A popular Bulawayo radio talk show had a show on family planning with a local gynaecologist. The gynaecologist was educating the general population about the different types of family planning available to them. There was a time that was reserved for questions from listeners. A 27 year old listener asked about the best contraceptive method for herself and her partner. The gynae then responded that she should be abstaining as she was not married.
This was a reflection or rather a mirror of the inadequate information around sex education in the country in general. Information around sex and how it works is treated as a secret. The information is meant to be released at marriage for the select few that make it to that stage. Some call it conservatism and protecting people from sexual immorality but this approach is dangerous.
My local radio station is doing an abstinence campaign. Only geared towards women……………
— GOING ✈️ HOTTEST (@seraaputa) October 5, 2015
Besides the fact that the gynaecologist job was to offer information when asked according to their academic experience, it was inappropriate for the gynaecologist to then decide to play the role of moralist. This type of behavior is synonymous with parents who take their children to gynaecologists for virginity testing.
'Virginity testing' is just one of the many human rights violations women face worldwide – abuses that strike at the heart of #BodilyAutonomy.@UNFPA's #MyBodyIsMyOwn is the first-ever @UN report on bodily autonomy – a fundamental human right for all!https://t.co/x8x0K2UAoh pic.twitter.com/bXlL2adNPX
— UNFPAasia (@UNFPAasia) April 15, 2021
Firstly premarital sex is a social truth. Where sex is described as bad and those who partake in it seen as immoral it contributes to fear around the subject. In my high school sex education was the school administration inviting someone from the AIDS council to terrorise us with STD ravaged genitals to discourage us from having all types of sexual intercourse. All it did was leave us with more questions than answers. The whole presentation felt like a threat and we felt challenged to go and explore the world for ourselves.
Understand that when sex is a natural act, the conversation should be if one is ready and if they are aware of the responsibilities that come with it. In high school children are impressionable and their friends are a source of education from them as well as social media. Some of the information presented to them is dangerous.
Our culture already struggles with sex education, and many young people look to media such as movies and tv shows for guidance. What they're looking at should be accurate- not brushed off in any way nor unnecessarily dragged out into an hour long episode of pain and horror.
— Tatiana Bischak (@darumacreative) April 13, 2021
There is this misconception that when we have relaxed conversations about what sex entails we are encouraging children to be naughty. The way the minds of children work is that when you have the don’t ask, don’t tell approach when you are asked questions that require straight forward answers you are cementing the roots for toxic behaviour.
The problem with the abstinence gospel is that it is a direct attack on body autonomy. One having to save the use of their body for later lest they appear to be damaged and used is a nonsensical principle that the ‘conservative cohort’ has to free themselves from.
The problem is that in mainstream media it is centered on the woman in particular being the one to abstain. This creates the idea that sex is mainly meant to benefit one party and the other party exists as spectator in their own body. Where sex is something that is reserved exclusively for married people and the information is treated as state secrets that can only be released at marriage a knowledge gap is created. Even if it is looked at from the male point of view where he cannot know about contraceptive methods simply because he is not married yet it is still equally dumb.
This abstinence gospel is also an attack on people who are not married. It mirrors the attitudes that society has towards unmarried people. These people face the kind of discrimination that ostracizes them and treats them as lesser adults thus perpetual infants. Their lives are not awarded the same respect as those of married people. People are not married because of various reasons that are none of our business. Some people do not desire to be married and choose to not be married that does not mean that they should be told if they should be having sex or not. Conservative society consistently seeks to poke at the dignities of those people who do not fit in their scope of what they perceive to be morality.
the funniest thing about the wap outrage is that cardi b literally raps about being married on that song. cardi was rapping about enjoying marital sex with her husband. so weird that that’s offensive bc she says bad words
— r-dog (@badgrillrhirhi) March 30, 2021
Conservatism contributes to a cohort of selfish sex partners where women compare of being constantly poked without sexual satisfaction. Where people describe sex as something that is done to them instead of where they understand that they deserve pleasure. It contributes to young girls who believe that a tampon will break their virginity.
Myths are going around that virgins should not wear tampons because tampons make them lose their virginity.
That's not true because even though using a tampon may occasionally cause a girl's hymen to stretch, it does not cause her to lose her virginity.
— First Doctor (@firstdoctorr) March 29, 2021
Whenever we find ourselves within the trap of the abstinence gospel we have to remember that some girl out there was raped and did not even know the words to describe what had happened to her because she did not know what sex was.
If a child tells you or shows you that they're uncomfortable around a certain person, TAKE PRECAUTIONS AND DIG DEEPER. #SafetyTipsWithMkhulu
— Madala (@Mbabala__) March 16, 2021
It is not enough that we tell people that we will not tell them some information because they are not at the stage where they should know. Sex has existed till the beginning of time and it will continue to happen whether Mrs Midzi from extension 4 thinks 27 year old unmarried people should be having it or not.
Society has become more knowledgeable and more sophisticated. We cannot continue to cultivate attitudes where our people fear babies more than sexually transmitted infections.
Pregnancy is the least thing that can happen to you if you have multiple sex partners trust me. HIV STD STI even HEPATITIS B no dey fear you?
— Osiij (@brandybride_) November 17, 2020
Sex education needs to be prioritized in the school curriculum at basic education level. Call parts by their names. There is nothing vulgar about a penis, a vagina and a vulva. These are the biological names for body parts. Let children know their purpose. In addition to having a society with children who do not have their heads in their gutter, we are going to eliminate unhealthy sexual behavior slowly but surely.
Next time aunty ‘What What ‘sits you down to talk about abstinence ask her why her children are in her wedding pictures.
Fight me. Red