The sexy bits in ‘When we speak of nothing’ by Olumide Popoola

One of my pet peeves is when authors skim over details in describing sex. When the act of two or more people fucking, making love, being intimate is glossed over or merely implied. I recognise that writing about sex, a bit like speaking about sex is often portrayed as low brow, as if it doesn’t take talent and imagination to describe acts of lust, passion and love. And so I feel a lot of joy (and a trembling in my loins) when I read a book where the description of sex is on point. So I’m inspired to start a new series over here on Adventures to highlight books with realistic, enjoyable details of sex.

‘When we speak of nothing’ by Olumide Popoola

I really like the way this book deals with the intricacies and complexities of gender and sexuality. Karl, a young trans British/Nigerian man travels to Nigeria to meet the Dad that he did not even know existed. His dad initially rejects him but Karl finds community, friendship and eventually love in Nigeria. The first sex scene in which he and Janoma make love is so beautiful, and hot, hot, hot. Read it below for yourself…

“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 slide out between his legs.”

Part of what I like about how this book approached sex is that it straddled (really well in my opinion), the presentation of Karl as a young person growing in confidence in his gender and sexuality, without indulging the almost morbid curiosity cis gendered people have about the genitalia and sex lives of trans people. In parts of this book I struggled to hold my interest, but the end gave me an awwww, warm feeling, and I’m glad I stuck with the book.

Have you read this book? How did you feel about the portrayal of sex and sexuality? Share your thoughts below

I also encourage you to also send in your short reviews of ‘the sexy bits in’ books you have read.

Image of the cover of the book. ‘When we speak of nothing’ by Olumide Popoola


3 comments On The sexy bits in ‘When we speak of nothing’ by Olumide Popoola

  • This happens to be the most recent book I’ve read. I’ll admit that I struggled to go through with the book especially with the first 75 pages or so. But I think I was sold when Karl fell in love with Janoma and you’re spot on about the sex scenes. I loved them and must’ve read them about 15 times lol.

  • Am about to start reading it. Bought it at the Ake festival.

  • @Ehmie – Same. I got to a part where I was ready to give up on the book, but I so hate not to finish a book once I’ve started and then when I got to the romance with Janoma everything become much better and exciting 🙂

    @Madam Butterfly – would love to know your thoughts when you’re done. Ake is the best for buying books. Most of the books I have read over the past two years were bought there

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