Audre Lorde once proclaimed that she wrote for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. When it comes to sex, fear is a catalyst for silence and preserving ignorance. It’s the stigma, slut-shaming, curiosity-muting behaviors of ordinary people that silence those who want to better understand themselves and their bodies. Desire is natural, but navigating the contemporary world of sex is an acquired skill. Thus, it is important for black women to learn, teach, and inspire each other to embrace their sexuality, preserve their health, and live their best sex lives.
Below is a list of 10 powerful black women sustaining the spirit of Audre Lorde, speaking our fears about sex, and encouraging us to respect our voice and curiosities. If you’ve ever had a question about sex go unanswered, know that these women are passionate about educating, sharing stories, and spreading knowledge.
Abiola Abrams is an author, journalist, and media personality fusing passion with sex education. She writes books, blogs, and columns about love, sex, and dating, while also serving as an entertaining host and guest of various TV, radio, and web shows. She’s been featured as a BBC radio correspondent, MTV “Made” coach, and personality on BET, HBO, NBC, VH1, and Fox. Her show, Abiola on LSD: Love, Sex, Dating, and Drama, brings in numerous activists, authors, and celebrities for fun, entertaining interviews on sex and relationships, while promoting her Cover Your Bone Safe Sex Pledge. She’s given keynote addresses on empowerment at schools, including NYU, The New School for Social Research, and Howard University, and as a part of her ongoing safe sex initiative, she directed the award-winning, critically-acclaimed feminist erotica art film, “Afrodite Superstar.” If you want a taste of comedy, entertaining sex ed., and relationship advice, go to AbiolaTV.com.
Alexyss Tylor has become a YouTube phenomenon with her “Vagina Power and Penis Power” discussions. An author, host, and lecturer on sexuality topics, Alexyss is known for keeping sex education real, blunt, and personal. As the host of the Vagina Power Show, she tackles issues that impact women’s sexual empowerment, while sharing her personal journey through abusive relationships and a tumultuous dating life. As the founder of the Center for Healing and Transformative Studies, she helps abused women, men, and children heal through therapy and teachings about the power of sex and spirituality. Her reputation as a “sexpert” and media personality often fluctuates between crazy and genius. But one thing is for sure: Alexyss wants you to get yours as a woman and feel empowered.
Ev’yan Namsan is the author of Sex Love Liberation: A Manifesto for the Bold at Heart, which serves as an ode to self-discovery and treatise to “beautiful sex, beautiful love, and beautiful liberation.” She also pens a blog of the same name dedicated to inciting conversations among sex goddesses, artists, freethinkers, and budding feminists. In numerous ways, Ev’yan uses vulnerability as a catalyst for empowerment, as she publicly writes about her ongoing journey through marriage, sexual empowerment, and body acceptance. She works to liberate others into loving themselves and manifesting their sensualities, while teaching herself the same lessons.
Dr. Hilda Hutcherson is a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Associate Dean for Diversity and Minority Affairs at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Since completing her education and medical residency, she’s devoted her career to women’s empowerment and served as a sexual health educator. She has written columns for Essence and Glamour magazines, and been quoted in O Magazine, Heart and Soul, Cosmopolitan, Allure, Health, Redbook, Parents, Self and Marie Claire magazines. She’s also given advice on countless TV shows including Oprah, Montel, Rachel Ray, 20/20, and Good Morning America. She is the author of two books, Pleasure and What Your Mother Never Told You About S-e-x. In addition, she dishes out free advice in her Ask Dr. Hilda column. Submit your curiosities to [email protected]
Jasmine Burnett is a sex educator and reproductive justice advocate. She is the founder of Aunt Betty’s Basement, a sex-positive people of color network that shares community around sex, sexuality, and reproductive justice. Named after her Great Aunt Betty, who lived as a closeted Black lesbian her entire life, Aunt Betty’s Basement creates a healthy space for women, womyn, transgender, and queer people of color to express themselves, understand the importance of self-work and pleasure, have access to and know their health status, and understand the pleasure of enjoying others in our emotional and sexual lives. Under the mantra of “Pussy Power,” Jasmine promotes “Knowledge of Self, Pleasure of Self, Knowledge of Health and Pleasure of Others,” while also serving as the organizer of SisterSong’s NYC chapter, a reproductive justice collective of sixteen grassroots women of color organizations. Find Aunt Betty’s Basement on Facebook.
Kenya Stevens is a love and relationships expert, tantra coach, and wife of 16 years. She graduated from Howard University with a degree in Child Psychology, but also trained for ten years in yoga, breathing, meditation, trance, and metaphysical thought. Using these skills, she founded JujuMama LLC, a love-coaching academy, with her husband, Carl Stevens. Together, they coach individuals and couples on gender harmony, tantric sex, progressive love, and open relationships. A cancer survivor and open polyamorist, Kenya encourages women to channel the power of feminine energy to manifest fulfilling sex and beautiful relationships. She’s been featured on the Monique Show, Michael Baisden Show, Fox News, and numerous Talk Radio shows. Learn more about Kenya at JujuMamablog.com.
Makeda Voletta is the founder of Art + Science, LLC, a small holistic nutrition, fitness, and sexual education company. Often called “The Body Scientist,” she works with her clients one on one to bring their bodies to the highest levels of performance. A certified strength and conditioning expert and personal trainer, she’s channeled her knowledge of the body into Sensual Strength Training classes for women and men, in addition to numerous lectures on sexual and spiritual health on her YouTube channel. Makeda received a B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science with a concentration Strength and Conditioning and minor in Nutrition. She also completed two years of graduate work in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Columbia University. Find her on Facebook and catch one of her Sensual Strength Training classes in a city near you.
Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a writer, media personality, spokesperson, and not your average physician. Known for her advice columns on sex and relationships for numerous popular urban blogs, Dr. Phoenyx tackles sex education with a conversational tone and the intellect to back it up. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Florida and medical degree from Meharry Medical College, and has appeared on popular television morning shows such as Let’s Talk Live in Washington, D.C. and The Warren Ballentine Show. Find her on Facebook and visit her blog, DrPhoenyx.com.
Twanna Hines is a New York-based writer, experienced sex educator, and reproductive rights advocate. She is the award-winning blogger behind FunkyBrownChick.com and has appeared on CNN, NPR, Sirius Satellite Radio as well as CBC (Canadian National Radio) and Paris Premiere (French Television). She also hosts The Late Sex Show with Twanna Hines, a weekly late-night talk show, which airs on Time Warner 57, RCN 84, Verizon 35, and Manhattan Neighborhood Network. A skilled educator, she also has received certified training in medically accurate, evidence-based sex education, which adds to her comprehensive approach to sex education. Learn more about Twanna and her various projects at TwannaHines.com.
Veralyn Williams is a multimedia journalist and vlogger for Bedsider, a free support network for birth control for women 18-29 years old operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Her video blogs reflect her mantra as a journalist, “all about perspectives,” interviewing various experts and regular people on the street about everything sex, dating, and relationships. She also shares moments of her personal life, such as her experience getting an IUD, with her audience in hopes of inspiring open discourse and ongoing conversation. Find Veralyn’s journalism portfolio at VeralynMedia.com and her sex ed. work at Bedsider.org.
Know additional black women educating us about sex? Have any of the above ladies enhanced your perspective on sexual empowerment? Speak on it!