@takingCustody, see what you have caused. My Mum is telling me “Mayo, let’s talk about sex” at 7 am. 😑😑😑
— OluwaMayowa Idowu (@MayowaIdowu) May 18, 2015
7am on a Monday morning and my Mother says to me “Mayo, let’s talk about sex”. No, Mum. Hell No. When the idea of the #MyFirstTime series was conceived, the idea was to demystify one of the taboo topics. Talking to my Mother about it wasn’t in the plan. For the record, my mum was just being herself: a joker.
Why we did it?
Credit for the idea goes to my friend and one of our Contributors, Feyikewa who after listening to the J Cole song Wet Dreamz about the first time he had sex thought it’ll be a great idea to document people’s first times. She shared the idea with me and I got upset with myself for not thinking of it first. Along with another friend, Bisola – stories were gathered from friends and acquaintances. They were edited and then published daily.
3/ Our projected population in 2013 was 175m, with annual growth rate of 3.15%. This means that our population will double in a generation! — Chxta of Greece (@Chxta) May 18, 2015
5/ In 2008 alone, 6 million babies were born in Nigeria. In 2009, it was 5.9 million babies, in 2010, 5.8 million.
— Chxta of Greece (@Chxta) May 18, 2015
The demystification of sex is really not an easy thing. There’s the fact that the Nigerian society chooses to act like it doesn’t exist. This is worsened when you take into consideration the fact that sex is one thing we’re actually really good at.
When I announced the series on Facebook, one of the mantras I employed was “Your story matters”. It does. The idea was that each story could add something of value. If you’re struggling with the idea of having sex for the first time, it helps to have a plurality of voices providing you some form of insight without judgment of the decisions made, the rationale behind those decisions and analysis through the lens of hindsight. The stories could tell you where to send that boy who was trying to stick “just the tip”.
FYI: that’s the greatest scam wrought on the world since Bernie Madoff took all those rich people’s money and paid them back with other rich people’s money.
The series appealed to my sociological instincts and I shall explain how in the lines below. Some of my findings are bleeding obvious (Then again, sociologists, researchers and scientists have gotten acclaim for stating the obvious all these years)
The Shy Tory Phenomenon
In British politics, the shy Tory phenomenon is the explanation provided by pollsters for the occurrence in the early 90s and more recently in this month’s general elections where the share of votes won by the Conservative Party was considerably higher than the projections made by the otherwise trust worthy pollsters. You know that feeling of shame when you find yourself actually enjoying a horrible Jason Derulo record? Yep, that’s the one. The Conservative Party tilt towards a more laissez faire, Capitalist approach which in a society as obsessed with class as Britain’s means that people feel supporting them is something that should be kept on the down low.
As I’ve implied before, Nigerians love sex but because of our über conservative society, people are shy to talk about it. In the two weeks we published the stories no one left a comment, tweet or message on any of our social media platforms. There were retweets here and there but we have a lot more stuff that has gotten greater traction in the cyber world. But then, I looked at the analytics. Over the first week, our hits were the highest they’ve ever been over a 7 day period since our birth in March last year. The next week, we surpassed the previous week’s tally by the 6th day of that week. People were reading. And they were enjoying it. I’ve lost count of the number of people who messaged me privately to ask certain questions or make idle chatter. In essence, people were talking about it but just not in public. That is reflective of our society and makes the project a limited success as it didn’t work on the scale we wanted it to.
Girls don’t want to talk about sex
Depending on who you are, you might see it as double standards or slut shaming but girls are actively placed with a burden to be pure, prim and proper. Talking about sex doesn’t conform to this. We often hear the phrase “that’s not ladylike”. Generally, girls were reluctant to share their stories despite the fact that they would retain their anonymity.
A couple of the girls I asked to contribute declined on the basis that the experience which I was trying to get out of them was from a part of their lives they were trying to forget so they had no interest in resurrecting them. I’ll argue that as generations progress, people are having sex at earlier ages so there’s an element in there of the girl seeing it as a decision made at a stage where she feels she shouldn’t have. I think it’s a sensible conclusion to draw and explains the desire to airbrush it from their minds.
Another logical conclusion is that people will always respond to those they share common attributes with. It could qualify as awkward for me, as a guy to ask girls (regardless of how close we are) to share with me their first time stories. One girl categorically told me she didn’t want me knowing her story. Only one of the girls I asked responded to my request positively. It’s the type of thing they prefer to talk about with their own: those girlfriends in those group chats where they cover every detail from their deepest feelings to penis sizes. The takeaway is that they find in those friends that element of relatability as opposed to “foreigners” so confiding on such issues would always be easier.
Boys want to talk about sex
Again, depending on who you are you’ll probably see this as double standards or slut shaming. Boys are generally, sexually devious. They are less likely to be monogamous and take the pursuit of sex as a sport. Each conquest carries a medal and is worn with pride. Or perhaps, these stereotypes have helped breed a budding generation of fiction writers.
There’s also the fact that because guys aren’t judged as girls are, they are more open to discussing sex and less self conscious. As such, boys are more likely to share their stories with you in great detail. The stories written by the boys were mostly gathered by Bisola and Feyikewa so there wasn’t obviously any of that “Oh! I don’t want to tell you ‘cos you’re a girl” awkwardness.
There’s rape going on that isn’t being called rape
Sometimes, I think that this is a shitty era to grow up in and part of this lies in the manner in which pornography is so easily accessible. My biggest criticism of porn is that it’s a poor reflection of real life. Boys who don’t know better try to learn about the sex process by going on RedTube and come away thinking sex is about “K.Oing the p*ssy”. A 26 year old explains her decision to quit watching porn; “I gave up because I found myself getting off on things that men/boys could be using as justification for being horrific to women in bed.” That’s what Porn does to the unschooled. And it perhaps explains the arrogance of certain guys to stick their thing where it’s not been invited.
If the girl doesn’t give you tacit approval, you’re a rapist. Don’t come here with all that “She looked like she wanted it” or “Just the tip” crap. Respect yourself.
With the stories, another thing I noticed was that there was a strand of girls not wanting to call it what it is: Rape. There’s a lot of denial going on. One of the girls whose story is essentially a rape tale said to me “No one wants to think of themselves as being raped”. If a guy sticks it in without your approval and then tells you “Don’t worry, I won’t cum inside you” and you let it pass without comment, your silence could be inferred as approval by the guy. You do yourself a disservice by allowing him use you to get off quickly.
For me, that was the most important observation as it reinforces the need to have a general discussion about Rape culture. The greatest problem and obstacle is the lack of willingness to admit that Sex is something we all enjoy. When we step out of this age of denial, the next thing has to be getting parents to have conversations about sex with their kids instead of falling to that delusional hope that because we go to church, we won’t have sex till marriage. Sex happens, get over it. Then schools have to step up their sex education. It’s always better to manage a problem and its symptoms rather than hope that without treatment, it’ll take care of itself.