Episode 21: Oshun, Sensuality, & Decolonizing Black Femme Sexuality
There’s someone whose name I’ve been seeing come up a lot lately. I’ve heard her name used before a couple of times, but lately it seems like she is everywhere—in my witchy spaces, in the articles I’ve been reading about feminism and sexuality, she’s even showing up in my client work.
I’m talking about Oshun, a Yoruba deity of femininity, sexuality, and sensual pleasure who’s been getting a lot of air time recently thanks to Beyoncé’s latest visual album, Lemonade. As I started to explore who she was, my curiosity began to grow to the point where I wanted to know even more about Her—particularly, how I could potentially use Oshun and Her influence in my spiritual and sexual life.
And that’s when I remembered Dr. Zelaika’s work.
Oshun is a protector of women, an advocate for their sexual freedom and sensual pleasure. Some say she is the first feminist.
I stumbled across Dr. Zelaika’s work last year and I noticed that she was talking a lot about Oshun. I was really interested in what she had to say about Her, so I hit her up and invited her onto the podcast to share some of her wisdom with us.
After chatting with her, I realized that Oshun isn’t just a goddess—She has been a really powerful catalyst that helped instigate some beautiful awakenings in Dr. Zelaika’s sexuality and black femininity.
Through her, I fell in love with Oshun.
In this episode of the Sexually Liberated Woman podcast, I chat with Dr. Zelaika about…
/ Who Oshun is, what she represents, and the ways we can use her as inspiration for sex positivity and stepping into our erotic power.
/ Periods, “the power of the vulva”, and using Oshun’s influence to empower and radicalize total body acceptance (decolonize menstruation!).
/ Self-love as a way of fighting internalized oppression and a little self-love ritual you can try at home.
/ Black femme sexuality and twerking for sexual liberation.
“We’ve been conditioned not to know our power. And it’s getting scary for those who have horded power to see how powerful those marginalized folks really are when we stand in our truth.”
Some things mentioned in this episode:
Audre Lorde, The Winds of Orishas
African Sexualities, Sylvia Tamale
The Invention of Women, Oyeronke Oyewumi
Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions, Conner and Sparks
The Architects of Existence, Teresa Washington
Menosexuality (or the sexual attraction to menstruation)
And the song that Dr. Zelaika is twerking to
About Dr. Zelaika: Dr. Zelaika Hepworth Clarke is the first Jamerican with three degrees (BA, MEd, PhD) in Human Sexuality from accredited universities. She is a sexosopher, clinical and cultural sexologist, an African-centered social worker, and sexuality theoretician and provides sexuality consulting and therapy and decolonial guidance at the Plurivesity. If you would like a free copy of her dissertation on Oshun and osunality, send her an email.