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 24-year-old bisexual man who didn’t have sex because of his religious beliefs. He talks about the shame he attached to his sexual desires, masturbating in secret, and suppressing his high sex drive because it was against his faith.
Tell me about your first sexual experience.
When I was 13, I discovered masturbation. My best friend confided in me about some ungodly act she was into, which was masturbation. Later that week, I was going through the internet when I saw some pictures that got me excited.
I noticed the tip of my dick was super sensitive, and I touched it. Touching it felt so good, but rubbing it felt even better. I went to the bathroom and kept rubbing it till I had the very first orgasm of my life. The orgasm was filled with self-hate, pleasure and guilt.
Why did an orgasm make you feel all of those things?
Well, my faith at the time had a considerable role to play. I believed that the Bible must be taken at face value. I couldn’t combine loving God with enjoying sex. That’s why I felt very icky after masturbating in the bathroom. I hated myself intensely.
Does that mean it never happened again?
LMAO, not at all. As much as I had all these negative feelings associated with masturbating, I didn’t stop. It was the thorn in my side.
I was horny and walked around with an erection everywhere I went. So, I was masturbating every chance I got. I just felt very terrible after. At the time, I tried to convince myself that the Bible never explicitly said anything about masturbating, but it didn’t stop me from feeling the way I did. It didn’t help that I had an extremely high sex drive.
It was getting harder to talk to girls when all I wanted to do was have sex. Yet, I also couldn’t have sex because of my religion.
When I was 14, the guilt got worse. That’s when I realised that not only did I want to have as much sex as possible with all the girls I saw, I wanted to have as much sex with the men as well.
Did you ever act on that?
I couldn’t masturbate without fear, was it having sex with men I could do? I stayed in my closet and endured a never-ending cycle of reading my Bible, watching porn, masturbating, and hating myself.
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Were you able to combine the two? Faith and sex.
Unfortunately, no. The older I got, the more questions I asked. There was a lot of cognitive bias I saw in the two major Abrahamic religions in Nigeria. That’s when I gave myself two options. Either I continue to live in this bubble of cognitive bias, or I walk away and do away with a faith that has kept me sane and helped me guide my life up until then. I chose to walk away.
What did walking away look like?
Well, when I was 20, I had a conversation with my parents. I told them I was no longer going to church, and I had stopped reading my Bible.
There was a constant back and forth for about two years, but they’re finally making peace with it.
And what about sex?
I finally had sex for the first time when I was 22, with a woman from a GC I was in. I had done a lot of research in the years I battled my faith. I had asked for help from some people I know who had walked similar paths as me. This was very helpful in unlearning all my previous biases I had associated with women in regards to sex. I’d like to believe I went into it well prepared, and I gave her a good time.
As for me, it felt so good. She was such a beautiful woman, and there’s something about knowing a conventionally attractive woman wants you. It makes you feel very good about yourself.
Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as guilty as I thought I would. I just enjoyed the moment.
Why’d you think you didn’t feel guilty?
I think I was finally ready to enjoy myself. I had spent almost a decade hating myself and my body because I felt being sexual was a sin.
Since I no longer held any religious inclination, I didn’t feel like I was committing any sin. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Does that mean masturbating got easier?
No, it didn’t get easier. I think because, unlike sex that had never happened, masturbation did. It was the one sexual act I committed for years; the one thing I felt was going to drag me to hell because I had acted on the urges I felt.
It wasn’t until I was 23 that I was able to actually masturbate without guilt. I had to teach myself to make it a form of self care. There was no way to have great sex without being able to be erotic with my own self.
And the sex drive? Still high?
Yes, very much so. For the past two years, it’s like I’ve been playing catch-up. I’m exploring the various things that caught and still catches my interest.
I’ve been getting heavily involved in BDSM, and it means unlearning all the biases I had towards it. I’m also building a stash of sex toys because self pleasure is something I’m investing in.
I’ve even been able to start having sex with men. The first man I ever had sex with was so silent, I thought he wasn’t that into me. I think what excited him was the fact that there was someone watching us.
However, the other men I’ve been having sex with are pretty good at it. So, I know it’s something I like and enjoy.
Tell me something you’ve learnt on this journey.
The most interesting thing to me is the fact that there’s been a lot of religious people who I’ve had sex with. For some time, I judged them because I couldn’t reconcile the two, but now? Not so much. Religion is a necessity for a lot of people. Life is very bleak, and not believing in something can wreck you.
That’s why I don’t make comments when they decide to meet up after they finish church service or have sex with me after Ramadan. I understand the role I play in their life and the role religion plays as well.
All I want to do now is have the sex I want with the people I want, whether they’re men or women.
My only regret is not starting sooner in my teens.
How then will you rate your sex life on a scale of 1-10?
5, because it can be better. I want more partners, and I need to figure out my taste in men because I’ve not had as much experience there as I’d like. I’m still young, so there is still much to learn and experience, and I’d like a chance to really explore myself.
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