Stumbling Through A Sexual Awakening In A Sheltered Country
A hard lesson of Dos and Don’ts from an African Kid’s journey.
When you grow up in a traditional Zimbabwean home, with traditional Zimbabwean parents who instil very traditional views, certain topics become painfully clear that they are not suitable for the dinner table. Instead, dinner time is spent discussing Catholic Mass visits and commenting on how an 80% in a maths exam isn’t good enough for an African child who (from as young as age 9) is destined to be a doctor. So between the nearly unreachable school expectations and the constant mention of God, there was little to no room to bring up some burning questions one might have about premarital sex. This in combination with the flawed educational system that lacks support and information about sexual education for high school students, has led several to make mistakes that could have been avoided.
A wonderful example of a child who did so many things wrong at such a young age is me. One day at age 17 I woke up and felt fully equipped with absolutely no information at all, and decided I was ready to have sex. Looking back now – at age 22 – boy did I have a lot to learn. I, like so many other teenagers from strict homes, felt as though asking questions concerning sex was a scarier task than anything else in this world. So here are some pieces of advice from someone who wouldn’t wish any of the painful and often avoidable sexual encounters on any other teen in sexual doubt.
DON’T use porn as your first source of reference.
The first time teenagers have sex it’s easy to feel as though you want to conjure up your inner porn star, whilst simultaneously fighting indescribable nerves. Picture the sexiest person on the planet with the facial expression of someone with an awful stomach bug- that is what you may end up looking like. Porn Stars are professionals. Trained to move their bodies in ways many of us could only dream of. Forcing yourself to copy something you don’t completely understand the physics of, with a sexual partner who you may not know well enough or even trust may not be the sexy thing your mind has envisioned it to be – simply because it’s not you. Or not yet you at least.
DO become comfortable with exploring what you like and finding out what you don’t like.
You don’t have to know everything you’re into the first time you have sex. Discovery is all part of the journey and who knows, one day you could find that back somersault splits position you saw in a porno once is actually doable with practice.
DON’T assume that your partner will know exactly what they’re doing.
A statement I heard the first time I had sex was “put it in.” To which I wanted to ask- What is it? Why is it? And where is it? To put it plainly: perhaps you’re the type of person who’s never used a tampon and shudders at the thought of a Diva Cup fitting inside of you. And, in a shocking twist of fate, the partner you’ve chosen to ‘give your flower to’ also hasn’t the faint idea how your body works. Discovering those parts for the first time with a person on top of you is not ideal.
DO take a gander at your bits!
Your body is magical and you shouldn’t be afraid to look at it or learn about its parts. Pick up a mirror and have a gaze- the two of you are stuck together anyway.
DON’T expect a life-changing and overwhelmingly positive feeling after you’ve had sex.
First times can be painful, short and incredibly anti-climatic. Often, we expect to feel like adults after – ready to take on the world. The Zimbabwean Carrie Bradshaw if you will. However, it can be quite the opposite. An inability to fully understand what had just happened is normal. The feeling like you’ve built something up in your head, that in actual fact wasn’t that monumental is also normal. Or you could love any minute of it and count down the hours till you do it again. No two experiences are the same.
DON’T feel bad about deciding to have sex.
If you are wrestling with coming to terms about losing your V Card, find someone to talk to. Someone who won’t judge you but simply listen and if you don’t have a person like that in your life, read my next few sentences very carefully. Your body is a temple, you hold the keys and you hold the power. Do not feel guilty about who you let in and do not taint the walls of your temple with your own self-doubt and or negative words about yourself. Believe me, sometimes you can have sex with someone who you love in the moment and can’t stand a few months after. That’s normal. We all make mistakes. Sexual exploration may be complicated but if I could do it after growing up in a home where the tv would be switched off during sex scenes, then so can you.