South Africa - Johannesburg - 31 February 2019 - Interview with Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng on her new book called "A guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure" in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)

Gender activist and media personality Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng has extended her advocacy work by penning a comprehensive handbook on sexual health.

Titled A Guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure, Mofokeng’s debut book seeks to normalise healthy sexual behaviours in relationships, strengthen communication and emphasise that black women’s bodies are theirs first.

Mofokeng, an incoming commissioner of the Commission for Gender Equality, ensured that the book is not a ‘how to have sex’ manual but rather focused her expertise on helping readers navigate different aspects of sexual health, sexual pleasures and sexual rights.

The first part of the easy-to-read book zooms in on physiology and anatomy and different medical conditions and how they relate to sex.

The second part touches on sexual pleasure by focusing on communication, relationships, boundaries, consent, anal sex, bondage and kink, among others. The last section is dedicated to her advocacy work, with her showing her expertise on complex topics such as the rights of sex workers and the LGBTQA community.

It also covers a woman’s development cycle like menstrual health, pregnancy and menopause among others.

“I may not be able to reach different parts of South Africa but the book can reaffirm those young black women that they can live their best lives knowing that their bodies and vaginas are theirs, not belonging to any chief or any lobola cows.

“It fits into the bigger scheme of advocacy for me and is part of my activism. I’m saying sexual energies and sexual pleasure are inherently good and positive, and that relationships should be good, nourishing and affirming,” said Dr T, as she is affectionately known.

Interview with Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng on her new book called "A guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure" in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)

The book leans on Mofokeng’s exuberant character which has endeared her to followers, even earning her the label of being “a safe space for women”. Her information is based on years of research.

“I was very deliberate in my writing because language and words give meaning and connotations associated to them. So it’s one thing to say my book is inclusive and it’s another thing to represent it in one’s writing, sentence construction and what you’re trying to convey. It is my hope and wish that people who are not heteronormative and not cisgendered - and are often marginalised and left out - also find themselves in this book,” she said.

Mofokeng’s work around sexual reproductive health and rights has taken her around the continent and all over the world, yet she also focuses on ensuring that sexual health and well-being services are available to all in her home country regardless of people’s gender identity.

In an era where there is still negativity surrounding women’s bodies owing to culture, tradition and religion, the book aims to reaffirm women’s ownership of their bodies and to defend sexual and reproductive rights and the health of women and children.

“I was also intentionally vulnerable in the book as I shared some of my journeys because if you ask someone to be vulnerable, you too have to give something,” she said.

Dr T officially launches the book this coming Wednesday at Hyde Park Corner's Exclusive Books. 

The Sunday Independent