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Lota O: On Virginity and Post-marital Sexual Intimacy

Lota

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I was at a Girls’ Night In celebrating a friend’s birthday at her apartment, where I had a very interesting and spirited conversation with a group of friends and acquaintances (all black women in their twenties and early thirties). We discussed a wide range of topics from uterine fibroids, sexual assault, and [not] discussing sex with our parents, to sexual satisfaction, feminism, and dating etiquette. (Yup, it was an interesting night).

About an hour or so into the conversation, we were discussing celibacy and what it means to be in a Christian relationship, when one of the girls mentioned that she knew three women – all in their thirties – who are currently struggling with sexual intimacy in their individual marriages. As you can imagine, we were all intrigued by this assertion, but I doubt anyone was entirely surprised. According to her, these three women had each been celibate before they got married, and now that they are married and [officially] permitted to have sex, they can’t seem to enjoy doing it, or even desire it. (Bear in mind that these are not newly-weds; they have each been married for upwards of four to five years).

None of the women in question were present, so I couldn’t ask them the million and one questions I had, but I automatically guessed it had something to do with them not being able to get past the shame, guilt and immorality often associated with sex. So the first question I asked the girl narrating this was – “Were all these women always celibate OR had they previously been sexually active and then become celibate at some point?” To which she replied, “Come to think of it – they were all virgins before they got married”.

Immediately, there was an “OOOOOOHH” that rang through the room, as though our confusion had been resolved.

Among the group that night was also a psychologist (marriage and family therapist) who echoed this same assessment, stating that she had encountered quite a number of clients with the same issue – women who were virgins before they got married, experiencing post-marital sexual intimacy issues.

While processing this, I immediately thought of the alarming statistic of women around the world, but particularly those in Nigeria, who are estimated to never have experienced an orgasm. Now, it’s possible that these two issues are completely unrelated, but my guess is that there is some kind of correlation between the shame/immorality that is often associated with pre-marital sex [especially for women, since somehow we are the only sex that has historically been taught to preserve our virginity] AND the apparent inability to desire or enjoy sex even after marriage, when we are supposedly permitted to do the act.

I realize that this concept of virginity/celibacy/sexual morality stems largely from many of our religious and cultural beliefs, so it is neither my place nor my intention to determine if it is wrong or problematic. I am merely stating the facts as I understand them. But given the extensive amount of observable evidence or anecdotal proof if you will, perhaps this is an issue worth revisiting or at least analyzing on a societal level. And this is not to suggest that we disregard these concepts entirely; perhaps it’s the manner in which they are taught that requires modification.

P.S. There was no guy present during our conversation and nobody in the group had any contribution from a male perspective, but I am really curious to know if this is a gender neutral phenomenon, or if it is something only women struggle with.

Please comment or reach out with any answers or insight you might have on the topic. Thank you!

 

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Hi I'm Lota, and I believe that love is the greatest gift of all. I am Nigerian, and my family and friends mean the world to me. I enjoy having great conversations and listening to people's opinions. I am a Nollywood connoisseur of sorts, and a lover of God, food, and everything pink! Writing helps me relax and process my thoughts. Professionally, I am in pursuit of a career that merges my passion for healthcare and entertainment media. Visit my blog at Lota Relates. Watch my vlogs here.

18 Comments

    • Onyinyechukwu

      February 15, 2019 at 6:16 pm

      Chineke nna!!!.. This is um… Sad?!.. Yea, Sad.
      With that being said.. Come’ere.. ??

    • Dr.N

      February 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      If he is open to Counseling there is so much that can be done to correct this. Hope you can find trusted couselors and also convince him to buy in. He doesn’t know what he is missing.

    • bolintin

      February 18, 2019 at 11:23 am

      There is a lady and her husband on Instagram who teach bedmatics. I think she is @me4counseling. kemi odutayo is her name. check her out.

  1. Onyi

    February 15, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    What a stupid and poorly written article. An ill formed argument that lacked depth. You do realize that there are women who were sexually active prior to marriage and sexually dissatisfied post marriage? There are many factors that lend to sexual dissatisfaction, all which go beyond how a woman decides to own/express her sexuality. Try again.

    • foodie

      February 15, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      that is an another option about several causes of post marital intimacy, and the fact it was not stated does not make the article badly written. you could have simply stated that without disregarding the entire article when this is an issue that is almost never discussed in our society.

    • didi

      February 15, 2019 at 4:10 pm

      This is how they start to destroy responsible women. Its myopic for you to ever think that being a virgin before marriage is what leads to sexually dissatisfaction. One our mothers do not educate their daughters on sex before marriage, even our fathers too they never deem it right to teach their sons on sex because of shame or ego i dont know. 2) marriage classes in church dont say it as it is and i believe not just anyone or pastors wife should coach couples on sex in marriage but professionals that are christians eg christian sex coach. Men should be taught to tickle their wife’s fancy before the main deal, communicate during sex and after sex dont be shy about it, tell your hubby what turns you on. I have also heard that women who have being involved in masturbation before marriage find sex boring with their spouse, also people who WATCH ponography never get satisfied with their spouse because the mind is broken and theres comparism. God is very much interested in your sex life as a couple in a marriage setting, he can give you direction and spot what the problem is. I even have a friend to my sister who was raped and as a result it took the help of God to begin enjoying sex with her husband errrmm i think i heard this story in church pardon me. So this lady anytime hr husband want sto meet with her theres this fear so she never enjoyed it and her husband was suffering until they prayed together and God intervened. So me dear alot is involved a woman close to me was circumcised as a small girl but the circumcision went bad and as a result now that shes married sex is very painful, she has been to the hospital several times abeg God is the only solution ojare

    • Aribisala blessing

      February 20, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      Please learn to read with understanding before making a comment. the article is nit conclusive, the writer just wrote what she and her friends felt might be the issue. you don’t have to be so rude please

      1
  2. ggg

    February 15, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Onyi – I do not know you but God bless you. I guess your body count has to be 10 before you can enjoy …… Oro jati jati

  3. A

    February 15, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    My husband and I got married as virgins because we chose to, and we enjoy sex. We have been married for almost 10 years, and we genuinely enjoy sex. We read books, watch videos, try new things, and look forward to satisfying one another. We are both Christians and we know God has given us the sexual desire so that we can fulfill it. My mom and aunts are the same way. In their 50s and 60s and still exchanging books and tips, buying lingerie, buying different lubs and stuff. Mind you, almost all of them are pastors.

    Choosing to be celibate before marriage doesn’t inhibit your sexual satisfaction in marriage. My 2 cents.

    1
    • Amaka

      February 16, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      God bless you A. I’m in my late thirties and celibate . I KNOW I’m going to enjoy sex when I’m married …

      1
  4. Me

    February 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    This article is ridiculous, because 3 or 5 virgins you or your friends know didn’t enjoy sex, so this should be the same for all virgins. What of the stories we’ve heard about virgins becoming nymphos after marriage. Abeg this your article is very stupid and lacks depttttt and what exactly is your intention? To put people away from being virgins before marriage? Utter nonsense

  5. AIN'T

    February 15, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    I am a guy, got married as a virgin(Due to my Christian beliefs). We enjoy sex, I don’t feel guilty about it. I enjoy the freedom of not having to compare my wife with another and no other woman other than my wife can claim they have slept with me talkless of kissed me. I am proud of this.

    Regarding the topic, I think the conclusion is based on an assumption not facts, and with sex every couple regardless of their marital status experience different levels of intimacy depending on how much they apply themselves.

    1
  6. Bade

    February 16, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Most of the comments here are one-sided. Even if the article lacks depth, it doesn’t negate the fact that some people are struggling with it. Lota, thanks for shedding light on the topic that I know affects many people.

    1
  7. mie

    February 16, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Hey Lota, interesting point raised in your article.

    summary of comment: it’s not a given for a woman to have problems with sexual intimacy after marriage if she abstained from pre-marital sex. It may have a lot to do about the mindset, which can be helpful/harmful to the matter being discussed.

    Long version: I agree with a point you made- there is a lot of shame associated with pre-marital sex for the woman, even sans religious beliefs (a lot of cultures also endorse pre-marital chastity for the female), that one has to be conscious and intentional about one’s perspective of sex. I remember that episode in Jane the Virgin when she finally got married and had sex with Michael and couldn’t enjoy it, no matter how excited she had been, it was very informative for me as a young woman abstaining from pre-marital sex. In my own personal experience, I had never been educated on holding or how to have a healthy view of sex,sexual intimacy with spouse when married. Thanks to that episode, I questioned my feelings about (and not just knowledge of) the issue, and intentionally started to work on my mindset.

    But its not a given that pre marital abstinence from sex = problems with sexual intimacy post marriage, i think its really about the mindset. I know women who were virgins until they got married and didnt have problems with sexual intimacy, either with no efforts (they weren’t taught to be ashamed) or being intentional about maintaining a healthy perspective. (May be I should also point out that there are many women who weren’t abstinent and still have problems with intimacy before and after marriage so that weakens your/your party’s argument, or maybe that will be me digressing…)

    I guess my point is you can be abstinent without the shame attached. And if you (anyone reading) find out that you’re not enjoying sexual intimacy with your partner, please seek help from professionals like sex therapists and other educated/trained people. (and not porn, etc)

    Maybe a medical person could share if there are actual medical conditions that may also prevent intimacy. I’ve read of a few, but the only one I think that’s related to a lack of previous sexual experience is vaginismus, which is pretty much the woman being so anxious (=mindset) that her pelvic muscles (in)voluntarily closes and the man may not be able to penetrate, or her vagina can’t self lubricate naturally which can cause a lot of discomfort during sex. Perhaps there may be other health conditions that may be particular to the person that would only be discovered when they became sexually active. And there are those women who cannot attain orgasm physiologically, but it’s believed to be a small % of women so chances are that you aren’t one of them. Please seek professional help if you have issues, and hopefully you’re blessed with an understanding partner.

    Most of the comments i read are very defensive and borderline insulting Lota, and I’m wondering if it’s the same article we read. When I got to the end of the write up, I thought “hmmm safe way to play this, present a case with no strong conclusion and then ask for other people’s comments. Let me check people’s views in the comments.” And then came the strong words. Lol, not surprising tho. She said she “thought” and “guessed”, stressed how she didn’t have a lot of evidence, and still you still came for her. ? Me I read it as some sort of “oh this is what I discussed with friends, I’m in the process of forming an opinion but interested in hearing many more opinions, so whatever conclusion I come to for now isn’t biased. Help/let’s chat” article. But you people already took it p, nawa

    1
    • larz

      February 21, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      God bless you!

      Cant people be religious but still listen.

      I dont know about you guys but I dont think the “average” Nigerian girl aged 30-50 had healthy conversations about sex with their parents, schools, or religion (especially before marriage). Sex ed was, if you had it was if you have sex you will be pregnant and wear a condom. No one old us about female sex for pleasure, those were for asewos. Add to the over reliance on the word “pure” when teaching women about being chaste. Abeg if you have been asked to stay pure until marriage, does that mean you are impure afterwards. Can we not see how this can trigger ppl already prone to anxiety or other psychological conditions? Does because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean your experience is representative of the society at large.

  8. foodie

    February 17, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Honestly, the comments here are alarming, there are some people who feel guilty and detest sex after marriage, not just because they were virgins, but because sex has always been presented to them as something to be scared of,run away from and painful, and those feelings do not immediately go away after marriage, because to those people, that is their interpretation of sex, the fact that people around you who were virgins enjoyed sex after marriage does not negate that this scary outlook on sex is also given to some people, these people exist and it’s a good thing topics like these are being brought out so they do not feel weird or alone, so the fact this exists. does not automatically mean all virgins are this way after marriage, but some, so stop disregarding their opinions and experiences because it did not occur to you.

  9. Manny

    April 12, 2019 at 1:12 am

    You can be sexually active before marriage but still have hangups about sex. Also, you can be sexually active before marriage yet sexually unsatisfied.
    Just as there are virgins who can’s seem to get into the act after marriage, there are also non-virgins pre-marriage who still cannot get past their hangups post marriage

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