By Shamiso Mupeti
On the 25th of November, I had my first conversation about sex and sexual pleasure around people that looked like me; black women. Dr Kadian Pow gathered over 100 black women to have discussions around shame and undoing that sexual shame that has become a part of us and accessing pleasure. I had the pleasure of coming to this event as a workshop lead, but also as a black woman, I had the fantastic opportunity to be a guest and talking and listening to women all around me and having honest conversations around sex and shame. As someone who started their journey of unlearning sexual shame and becoming sex positive during my university experience, I never once had a conversation with people that looked like me and had the similar lived experiences of being a black woman in the UK. I found this event to be transformative and an extremely safe space for women to gather and have open conversations and take something away from the experience that can changes the way we have viewed sex and sexuality.
“As someone who started their journey of unlearning sexual shame, I never once had a conversation with people that looked like me and had the similar lived experiences”
The first half of the event, included a panel discussion with Dr Kadian and five other guests, answering topics around sexual shame and learning to undo it, why is pleasure important to you as a black woman and should we actively seek it. The entire sessions, people were nodding their heads in agreements due to the shared experiences we had, and having important discussions on how we can liberate ourselves from this shame and experience pleasure. I was very happy to hear every guest talk about pleasure, and Dr Kadian echoing that we are sexual beings, that deserve to experience pleasure instead of the constant shame and guilt we have been conditioned to experience.
“This experience was monumental in my pleasure enthusiast journey, both on a personal and professional level”
Once the panel discussion was over, it was time for me to lead the workshop of “Access to the Pleasure Principles” on the behalf of the Pleasure Project. This session had a specific focus on the Love Yourself Principles, encouraging self-exploration and learning to be kind to yourself. I found this principle to be reflective of the panel discussion where there was a reflection on black women always being taught to put their pleasure and needs before anyone else, this session was to encourage black women to put themselves first and get in touch with ourselves. The guests found this workshop to be profound, positive and exciting. They loved having the opportunity to talk positively about sex, which can start the process of removing this stigma and shame when there is silence. This experience was monumental in my pleasure enthusiast journey, both on a personal and professional level. I enjoyed hearing the laughter and excitement of people talking about their pleasurable experience and I hope we all continue to have more events such as these to remove shame out of lives and experience pleasure.