If perceptions were to be believed, black people in years gone by held very traditional values when it came to sex.
Often driven by Biblical teachings, which encourage Christians to “flee from sexual immorality,” many God-fearing folks in the black community advocated this guidance.
As such, sex has long been considered a taboo issue within our community. With many being taught that pre-marital sex was a no-no – or at least, not something that should be indulged in unless there had been a long period of ‘courting’ (dating) – open and honest discussions about sexual desires rarely took place.
As a result, it became a hush-hush topic, thereby creating the impression that black folks were pretty prudish when it came to sex.
It’s a perception that still exists, to some extent, in modern times. Back in 2012, Kandi Burruss (below), star of US TV show Real Housewives of Atlanta, appeared on a TV talk show to promote her new line of sex toys.
Discussing the concept of sexual liberation, Burruss acknowledged the long-held attitudes of many in the black community, who shy away from talking about sex.
“I think because I’m black, obviously, I had a lot of people come up to me and say: ‘Did you realise you’re the face of black women being more liberated and talking about sex?’ I didn’t realise that until now,” Burruss said.
“In our community, that black community, it is very hush hush to talk about sex,” she continued. “Everything is hush hush, like you can’t talk about that.”
But while we may be coy when it comes to talking about sex, that doesn’t mean we’re not having it – and having it freely, with seemingly less pressure to conform to those traditional values.
A poll recently conducted by leading black British publication The Voice, revealed some very interesting findings.
In answer to the question “Is it ok to have sex on the first date?” 67% said: “Yes, if the chemistry feels right between the pair, why not?”
Pretty surprising statistics from a community that supposedly holds traditional values when it comes to sex. What happened to the need to be in a committed relationship before getting down to the bump ‘n’ grind?
According to Natalie Lue, author of relationship and self-esteem site Baggage Reclaim, the long-held idea that black folks hold traditional values about sex is an “outdated” perception.
“While the black community may have long had this reputation, it’s a somewhat outdated perception,” Lue tells Dates4Us. “Casual relationships across most races and cultures have become increasingly prevalent and socially acceptable over the last decade, particularly with the ease and even emotional distance that the likes of texts, social networking, and dating ‘introductory’ websites afford people.
“As a result, most people in the ‘dating generations’ across most cultures and races, are a lot more liberal about first date and casual sex than they would have been a decade or so ago.”
Lue also believes that the dying trend of closeness within our community – which often resulted in everybody knowing everybody’s business – has enabled younger generations to operate without the pressure of feeling scrutinized by others.
“While commitment and marriage isn’t off the table, what has significantly reduced is the pressure and expectation, possibly because our communities are also not so tight knit anymore and all up in our business,” Lue says.
Sherry Ann Dixon, life skills lecturer and coach, feels that the more causal attitude towards sex held by younger generations of black people is thanks to the gradual diminishment of old school values.
“Quite often, people adopt the behaviour of their peers and a lot of younger people are no longer associated with the old prudish teachings of their grandparents,” Dixon says. “I believe that is because children are having children and there is no benchmark for them to follow.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to have sex on the first date because where do you move on to? What is there to look forward to if you’ve already made the relationship physical on the first date?”
In canvassing opinions from black Britons as to why, over the years, we’ve become seemingly more liberated when it comes to casual sex, another common suggestion that was made was the rise of female empowerment.
While men have long been stereotyped as being sex obsessed, women were often encouraged to protect their sexual reputation, so as not to be dubbed ‘loose’ or ‘easy’ to a potential partner.
But with the popularity of stars like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj (all pictured below), who have endorsed sexual empowerment through raunchy lyrics and overly sexualized performances, some feel that this has given rise to many modern women becoming more sexually liberated – and in turn, feeling completely comfortable with having casual sex.
What do you think? Have we become more sexually liberated in the black community and if so, is that a good thing? Or is there benefit in those old school values that urged us not to have sex without commitment? Tell us what you think.
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For more information on Natalie Lue’s site Baggage Reclaim, visit http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk