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Year: 2013 Type: Book Chapter Language: English

Sexuality, especially in African female sexual discourse, is associated with danger and fear, a paradigm that is dangerous and paralysing, especially to young women coming to sexual consciousness. Bakare-Yusuf argues for the need to provide a counter-narrative that emphasises pleasure, love and desire and transcends this discourse of sexual danger. Moving beyond this discourse allows for the exploration of the complexity and richness of women’s sexuality so that women don’t fall into a sexual paralysis. In this chapter, Bakare-Yusuf argues that the realm of ecstasy, desire, intimacy, mutuality and pleasure of the female erotic universe is often a precursor to and provides a backdrop to sexual danger and domination. She also argues that the assertion of women’s sexual and embodied agency is potentially more threatening and disruptive to a hetero-patriarchal controlling logic than a focus on danger and violation, hence its repression and suppression. While foregrounding issues around sexual danger and domination continues to be important in our demand for social justice, sexual citizenship rights and freedom, it nonetheless allows for the perpetuation of the idea that women are passive recipients of hetero-masculine prerogatives and therefore in need of protection from normative erotic violence. Changing narratives of female sexualities calls for the active engagement of women in telling a very different kind of story about women’s bodies, desires and pleasures, as Bakare-Yusuf is doing with her compilation of erotic stories by African authors. She contends that apleasure-based approach can radically undermine patriarchal control of women.

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