Tag Archives: religion

God, Guilt, And Sexual Pleasure: The Black Woman’s Dilemma

How many times have you been in bed with your partner—doing some kinky awesome ish, floating on a sea of sensation and totally lost in the sauce—when you suddenly felt like your (grand)mother/ mentor/ Sunday school teacher was somewhere looking down at you and shaking their head in disapproval? Did the realization kill your ladyboner fast? Did you freeze up and suddenly feel awful in some type of way?

I bet you did.

A friend of mine told me, once, she was on her knees handling her man’s business orally when it suddenly dawned on her that OMG this was the position she had assumed to say her prayers every day since she was a kid. That dick fell out of her mouth like it was a hot potato and after that she could never fully relax during sex with the dude. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last. And though I wish I could say that friend was the exception, the more I talk to my sistercircle of women the more I hear stories of ambivalence about sex and an inability to let go during times of sexual pleasure.

Regardless of what part of the Americas, Africa or the Caribbean we come from, most black women are raised in communities where God is ubiquitous. We are surrounded by ideas that sex is dangerous (mentally, physically, emotionally) and can only be a source of excitement, fulfillment and personal growth if we are doing it within the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. So every time we fuck, we come to the activity with all this psychological baggage and latent guilt.

Our cultural messaging that sex is dirty and shameful and filled only with furtive moments of stolen pleasure that should leave us awash in guilt causes us to settle for mediocre, unfulfilling and emotionally barren nookie because we feel so guilty about the whole affair anyway not speaking up for ourselves seems like a lesser sin; it minimizes our involvement somehow. Having sad, bad, sex where we give the barest of ourselves and get back the barest of our partners in return seems like a safer alternative. Nah, girl. It isn’t.

I have come to realize that having good sex, sex that is consensual, communicative and fair, sex that leaves us with our toes curled and our weaves/naps sweated out, is fighting the power  (yes it is, raise your fist) because as black women we get a triangulation of problematic messaging. First there’s the “God might not like this” aspect. Then there is the twisted Victorian notion of morality, where human bodies are shameful, filthy and unfit for public consumption, that we got from our colonizers and slavemasters. To top off the turd sundae we add on respectability politics—the messages we imbibe from the cradle that constantly whisper into our psyches “Folks already think blacks are oversexed, dirty, immoral, Jezebels. Don’t prove em right by doing something nasty.”

We need to toss that mess in the trash and find something better to munch on. Good sex, sex that lets us figure out who we are  and what we like to do in the bedroom, allows us to discover our truest, most open and most honest selves. Good sex teaches us about trust and generosity and patience. It affirms our desire to be our own advocates, to insist and assert and to demand and compromise till things are exactly as we like them. And when we’re doing it and doing it and doing it well, sometimes good sex even makes us see God and gives us earth-shattering orgasms of Biblical proportions.


F.N. is a thirty something free-lance writer from Ghana. Currently, she is trying out a new life in Washington, DC

I’m A Single, Black Christian Woman. Will I Ever Get Married? If Not, Should I Plan A Life Without Sex? ASK JANICE

Black woman with Bible

Dear Janice,

I’m a professional, single Black Christian woman who was raised to believe that sexual relations should only take place within the confines of marriage.  But more than a decade after getting my Master’s, I’m still single – and we all know statistics say that the chances of Black women getting married are slim. So, while I want to enjoy a sexual relationship with a man, I just don’t feel comfortable doing so. But, the chances of my getting married are slim. Should I plan to live my entire life without sex?

Also, Janice, I just want to let you know that recently I received and accepted an exciting offer to become a part-time representative of a tasteful, online sex toy business started by a widely respected female entertainer. How do I share my news and excitement with my family and church?


Charlotte, NC



Dear Sierra,

I’m going to deal with the second question first.  Congratulations!  And can a sistah get a hook-up … a discount … a good deal?  Just kidding!

Seriously though, given your upbringing, it might not be a good idea to share all the details of your new part-time gig with everyone.  I’m not saying you should lie, mind you.  And I’m so glad you’re excited about what you’re doing!  I’m just saying that everybody doesn’t need to know all your business.  Maybe just say that you’ve accepted a part-time, online sales position and leave it at that.  These days everyone is selling something online, so making a little extra cheddar on the internet isn’t unusual and shouldn’t raise too many questions.  And trust me … I’d give you the exact same advice even if you weren’t involved in the church.  Our world is still too threatened by the idea of women owning and controlling their own sexual pleasure, and many will make assumptions about your character based on the products you represent.  I’m not saying it’s right … but it happens.

Now to the question of whether you should plan to live your entire life without sex.  My answer is a loud and resounding NO!  First of all, don’t give up on the idea of getting married!  I know so many women who have multiple degrees and are well-established in their careers who are finding life partners despite the depressing statistics.  Your future hubby may not have his Master’s like you do, and he may not even make as much money as you.  But, if he loves and respects you, shares your values and has the same goals in life as you, then he’s the one!

I’ll admit that finding Mr. Right ain’t easy these days.  I’m just saying don’t give up.  Keep your mind and your options open.  Consider thinking outside the box and try online dating or even a professional match-maker.  Just be proactive and open … and don’t buy into all the hype about there being no one for educated, Black women to marry.

In the meantime, I am not going to tell you to set aside your beliefs about sex outside of marriage.  However, from the tone of your question, I suspect you may be ready to do just that.  I would urge you to remember that one reason for keeping sex within marriage has historically been mostly about children.  I personally believe that if sex was only meant for procreation it wouldn’t feel so damned good!  But, that’s my opinion.  If you do decide to embark on a sexual relationship before you get married, I only hope you choose someone worthy of you.  He should respect you, honor you, care about you and be genuinely concerned with your pleasure.  Anyone who doesn’t do all of the above just isn’t worth your time.

Anyway, with the products you represent in your new part-time job, this may be a moot point anyway!  Yes, having a human sex partner is preferred … as long as he’s good and meets the above-mentioned qualifications.  But trust me when I say, ain’t nothing wrong with playing with toys!  They don’t talk back, fart in bed, hog the blankets, stain your sheets, snore or turn on Sports Center when you’re done.  And they never make promises they have no intention of keeping.

Now … about that discount?




You can ASK JANICE all your intimate love questions at ASKJANICE@suzyknew.com

What Is More Important To Black Women Than Marriage Or Children?

Praying Woman

What is more important to Black women in the US than marriage or having children? A personal relationship with God.

In a nationwide survey conducted by the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation, a larger percentage of Black women feel this way than the percentage who said getting married or having children is very important.  The Post reported  the survey found 74 percent of Black women and 70 percent of Black men said that “living a religious life” is very important. On that same question, the number falls to 57 percent of White women and 43 percent of White men.

White women were the largest group to report that getting married and having children was very important. In the most extensive poll conducted on Black women’s lives, Black women proved to be among the most religious groups in the US, according to yesterday’s Washington Post.

Additionally, Black women claim to have more satisfaction with their lives than any other group.  But, we are exponentially more worried about getting HIV or having someone in our family get HIV.  The poll showed that 32% of Black women are concerned about this while only 9% of White women are.

In our world, putting God first gives us the ability to work on reaching our true potential. The poll showed that we perceive our world to be more challenging and treacherous than other groups see their world. We need His power to stay healthy and sexy! For more information about the survey click here.