Attitudes towards intimacy, self-pleasure and sex have shifted in the past few years. Sure, some women had access to magazines that wrote bold (often problematic) features on sex - but for most, the stigma attached to buying a magazine detailing the “10 great ways to reach orgasm” prevented many women from actually doing so — both reading about it (and doing it).
Female sexuality, intimacy, and self-pleasure is often met with shame, and women seeking any real sex-related information — health or otherwise — have been relegated to doing so in secrecy, searching the interweb incognito, and very rarely speaking about personal experiences with their friends.
In SA, one of the most prominent women leading the sexual revolution is Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng — or Dr T as she is popularly known.
Not just a medical doctor, Dr T is an activist, author of the best-selling book Dr T: A Guide to Sexual Health & Pleasure, columnist, and UN special rapporteur on the right to health. She has long helped champion sex positivity and wellness through her promotion of comprehensive sexuality education, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In an opinion piece she wrote for Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism, on the pathologies of pleasure, Dr T shared that, even in medical school, little attention is given to female genitalia; and when she studied obstetrics and gynaecology, information on sexual diseases generally trumped anything available on pleasure.
She continues to learn — and educate — from hosting sex-toy parties, talking to her patients and conversing on radio and TV.
Now, for a growing number of people, talking about sex is becoming less taboo — something that’s begun to be reflected in stores beyond pharmacies and traditional tinted-window sex shops. And popping a tube of Chanel lip gloss, a pair of Saint Laurent boyfriend jeans and a vibrator into the same online shopping cart has never been easier — Anthropologie has the right idea.