Scientist Yewande Biala is one of the smartest people to have been on Love Island. With a first-class honours degree in biotechnology and a masters in pharmaceutical quality assurance, she walked into the villa in 2019 looking to discover the perfect formula for love.
It didn’t work out, but now the 28-year-old is applying all that brain power to a documentary exploring the secrets of the female orgasm. In the one-off Channel 4 programme, Yewande courageously allows us to follow her in her bid to experience an orgasm for the first time.
“I’m actually a little bit nervous about putting this out to the world because I filmed it a year ago, and it’s a sensitive topic,” confesses Yewande. “But I’m also excited because it’s an important topic that needs to be on TV and something that a lot of people shy away from.
“I was asked to do this doc two years ago, but I was so uncomfortable talking about sex that I said absolutely not. When they asked again later, I had matured, but still had so much of my journey to do.”
As many as one in eight women claim never to have experienced an orgasm, and in this documentary, Yewande meets scientists and therapists, along with other women to hear their stories, research and advice. She attempts to learn all there is to know about the complexity of the female orgasm.
“I genuinely believed for years that female orgasms were this myth,” laughs Yewande. “So when I was about 18 or 19, I was like, ‘This is not a thing, everyone’s just making this up’. It started on a podcast where one of the questions was, have you ever faked an orgasm. I said no, and they went, ‘But obviously you’ve had one’. And I hadn’t.”
Yewande believes her lack of openness about sex comes from her strict Catholic upbringing, which could also be a contributing factor to why she’s never experienced an orgasm.
“The school I went to was very religious and sex was not spoken about at all,” she says. “If you were having sex, you were slut-shamed and if you masturbated in secondary school, you were seen as the dirtiest person in the whole entire school, it was so bad. Even the sex education was just strictly kind of like reproductive purposes, like that was the only reason we were learning.”
Not only was Yewande educated in a Catholic school, she also has a Nigerian family and explains that she never had open or positive conversations about sex.
“I’m Nigerian, my parents are Nigerian and sex is just not something that’s ever spoken about,” she sighs. “Me and my mum, up until the documentary, had never, ever spoken about sex. Even when we did in the rare moments, it was just like, ‘Oh, well, don’t get pregnant” or ‘At least wait until marriage’ and that was it. It was quite an uncomfortable situation to be in.”
In documentary she tries to have a conversation with her mum about her lack of sex education, but the talk doesn’t go as well as she’d hoped.
“I literally thought about it for days,” says Yewande. “It was just so nerve-racking and I feel like even though we had the conversation, it wasn’t the breakthrough that I needed. More conversations have to happen, but to be able to even have that talk and have it filmed with other people in the room for me was a huge thing. My mum’s actually looking forward to watching the show.”
With her religious upbringing and family, and attitude towards sex, the fact Yewande, at 23, was on to Love Island seems bizarre.
“The misconception that Love Island is about sex is a really negative one just because it’s not. It’s a dating show – 90% of the cast don’t have sex,” she says. “To be like, ‘Oh, so nervous about going on a dating show because I would have to have sex’ didn’t even cross my mind. Love Island’ s all about finding love and friendships and about growing as a person.”
In a bid to have her first orgasm, Yewande seeks out professionals who advise her to get to know herself on an intimate level, something she found particularly daunting.
“To sit here and be like ‘Oh, my God, no, it was a breeze’, would be an absolute lie,” she confesses. “It seems easy, going into a sex store or the pussy-gazing class at the start of the documentary – it seems so simple. But for someone who’s grown up in a conservative household and has never spoken about sex, those things were so uncomfortable.”
Secrets Of The Female Orgasm, Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm
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