus how our predecessors viewed them?
For the younger generation, it boils down to religious concepts that present polygamy as an option (however with conditions). Our predecessors stayed in marriages long enough to accept polygamy. Because of societal expectations on women, wives in the past had no problem staying in abusive marriages, struggling and taking in everything – however worse they might be. The younger generations have begun to question certain standards and are taking their time with marriages. Women of today are less likely to accept, polygamy and abuses than women in the past. Any sign of these things would leave a wife packing out of her home for a single life where she doesn’t have to deal with a cheating or abusive husband.
In conclusion, there’s still a lot more to uncover about the African woman’s sexuality. There are more things to learn and unlearn and more conversations to engage in. One thing is for sure. This is the era of African women embracing their sexuality.
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