Dark Juices and Erotics- A reflection
I’ve been thinking about pleasure. What my pleasure means, what it looks like, how it appears in me and in the world…
On Valentine’s day this year, I was feeling all sorts of lonely. Naturally it had been a very stressful few weeks, riddled with anxiety so to pinpoint the root of this loneliness is something that I do not have the capacity to deal with right now. When HOLAAFRICA, shared their anthology of erotic diary entries titled Dark Juices and Afrodisiacs, I was in the office unawaree and in somewhat of a crisis. You see, I had spent the day arguing with an ex, who is also one of my closest friends, but is also currently re-appearing as a lover. No titles though. If you are queer (even though it happens in all sexuality spaces), you will understand this messy situation.
Anyway, somewhere between long texts and voice notes, I decided Twitter always makes me forget about my current reality, stumbling across the link was actually a kind of pleasure I didn’t know I needed nor was expecting. I decided to open the link using my phone, I didn’t want to use the company laptop, on company time with company wifi to have a browse of such an inviting title. Upon opening the link, the deep colours of its interior enticed me, to be quite frank the name already had me feeling a bit tingly, I mean ‘dark juices’ – come on. The play on melanin, fruits, red wine, water and wetness coupled with a very nostalgic zinc bathtub transported me to a place of comfort mixed with ease.
There was a touch of pulsating, you know where. I dove into the content: so much heart, so much simplicity, so much depth.
I then skimmed through the first piece, titled ‘Ritual’.
In hindsight I shouldn’t have done that. The time being 15h02, I have a good hour to go in the office. There was still a commute to the CDB station and two buses to catch before I was in the comfort of my bed. You see this is that kind of read, one you reserve for the folds of your bed sheets, a comforting beverage, the kind that you feel at the back of your throat. Or maybe ones that are thick on your tongue.
It is the sort of read that makes you check your supply of AA batteries still have power in your chosen and favourite device. Something in me was stirring…
At work I get back to my laptop any attempt to be busy. I go on Twitter, open my emails, open word- finish a report, in the space of this performance of trying to keep my mind off that piece but one thing keeps playing on my subconscious.
I need to carry on reading.
Once I was nicely settled on the bus, ready and eager I continue reading, I realise though as I engage with this body of work, what a time it is that I am living in. When I was younger, not yet having a language or vocabulary to speak on the ideas of love and lust, I was confronted with these notions housed in bodies that did not look like mine. The characters were always hetersexuaual and always caucasian, a far cry from my brown (pending discovering I am queer) self. My introduction to erotica was in the form of Mills & Boon (think early 2000s, with brown copies from the 90’s), having limited copies and virtually no access, the same books were read over and over again, to the extent I could almost quote them verbatim. When you got a chance to get a new one, that one was read and read extensively as well.
As a ‘femme’ presenting babes the notion is that I want to get plas-dicked down, stuffed and ate like a Thanksgiving turkey. Although this is not a lie, I found that when I was coming into my own, into my body, sexuality and my pleasures, the narrative regarding love-making between women seemed to be set in stone. One was dominant, stuffing and eating, while the other seemed to be a passive entity. When I was coming up, I had no reference, no guide, no place to go to educate, clarify, enlighten me in lovemaking the way I wanted it. Cis-hets on the other hand have endless written literature they can turn to on what to do and when and how and to think outside the box and even have romances around this matter.
Through the narratives of Mills & Boon, I discovered that there was something about the pleasures of a woman that I craved and throbbed for. Thoughts of my fingers deep inside of her, her one hand around my neck gently and the other on my arm urging me to go deeper. Our pulsating clits bringing us to escalating to a shared conclusion. Thoughts of her bent in-front of you, needing you, wet. The aroma of her intoxicating you. There is a pleasure that sits somewhere between your clit and the tip of your nipples when you realise that this body that so resembles your own, has consented and given you the space to experience them aroused. They are so themselves in that moment, a different kind of vulnerability, a different kind of pleasure and an absolute privilege.
I now know the Mills & Boon narrative, although at my young age the only viable gateway drug present, was flawed. Firstly, They were caucasian. Secondly the manner in which these contexts were written were always privileged. Thirdly there is most likely a man in this narrative and lastly the pleasure was always revolved around women being conquered by a man. As a South African, black women who exists in intimate spaces with other women* this was far from my reality.
These are my thoughts as I ride the bus home and I come to the realisation that ‘Dark Juices and Afrodisiacs’ is a pleasure and a privilege, to be able to access this work of erotic narratives for and around bodies that look like mine. With contexts that are similar to mine. I have never engaged with erotic diary entries that resemble shared experiences that I personally have had and are yet to discover any. This look into the very intimate lives of people, into themselves, their pleasures, their vulnerable space is powerful. I urge you to give it a read, to go through the motions and discover yourself and your sex, your pleasures, your desires to be lost in this world where pleasure is absolutely yours for the taking, pleasure that is deserving to be taken, to be awakened and intrigued. People existing in their pleasures, a look at black women in a healthy, safe sexual context is living honey. It was an absolute pleasure to dive into this and it is the content that I wish I could tell a younger me is on the horizon.
What a damn time it is to be alive.
To experience the magic of Dark Juices here are the online links, simply click to download the:
- single page pdf,
- spread page pdf
- mobile friendly version (Make sure you read it on Adobe on your phone)