Parents, let’s talk about sex

Birds do it,

Bees do it,

Even unprotected teens do it.

In an African household sex is that dirty thing bad girls do then get pregnant and drop out of school.  Conversations surrounding sex are solely about pregnancy and avoiding boys at all cost. We fast forward intimate moments in PG 12- 15 rated movies, cover our eyes, let the silence pass and resume like nothing happened.

I remember when my childhood friend fell pregnant my Dad gave me the longest lecture about how boys are bad and how if you have sex your life is over. I also remember my younger cousin (a boy) getting his first girlfriend and my Dad gleaming with pride when he found out.

I asked both my parents whether either one of my friend’s parents had taught her about sex and contraception. My mum responded, “contraception is free in this country, and you can find out any information you want.” But how do you know to find something you do not know you need? Where do you begin to look? Who do you trust?

Preaching abstinence is NOT sex education!

Dear African parents, your children are fucking and you are leaving them vulnerable in a world that glamorises the porn industry and encourages harmful sexual practices. I recently read an article about glitter capsules being a new trend. Apparently, some women are buying glitter capsules, inserting them in their vaginas to make their discharge look magical and pretty for their partners. It’s madness! It’s a big bad world out there and you shying away and ignoring these things puts us at risk.

Do you know how common it is for young people to elect not to use any sort of contraception and rely on, ‘The pull-out method.” Use your imagination as to what that might be if you don’t already know.

You all need to take some time to rethink how you approach conversations about sex. Sex and shame shouldn’t ever be in the same conversation. It’s time for you to start unlearning the things you were taught and to have honest and open conversations with your children.

Teach your daughter that sex is not something that is done to her. Teach her that she is an equal, that she has sex and she is not sexed. She is an active participant and that her value does not diminish because she has chosen to have sex with her partner.

Teach your son that sex is not just for him, teach him to value women and to see them as equal participants in sex. Teach him that a woman’s value is not reduced after he has ploughed into her and if he sees a woman he has touched as dirty afterwards then he ought to take a look at his hands.

Teach us all about safe sex and about healthy relationships. Encourage us to get tested regularly, use condoms and to choose right partners.

In approaching sex in the way that you currently do, you re-inforce ideas of sex being shameful and you tell us that the opposite sex can only ever exist in our lives in a romantic capacity. You neglect to nurture healthy attitudes towards our bodies, sex and relationships.

I make no apologies for being so candid. Your children need you to tell them the truth about sex and relationships. If you teach them the right way, they won’t be misinformed. It’s time for you to do better!

With love,

A daughter.

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