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Yetyne: The Sex Talk with Parents

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dreamstime_l_29642076“I wouldn’t even want to do it that night, I’ll wait for about 3 months so my husband and I can get to know each other more. I think it’s better that way”; The girl stated with a clear conviction. A sizeable number of girls in the room nodded in agreement with her decision, others started supplying additional reasons to buttress her stand. It was clear to see that everyone shared this point of view.

“Three months ke! For what?!” rang a shrill voice from one corner of the room. Evidently someone had a dissenting view. The small wiry girl with the unpopular opinion strode to the middle of the room to deliver her counterargument in an animated fashion. “What are you waiting for? To know each other after you are already married?! Hian! As for me it is that night o, I can’t wait!”

“You this girl!” retorted the first girl, “nawa for you. Why are you always in a hurry? You better calm down and listen to reason”. “Don’t mind her, what you are looking for you will soon find. Shebi you are rushing” echoed another girl. “Anyways, I’ve said my own, I’m not with you guys on this one” replied the troublemaker as she left the room.

“Just leave her jare, it’s her young age that is worrying her. All these children that their parents won’t let them finish primary school before bringing them here. That’s how they are” opined another girl. “Abi o, what were we saying before the interruption jare?” the first girl said, as the room settled for the next round of discussion.

So where was this discourse being held? Room 2, in the annex hostel that housed JSS 1 female students. The topic being discussed? The right time to start having sex. The impatient girl with the different viewpoint? Yeah, that was me.

You see, I had recently discovered Mills and Boons novels at the time. Despite the fact that the paperbacks I had read were very chaste and totally eschewed explicit sex scenes, they all had a way of describing the way the heroine felt when she was with Bae. The release of her pent up emotions, the way her body responded to him against her will, the increase in her heart rate…I’m sure you get the drift by now.

These novels made one thing very clear to me; sex was the greatest way to show/feel love, it was the climax to all love stories…pun intended. So for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why every girl in the room was saying they would wait until after some months of marriage to have sex for the first time. Like how would one have the legitimate right to express love, to feel what my beloved novels had been describing and then decide to wait for 3 whole months?! God forbid bad thing! The notion was preposterous to my 9 year old self at the time, hence the very vocal expression of my disagreement in the earlier mentioned scene.

Up until JSS2, the general belief was that we had to be married before we could start having sex. Also none of us knew what the act entailed, we just knew that after kissing, the guy lay on top of the girl and something magical happened. That naivety was soon to change though.

One Tuesday, a day student braved all odds to import into school a hardcore magazine that she had discovered in her brother’s room. Over the next few weeks, the magazine made the rounds in all the junior female hostels. After lights out it wasn’t uncommon to see a group of girls shrieking in horror while peering at images in the publication. Like Adam after eating the forbidden fruit, the veil had been lifted from our inexperienced eyes. Till tomorrow I have yet to come across any pornographic work (print/video) that explicit and I’ve seen quite a few. After reading the magazine we all went away thinking sex was mechanical and quite unfeeling. In retrospect though, I think the greatest damage was to our moral code; none of the actors/models in the magazine sported a wedding band.

My mother must have sensed the paradigm shift going on in my mind, because around that time she started her sex education talks. I remain fully convinced that the book my mum consulted to guide her on these sessions was missing quite a lot of pages. The woman skipped topics like sexuality, love, sexual activities, contraception etc. in the syllabus, preferring to talk about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases instead.

Every school holiday, my mum would look for any opportunity to sneak in her sermons. If an unwed girl in the neighborhood got pregnant, you would get an earful from my mother on how ‘2 minutes enjoyment’ could lead to negative consequences that last a lifetime. Anytime NTA Channel 5 beamed their documentary on HIV/AIDS you could be guaranteed a recital by my mama on the consequences of fornication. I went through the motions during her talks like I was at morning mass; listening in a solemn manner, looking convincingly frightened of the repercussions of derailing from the Lord’s path, and exiting with the resolution of a reborn catholic after leaving the confession booth to do away with sin.

While in SSS1 my school invited counselors to speak to us on safe sex as part of the activities to commemorate World AIDs day. During the 30 minutes lecture, they managed to let us in how condoms had been saving lives since 18gbogboro. I experienced different types of feelings during that lecture session. The first was shock; so my mum actually knew about condoms and had refused to tell me that there was a way to avoid getting pregnant! I was upset about her betrayal. The anger began to dissipate though once I realized that I didn’t have to be terrified during her sex talks any more…I had condoms!

The next time she brought up the subject; it was the next holiday, we were watching a home video in the living room. While one of the characters in the movie was debating whether to go for an abortion or face the stigma of being an unwed mother, I could feel my mum warming up for her sermon as usual. Before she finished off her introductory sentence, I had cut her short like a smart Alec with my newfound knowledge. If she was shocked by my statement, she didn’t show it. She simply asked if my almighty counselors had failed to mention that condoms were not 100% effective. Once she started explaining how factors like poor storage, improper usage reduced the efficacy of the condoms I could feel my spirits sinking.

“Anyways, 94% efficacy rate isn’t bad. I’ll take my chances with that” I told my mum after she finished. I was going to see the cup as half full…at all at all na hin bad pass. “Ehen! Who told you 6% isn’t something?!” she replied. “You must be very unlucky for the 6% to apply then” I retorted. As if on cue the woman leaned back on the sofa and began to laugh uncontrollably while I just sat there wondering what I had said that was so funny.

“Anu e se mi, see this child! So you don’t know we have bad luck in this family?! Let me tell you, in our case if anything can go wrong, it will surely go wrong”. She then proceeded to talk about how it was common for people in my family to bear the repercussions of any wrong/risky act they engaged in while their counterparts emerged from similar incidents unscathed. As she began to reel out names of affected relatives and their respective incidents I could literally feel my legs fusing together till it became a mermaid’s tail. That conversation scared the bejesus out of me. I passed through secondary school and university without incident. No way would any relative use me as a bad example to his/her kid(s).

During talks with girlfriends during my university days, I realized I was quite lucky. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to recount an episode of sexual abuse in the hands of a trusted relative during their childhood. At times it was common knowledge within family circles about the existence and identity of such a predator, but it seemed like the adults just didn’t do enough to prevent the repeat episodes from recurring.

My parents didn’t encourage sleepovers, overnight visits amongst families. We also didn’t have paid help until we were well in our teenage years. But we had relatives stay with us intermittently. I related with teachers starting from kindergarten. I attended boarding school. Anything could have happened, but I was just lucky. Most kids in my generation stumbled upon knowledge or had to rely on their peers when it came to matters of sex. A lot of missteps, bad decisions, regrets, and scars stem from that anomaly.

I don’t recall my mom ever sitting my brother down for any of her sex talks. It was always the problem of the girl child. She was the one who faced the stigma of having a child outside wedlock. She was the one who bore the shame if news got out about her having sex at an early age or having multiple sex partners. She had everything to lose unlike her male counterpart.

So what do I plan to do differently? My kids (irrespective of gender) will be exposed to sex education very early in life. They will be equipped with the knowledge and tips required to protect them from sexual predators. I will ensure that sex education starts from the home, they will not have to inquire about sex matters from an equally ignorant friend. I intend to be open and honest with them. I will continue to assure them that their parents will always have a listening ear on ALL matters concerning them. If all else fails and I detect the slightest hint of any deviant behavior, then its Grandma to the rescue.

Did you have ‘the talk’ with your parents, how did it go? Have you started talking about the birds and the bees to your children? What has been your experience so far? Let’s share.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Yetyne is a number cruncher by day, and an aspiring event planner. A music aficionado, she tweets @yetyne and blogs occasionally on https://yetyne.wordpress.com

15 Comments

  1. Chic

    June 2, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    it should be for both sexes. As a lady, I was taught sex education by my mum from the age of 6. That has helped me till date. I also started reading books and other literatures on women health. I was a big fan of “I need to Know” tv series back in the days too.
    Sex education is very important from a very young age. Don’t assume the child is too young to know bcos children these days know so much more than u can imagine. Better they get the first hand info from the inside than outside. The earlier the better.

  2. teewhy

    June 2, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you.

    The sex talk I had was always on the “scary” side and even though I didn’t have sex till NYSC, it was mainly because I was scared of all the evils attached with it.

    When I finally did, it was because I wanted to experience doing a “dangerous thing”, I just wanted to do and get over it, needless to say it was “bleeeeeeeeeh”….

    While I had my own flaws for losing my virginity like that, I wish my parents had educated me more and made me understand why I shouldn’t do it NOW instead of just instilling so much fear that ended up being my drive to doing it.
    No one ever told me there would be a time I would have the urge for it NATURALLY, especially when I am with someone I love and probably teach me further how to control and keep myself.

    They instead passed it off like it was something I WOULD NEVER want except I was an evil child. God help me to do it right by my kids.

  3. xxxx

    June 2, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    I showed my mum my first menses stage because I had read, or heard a teacher say it is appropriate to do so. And the loving woman gave me a pad. Rotfl.
    I read everything by myself. From my mum’s everywoman lying around(i was a voracious kid growing up) to dear rebecca in vanguard newspapers to young people ask published by Jehovah’s witnesses to reproduction kini in biology ss textbook to mills and boon( until dearest mother marched to my bookclub and unsubscribed me, but not without a crazy scene of how young I was to be allowed to collect books in that section, I never took that route home for years after)
    And I went to my meetings at the kingdom hall alot. They told us premarital was wrong.

    I don’t recall any awkward Sex chat tho.

  4. Josephine

    June 2, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    This article depicts what goes on in ,most families, the girl always has to go through the sex talk, for me there was nothing like a sex talk , i didn’t even get prior knowledge about anything called menstruation from my mum except those we got in biology class, the first time i had my period i was just told by my mum not to let any man “touch” me else i would get pregnant. the “touch” wasn’t even explained. I relied on information from misinformed teens like myself then and basically grew in ignorance until the advent of the internet which also was filled with various misleading views too, but now as a grown woman things have to be different with my kids definitely,
    Thank you.

    • Pretty girl

      June 3, 2016 at 1:29 am

      As in my mum said back then if any man touch u and u get pregnant just knw that u will start selling tomatoes on the street u will stop going to school so u can take care of ur baby. And then they no born u well as a boy to Come close to me because the insult that followed was just bad. Till I got to jss3 and they thought us sex education.

  5. Dr. N

    June 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Your mom is hilarious. “We have bad luck in this family”

  6. Oma

    June 2, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Very interesting piece Yetny, you are such a good writer, sharing such an important message in a captivating, fully and easy to read way, well done!

  7. Oma

    June 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    *funny, not fully o.

  8. ME

    June 2, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    HAHAHAHAHA. I would have sworn we had the same mother except for the fact that at the place where you told her you’d take your chances with 6%, instead of a tale of bad luck and its consequences, I would have received a sharp resounding slap strong enough to dissipate any remaining doubts about the virtues of virginity. God bless my mum.
    A very funny and engaging write-up. Yes, every parent to be must not think their child is ignorant. There is so much to be seen and heard so early guidance and demystification is necessary.

  9. Ibi

    June 2, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Sex talk keh in Nigeria I remember my mum telling my brother to always use protection cos he’ll marry anyone he gets pregnant n turning to me to tell me to keep myself for marriage cos boys are like people that go to the market to buy garri just cos they taste it doesn’t mean they’ll buy it everything I learnt about six I learnt from books n off the Internet. Most Nigerian mothers will just like to pretend that their daughters aren’t sexually active most think it’s by locking their daughters up n not allow them go anywhere

  10. chachadee

    June 2, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    I also started up with novels very early…. Harlequin Blaze… Etc. I guess this stopped my mum from having ‘the talk’ with me. She was too busy trying to find where I hid my novels, under the bed, in the kitchen, in my box, even in her room.
    When I got to the university and she wanted to have that talk I was too loud mouth to give ears. Surprisingly enough she confessed one day that she’s been have this convo with my sister for years…. Since Pry school. Boy was I mad, I felt cheated on.

  11. Nammy

    June 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Nice funny, informative article.

  12. Ifeyinwa Mic

    June 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    My mother started talking about sex with my sisters and I at a very early age, so I learned quite a lot early on. My Dad also explained sex to me and the consequences of not being “smart”. It’s funny thinking back to those conversations with my Dad because I was barely 6 when he started. I grew up with a very healthy, well-rounded view of sex and it has helped me even today. My current boyfriend grew up in a typical Nigerian household. His parents never talked to him about sex…as in NEVER. The guy didn’t even know that women could find pleasure in sexual activities. Not to worry, he is now up to speed.

    • yemi ola

      June 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Aww Bless your boyfriend’s heart haha

  13. Ndidi

    June 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    18gbogboro…. Lol that got me. Lovely write up.
    No sex talk in my house, 5th daughter, my mum was already exhausted when it got to my turn. My elder sis had to step in with the ‘advice’.
    Found out about actual sex from my friends and saw pics at an uncle’s place my sis and I went to visit who left the mags out purposely with hopes of future molestation. God helped us to dodge that bullet.

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