In the 1990s, women's writing about war in Africa took a new turn as Yvonne Vera and Calixthe Beyala began to publish texts interweaving explicit sexual descriptions and graphic violence. With their examination of sexual relationships in the context of the Nigerian and Sierra Leonean civil wars, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun and Aminatta Forna's The Memory of Love continue this trend. Why is it that female African writers are currently turning to sensuality as a means to explore conflict? This article argues that sex and violence are intricately interwoven and that the examination of sexual pleasure in these novels forms both a language and strategy with which to explore and contest violence against women. In doing so, it draws on theoretical insights about the sexual nature of outsider perspectives on conflict, the political choices involved in describing gender-based violence, and the crucial role of intimacy in representing war and wounding.