It is often said that Black women are not a monolith. We say it, retweet it, and meme it day in and day out. But when it comes to us as sexual beings, it often seems as if we are separated into two main categories: the good girl or the bad girl.
The "good girl" only exists as a completely covered up and, almost asexual, being with no desire to be deemed sexually attractive. In contrast, the "bad girl" exists solely for sexual lust and serves no other purpose than that of being desired. Neither of these archetypes allows for the depth of experience every Black woman has. Whether she's chosen to abstain from sex or taste all of what the world has to offer, it can be such a limiting construct to exist on either side of the spectrum. Many of us struggle with how much to share of ourselves for fear that we'll be judged one way or another. Perhaps that's why when we see women who are bold enough to embrace their sexuality come hell or high water, we gravitate to them.
Women like Rihanna, Erykah Badu, Lizzo, Solange, and Janelle Monáe dare to say, 'This is me in full view…if you like it, great. If you don't, that works too.' Their freedom inspires us to see our sexuality not as a burden but as a blessing. How lucky we are to be women. To exist in these bodies that can do extraordinary things. Bodies that fluctuate with the moon and bloom in the sun. There are other women picking up the torch that bold women in the public eye have passed down, and here are a few you should know.
The founder of the lifestyle brand, good girl bad human, Rikk is one of those women who shares herself and her body with such great reverence for her femininity that it makes you feel safe. Whether she is turning her camera on herself or on the women she knows, her eye for celebrating all that we are in honor of all that we are not rather than in spite of it is an invitation to rest in your body. Sensuality drips from every image she shares.
This mother, writer, and entrepreneur coined the phrase "It is impossible to shame a woman who is unashamed"—and, honestly, she embodies every word. From her willingness to show the steps of survival her son gave her to sharing her struggles with balancing all that life has thrown her way, Erynamelism, real name Eryn Khristine, boldly embraces her sexuality in a way that few do. Her sensuality and liberated sense of self shines through in every post. She's even started an OnlyFans for a deeper dive into her musings on pleasure and womanhood. Whether dressed head to toe in working mom couture or in her intimate apparel, she is able to ooze a confidence that is more than skin deep.
With her movement Wife Your Life, Toni Jones urges women to reconnect with their divine feminine energy by unlearning the binding of antiquated religious, societal, and self-imposed ideas. As an affirmation music artist, she creates a soundtrack for the empowered woman – the woman who has cracked open so many times that she now exists with only what she needs to show up as her most beautiful self—flaws and all. However, it is in Toni's clear acceptance of herself and her intimate vulnerability that one finds an even deeper layer of her purpose. One that includes inviting the gaze of admirers in and being willing to be seen. In all our glory. In all our curves. In any and all we have to offer.
The self-proclaimed sex pastor is clear on where she stands; sex is not a sin. It is a sacred gift. When we acknowledge our sexual desires and our existence as sexual beings, we are honoring part of our purpose on this Earth. Her mission is to help us reclaim our body. And, although finding sex-positive affirmations in the Bible is one that is polarizing, especially in our community, that hasn't stopped her. Whether she's reminding us of how sensuality can be a healing tool or teaching us how to ground our temples in centered energy, Lyvonne urges us to see ourselves as sovereign beings whose royalty is not in denying our sexuality but worshipping it.
However you're embracing your sexy these days, do it because it truly speaks to who you are, not because it's what you've been told a Black woman should be. We have the right to show up in whatever iteration pleases us. Let's make a choice to love ourselves out loud!