If you do not know who Dr T is I suggest that you follow her on Twitter @drtlaleng. Doctor Tlaleng Mofokeng was appointed as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health is a South African medical doctor and a women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health rights activist.
First published in 2019 A Guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure this book caused a huge stir on social media and within most book clubs in the country. This book is rated 16 and as such, this review is too.
The guide is divided into three parts. The first being sexual health, secondly sexual pleasure and lastly sexual rights which are all interrelated.
We start off with an introduction by Dr T who explains that she wrote the guide to help the reader ‘navigate different aspects of sexual and reproductive health, pleasure and rights.’
In the first section, which is the longest, Dr T speaks on a wide range of topics surrounding Sexual Health which are broadly divided into four subcategories of Physiology, Menstrual Health, Medical Conditions and Pregnancy.
This first section is an immensely important section which could very likely be easily used in educating both high school learners as well as older people who are uncertain about any sexual health concerns. Dr T moves from talking about the clitoris, to the use of menstrual cups and abortions. A generous amount of time is spent talking about sex and the different occurrences that it can be disrupted through allergies to latex, diabetes and even cancer. One topic which is often left out when talking about that is not left out in this book is abstinence as a sexual choice.
When speaking on abortions Dr. T says, “the issue, however, is if one considers the policing of women’s bodies and the entitlement that individual partners, families, communities, societies, and systems have on the ability of women to be fertile and the exertion that external forces place on women, it is clear that the decision to have children or not and how to space pregnancies remains a far-fetched idea for many women.”
Moving onto the second section we delve right into sexual pleasure and if all you want to know is about the big O then head onto page 180. I wouldn’t suggest that though because there is an immensely important topic of Consent that is discussed right before. If I could copy and paste this whole section for you I would, but copyright is important so I will just share this little bit here in relation to people in a relationship, “You have to talk about the fact that when I say I want to have sex I may not say it out loud or I might start touching you or rubbing your ear. Whatever that detail is, it cannot just be assumed that when you touched her vagina and it was wet, it meant she wanted to have sex. It does not work that way.”
We move onto the last section which is the shortest but by no means less impactful where we are asked to explore sexual rights. From advocating for them to making a powerful argument that sex work is real work our talks of sex seems to be rounding up to bring everything together. My personal favourite part of the discussion comes when the issue of health care workers and the importance of their approach towards sexual health rights will ultimately be the driving force behind change in the attitude that we have when we speak about issues surrounding sex in its entirety.
This is definitely a book to buy for keeps or even to pass on to your nieces, nephews, non binary friends and foes once you are done digesting it. For more on Dr. Tlaleng visit https://drtlaleng.com/ .
This book review was first published at http://kcsbookclub.co.za/2020/09/24/dr-t-a-guide-to-sexual-health-and-pleasure-book-reviewed/