Book review – Getting Dirty: How to get dirty

2014-09-18 11:00

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Getting Dirty

Christa Biyela

94 pages

R130 from

Some South African households will remember Wat Seuns Moet Weet (translated as What Every Boy Should Know) and its equivalent for girls, the superawkward and cringeworthy conservative books by Dr Jan van Elfen that parents used to give their kids to educate them about the s-word.

Since those days, sex education has come out of the closet – with increasingly more straightforward booklets being published, which could possibly be life-saving.

One of these is writer and motivational speaker Christa Biyela’s GettingDirty. Like 6.4?million other South Africans, Biyela is HIV positive. This shattered her life when she first found out, but now she teaches South Africans that you can still responsibly enjoy sex if you have HIV.

Biyela doesn’t mince her words. Even when it comes to topics other writers would prefer to put more delicately, she goes straight in: “When men confess to requesting oral sex just to get a good scratch around their ash-infested penises and a woman thinks she has hit the spot as the man moans louder – in all honesty, your lips have become the best sandpaper. Tell me you wouldn’t put the lights on if you thought you were eating an STI [sexually transmitted infection].”

She calls parents who don’t talk to their children about sex just plain dumb.

“No parent wants his/her children to know that mum loves anal sex and dad watches porn when he’s supposed to be working late and often fantasises about threesomes. How do you preach about what you cannot practise? It’s like an alcoholic parent

telling a child not to touch alcohol.”

Biyela is in the business of busting myths. “A young man argued with me about the G-spot. He is ­convinced black women don’t have it – that’s why they don’t talk about it ... This man is like the ­grandfather who struggles to find the right hole when having sex.”

Biyela believes we should stop calling our genitals by trivial names like “itotolozi” or “intombazane” and speak like mature adults about this topic.

She suggests that puberty is the right time to start talking to your child about sex, but not to avoid the topic if they start asking you about it earlier.

She also does not believe that sex education should be purely reserved for school. It is a parent’s duty to have the talk.

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