With all the porn out there I felt like I had a benchmark to meet. I tried to be a superwoman in bed but then I realised it was fake.
An interview with Kemi.
Kemi | Age: 34 | Location: Dorchester, UK | Occupation: Doctor | No. of sexual partners: 6
Why did you take part?
I’ve been thinking a lot about sexuality - being a woman and a black woman in society.
What events in your life shaped your sexuality? What’s your story?
My dad was violent towards my mum but not ever towards me or my brother. My mum would smack us. I had my first boyfriend in university. One day I was being annoying while he was getting ready for work. He reached to get a pen that was lying next to me and I thought he was attacking me. I thought that was pretty fucked up. I think I’ve chosen weaker men partly to stay safe.
Mum always told me don’t get distracted with boys when you’re studying but by the time I was 28 I thought it was time to sort things out. People were pairing up. I was very athletic and tomboyish growing up but being a tomboy was no longer OK at uni. I was starting to look like a woman and people’s responses to me changed. I felt forced to not have as many male friends. The first person I was with I knew all the way through university. It took 6 months before we did anything and there was never any pressure. It was comfortable, playful and open. The best person to have my first sexual experience with.
Then I had a traumatic experience that I never really expected to happened to me. At one point I was living with someone who was clearly watching too much porn. He’d make comments or ask me things like if I shaved my hair and whether I’d let him shave it. He had a friend that I kind of fancied. One evening the friend came over and they made suggestive comments about having a threesome but nothing explicit. The flatmate had a girlfriend so I didn’t think it was for real. Later that evening once his friend was gone the flatmate came into my room and forced me to give him a blow job. I didn’t think it was possible but he forced me. He was 6ft tall. He saw that I was crying and he thought that was part of the fantasy. A few days later he asked if what happened was ok. I said clearly not. I’d never thought that kind of a thing could happen. Thought "you’d bite it off - you’re in control" - but I totally wasn’t. There was a lot of fear of something worse happening if I didn't allow it.
After that I didn’t have sex for a few years. Which was kind of OK since I didn’t want to clock up too many sexual partners by the time I got married - I always wanted to be able to count them on fingers of one hand. After a while though I decided to have a one night stand to break the spell and to be more modern. But that was so did not work. Even though the guy was lovely and safe, my vagina was just sealed - nothing was possible. I thought she never wanted me to have sex again. Nowadays it’s probably in the realm of 3 to 6 months that I have to know someone before anything can happen. It makes me unable to compete with what is normal for most other women. The waiting is mainly about safety and seeing they’re not in just for the sex. It’s not physically the same for a guy. You’re being penetrated! If I have sex with someone there’s always the 1% chance even if you’re protecting yourself and I wouldn’t want the accident to be a disaster. It’s a commitment that I’m sharing with them. I also like to see if they’re creative - sex can’t be just about penetration. I like to spend an entire day in bed and just play. Have food around. Explore. With my first boyfriend we never had penetrative sex. I’m also very emotional and it just doesn’t work for me to have an orgasm with someone and just move on to someone else.
What does sex mean to you?
It’s a connection where you can gift something to someone. A playful space. You can use it to communicate. It can be like dancing but horizontally. It’s about exploring someone’s body with all its smells, tastes, sensations. Pretty sure I’m quite vanilla but I like to experiment.
What’s difficult about sex?
With all the porn out there I felt like I had a benchmark to meet. I tried to be a superwoman in bed but then I realised it was fake. I let go of being the superwoman in my last relationship and the sexual relationship didn’t wane. Maybe I’m lazy now but it feels better.
Sometimes I worry a new person will see how I don’t groom. I don’t have time to shave. Are they going to care? They might. My previous relationship made me feel less conformist to these ideas. He said he didn’t care what I’m wearing. He said it’s about the person not the underwear that’s on the person.
What do you most enjoy about sex?
Seduction and experimentation in and out of the bedroom. I think I’ve invented some new ways of doing things. I can write and draw with my toes so I created the toe-wank. Also the knee-pit-wank. Feels much better than you’d imagine! Laziness can make you solve problems in new ways
Do you orgasm?
Yes. I can through penetration but mainly through clitoral stimulation. I have to have been aroused a lot before penetration. Ideally oral sex to penetrative. Often orgasm in oral and then again in penetrative. Not every time. In the last one I mostly didn’t come. The one before more often. I need to be warm and fed. The whole sex in the morning is an issue. I wake up because I want to eat. It needs to be either quick or after breakfast.
How often do you have sex?
Because I live out of London when I have a partner I often just see them on weekends. It will be a few times on the weekend. That’s penetrative. But tons of other touch like massage and play. I’m very tactile.
Do you masturbate?
I go through phases. I’d say I do it most days. Weekend mornings are great. I have toys and fantasise. I used to watch gentle porn but that stopped after the blowjob incident. I now feel like I should rely on my own thoughts or just focus on the physical sensations
How do you see female sexuality portrayed in the society?
I’ve thought a lot about what it is to be a woman, a black woman, and a professional woman.
I’ve never regarded my body as sexy. I look in the mirror and I’m about average looking. I think that maybe because I’m not the European ideal of what sexy is. Dark skin is not sexy. Afro hair is not sexy. A wide nose is not sexy. People are correcting these things all the time and that’s what’s in the media. Professional successful black women tend to have straight hair and be quite fair. Beyonce is gorgeous but she’s got straight fake hair and she’s fair. I have front and back curves, not side curves. British brands do things for sideways curves and hourglass ideals. It took such a long time for me to understand why normal clothes didn’t work for me.
People remind me that I am black all the time. People ask me where I’m from. I say London and they say “no, originally where are you from?” My name is Nigerian but I’ve never been or know the language. White British people say I’m not from here and so would people in Nigeria. I’m not allowed in by either.
Being black comes with prejudices especially in the professional world - people are beyond shocked that I’m a doctor. Being a woman is the first shock. If you’re a woman you’re a nurse. On top of that I’m black. It messes with people’s minds. Sometimes they don’t take me for a doctor and think I’m a nurse. It takes extra effort from me to allow them their prejudice.
What’s your advice to women?
Get to know your own body. Learn what you like and ask for it. It’s not a man’s responsibility to know how to make us orgasm. We should learn how to do it and go after it. Ask for touch and other ways to connect.
What’s your advice to men?
Do the romance beforehand. Foreplay can happen in a cafe or via text. Say you’re looking forward to seeing her. Show excitement. Do long hugs. The small things can make a huge difference and make sex a more connected experience. We don’t get there at the same speed or go from 0 to 60 like you guys can.
Is there anything you want to explore?
There are lots of things I’d like to try but I don’t know what they are.