How Black Women Save Our (Sex) Lives

Joi Donaldson
4 min readApr 28, 2020
Beyonce, Beyoncing.

I didn’t know just how pivotal sex therapy would be until my second session.

Unpacking can be brutal. It requires that you hold a scalpel, constantly at the ready to slice yourself down the middle. Shit needs to pour out that’s clogging up the pipes, especially the sexual ones. Much of my sexual life is a blur. My anxious, lizard brain doing me the solid of blocking out a good chunk of memories — not solely due to the act, but the person wielding the pleasure. In this, I’ve been learning how to separate the act from the person but even that doesn’t bring those memories to full lucidity. I remember my first penetrative orgasm pretty clearly (I wrote about it here) and a passing instance of sloppy head (giver and receiver) but dassit. Because I’m who I am — I cannot leave well enough alone because it’s not well enough for me — I sought out higher assistance.

Black women have taken our places in the myriad of sex-positive spaces. From the work of Jimanekia Eborn that centers sexual education and trauma support for survivors of sexual assault to ShaVaughn Elle who combines the worlds of sex and spirituality in affirming and actionable ways to Mama Z the Guru, who singlehandedly got us all to run out for pink Kitty Kat pills. Sex education for the culture by the culture is leaving an indelible mark on our lives. Gone (mostly) are the days of Purity Culture being the go-to doctrine. That legs being crossed at the ankles and knees are the surefire ways to prevent unwanted touch. Instead, many of us are learning sex education in real-time from folks that look like us, talk like us, smile like us, with no judgment or requirements to abstain unless we desire to do so. Especially during quarantine, I can easily scroll through down my IG page and see classes on dick riding, cunnilingus, sexual anatomy and autonomy, how to talk about your desires, centering yourself during sex, speaking up during sex, sexual recovery, the list is endless. More and more, Black women are pushing the envelopes and deleting the margins to save us and themselves. In going for my sexology certification, I started with the thoughts of how I could help the mission. How I could make things better for survivors of intimate partner abuse and rape through sexual reclamation after sexual trauma. That was my focus upon beginning my studies. As I’ve gone deeper, I’ve realized the…

Joi Donaldson

Author. Filmmaker. Creative.