When women talk about sex, one can’t help but stop and listen. The rise of women speaking about sex is something that cannot be ignored, including by the Internet, and African women are not lagging behind. From platforms hosting stories about bad sex and ‘entering through the back door’ to podcasts discussing the faking of orgasms; women on the continent are digitally delving into what turns them on, what turns them off and what makes them think twice.
The notion that African women are sexually prudish and conservative is increasingly being challenged in various spaces that counteract the harmful ideas about sex and sexuality plaguing our social spaces. One online platform is leading the conversation: The Spread Podcast is sex and sexuality in your speakers.
“There is a lack of conversations about sex and sexuality in homes and schools and around young people. The rate of HIV and young (unwanted) pregnancies are also on the rise. Nini and I believe there are ways in which we can eventually curb that. By educating people, change can be created.” – Kaz
Yes, it is a podcast about sex and, according to Kaz, one of the founders and presenters, “absolutely nothing” is off limits as a topic. The platform kicked off in 2015 after Kaz and her co-presenter, Nini, noted that there was a gap on the continent and in Kenya specifically for a sexuality-based talk show. According to Kaz, “There is a lack of conversations about sex and sexuality in homes and schools and around young people. The rate of HIV and young (unwanted) pregnancies are also on the rise. Nini and I believe there are ways in which we can eventually curb that. By educating people, change can be created.”
Nini and Kaz love to speak about sex and they find themselves in constant conversation about it, making them the perfect women for this job. They are brave enough to stand up and talk about topics that would otherwise see women being vilified for even broaching them. They are taking this risk and are choosing to get hot and heavy on the Internet.
The gift of a mother’s guidance
When asked how they got to this point in their sexual journeys, one where they can speak so candidly, Kaz answered, “I’ve always been highly sexual. I remember having this thought about becoming a sex worker when I was about 7…” She had imagined that the work of a prostitute was dirty dancing in clubs every night. She went on to say that the older she got, the more society made her feel that her stance on sex work was wrong. She realised that society viewed her as sick because of how highly sexual she was. She credits her mother for guiding her safely through this time of confusion.
“My mother saw this and tried to tame it but ended up just guiding me in the right direction. I’m so grateful to her because for the most part I have done things in a safe way.” This good basis, coupled with the podcast, personal life growth and meeting other sex-positive women, has meant that Kaz has managed to come into the ownership of her sexuality and sexual desires.
The online backlash, due to the high levels of homophobia in the country, meant that Kaz and Nini faced a wave of online abuse, mainly from people who had not actually listened to the podcast.
When she met Nini, Kaz managed to find someone with whom she could create a safe space to speak about sex, using the foundation she had that made her comfortable enough to speak about the sparkle between her legs.
At the centre of controversy
But it has not been all sunshine and sexy roses: Kaz and Nini recently found themselves at the centre of a whirlwind controversy after the Kenyan Film and Publication Board cracked down on them and their podcast. They were labelled ‘a lesbian TV show’ and were threatened with an investigation for violating Kenya’s anti-gay laws. The online backlash, due to the high levels of homophobia within the country, meant that Kaz and Nini faced a host of online abuse, mainly from people who had not actually listened to the podcast. However, the two managed to ride out the wave of controversy and came out on the other side with new followers, international recognition and immense support from their fans.
The podcast comes from a very sex-positive space, with the understanding that the need to have the space to speak about sex is not only about being naughty. It is important to deal with deep-seated societal, bodily and even political issues. Speaking about sex can be linked to tackling everything from children understanding the dangers associated with sex and sexual abuse to HIV, STIs and just being generally informed.
They are brave enough to stand up and speak about topics that would otherwise see women being vilified for even broaching them.
Unfortunately, we as women are being held back from these conversations by good old fashioned ‘Christian guilt’, according to Kaz, because the church has “taught us that our bodies and our sexuality are dirty, so obviously conversations around that are dirty and ungodly too.” Kaz urges us to remember that sex education and sex and erotic knowledge does not only exist abroad or in the west. Within cultural, urban and digital spaces, there are many people who speak about how to negotiate sex and your sexuality in a way that is powerful and empowering.
However, in order to tackle some of the pertinent issues linked to sex and sexuality, including rape culture and STIs on the one hand and multiple orgasms on the other, we need to be able to openly and frankly have conversations about sex in all its ways, shapes and forms. This is why The Spread Podcast, and other platforms like it, are very important.