Every woman in Nigeria has at one point in her life; maybe some more often than others, received the sex advice which sounds more like warning most times. We’re told from an early age to preserve our virginity so that our husbands would value us, we’re advised not to have sex on the first date…
Every woman in Nigeria has at one point in her life; maybe some more often than others, received the sex advice which sounds more like warning most times. We’re told from an early age to preserve our virginity so that our husbands would value us, we’re advised not to have sex on the first date so that the guy won’t see us as sluts, not to be forward with our sexual desires even when we’re married so that the man wouldn’t wonder how we became so experienced, to hold off on having sex till after marriage so he’ll marry us quickly, and other warnings along this line that has more to do with being valued by a man as opposed to making the decision because we shouldn’t displease God. Then deep in our subconscious we believe that our value is tied to sex and the decision we make about our sex lives, and that somehow this decision affects the outcome of our relationship and marriage.
That’s why you hear some women say that because they got married as virgins, their being virgins all through their single lives made their husbands have a high level of respect for them and values them greatly (maybe they’re right, I don’t know). And some slut- shame the ones who are sexually active before marriage because to them those women are immoral, irresponsible and deserve all the bad experiences they get from men. It’s as if being treated badly by the opposite sex is reserved for non-virgins alone; not even minding how the virginity was lost. At least that is the indirect message you get when a friend or relative asks if you slept with a guy who you just ended a relationship with and when. Men are also told or given the impression from boyhood that virgins are the good girls and the one that closes her legs and refuses sex before marriage is the one to be cherished. I once had a friend who told me that virgins are his kind of girl; he claims that he would never marry a non-virgin; maybe I should call his type of woman a female unsullied. According to him, he can’t bear the thought of another man having touched his wife before him, so he prefers them innocent and brand new. His preference would have been easy to stomach if he’s also keeping himself for his future wife but alas, he’s not a virgin – in fact, he sleeps with whoever would allow him.
This makes me wonder a lot about the value of a woman and how it’s linked with how much sex we’re having or have had, whether or not we do it before or after marriage, and why our ultimate validation as a good woman, woman of virtue or a woman who should be honoured and respected should be tied to sex. The first time I read the passage in the bible that talked about the proverbs 31 woman, I felt intimidated by her, I didn’t like her very much, in fact I resented her a little because i was nothing like her and I felt that the idea of her was another confirmation to me that God doesn’t really like women. This woman as we’ve all come to know her can do it all; she’s a great wife, a great mother, she manages the home, she runs a business, she cooks, she sews, she gives to the poor, she has it together and what she doesn’t seem to do is get tired! She seems absolutely perfect. No wonder my reaction to her was indifference, I just refused to believe in the possibility of her.
But then as time passed and I wondered what the value of a woman is and how it can be measured, I became curious about her, I wondered why she doesn’t have a name, but most of all I wondered why her sex life and sexual history was never mentioned. Did she get married a virgin? Did she have a long or short list of sexual partners before her husband? How is it that her husband praises her and is known in the city because of her with no mention of sex and what role it played in who she is and how her marriage turned out? Did he care about that part of her life? Does what he thought really matter?
I think that the reason the proverbs 31 woman doesn’t have a name is because every woman is and can be her, and the reason her sex life wasn’t mentioned is because her value is placed on substance, strength of character and the depth of her heart. I would like to believe that whatever choice a woman makes about her sex life and for whatever reason, or whatever led to the outcome of her sexual history doesn’t sum up the totality of who she is and it shouldn’t determine what her value is. It’s obvious that men are no saints; they’re on the same journey as we are of figuring out who they really are, what they’re capable of, where they can make their mark, and what truly matters in life. This kind of disqualifies them from the role we’re made to believe and they’ve been made to believe they should play in our lives, especially as it relates to sex, that role belongs to God alone as He judges both men and women equally. So what do you guys think? Why are women always at the receiving end of the sex shame culture we have?
Image via Straight From The A