UK

100 Women 2016: Trolled for giving sex advice to strangers - but I won't stop

  • 9 December 2016
  • From the section UK
Dami Olonisakin
Image caption Dami Olonisakin spends a huge among of time on the internet. She says: 'It's essentially where I live'

"A lot of women don't particularly have anyone to speak to," says Dami Olonisakin, known by many as Oloni.

"I know what it feels like not being able to have someone to tell a secret to, so I created my blog and Twitter page to help this."

Oloni, one of eight Girls' Champions in the BBC's 100 Women season, began her sex and relationships blog, Simply Oloni, in 2008.

It began as a personal lifestyle blog and she wanted to be the person that someone could speak to without being - or feeling - judged.

She aims to give out impartial advice - something she believes can be more valuable than the opinion of a friend or a relative, who could be too emotionally involved.

But she also invites others on social media to have a say.

"The identity of the person who sends me their dilemmas is kept completely confidential," says Oloni, who is based in London.

"I then post the dilemmas on Twitter for my 26,000 followers to also share their advice and tips on the dilemma."

'Shocked'

Oloni's followers share a range of experiences, from bad one-night stands to humorous stories, as well as seeking advice on a relationships or sex dilemma.

But not all of the topics Oloni discusses online go down well with the people reading.

"Not everyone has accepted that women are allowed to talk about sex freely, and we are allowed to embrace our sexuality; whether it's choosing to keep your virginity until you're married, or wanting to have casual sex, or wanting to be friends with benefits," she says.

"Your sex life is not a decision for other people to dictate."

She says the first time she was trolled she was "shocked" but she has gradually become used to it over time.

"I've had trolls online telling me I'm 'disgusting' for suggesting that girls dating more than one man [at a time] is fine," she says.

Who are the Girls' Champions?

Media captionMeet the Girls' Champions

Eight young agitators and commentators have been speaking to the BBC's 100 Women season on issues affecting young women.

Why is talking about sex still seen as taboo? You can watch the Facebook Live discussion here.

BBC 100 Women names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year. We create documentaries, features and interviews about their lives, giving more space for stories that put women at the centre.

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"A lot of the people who are threatened by what I do just don't want women to be better. I can't think of a time that I've given a woman ridiculous advice, apart from: 'If you're not happy, leave'."

Both men and women seek Oloni's online service for advice. And sometimes finding the right way to respond is difficult.

"I do get some queries that I sometimes don't know how to best advise, such as about being in abusive relationships," she says.

"I get thousands of messages coming through from people, but sometimes not all can get the answers immediately. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it"

Taboo

When people confide in her, Oloni says she gains more confidence in what she's trying to do - educate and raise awareness.

In one case recently, a young woman told her how she had been living with HIV for 10 years. "It reminded me of the importance of trust and how much I believe in my brand," she says.

Oloni helped the woman, named Natasha, speak out anonymously about living with HIV and the importance of knowing how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.

"We need to start talking about condoms, how to stay safe," Oloni says.

There should be more sex education, she believes.

But she also wants a more open conversation about sex and relationships in general - so that these topics are "no longer seen as such a taboo".

"You'd be surprised to know that so many women don't even know they can identify themselves as bisexual or bi-curious," says Oloni.

"We need to be more inquisitive and knowledgeable when it comes to sexuality."

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