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Did your parents ever talk to you about sex?

My parents found out I had been having sex with our neighbor’s son. I was 11. He was 13. I was given a serious beating. I was sore for days – from the beating, not the sex.

Mama Wambu, the village gossiper, knew and told everyone’s business. 

She found us on her maize farm. It wasn’t the first time we had been there. We had been having sex for over 6 months. We preferred her farm since the trees grew very close together thus providing a sense of privacy.

I don’t know why we felt the need for privacy then. Maybe because we had never seen someone have sex publicly? Maybe.

I remember it was a Sunday, she had been minding her business on her farm while we were minding ours on the same farm.

I just heard someone say, ‘Heh!’

We both turned and saw Mama Wambu with her blue dress and women’s guild headscarf. She was staring at us in a very disapproving way. She did not utter a word. She just looked straight at us and soon left.

We couldn’t continue. Would you if you were us? Her stare and sneer were enough to kill the mood.

I arrived home at 5:30 PM that day.

My father was sitting calmly in his chair. I was about to head to the kitchen when I had someone with strong arms grab me and what followed after was a serious beating. I lost count of how many times I heard my dad say, ‘utarudia kufanya tabia mbaya?!’ – loosely translated to mean, ‘will you ever engage in bad behavior again!?’

I only understood what he was referring to when he mentioned my neighbor’s son.

The confusion I felt was unimaginable. The sex felt so good and I did not understand why my parents would beat me for engaging in something that made me feel so good. Neither my father nor mother explained why having sex at 11 was wrong or unacceptable.

I was left to figure that out.

I loved sex, so I found a cleverer way to have sex. This time with Matin, my schoolmate. He lived a bit far so every time I went to fetch milk, we always met. I was never caught.

Here’s the problem …

I have found out that I was not alone, many parents did not talk to their children about sex. Instead, they beat around the bush even when it came to naming penis and vagina. Many used ‘down there’ while others say ‘dudu’ and other funny names.

Most parents are reactionary when it comes to sex such that any sex talk was triggered by an event that happened in the neighborhood. A good example is when someone died of AIDS or if a young girl got pregnant. Such conversations happen one-time and they rarely lead to regular conversations about sex and related topics.

If it ever happened, chances are that the conversation was one-sided. It was your parent speaking and you were not allowed to share your experiences or relationship status. Sex was always painted as a bad and risky thing. Yet, they (the parents) were having it on a regular (I would think). 

Rarely did they mention condom use, pregnancy, STIs, healthy relationships, heartbreak, and contraceptives.  The focus was often around the negative consequences of having sex. 

We need to do better. We should be sex-positive.   

Did your parents ever talk to you about sex? Talk to us in the comments section.

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Recent Comments (2)

    1. Hi Janet, 

      Do you mean that…

      Hi Janet, 

      Do you mean that your parents don’t provide up-to-date information on sex and sexuality?

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