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Feminist writings on women’s sexuality have often addressed the ‘repression of women’s sexual agency’ and ‘women’s lack of negotiating power’ in heterosex (Shefer and Foster : 375).
The section “”, I reflect on the significance of those cracks, and come to an overall analysis of how silence, pleasure and agency are part of the way female pre-marital sexuality is constructed in contemporary Dakar.
I start however with some methodological considerations in the following section.
I was interested in investigating how safe sex practices, or the lack thereof, are embedded in the way the gendered sexualities of unmarried girls and boys are constructed.
This article deals with a part of this study: the construction of female pre-marital sexuality in the lived experiences of unmarried girls in Dakar.
An emphasis on oppression and danger can lead to the ignorance of women’s own experiences and their understandings of agency and choice.
In order to do justice to variety and fluidity, an analysis of gendered sexuality has to address both the dominant and sub-dominant dimensions.
The central question concerns the way in which female pre-marital sexuality is constructed in contemporary Dakar.
My interest is to investigate in what way and to what extent female sexuality is being silenced, and if any, in what way pleasure and sexual agency are present in the narratives of those girls.
Put differently, I intend to unpack the multi-dimensional reality of the paradoxical situation that those girls live in.
I start with looking into the normative context by discussing the practice of the wedding night and the importance of virginity.