Posted August 6, 2019 from Nigeria

Just this week, a Ghanaian friend shared with me a local news. The headline is somewhat surprising as it reads, YOU CAN BE JAILED FOR 2 YEARS FOR DENYING YOUR HUSBANDS SEX– POLICE WARNS WIVES. After reading and discussing it with my friend, I was prompted to write on it because that problem is not only Ghanaian’s but an African problem.

Women and girls in Africa are taught to hold their vagina in high esteem which is quite all right. I don’t have a problem with that. However, my problem is with the cultural system. I mean when we teach the girls to stay pure, do we teach the boys to stay pure? Is purity a thing for the women and girls alone? If purity is meant for a particular sex, does it not dawn on you that sexual purity is vague, a lie and a myth and does not even exist? Does it not dawn on you that it is a way of caging women into believing that real men cheat?

Women and girls over time are taught to believe that their lives depend on men. Relax. If a woman’s life depends on a man, what about the man’s? It’s a relationship which involves two people, huh? So, why do we make it seem like the man is doing the woman a favour by marrying her? They say, just have a man and you’d be all right because you are a virgin. Be the good woman. He can cheat because sexual purity is not meant for him. But you, woman, the day you cheat, you become a disgrace to womanhood and to the entire human race. From that day, you are no longer dressed in glory but shame and embarrassment. You would be fed with scorn and bitterness henceforth… And what happens to the men when they cheat? The women are told to accept them. Some even call it fate or saving their marriage while others say that’s how men are wired. Excuse me, wired? What’s your point? Men are wired to cheat? That’s an example of the cultural excuses we give which prompts the men to cheat.

The fact that men are sexual beings doesn’t overrule that fact for women as well because it takes two or more sexual beings to explore their sexualities. However, men tend to be more exploratory, sexually because they are aware of their sexualities earlier than the women. While the woman is looking out for how to protect herself by keeping away from premarital sex and keeping herself for that one and only man (which is not bad), the man is busy exploring. Also, the boy runs after knowledge. He knows how his body works. He knows so much about his sex organs and that of the girl’s and also gives himself to sex education. However, the lady all in the name of sexual purity doesn’t even have an idea about how her body works. She doesn’t know the difference between her clitoris and her vagina. She just believes she would be sound sexually when she gets married or still, has the great sex she believes she would have when they get married. She believes all that matters is nothing but her virginity.

It’s funny how the women even attach their worth to a hymen. It’s quite ridiculous and ironical because that same hymen that’s preventing you from running after knowledge on sexual matters all in the name of sexual purity is likely to deprive you of pleasure… No! The point is, you can’t even derive pleasure because your mentality is just to have sex to get pregnant not for pleasure. Therefore, after delivering of two children, you deny him of his sexual needs because you don’t know you are meant to enjoy sex!! So, why did you get married if both of you as partners can’t satisfy your sexual needs? And this might prompt a man who has been anticipating great sex before marriage to cheat!

I’m not saying you should go against your beliefs or values as virgins, not that! Even in the parable of the ten virgins, we see that 5 were wise and 5 were foolish. The extra oil that differentiated the wise from the foolish in this context is nothing but knowledge and information. You can be a virgin and still be informed on how to meet your partner’s sexual needs. Nothing is stopping you in this Information age. There are books and a lot of information online that discuss so much on sex and sexual matters in marriages. Being aware of your sexuality is the first step to having a great sex. It spurs your interest in sex and triggers you to explore.

Sexual purity is a myth in marriages. It is a fiction and has no capacity in itself to exist or attach itself to a living thing to come alive. Women and girls of Africa, it’s high time you became aware of your sexuality. Virginity is not all that would make a great home. In fact, your worth shouldn’t be attached to your hymen. What happens to you the moment you have sex with your husband? You become worthless? It’s ridiculous and at the same time sad because some women have forced their men to cheat just because they have delivered of children and see no reason they should have sex again.

The headline speaks a lot as it shows how prevalent the situation might have been before the police in Ghana warned the women. Also, my Ghanaian friend shared how the ladies over there worship their vaginas because they are women. He also explained how timid an average girl over there is to initiate sex or communicate sexual matters. All these can be traced down to sexual purity myths in relationships. It’s believed that discussing sex or sexual matters as a lady means you are not pure or no longer a virgin. How hilarious! Why would you be shy to discuss sex with your partner? I mean it’s not making sense!

Learn how to communicate your sexual needs to each other as partners. Initiating sex as a female doesn’t make you cheap but approves the fact that you are a sexual being. It’s high time we started changing our stories as Africans and it begins with you.

What do you think about sexual purity in marriages? Is it a myth or a fact? Leave your thoughts and opinions below. Thanks for following.

Comments 4

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Jill Langhus
Aug 07
Aug 07

Hi Latoria,

How are you doing? Thanks for sharing your informative and also concerning post. That's not good that that's a headline. I'm curious why you say sexual purity is a myth? Can you clarify. I think people strongly believe in this worldwide, making it not a myth, but the actuality is a myth, in that women don't need to be virgins in order to have great or better marriages, if that's what you mean. I think most of the challenges you describe in your post aren't just African, female challenges, but worldwide. I think American women are becoming more aware and open to their sexuality, for instance, but I think it has quite a ways to go, before women are sexually emancipated, put it that way. A lot of ground needs to be covered here.

Tamarack Verrall
Aug 07
Aug 07

Hi Latoria,
Once again you have laid out some deeply thought provoking ideas, ideas that need to see the light of day, the clearing of air, the down to earth look at sexuality and the double standard that women are handed: we are expected to be pure, non sexual beings, with no needs or wants, and definitely no openness to being sexual in relationships other than one marriage to one man, without being unapologetically sexual ourselves. You have called out many of the double standards here, and invited needed discussion on what "a good girl/woman" is or does, compared to "a good boy/man". Thank you for once again writing about tough subjects, inviting discussion on how to shift unreasonable expectations and unfair judgements on women in this important area of life. Literally, the area of life in which life is created and love celebrated.

Hello, Latoria,

Thank you for sharing your opinion on sexual purity. I get your point that it should not have double standards. While women are told to be "pure", men should be, too.

I would not say it is a myth though because it is still very much practice in some parts of the world. What I don't agree is women would be severely punished physically/emotionally (stone-to-death, banished, excommunicated, etc) for being "impure", but men get away with it.

Just a sisterly reminder, since this is a global community of women, let's be mindful that there are women who value sexual purity by choice, and not just as imposed to them by their culture. When we share our opinions on a certain topic, let us be mindful with the tone of our writing because this is a safe space for women. We don't want to put down anyone who holds a certain belief or practice. What could be "hilarious" to you is "precious" to them. Let us honor every woman's choice.

Nicole reid
Aug 08
Aug 08

This is both shocking to me and thank you for speaking out about this. All women have the right to not be forced to have sex.

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