Written by Kafui Offori
If you missed Part I of this, you can read all about it right here! A huge thank you to all who made it for the festival, and for those who couldn’t, we go again later this year. Enjoy!
The next panel was one of the more highly anticipated ones, on the tricky subject of Sex and Parenting. Steered by the ever-energetic Malaka Grant, co-founder of Adventures, this quickly became a Parents Anonymous meeting, something the audience seemed to love (as evidenced by the questions asked) because there was so much vulnerability displayed on that stage. Adult film royalty and director Jet Setting Jasmine, who was on the panel with her daughter Star, spoke very candidly about what it has been like raising a child while being in sex work. Star was also very open about the challenges she faced having a parent in the adult film business, but also about how it helped her view sex in the long run. Dr. Leyla Hussein’s perspective as an FGM surviving mother was so so valuable, and the grace she showed her mother who also is an FGM survivor was incredibly heartwarming. Olive’s insecurities about being a mum who feels awkward talking about sex with her child, and yet wants them to be as open and aware about sex as possible, was highly relatable to many. The panel agreed that talking to kids really early about sex was extremely important, not just so they can name body parts and experiences from a young age, but also so they can build a relationship around sex outside of guilt and shame and learn to set boundaries early.
Soon, it was time for another break. Drag royalty Majic took the stage with other drag kings and queens, and King Daddy, Sisi Chaunt and King Melvis had the audience screaming with every other move. Majic though, as always, stole the show – if thirst for a human could be measured, that crowd would have broken whatever device was doing that measuring because whew! Later on that night, some of the crowd got their wish, as Majic treated a few lucky people to personal lap dances. People were carried, others were flipped; a truly enjoyable time was had. You just had to be there to see it.
(Meanwhile, on other parts of the grounds, Tapiwa, our rope expert, was handing out spanks and some rope-play to people who wanted them, to raise money for charity. We stan a man providing pleasure for a noble cause!)
Our penultimate panel for the day was on Young People and Sex. Star joined us again for this panel, which was moderated by podcaster and content creator Warindi. It also had Jamila and Josephine Odhiambo, both of whom have been active in movement work. The conversation ran the gamut from technology to respectability politics to religion, and it was quite sobering to hear about the challenges young people are going through with technology in particular and its attending evils such as revenge porn, online harassment, catfishing for blackmail of young queers…it’s not easy out here in this age for young folk. However, there were lots of positives to take from this conversation, as it was abundantly clear that young people now are taking more control over their sexual and romantic lives, asserting and expressing themselves in ways that may have been unfathomable some years ago. The conversation was nicely wrapped up with a scintillating acoustic performance from Nina Ogot, setting the stage for our final panel on the mental health aspect of sex.
Put Majic, Kui the healer and Siphumeze Khundayi on a panel on Sex and Mental Health and you already know how deep we are going to go. Add Nairobi’s sexiest wordsmith and mental health advocate for men, Onyango, and licensed therapist Muthoni Njogu, and we are really going in. The final panel took a different approach, as it started with questions rather than an initial discussion. And just as well, because many tools were given in this session. Breathing together with your partner as a way to reset if you’re feeling anxious about or during sex, was one practical tool I picked up from Kui. It is both regulatory for the nervous system AND intimate/vulnerable, which can enhance the sexual experience. Another interesting question came from Kaz herself, who wondered why she experiences increased horniness levels whenever she goes through a period of grieving. This led to a discussion about sex as a form of comfort and healing, but also as a (sometimes healthy, other times unhealthy) coping mechanism. In the end, this panel showed that we all have insecurities, traumas and anxieties surrounding sex, and among other things, good communication, regulatory exercises, activities like dancing (Onyango’s go-to), empathy, lots of masturbation (Majic’s go-to) and work on self (Kui’s mantra) can help us scale some of the mental hurdles we are faced with during intimacy.
The energy became something else completely, the moment the artist Fena walked on stage for the final performance of the day. I was blown away by how quickly everyone flew to the stage, with phones out, to take in what was happening. Talk about superstar gravitas! I’m so sorry Fena, I was not familiar with your game! The tent was immediately filled with people singing her lyrics with her, word for word. It was absolutely awesome – a super end to a super-packed, but deeply fulfilling day.
Day One of Sexual Utopia 2023 was a resounding success, and even though the nature gods ended up opening the floodgates of rain as participants were leaving, we could not wait for the even more immersive line up of workshops Day Two promised.
Read the rest of the festival recap here.