The positive reaction to Sekyiamah’s book has been “so powerful and so necessary,” said Mona Eltahawy, the Egyptian-American author of ‘The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls’ and ‘Headwraps and Hymens: Why the Middle East needs a sexual revolution”.
The movement is “part of a sexual revolution that is happening on our continent,” Eltahawy said.
As a woman of color and feminist writer who grew up and worked in both the Middle East and the West, Eltahawy said the book made it clear that “cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, privileged white women” were far from equal. to be the only ones to explore themes of sex and sexual fulfilment. The book appealed to her, she said, because it presented the stories of African women of different sexualities, abilities, religions, economic status and national origins.
“Sexual drives are also important to us,” Eltahawy said in a phone interview. “Pleasure, and owning your pleasure, and wanting to be sexually free, is not the adventure of a white woman’s life. It belongs to us.
Sekyiamah said she hopes the book will give African women a window into the different ways they can experience pleasure, rediscover their sexual power and gain agency over their bodies. But more importantly, she added, she hoped the book would help women find a community that would support them, understand their needs and help them through difficult circumstances.
“For me, community is always the solution,” said Sekyiamah, who said her work was inspired by other Pan-African activists and feminists, including Sylvia Tamale, Hakima Abbas, Sokari Ekine and Tiffany Kagure Mugo.
While women frequently share their feelings about the book and its stories in public, Sekyiamah said the men who read it usually communicate their feelings to her privately.