African writers are awesome in many things: they write the most thoughtful prose; they’re also great at building remarkable worlds and making us fall in love with their characters, etc.
But there’s one area where they fail so badly at: writing sex scenes in their stories. It’s either they shy away from writing sex scenes or they write them as badly as their Nollywood counterparts.
A couple examples of epic fails: Ben Okri wrote a rocket-sex scene that won him a Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award in his 2014 novel, The Age of Magic; over six decades ago, in 1954, Mongo Beti wrote the longest and most ridiculous sex Scene in an African novel.
But while you’ve probably been exposed to bad sex writing by African writers, there’re actually some pretty hot sex scenes in African stories, rare as they might be. My list includes scenes from short stories, anthologies and full-length novels.
1. “Indulgence” by Joyce Nawiri, from Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology
He slowly caressed my thighs and his hand journeyed upwards till his fingers found a resting place for their magic. For three years I had been married, but my husband would not recognize my pussy in a lineup. His dick was the only contact he made with my body, and that wasn’t very often.
Father Silas slid two fingers inside of me and, after a few seconds, I began to grind against them and even found myself spreading my thighs further apart for him. My hips found the luxury of balance in his hands. Although I quivered and moaned, he didn’t break rhythm. He knew the exact rubbing pressure to exert against my clitoris; a little fast but not too much to prevent me from climaxing.
“Put me on the bench,” I pleaded, and he did, only not the way I intended. He made me kneel on the bench with my feet hanging off in such a way that my buttocks stuck out to his groin. Holding my skirt up to my waist, I heard his belt unbuckle. I bent lower, yearning for him to quench the thirst he had awakened. As he pinned himself closer, I felt his cock nudging at my entrance. I exhaled and my body opened to receive him. At first, he was slow but once fully inside, his thrusts were so powerfully vicious that I froze almost immediately at its strength. As I relaxed, he began to plough me, faster and deeper. I could feel every hardened bit of him as he continued to wreck me, surprising me with the flexibility of his waist. Our moans and groans filled the chapel.
With each thrust, I could feel his power. Sweat dripped off us. My vagina flooded. This man was working me the way a blacksmith handled hot iron. Suddenly he whispered, “Our acts scream hell.”
“But what we are making here is heaven.”
The tabooest sex in the history of taboos. Phew!
2. When We Speak of Nothing by Olumide Popoola
The hands went everywhere. The lips, the mouth. Their clothes piled around them. Their naked skin touched the cement. It helped. It helped cool the heat that rose from the skin. It was strange to have his body all exposed. To show everything. Stranger even to have hers like that, close up. She was so soft it tickled him each time her skin touched his body. Especially when her hands travelled down his arms or up his legs, worst at the back, up the spine. The hairs stood, but it felt good.
Her hand took his and guided it until he was inside her. Moved it, so that he could feel what felt best to her.
Janoma opened, leaning her back against the wall of the shack and reached with her hand between Karl’s legs. Karl knelt, his hand deeper, his face between her thighs now until her stickiness spread past his lips, all over his chin, and she moaned, trying to hide the sounds from the outside world. The heat seemed trapped inside their bodies, spreading and trying to push out. Pushed and pushed until her legs clamped his face and she moved her head. Opened her eyes to look at him. He was panting. When he leaned back her hand slid out between his legs.
After Karl visits Nigeria and falls in love with Janoma, the two young lovers have a hideaway to have sex for the first time, after their previous attempt was interrupted. The scene works so well because it’s not trying too hard or taking itself too seriously. It’s honest and short and awkward, but it’s satisfying.
3. The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
He found himself rolling towards her, giving her nipples gentle lover’s bites, letting his tongue glide down the hollow in the center of her breasts and then back again. He caressed her thigh with his good hand, moving to her small night lappa and fingering her coral waist-beads. Ona gasped and opened her eyes. She wanted to scream. But Agbadi was faster, more experienced. He slid on his belly, like a big black snake, and covered her mouth with his. He di not let her mouth free for a long time. She struggled fiercely like a trapped animal, but Agbadi was becoming himself again. He was still weak, but not weak enough to ignore his desire. He worked on her, breaking down all her resistance. He stroked and explored with his perfect hand, banking heavily on the fact that Ona was a woman, a mature woman, who had had him many a time. And he was right. Her struggling and kicking lessened. She stared to moan and groan instead, like a woman in labor. He kept on, and would not let go, so masterfully was he in this art. He knew he had reduced her to longing and craving for him. He knew he had won. He wanted her completely humiliated in her burning desire. And Ona knew. So she tried to counteract her feelings in the only way she guessed would not give her away.
“I know you are too ill to take me,” she murmured.
“No, my Ona, I am waiting for you to be ready.”
She felt like screaming to let free the burning of her body. How could one’s body betray one so! She should have got up and run out, but something was holding her there; she did not know what and she did not care. She wanted to be relieved of the fire inside her. “Please, I am in pain.”
She melted and could say no more. She wept and the sobs she was trying to suppress shook her whole being. He felt it, chuckled, and remarked thickly, “Please, Ona, don’t wake the whole household.”
Either she did not hear, or he wanted her to do just that, for he gave her two painful bites in between her breasts, and she in desperation clawed at him, and was grateful when at last she felt him inside her.
He came deceptively gently, and so unprepared was she for the passionate thrust which followed that she screamed, so piercingly that she was even surprised at her own voice: “Agbadi, you are splitting me in two!’
Suddenly the whole compound seemed to be filled with moving people. A voice, a male voice, which later she recognized to be that of Agbadi’s friend Obi Idayi, shouted from the corner of the courtyard: “Agbadi! Agbadi! Are you alright?”
Again came the law laughter Ona loved and yet loathed so much. “I am fine, my friend. You go to sleep. I am only giving my woman her pleasures.”
Emecheta weaved in sexual tension and even elicited a couple of laughs in such a sad story. And the build-up of anticipation? Oh boy!
4. “Solutions” by Howard Maximus, from The Vanguard Book of Love Stories
THE FIRST TIME Papa V. asked Lucy to spend the night, she shaved and brought coconut oil for massage. In Vanessa’s bedroom—for he couldn’t take Lucy to his matrimonial bed just yet—, they kissed and fondled each other for several minutes, she telling him how good he looked for a man his age, his body toned and his belly flat enough, and he pecking and necking and smacking and moaning, massaging and then more kissing, but when she was ready to receive him, Papa V. did not rise….
The day it finally happened, Papa V. came to his room to find Lucy dressed in his late wife’s clothes. She wore the same woody perfume his late wife wore. She would later tell him how Vanessa had come up with this when she had gone to their university to visit and that had come up.
“You bring up our sex life with my kids?” he’d ask, and she would tell him how desperate she was to make it work. Now, they were lying close to each other, overwhelmed by the fact that they had finally done it, when Papa started to apologize.
In the coming days, he would try all the things she wanted to try. On one night, she would be the queen and he would be the slave, going down on his knees, following her around the room; on another, she would be a celebrity and he would be a fan, and on another, she would be a naughty doctor and he would be a patient; but always, it ended in disappointing sighs, Papa V. rising a little, and then falling like a limp-stalked plant.
The lovers finally have sex after several attempts. I love that Maximus spotlights an unlikely couple, shows sex can be awkward and people don’t always get it right the first time.
RECOMMENDED: Sex Life: Sleeping With Older Men Changed My Life
5. “Lost Stars” from A Broken People’s Playlist by Chiemeka Garricks
When I returned on Thursday, I went to your flat at Stadium Road. Famished, we didn’t make it to your bedroom. We tore at each other’s clothes, but gave up mid-way and merged, half-dressed on your living-room wall. As your face headed down between my legs, as always, we paused for a moment and chuckled, because we remembered – the first time you ate me, my first time ever, I farted uncontrollably through a long orgasm, and you rolled off and laughed till I joined in. Thursday was kisses, bites, sweat, thrusts and screams – a frenzied mauling because there was no tomorrow. Liquid electric, it coursed through every cell, jolted my body alive, but felt good for my spirit like a homecoming. Eventually, we collapsed to the floor beside your door. After, we stumbled to your room where we drank wine, cuddled, and ribbed each other. Then we did it again, slower, bodies rhyming gently, because of scarred souls. Then we napped (different sides of the bed because I disliked being cuddled when I slept), woke, and talked. It was when you touched my head that I realised my wig had fallen off.
Writers often get it wrong with using metaphors for sex. But the unexpectedness of this scene in the story and the awkwardness right after the sex made it feel… authentic.
A Bouquet of Dilemma by Tayo Emmanuel
He is singing into my ears now. It’s Boyz 2 Men’s I’ll make love to you. That’s the only thing he needs to do to keep me going. My breathing becomes heavier as I remove his shirt and my clothes. He goes on kissing me and humming at the same time. My hands and mouth are all over him with sheer hungry passion, caressing, kissing, fondling. I feel his erection, yet he is not hurrying me, in fact he is trying to slow me down, but I am past that point of no return. I am afraid if I stop now, I will never get around it with him and I want him so bad. My whole body is taut and tingling and sultry; how do you ever find the right words at this moment? I am on the bed, naked and ready; he manages to extract and wear a condom before lying down next to me. He is still humming, more quietly, when I feel him inside me. Gently at first, then getting bigger and pushing deeper. Must pain and pleasure always go together, I wonder. It’s a sticky burning sensation, it’s consuming, it’s liberating; I’m crying and shouting his name and he is shouting mine too and it seems like I am about to faint, but I don’t. I feel some more stickiness, then silence. “I love you so much, baby.”
“I love you too.”
Is it a little cheesy and matter-of-fact? But it’s urgent and provocative; it gets the people going.