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 this week’s Sex Life is a 30-year-old asexual Nigerian woman who has only ever had penetrative sex twice. She talks about discovering her asexuality after years of being uninterested in sex and how she’s lucky to have married someone who feels the same way about sex as she does.
What was your first sexual experience?
I’ll answer this as my first exposure to sex. When I was 12, one of my classmates brought a porn magazine to school, and all day, everyone was talking about sex. I didn’t even know how people had sex, but my mates said they had already had sex before. I was shocked because I grew up hearing sex was bad outside marriage and had associated it with evil or something only adults should do. So imagine hearing that other 12-year-olds were having sex? I was shocked. At some point, I thought they were lying, but during a school party later that year, people were caught having sex with each other.
Wow. And what were your general feelings about sex?
I was going to wait for marriage. There was no arguing about it. I didn’t feel any pressure to have sex because everyone was doing it. Also, I’m pretty close to my mother, so I told her about what my mates said, and she kept telling me to face my books and instilling the fear of sex in me.
When I started dating in senior school, it was a long-distance relationship. We dated for three years and never had sex or made out. We rarely even saw each other during our relationship. However, I often wonder if the guy wasn’t cheating on me.
So sex never came up?
Nope, but then again, we were both religious and naive, although I felt more naive.
We met when he was still in my secondary school, but he changed schools midway, and the relationship became long distance. When we saw each other, my mum was there, so there was no opportunity even to attempt kissing.
So when did you make out with someone?
Not until I was in university. My boyfriend and I had just broken up, and I was sad. I was looking for distractions, and I found it quickly in a random senior in my faculty who told me he liked me but didn’t want to date me yet because he needed to talk to God to be sure. I went along with it because, as I said, I just needed the distraction.
We didn’t do more than make out because he needed to be sure that I was the one for him from God. Once he had the confirmation, we could start having sex if we wanted. So it was kissing and me giving him head. He never asked what I wanted. He kept demanding. He strung me along for about a year, and that confirmation never came. I brought it up once, and he got annoyed and broke it off. It’s not as if I wanted to date him sha.
Did you enjoy making out with him, though?
Nope. I was waiting to feel that explosive feeling that I heard came with making out with someone for the first time. It never came. I assumed it was because I didn’t have feelings for him. He wasn’t that attractive honestly. So I decided to find someone who I was emotionally and sexually attracted to. But before I saw anyone I had feelings for, I made out with a bunch of different people and didn’t enjoy it. It felt like I was forcing myself to do something I didn’t want to do.
So when you found someone you were attracted to, what happened?
There were parts to the making out that I enjoyed. I enjoyed kissing him. I enjoyed giving him a blowjob. But I didn’t feel ecstatic when it was his turn to give me head. I mostly always told him I wasn’t interested in that. To make matters worse, he wanted to have sex, and I didn’t. I told him I was waiting for marriage, and he wasn’t buying that. Every time we made out, he would try to remove my underwear forcefully. I was becoming terrified that he’d rape me, so I broke up with him. It was a short-lived relationship.
What happened after this?
After university, I decided I was going to have sex. It happened like this: during a night out with friends, I met a guy, and he invited me to his house. I went. I wasn’t thinking. We started making out the next day, and he raped me. He kept saying ‘just the tip’, ‘just the tip’, and I was like, no, I don’t want to.
I’m so sorry.
Thanks. I didn’t even think of it as rape at the time. I kept wondering why I didn’t feel anything. So I decided that I would try sex. That was when I gave up on waiting till marriage. I tried it with a colleague. To be honest, I didn’t feel like it, but I was determined to try. Unfortunately, I was dry down there and each time he tired to penetrate, I would scream from the pain. So it didn’t happen then. I thought it was because I wasn’t physically attracted to him. I tried with someone else, and it was the same thing. I decided to speak to someone about it — a friend who was studying medicine. They said I could use lubes for the dryness, that it was normal, and that if it was associated to low libido or not being aroused, that was also normal and that I shouldn’t fret. They suggested I try masturbation.
That worked out well. I was watching porn and having multiple orgasms with just my fingers. But I started to feel ashamed of it, so I stopped. No thanks to my religious beliefs. It didn’t correct the way I felt about sex.
I went back to sex — I tried a few more times with different people. All painful experiences. That was when I met the man who became my husband.
How did you meet?
I met him through a friend. We kissed on our first date, and I loved it. The first time I went to his house, months after our first date, we had sex, and it worked. It actually worked. I was excited. I didn’t have an orgasm, but I enjoyed it. He was the one who initiated it.
But we didn’t have sex again for long after that because once I knew that I could have sex and enjoy it, I felt like I was normal and wanted to go back to waiting for marriage. But because we had had sex, we were very open to talking about it. It was during one of these discussions that my husband told me that he might be asexual. I had never even heard of asexuality. But once he explained it to me, I was like; I think I’m asexual too.
But what about the sex you both had the first time?
He said that there were days when his libido was fine and that because it was our first time sleeping together, he felt the need to initiate sex. He said that if I had said I wasn’t interested, he would have stepped back and not pressured me.
Yeah. So I realised that it’s not that you don’t feel like having sex, or you don’t enjoy it when you do, at least for us. For me asexuality means I’m rarely interested in sex and I rarely get aroused. His interest level when it comes to sex is similar to mine, but he doesn’t have a problem with arousal.
When I told a friend that my boyfriend was asexual, he was so shocked and said that how can a guy that has mad sex appeal be asexual. He was like, nope, my boyfriend is cheating on me, that all guys want sex. And I bought it for a while. The friend even told me not to marry him oh.
But you did.
The more I discovered that I was asexual, the more I realised that it would be wrong to do life with someone who isn’t asexual like me. There would be so much pressure to have sex, internally and externally, and I’m not sure if I’d be able to live with that.
Since you married, how often have you had sex?
Just once more. We’ve been married for a year, and in that time, we mostly just make out. We enjoy that more than anything. We cuddle, we hold hands. We are very touchy people, especially in public. Nobody would ever guess that we’re not killing each other with sex every other day. And when one of us is horny or stressed, we get each other off. He’s very good with his hands, and I’m good with my mouth.
I can’t say, but maybe monthly? But most of the time, we’re doing other things without really having sex.
That’s cool. Would you say that you’re satisfied with your sex life?
To be honest, I’m not. There are days that I feel very abnormal and wonder what I’m missing out on and if there’s a way to fix myself. Because we’re kind of newly married, everyone jokes about having sex — from pastors to our parents and friends. No one knows we’re asexual. I am learning though that sexual needs can change over time, so maybe ours would.
Most of the time though, it’s all good. I’m glad I found my husband. And sometimes, just knowing that he exists is all that matters.