By Henry Ominde.
The mention of sex somehow seems to always stir up some kind of awkwardness.
Last friday my aunt calls me up to check up on me. The conversation is off to a great start – the usual how are you doing, whats new – that kind of stuff. But then she mentions that she had a terrible nightmare concerning me the previous night. She seems very hesitant to tell me about it so i probe her into it and finally she does.
So the dream was that we had gone on some sort of outdoor getaway and then she is informed that there’s people having sex somewhere near where we were supposed to pitch camp. So she follows the guide and when she arrived there it was me. Ouch!!
I follow up with a silly question and ask ‘ So was it with a man or a woman?’. I notice her giggle in shyness as he responded lets not talk about this I realize this was really awkward and that she wasn’t about to go down that road.
Well, her and i are super close. I’m basically her son, brother and friend. She is aware of my sexuality and has always supported me and been that person that I can talk to about anything including my failed relationships (yes exes she knows all about you.lol). However talking about sex-in this context i mean the act- was very awkward.
This got me thinking about a lot of things. About sex education/awareness, why people don’t necessarily talk about sex freely, who should talk about sex, why and when should we talk about sex and, how culture greatly affects this.
Let’s begin with Sex education/awareness, this is basically education about human sexual anatomy, reproduction, intercourse and human sexual behavior. So where do we get this? Basically everywhere, with the internet , television and social media its easy for anyone to get all sorts of information regarding sex. Not forgetting peers also have a great role in this as well.
But then with all this options, its important to identify where exactly to seek proper, accurate information regarding sex. I mean scandalous behavior, lustful desires, misleading information is instantly and graphically accessible to everyone including young children resulting to an influx of cases of sexual nature among minors leading to sexual misconduct. Lets also not forget the health risks that come with practicing unsafe sex.
Now, when and why should we talk about sex? I believe the earlier the better. For instance, cases of sexual misconduct are on the rise of late, with many cases going unreported. Its shocking that children as young as eight and thirteen are involded in sexual offences such as rape and oral sex. Statutory Rape(non-forcible sexual activity in which one of the individuals is below the age of consent) , date rape(acquintance rape, drug facilitated rape), gang rape, spousal rape, corrective rape, perpetrators rape, custodial rape, war rape, serial rape, payback rape all of this come as a result of lacking knowledge or simply being arrogant to the fact that consent is vital. Partner based violence is on the rise because some think their partners should always do as they say in matters sex and have no regards whatsoever to their wellbeing. Let’s not forget the health, mental health effects and unwanted pregnancies that follow. People also need to know about their rights, what consent means, options when it comes to safe sex and why sex is best practiced responsibly.
Proper guidance on sexuality is urgent and indispensable to everyone and the earlier the better.
So who should talk about sex? In my opinion everyone should be have the right information and feel free to hold discussions, ask questions about sex. In Mombasa county, organizations including HAPA Kenya, PEMA KENYA, INEND, WACHA HEALTH, PTI, CMRSL, NKOKO IJU AFRICA, CWW & RWOK are taking great responsibility in sensitizing the community on sexual Reproductive Health, Human Rights advocacy as well as providing mental health support for persons and victims of sexual abuse. These wonderful organizations are effectively serving the community and are a reliable source of information and provide necessary linkages to other organizations that may be resourceful(I invite you to visit their websites for more information). Therefore, basically everyone ought to have conversations about sex.
Now, our cultural diversities do affect how we approach the issue of sex. Religious, traditional and western cultures all have different approaches towards this and some may be misinterpreted, inaccurate, bias or may not be relevant to certain realities but in one way or another they have been useful. I think that integrating relevant accurate information with our cultural diversities will come in handy.
So, what am I saying? I am saying that we need to talk about sex as it is part of being human. I am saying that there’s nothing shameful about opening up about sex, seeking information about sex, knowing your rights in the context of sex and the earlier we do this the better. I am saying it is our responsibility to seek the right information regarding sex and have free open conversations about it within our safe spaces and with those we are comfortable. There’s nothing awkward about it. I am saying that sex needs to be spoken about for various reasons.
Therefore, lets do this, lets talk about sex.
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