The Sex Lives of African Women

Self-Discovery, Freedom, and Healing

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Pub Date 01 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 15 Feb 2022

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"Touching, joyful, defiant -- and honest."
—The Economist, a best book of the year

"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
A conversation starter like Three Women but centering the experiences of women of color: a mellifluous chorus celebrating the liberation, individuality, and joy of African women's multifaceted sexuality.

Thanks to her blog, “Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women,” Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah has spent decades talking openly and intimately to African women around the world about sex. For this book she spoke to over 30 African women across the globe while chronicling her own journey toward sexual freedom. 

We meet Yami, a pansexual Canadian of Malawian heritage, who describes negotiating the line between family dynamics and sexuality. There’s Esther, a cis-gendered hetero woman studying in America, by way of Cameroun and Kenya, who talks of how a childhood rape has made her rebellious and estranged from her missionary parents. And Tsitsi, an HIV-positive Zimbabwean woman who is raising a healthy, HIV-free baby.
Across a queer community in Egypt, polyamorous life in Senegal, and a reflection on the intersection of religion and pleasure in Cameroun, Sekyiamah explores the many layers of love and desire, its expression, and how it forms who we are.
In these confessional pages, women control their own bodies and pleasure, and assert their sexual power. Capturing the rich tapestry of sex positivity, The Sex Lives of African Women is a singular and subversive book that celebrates the liberation, individuality, and joy of African women's multifaceted sexuality.
"Touching, joyful, defiant -- and honest."
—The Economist, a best book of the year

"A book like none you will have read before... With sensitivity, this book has facilitated astonishing breaking of...

Marketing Plan

Major national print, digital, and radio publicity campaign including features, interviews, and reviews

Pitches to feminist, sexuality, international and Africa-focused reviewers and publications

Pitch author for interviews on radio, podcasts, and television

Multi-month social media prepub campaign on Astra House's Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, continuing on and after pub day

Highlight in Astra House newsletters and on website

Virtual and/or in-person author events with independent bookstores

Digital marketing/publicity campaign including features and reviews

Major awards submission campaign

Targeted media outreach to reviewers and publications who focus on women's issues, sexuality, and international issues, especially on the African continent

Targeted #Bookstagrammer outreach

Bookseller outreach

ARC giveaways in trade media, including Goodreads and Netgalley  

Promote to regional and national festivals

Book club outreach and discussion guide

Trade and consumer advertising 

Major national print, digital, and radio publicity campaign including features, interviews, and reviews

Pitches to feminist, sexuality, international and Africa-focused reviewers and publications


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781662650819
PRICE $28.00 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 6 members

Featured Reviews

As soon as I saw the title of this book on Netgalley I wanted to read it. I wanted to read it for two reasons; I wanted to know what made Nana Sekyiamah bold enough to go from her blog posts to publishing this book and the second is that, I wanted to tell myself that it's okay to talk about sex as a young black African Kenyan woman. I think I had the wrong reasons for reading this book because from the very beginning, everything I have learned and grown up being told about sex and my body has been under the lense of someone else. Growing up in the 90s it would often be: "don't even think about sex, don't sit next to a boy you may get pregnant and if you do, your life is done, Aids is real and you'll die quick and thin... and so forth. Then as years went by, My Mother would tell me, it was my body and my decision to treat it as I wanted to- as long as I had a good education, my own money, I shouldn't let anyone dictate what I should do with my vagina- and then I come across this book in my early 30s and I love it so much because in the stories there is pain, confusion, anxiety, fear, conviction, honesty, strength...everything that I felt and wished to feel regarding my body. This is a good book to share with friends, daughters, mothers, brothers and fathers. The author says that the moment she started talking about sex she knew it was political, and she's right, it's political because even now, most would say 'how dare you?'

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Brilliant! I haven’t read a book similar to this and I thank you for having the vision to shed light on these stories that desperately needed to be told and shared. I have learned so much through this work of art and look forward to reading more!

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I'm super grateful to @littlebrownbookgroup_uk as well as @netgalley for sending me both a physical and e copy of this wonderful collection of stories by African women. I'm not a big fan of interview collections, but man this book is so so special. @dfordarkoa did an outstanding job of collecting stories from African women across age, religion, sexuality, gender and relationship status. Every single story hit home. I especially appreciated the fact that trans women and sex workers weren't locked out of the conversation. This is especially important because a lot of women on the continent will be picking this up and hopefully this way there can be room for openness in acceptance of womanhood in all the forms it takes, even with respectability thrown out the door. I also loved the stories about healing because they made the collection more realistic. Sex isn't always just fun and games, and being sex positive shouldn't mean only focusing on the good. . This was a fat five stars for me. I hope you get to pick it up and give it a read whoever or wherever you are.

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I loved this anthology of essays from a cross-section of women across the continent speaking frankly on sex, relationships and queerness. It's varied and open, irrespective of country of origin, age, orientation or religious background. I loved that it charts a path from sex as self-discovery to liberation and healing. It is groundbreaking for the way it exposes the myriad of ways African women are taking back power in terms of sex, relationships and transgressing gender norms. From discussions on kinks, sex work, and polyamory; there are many ways of having sex or not, and many forms of relationships. That there are so many stories with trauma attached speaks to a universality that is unconscionable. That so many of the women are affiliated with activist communities is also unsurprising. The curation is wonderful, and I believe that it is possible for almost any woman to see herself in one of these essays. However, some stories felt predictable or even repetitive after a while, but that's the nature of an anthology in itself. Life is not fixed, or binary, lines and spectrums remain fluid or blurred, and in this acknowledgment of flexibility lies the power of this anthology.

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