Yes, our topic today is SEX! It is a subject every Ghanaian man, woman and lately even children love but none of them has the courage enough to discuss it in public. It is a subject that makes many men tingle in places they will not admit in public.
I know women love the subject too, but with my screaming SEX headline, I am sure that if you are a Ghanaian reading this in the office, vehicle, you most probably have looked over your shoulder to find out who is watching or paying attention. Don’t worry I looked over mine for several weeks, months before pouring my thoughts and SEX experiences in this write-up. Hello!!! Stop imagining things.
Before I go any further, tell me, did judge me or stop to think about the number of times I have had Sex in my young adult life merely because I mentioned SEX experiences? If you didn’t judge me, congrats, you don’t see anything wrong with talking about SEX.
If you did, then I guess you grew up in a home where the mention of sex or anything that has to do with it was a taboo subject. It was like saying “Nana Beba” at an NDC rally grounds or “JM Toaso” at an NPP rally grounds. Awkward isn’t? But don’t worry this piece is not about how many times I have had Sex, it is about how many times you have been denied the most valuable education- sex education- by your parents, family members teachers etc growing up as a Ghanaian child.
I hope you have not rushed to the ‘loo’ to finish reading this piece just because an annoying, noisy colleague has walked into the office with a looming possibility of him raising an alarm and calling you names. Be bold! Reading sex is not having sex and having sex under certain circumstances is not a big deal. Please don’t ask me what circumstance? ‘I will run enter the ‘loo’ myself’
So chill. Whether they call you “head of sex desk”, “sexologist” or any other funny name, for reading this piece or any other that has Sex in it, don’t worry, the jinx on public sex discussion is gradually being broken. Your independence is on its way.
It took a long while for me to declare my independence and to freely discuss sex matters in public. I was for years banned from talking sex, seeing sex, having sex, learning sex or anything that had the letters S.E.X in them. So the question is, what is it about the Ghanaian culture that makes sex so evil a topic that cannot be discussed in public but enjoyed in private?
We mostly either try to avoid it or bring up another topic whenever something about sex comes up in conversations. I was a spectacular example of how not to discuss sex in public. I grew up in an environment where I had to quickly close my eyes or pretend to be playing with my fingers or something anytime there was a kissing or sex scene in a movie I watched with my parents or aunt. And I was only permitted to watch some TV programmes.
My auntie sometimes forgot I was watching the TV with her until there was kissing or sex scene. She will then yell at me as if I was eavesdropping on her little gossip or she will raise a useless topic that had nothing to do with anything. Have you bathed? Don’t you have homework? And because I always finished doing those before going to watch, I would usually respond in the affirmative. Then she would say: “Then go to bed so you won’t frown and stretch when I wake you up in the morning.” She thought she was smarter but she made even more curious about the subject of sex.
From nursery school, I was taught to call my vagina [I can’t even mention or write it] ‘my fish’ until a teacher corrected me at about age seven. Funny, isn’t it? I guess many of you had similar experiences.
Sadly it was not only about sex. Anything that had something to do with sexuality was handled with a sexual care, even my menses. On my first ever flow, I was left in the wilderness, wondering in pain, if the second coming of Christ had arrived. When Christ is made the centre of your world, like it was and still is, a mere sight of a cockroach at night is a big spiritual warfare. I prayed through my menses but I had to confide in my young auntie who was living with us at the time. She was the only one I could trust since I did not have any friends.
My young auntie told my mum who then taught me how to keep myself whenever that time of the month came. She said to me ‘what you saw means you are now a woman’. From now on, you will see this every month and if you allow any man to touch you, you will get pregnant.” Touch? I wondered what she meant by touch and pregnancy? I got more curious.
I had very little knowledge about sex until my second year in Senior High School when I learnt the real deal, during our reproductive health lessons. At least, I had an auntie to confide in when I had issues related to the subject. But there were many young ladies like me who could only talk to their friends because their parents were not ready to discuss the topic. We all can guess what they would do.
It is a fact in Ghana that what children know about sex is what they pick up from their peers. But if you were not brought up in a compound house where you are allowed to play with other children and find out more about these things from your peers, then you will practically grow up knowing nothing about sex.
A little survey in my office proved that out of about 18 people, only four said they could comfortably open up to their parents about sex when they were in their teens.
Parents think if they gave their children sex education at an early age, the children will become perverts. Thankfully that mentality is gradually waning. As a result of technology and education, some parents have seen the need in educating their wards about sex. But the typical traditional ones would not discuss anything about sex with their children and that is even more dangerous because with the technological age having access to pornographic material is so easy. No matter the parental guidance on the TV set, a determined pervert will find a way.
I believe if children are taught certain things about sex, it will rather help them than harm them. Children are always curious and must be guided with the right information and sex education else they will find the answers by themselves.
Once I met a little girl of about four years with her pregnant mother on a bus. The child after being stopped by the mother from touching and playing with things on the bus, began to ask questions. “Mommy is Baby T in there?” The mother said yes then she asked again “Can baby T talk? The mother said no. Then the third question which earned her a spank. “Mommy has baby T a vagina too?”
The upset woman after spanking her asked her who taught her the word and warned her never to use it again. Do you think this woman will readily explain things to her daughter if she asks her anything about her own sexuality?
I won’t be surprised if this child grows up to become like my friend, Lina who cannot even look into her husband’s face and talk about sex. She got married recently and she tells me she finds it so uncomfortable talking to her husband about sex. “He wishes that we would freely discuss our sex lives but I do feel so shy when he raises the topic each time. For instance, on our first night, he told me about his preferences during sex but I could not tell him about mine and it was so embarrassing but I just could not!” Lina said.
So she is able to freely talk to her husband about their preferences in food, clothing line, you name them, but not sex. Why? Obviously, she was brought up like that little girl, who was spanked for asking too many questions.
Hopefully, you will not get spanked after reading this. But really what is it about sex that makes some people feel so uncomfortable talking about it?
The writer is Akosua Asiedua Akuffo, an Online Journalist at Myjoyonline.com. Opinions expressed in the above write-up does not reflect those of The Multimedia Group/ Myjoyonline.com.
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