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“Weeh, uliskia nani alipata ball?”
This was as close as I ever came to getting “The Talk” with my parents. Leave alone school. I remember my PPI teacher; her name was Mrs. Rose. She was apparently the best “Sex education” teacher in my school and was in charge of the Guidance & Counselling department. But, all she ever discussed was the abstinence doctrine, the pregnancy threats, the HIV/AIDS death and the shame of having sex or any other sex related issue or complication. I remember this time when she said; “Kijana anakukaribia, unaskia tuvitu tumesimama alafu baadaye boom! Ndio hio mimba” Roughly translates to ‘A boy comes close to you, then boom, you pregnant’ And the little 13- year old me was so scared. I literally could not let a boy even touch my hand or smile at me or even look my direction. All thanks to Mrs Rose who had instilled the fear of God in me. I seriously believed that any boyish aura would get me pregnant, which would result to my dropping out, then I’d be a colossal failure and would end up being used as an example in one of her many ‘guidance & counselling’ sessions.
Then, high school happened. And thanks to form 2 biology, I discovered that a glance from a boy could not get me pregnant, and neither would their aura. But still, your girl was scarred for life. Each school break, either my aunt, my mom or some other senior female in my lineage would drop in the ‘heeh, uliskia mtoto wa nani ako na mimba? Imagine! Sa huyo Maisha yake imeenda tu ivo’. This was their subtle way of reminding me to keep ‘em legs closed cz people out here ‘catching’ pregnancies like it’s a flu or some other communicable shit. And this is not taking account of the religious contribution. The whole; you’ll go to hell, fornication is wrong, we sin by our minds and thoughts….yidi yada yuuuu.
So you can imagine how ‘rich’ my sex education was.
Am sooooo sure, this is the story for a couple of us. The topic of sex is a taboo. Right from the ‘kids are bought in the supermarket’ to the ‘sex=pregnancy / HIV’ narratives’, we all avoid this topic or try to as much as we can. Add the parent-kid dynamic or the teacher-student dynamic (in a Kenyan setting) and the topic is sealed and closed…never to be discussed. And that’s why I just get so amused when adults like kina Ezekiel Mutua start acting so perturbed and shocked when they see ‘indecent behaviour’ from the youth. Am like, you never taught us right from a young age on how to express our sexualities, why are you bothered when we look for outlets and do as we have learnt by ourselves??
Am getting to my point, I promise. Thing is; we have to stop acting as if we are a holier than though society. I mean, Kenya has one of the highest ratings for the number of porn hub viewers. That in itself should speak volumes. Statistic from 2015 show that among the leading causes of deaths of adolescent Africans is HIV/AIDS. Why? How? The only gospel preached in our schools is how to abstain from sex so as not to get the virus. How comes then we still have a high number of adolescent deaths as a result of HIV/AIDS? How comes the rate of teenage pregnancy has doubles in just 5 years?
This only means that the fear-mongering sex education is no longer working. This means that its time we opened our eyes and faced the reality. We can still be religious and talk to our children about sex and reproductive health. We can still be moral and disciplinarians and have discussions about condoms and STIs with our kids. We can still be upright and discuss orgasms and menstrual flow with our girls.
Its high time we acknowledged that sex education is not and should not just be about STIs and pregnancy. Its time we redefined sex education as a tool to help people gain the information, skills and motivation to make healthy decisions about sex and sexuality.
Its time we removed that taboo surrounding sex and reproductive health. Cz guys, asiyefunzwa na mamaye, hufunzwa na ulimwengu and from statistics the ulimwengu in this sex education case is porn hub. This should be alarming enough!
Let’s learn to talk about sex!