Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians.
The subject of today’s Sex Life is a 28-year-old gay man who recently discovered he is a side — a gay man who isn’t interested in penetrative sex. He talks about how this affects his sexual and romantic life and how he hopes to meet someone open-minded enough to know it’s not all about penetrative sex.
What was your first sexual experience?
It wasn’t consensual actually. We had a house help who would rub our genitals together and hump on me. I was nine and it went on for about two years before one of my aunties noticed that something wasn’t right. She immediately raised an alarm and the girl was sent packing. That was how I finally came to know peace.
That’s fucked up. I’m so sorry.
It’s fine. My first proper consensual sexual experience was when I was fourteen. It was with a guy I liked in secondary school. He was a year above me. One time, I went over to his and we kissed. That was when I had my first proper kiss. He was my first boyfriend.
Do you remember how it ended?
He went on to uni, then my family relocated. It made me sad that we didn’t keep in touch but I’m over it now. This was around the time I discovered masturbation.
I think I was a late bloomer regarding masturbation. I didn’t know of it or start doing it till my mid-teens. I think other kids discovered it earlier.
Do you know why it took you longer?
I’m a very ‘mental person’. I exist largely in my head so it’s harder for me to do or connect with physical things like most people.
When you say you are a ‘mental person’ what does that exactly mean to you?
My relationships with people are very mental. I don’t know how to physically be present and enjoy or even really feel things. I exist in my head. I grew up alone and the only other person who was around me and that I would have connected with was the house help and because of the abuse, I couldn’t connect with her and had to close myself off from her. Now I don’t know how to leave my head and be physically present. With things like masturbation and even sex, it’s like I can’t turn my brain off long enough to get into them or enjoy them. So when it happened with masturbation, I was ecstatic.
Can you remember how it happened with masturbation?
I came across the word ‘masturbation’ and I was curious about it. Then I discovered porn and it kind of clicked. When I finally allowed myself to come, I was like ‘wow’.
When I started masturbating, I never let myself climax. I just played with my genitals then stopped. One day, I went all the way off and it was magic.
LMAO. Fair enough. Do you remember any other memorable first time?
The first time I tried penetrative sex.
Oh? When was this?
When I was eighteen, I think. So I met this guy I had been texting on Facebook. The sex was not what I expected.
It was awkward. It didn’t help that the guy didn’t have a great technique and it was my first time. Before then, I had never had sex and all I knew about sex, especially sex between men, was from books, movies and porn. Let me tell you, it’s not at all the same.
I kept waiting for the moment I would enjoy it to hit, it never did.
Yeah. I told my friends and they told me it was probably because it was my first time. I thought the same too for a while.
For a while?
I tried having sex a few times after that, and it didn’t quite hit. It bothered me for a while because I would get attracted to a person, flirt, go on dates sometimes, make out and even fool around. And I’d enjoy all of it. However when it came to penetrative sex? It never hit.
Did you have any partners around this time? How did they take it?
I dated two people. The first didn’t know — it was a short relationship — and I just pretended to enjoy it. I told the second one but he didn’t quite understand and that eventually led to the end of the relationship.
Damn, I’m so sorry.
Yeah. I stopped dating for a while because it felt pointless. It was around this point that I realised I was a side.
What’s a side?
Essentially, a side is a queer man who is not interested in penetrative sex.
Has it been easier since you made this discovery?
Yes and no. It’s great knowing that I am ‘normal” and that there are other people like me. However, being a side affects your chances of dating, having a serious or even a non-serious relationship. Sex — penetrative sex — is a huge part of dating and when that’s not on the table, your dating pool becomes almost none existent.
What’s your sex life like?
I don’t know if I have one. I’m trying to figure it out myself, I don’t know anyone who’s like me so it’s me trying to find guys who are open-minded enough to want to date someone who isn’t into penetrative sex.
These days, I don’t bother committing. I mess around, make out and sometimes have oral sex then just stop before they ask for more. People probably think I’m a player but in reality, I just don’t want to have to deal with rejection.
Have you wondered if this has anything to do with you always being in your head like you said?
I think it’s all connected but at the end of the day, these are things that make me the person that I am. I can’t change these things any more than I can change my sexuality. I do think I’m too in my head to be present to enjoy penetrative sex like most people but I don’t know for sure, what I do know is that this is me, this is who I am.
What do you think you need for your sex life to get to where you want it to?
To meet more people, even just one guy sef, who is open-minded enough to realise that sex doesn’t begin and end with penetrative sex.
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your sex life?
Definitely a 1. It’s so unfortunate and trash to be honest.