Happy New Year Africa; it’s going to be a good one.
We’re still in the ‘New Year, New Me’ season; and in the spirit of things we’re leaving in 2017, let’s talk about sex.
The attitude towards the subject of sex and sexuality in Africa is slowly becoming less taboo; as previously documented here on MoreBranches. Millennials are having sex, but education on the subject seems to be slow in catching up. I remember being eleven and having to awkwardly endure the shaming session my primary school called “Sex Education”. The boys were separated from the girls; as usual and in the end, nothing particularly helpful (or true) was said about it. I was part of the small unfortunate minority of girls struggling through a growth spurt at the time so it was akin to hell; we were used as examples for all the different scenarios the teachers came up with. The basic gist was that once you hit puberty, you could have kids and it came with the full time job of avoiding and fighting off male company: don’t expose your legs, you can no longer afford the luxury of a fatherly hug, don’t play with boys and other stories. I was made to believe that if I got any kind of attention from a boy; I was probably looking for it; even if I didn’t want it. I can’t possibly forget the way we were shamed into chastity:
You’re a girl. You’ll be left alone if you get pregnant before marriage. No man will respect you if you’re not a virgin.’ And when we asked who policed the boys? – ‘Boys don’t get pregnant; nobody will talk about them.
It goes without saying how very sexist the ‘Sex Ed’ classes a lot of us had to endure were; we were literally to chastity and in the end, we were none the wiser about sex or anything related to it. Important things like contraception, dysmenorrhea, pregnancy risks and abortions and STI and STD transmission and treatment were left in the dark. It took a while for some of us to realize that vaginal discharge is just the vagina cleaning itself and not a symptom of any abominable disease and that you did not have to be sexually active to get a urinary tract infection.
Some people don’t even know that the vagina and urethra are two different holes and because of lapses like this, a lot of youth suffer such farfetched accusations as witchcraft (God forbid one goes through menstrual cramps).
Sex Education should not be a guilt trip into chastity; making it that undermines the purpose. Educating pre-pubescent and pubescent adolescents about the changes they are going through at this point in their lives where their hormones are at war with their judgment is to help them understand that they are not freaks of nature and that those urges and desires they have are normal.
People will have sex; no matter how much premium is put on the greatness of the ones that hold on to their purity till marriage; then again, the ones that get married as virgins will still have sex anyway, more information is very vital for everyone.
So leave the chastity guilt trips in 2017 and let’s talk about sex and all the good things and the bad things that come with it.
Feature Image Curated by Clearly Invincible.
Assisted by Cosmas Akhere.
Image Taken By Kene Esomeju.
Muse – Lota.