Adulting is hard. It’s even harder when you have no idea whatsoever what you’re doing or where you’re going. That’s why we need mentors and role models and parents. To guide us and show us which way has better lighting so we don’t stumble blindly in the dark.
One thing I wish I was given good and sufficient advice on is relationships and sex. Yes, I said sex.
Disclaimer: I am about to make some people very uncomfortable. Quit now or be traumatised for the rest of the day or maybe week? I don’t know.
Now that the people who get uncomfortable even on the mention of the word sex have left the class, back benchers kujeni mbele. Settle down, settle down. Maddo I see you, thanks for attending☺
As I was saying, I wish my parents had given me a better talk on sex education and relationships in general. But you know African parents, right? They will avoid talking about it for as long as they can(yaani you can be turning 40 and they never talked to you about it and they sleep like babies at night, without an ounce of guilt in them.)
My parents never sat me down to give me the talk. They knew I was getting plenty of the knowledge from school because I came home with notes and pamphlets and stories about what we were taught at school. Back then, most public schools had a Peer educator programme where a bunch of us were selected to go learn sex ed then we’d come back and teach our peers. I was a peer educator so I was full of knowledge.
But teachers at school will teach you like teachers do- in a classroom, with chalk, charts and a little intimidation.
We needed our folks to fill in some gaps for us.
But African parents are so skilled in dodging awkward conversations with their children. My friend was telling me about how her parents gave her the knowledge. Her mum would leave a book like “Questions Adolescents Ask” on the sittingroom table where everyone could see it and they, being curious kids, would pick it up and devour its content. Their dad would tell them a story and go round and round the point until finally, the story would end and they would it would my friend and her siblings a long time before they realised the main message in the story.
My parents were almost the same. When I first had my periods, my mum handed me a packet of pads, a smile and one awkward sentence, “Now that you’ve become a woman, don’t play with boys.” Lol😂😂 This haunts me even in my sleep. I feel like she should have given me more, no matter how awkward it would have gotten, instead of assuming I already knew.
The fact that they approached this subject which so much secrecy and shyness and aggression (my dad would chase away any boy he saw me talking to past 7 O’clock with a rungu and threats like ,”nikikuona hapa tena nitakukata miguu”. Yeah, his plan was for me to be perpetually single for the rest of my life) only made us more curious to find out why.
See our generation now.
We are so permissive about relationships and sex. We have made relationships and sex to be such a casual thing. Random hookups with random people we meet, two week relationships, general failure in relationships because of the smallest things that can be worked out but we are just unwilling and so many more.
If our parents(or should I say some because some parents are like superheroes in this department) had approached this subject in a more serious way, would we have a different perspective on sex and relationships in general? Maybe.
Maybe we would talk relationships seriously (and some of us actually do, bless you guys😂). Maybe we would see sex as something sacred we share with people we love and value and actually remember their names the next morning (again, some of us do, y’all the real MVPs😂💪).
Let’s not put all the blame on African parents though. We, as a generation, have failed ourselves as well. Every generation has its fair share of shortcomings and so do we. And our generation will also play a part in shaping the next generation’s perceptions about many things. Let’s not fail them.
In the mean time, can we agree to be sensible? Our parents may not have tackled this sex ed issue in the best way possible but, we still got knowledge. We live in the age of information. Let’s get informed, make good decisions and stay safe. We owe ourselves that.
Did your parents give you a proper talk? Let me know in the comments😃