I’ve spent the past year and a half inside, social distancing from the public—socially and sexually, contemplating masked sneaky links, studying unfamiliar porn categories and splurging on sex toys that could do everything but cure COVID. I envied those who were buying plants and learning Tik Tok dances, as I managed to task myself with unlearning everything that mediocre sex education curriculums had taught me in my adolescence and focusing on what really makes me cum. That mission was not unfamiliar since I was dedicated to these issues as a sex educator and organizer focused on sexual liberation and reproductive justice prior to the Coronavirus lockdown.
But, I had yet to host a threesome with my praxis, pleasure and pussy.
Sex has been a large part of my life for about 15 years, give or take nine months, and I’ve spent 10 of those years organizing across movements. However, I’m not embarrassed to admit I have barely reached my peak orgasm or radicalization as an activist. I would be lying if I said I orgasm every time or that I haven’t allowed shame and stigma from the systems I’m fighting daily to be a factor in the who, what, where, when and how of my sex life. For over a decade, I wasn’t having the sex I wanted to have and spent so much energy blaming myself for not being vocal enough or criticizing my partners for not being open to new things.
But I never pointed fingers at the usual culprits such as white supremacy, misogyny or even capitalism.
Now, at 30 years old, I’m ready to unpack my sexual baggage on front street because I know for a fact, I’m not carrying all of this on my own.
Seeking pleasure is a common task across identities, personally I’m having orgasms on the margins of Black, bisexual, single mother, with chronic pain, disabilities and a bag of traumas. All of which are factors in who I fuck, how I fuck and why the fuck I don’t always cum and will ultimately be addressed in this column. My hope is for Pleasure is Principle to be a space for transparency and growth, not only for myself, but for anyone else hoping to remove the barriers to their sexual satisfactions and desires.
Understand: This column will not serve as a space for advisory or direction but rather storytelling, disruption and investigative research.
Informal sex education is happening everywhere from Netflix to twitter threads, so while social media and online publications have become the new classrooms and curriculums, Pleasure is Principle will serve as a sort of syllabus. Many of the articles will reference my own experiences but will also include the stories of Black people having sex from other positions and perspectives.
It is a fact that Blackness is not a monolith, therefore neither is Black pleasure. We do not show up in this world identically, so why would we assume that we were all having the same kinds of sex? I spent so much time comparing notes and kinks with my friends that I talked myself out of some mind-blowing orgasms because I assumed if as a collective other Black people couldn’t stomach it, then that meant it was clearly something I had no business doing. But that was bullshit. We were all just passing shame and stigma back and forth in the group text, persevering respectability over cliche drinks while referring to my interest in cosplay sex as white people shit and being a submissive slut as mediocre feminism, both things I now claim and love—but struggled to admit years ago.
Yes, begging for permission to climax while dressed as Bulma with a dragon ball butt plug peeking under my dress sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon.
However, as committed as I am to decolonizing kinks, that is just one of the many boxes we will unpack in this space. There will be conversations that come with trigger warnings about sex in the aftermath of the lives we live because, how do we find pleasure when recovering and healing from the violent systems that were designed to interfere with Black joy and pleasure?
Discussing sex, detached from love, respectability and shame, is key in dismantling the systems and reaching the climax we all deserve. I welcome you to my bedroom and my praxis, where booty calls are an act of resistance, the binary gets in the way and the pleasure is principle.
Pleasure is Principle is a series focused on opening the boxes that Black folks have been placed in pertaining to sex, a safe space approaching pleasure beyond the confines of respectability while challenging the systems and ideas that have historically policed Black pleasure and joy. Follow me on Twitter at @ BrandiAlexandir.