When I was a young girl, I must have been about 11 or 12, I watched a movie one Sunday afternoon about female genital mutilation(FGM) and child brides. Something about the movie made me very sad and scared – I remember talking to a girl in my class the next day about the movie. Before I could ask if she had watched it, she said to me, the movie was based on practices in her tribe, the conversation that followed created a special bond between me and this girl and we have been friends till this day. While we talked about FGM all those years ago, I was merely talking about my disgust of the practice – but to my friend, it was a fear she lived with every day because all it took was for one relative to take a look at her and decide that it will be best for her to get ‘circumcised’ and that would be it. So we discussed this very grown up subject during our break time and never mentioned it again – but it was always present at the back of my mind. I was very scared she would be forced to give up her education at some point to marry some older man or her genitals mutilated just like the girl in the movie. As I grew older and learned more about FGM and young brides, I realised that the reason for these practices were so men could control women, especially when it came to sex!
After my primary education, I left the preparatory school this girl and I attended for a different school and lost touch with my friend for many years. After my first year in senior high school, I met her in town one day and was so glad that she was in boarding school in the same city as the one I attended. We exchanged pleasantries and I was so glad to know she was not married and she had big plans to be a business woman, just like her mother and that gave me some hope for her. After moving to England, I went to Ghana on holidays one summer and while hanging out at my aunt’s shop, in walked this same girl and I remember the embrace I gave her – we were both so glad to see each other and once again, I was so glad to see she had not been a victim of our conversation that Monday afternoon, years ago in school. However, that was not the case of another girl I knew in junior high from the same tribe as my friend from primary school. This other girl was sent on holidays to France one summer and came back to a husband chosen for her to marry on her return – she was 14 and her education ended after she married. Thinking about these practices, I asked myself what it was about women and sex that affected some men so much that they have to introduce certain practices that destroy women eventually?
Though I am not from the same tribe as these girls where FGM is not practiced and child marriages is not very popular – girls from my world are not without their own challenges when it comes to sex. Where I come from, it is an unwritten duty of a woman to make sure that her man enjoys sex with her – and this has provided so many opportunities for women to be exploited and shamed. I have heard many horrific stories of boys who have had sex with women and gone around telling their friends that they did not enjoy the sex and the reason ranges from body shaming to so many ridiculous reasons that make no sense. The results are humiliated women who have now resulted to self medicating to ensure that their genitals are enjoyable – ridiculous, right? If you doubt what I am writing, all you need to do is switch on a typical Ghanaian radio station any day and you will come across several advertisement for sexual enhancement drugs. The advertisement is mainly geared towards men enhancing their performance and having more satisfaction in bed – but when it comes to the drugs for women, it is always to ensure that her genitals are enjoyable for her partner. Out of all these ridiculous adverts – only about 2% are geared towards raising the libido of women and even with those, the end result is so that she can have sex with her man so he does not step out!
Last month, I wrote about slut shaming by posing the question on how many sexual partners a woman must have – the traffic to this blog was off the chart. The surprising factor was where the majority of the traffic was coming from – the areas were mostly places that were known to be highly conservative and did not allow women much say in these matters. Then came the abusive messages – one male reader accused me of telling women to behave like men – lol, I knew my work was done. Because if a man was so threatened by women behaving like him, then it was time for him to question why he felt the way he did. Abuse after abuse, I posed questions to these men why they were so offended about women having a say in their own sexual narratives and none of them had anything sensible to say but rather to descend to abusive words, but I am beyond being shamed! While I researched this subject, most narratives out there was geared towards men maximising their performance and how women can achieve satisfaction when having sex. The scales are definitely tipped against women when it comes to enjoyment in sex and it is about time the scales were even!
A few weeks ago, I met with some of my girlfriends to catchup on life and the subject of sex came up – the horrific stories that came up made us laugh as well reflect deeply on some of these narratives out there. From men that accused women of having bigger holes or being too wet to aggressive sexual sessions and women not finishing to being slut shamed for initiating sex! I was horrified at these stories – but I should not have been, when you are raised to please a man, these are some of the issues that will arise. How many women have faked it in bed to make sure that the ego of a man is not deflated? How many women have received a dick pic in the middle of a chat – because some guy thought he was the ‘ish’ and therefore he needed to let an unsuspecting woman know he was packing? How many stories have we heard of men asking for nudes from women to see how they look so they can decide if they are worth being picked? And I probably need a whole post on body enhancements to attract men as well as so many products on the market to make the genital of women enjoyable and smell good – but do you ever see these same narratives geared towards men at the rate it is shoved down the throats of women?
A reader got in touch and told her story on how during sex, she got a bit loud only for the man she was in bed with to stop the act, get dressed and ask her to do the same so he would take her home! According to him, he wanted her to be quiet and she did not listen – this reader explains how for years she lost her confidence in the bedroom because she is still not sure what happened in that bedroom all those years ago. A few years ago, Christiane Amanour did a series on sex called Sex and Love Around the World. She covered some stories in Ghana and when the documentary premiered, people behaved like Christiane Amanpour had told a story that was not true – but we all knew she had finally brought to light what no one wanted to address openly. In our society as well as many societies across the world, when it came to sex, a woman was expected to be attractive enough to arouse a man, have a good enough genital to help him reach satisfaction and no matter how bad he was in bed, it was a woman’s duty to fake orgasm to make his ego feel good! I remember a friend and I watching this documentary and agreeing that it was about time this matter was openly discussed. One of the girls who told her story was called every nasty name available for saying that most women in our part of the world were only available to satisfy men sexually – and at some point contemplated fleeing the country due to the abuse she received. But the fact was, she was telling the truth – even looking for jobs, no matter how qualified a woman is, most times she is expected to satisfy some male manager sexually to get the position she had applied for – so the subject needed discussing and good on that young woman for talking about what no one wanted to discuss!
Dear men, before you decide to come for me this week, remember last week’s article – lol! I know this does not apply to all of you – but there is a large number of you out there who need to renew your minds when it comes to sex. A woman is not a play thing – she has feelings, get to know her and make sure that when you have sex you both bring your A games! We must accept that it is normal for a woman to find pleasure in sex this will ensure that practices like FGM are abolished for good as well as slut shaming! And my dear women, it is not your sole duty to ensure that your man is satisfied in bed – unless that is your chosen profession, no judgements here. Stop taking all these concoctions and douches to make your genital enjoyable – you are opening yourself to more health issues than you realise. If you are not finding pleasure in sex, seek a therapist to discuss what could be wrong before you try all these self medications. And ladies, remember that just as there are different sized penis’s out there, so is the same for vaginas – stop trying all these pussy tighteners and find the right fit for you or ways to work with the size you have!
Thank you for always taking time to get in touch – let me know your thoughts on this article and any previous ones as well as any topic you would like for me to explore. Let’s effect the change we need by sharing our experiences.