In a post-#MeToo world, author and influencer Camille Aumont Carnel questions what the words we use convey about our sexualities in her new book.
The language we use is incredibly important - especially when it comes to sexuality.
Sex, of course, involves both physical and psychological elements, making our choice of words essential for informed consent and ensuring safe and pleasurable experiences.
Yet our society continues to grapple with the persistence of words which carry stigma and shame. Heteronormative language can further marginalise the LGBTQ+ community, while gendered phrases can perpetuate stereotypes and reinforce traditional gender roles.
Enter Camille Aumont Carnel, a champion for positive sexuality and an aspiring shaper of the French language, who has released her second book, titled "Les mots du Q" ("Words of Q" - the letter sounding like the word "cul", the French for arse and a reference to all things sexual).
With this book, the 26-year-old Nigerian aims to dissect problematic expressions surrounding sexuality and combat what she refers to as "linguistic violence" within the French language.
She believes that the linguistic biases in French, such as the concept of "the masculine prevailing over the feminine," which children encounter from an early age, give rise to various forms of violence.
Challenging problematic expressions
As part of her mission as a "fourth-wave" feminist activist, Carnel takes on the task of dissecting problematic expressions and proposing new terms to create a more relaxed and inclusive dialogue about sexuality.
Instead of saying "not giving a fuck," she suggests using the phrase "not getting wet about it."
She introduces terms like "libido desert" and "surprise boner", while critiquing expressions like "losing one's virginity" for their patriarchal and heteronormative connotations.
She hopes that out of the hundred expressions she proposes, even if just a couple gain acceptance in society, it would be a successful achievement for her.
Who is Camille Aumont Carnel?
Her Instagram page, @jemenbatsleclito, born five years ago out of a "visceral impulse" to challenge mindsets, serves both as a personal diary and an outlet for discussions about sexuality.
It now boasts nearly 678,000 followers.
With posts that receive tens of thousands of likes, Carnel candidly shares her experiences with humour and frankness.
She writes, "I looked at myself in a mirror during an orgasm, even the wall burst out laughing," and "Liberty, Equality, Charged Vibrator."
A graduate of the prestigious culinary program at Ferrandi School, the former apprentice chef also utilises her platform to denounce sexism in the culinary world.
Through @jedisnonchef, another of her Instagram accounts, she shares the stories of victims in an industry that, according to her, allows "ample room for violence, harassment, and sexual abuse."
Considered a contemporary "feminist icon" by her publisher, her digital success story has landed her on Forbes magazine's 2022 list of the 30 most influential individuals under 30 in France.
"I've always been very ambitious. The topic of sexuality has never really been a taboo for me," Carnel tells AFP.
"I've been given an undeniable, almost indestructible confidence in myself," asserts Carnel in reference to her Franco-Lebanese adoptive parents, who welcomed her when she was just two months old in Niger.
After managing four successful Instagram accounts, producing audiovisual content, and writing two books (including "#Adosexo," a sexual education manual for teenagers published by Albin Michel), one thing is certain: Camille Aumont Carnel is not backing down from taking up space.
"We have to fight against a lot of very patriarchal things that people try to push on us, such as being discrete, not speaking very loudly, not taking up a lot of space," she explains.
"But when I get there, I really need to occupy the space, because at some point, in a society where everything is about strength and domination, you have to stand out."