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 25-year-old queer woman who was in a heterosexual relationship for almost seven years and engaged to be married when she realised she was queer.
When did you have sex for the first time?
That was back in secondary school. I was in JSS 3 — boarding school — and was 13/14. It was with a classmate and it was just there. I don’t think I enjoyed it, and I don’t think he did either. Still, we went about telling people that it was the most amazing experience ever.
LMAO. Why did you do that?
Sex was this cool thing everyone was ‘supposedly’ doing. If you weren’t having good sex, you weren’t cool.
Didn’t you think you were a bit young?
In hindsight, I feel that I was. But before then, I was already dry humping and making out. Sex seemed like the logical next step. I am just glad that we had enough sense to use a condom.
Fair enough. After that, what happened?
Sex became fairly consistent. I left boarding school, but I was still having sex with friends. I used to sneak boys in all the time. I wasn’t even doing it to enjoy sex, I was doing it to be cool.
Story of my life. There was the stigma that came with it though — getting slut-shamed — but I was in this clique of girls and sex was what we used to score cool points with each other. On two occasions, my mum caught me and it became a problem.
I was taken to church for prayers.
The pastor and his wife prayed to cast the sex-hungry demon in me. I remember the pastor’s wife saying that it was because of girls like me that the genitals of baby girls were cut off at birth. I didn’t know what female genital mutilation was then, but I looked it up and I was so scared. I begged my dad not to let my mum take me there again.
All of that stopped when I went to a university far from home. My uncle worked there. I had a dry spell in my first few months and thought that perhaps the prayers had worked; the demon was “exorcised” and that was why I wasn’t really interested in sex. I know better now sha. During that period, I was raped by my cousin — my uncle’s son.
Wow. I’m so sorry.
He’s not. He insists I consented to it. I told my aunty when it happened. She told me that my mum had told her all about my ‘escapades’ and that even if me and her son did anything, it was because I seduced him. She called me a liar and made me move into the halls of residence — which was best for me to be honest. I had more liberty and less fear that I was going to be raped again.
In my second year, I found love and started dating for the first time ever.
How old were you?
About 18. When we started dating, we decided to take it slow. I told him what happened with my cousin and how I wasn’t ready to have sex yet. He was quite understanding, so I really didn’t suspect that he was getting it elsewhere. I was so naive. I eventually found out that he had given one of my roommates an STD — or she had given him. I don’t remember.
We broke up. It was a tough pill to swallow. So I decided that the next person I dated was getting sex.
I met my second boyfriend a few months before I turned 19. There was or is a pattern because they’re both light-skinned, tall, a few years older and Igbo — not to slander Igbo men — but I clearly have (or had) a type.
And my type was a cheater.
He cheated on you too?
Not at first. The relationship was smooth. The sex wasn’t regular because we were in school and there weren’t as many opportunities. But we lived in the same area back home. So most holidays, I went to his house on weekdays. It wasn’t life-changing sex, but it was satisfying. I finished uni, he met my parents and marriage seemed to be the next thing, but it didn’t feel quite right to me. So I told him I wasn’t ready. He hit me.
Like he physically hit you?
Yes. He was angry that I wasn’t ready to get married. I returned to my parents house and vowed never to go back to his place. His parents, my parents, our friends — everybody — begged. My mum kept asking why I wanted to throw away four years of my life with him, all because he slapped me. She made it seem so ordinary. She told me he beat me because he loved me. Hahaha.
I believed her and took him back on the condition that we couldn’t get married until I finished NYSC. And just like that, I played myself
He slept with my sister.
How did you find out?
There’s living proof. My nephew.
Wait. Wow. How did your family handle this?
My parents don’t know that the baby belongs to him. I don’t know what she told them, but they don’t know till date. For some reason though, she felt the need to come clean with me and beg for my forgiveness.
My mum wanted me to get married and then pretend the baby was mine. What eventually happened was, my sister went to live with a distant relative. And me and my ‘fiancé’ continued our relationship as if nothing happened.
You forgave him?
I only recently forgave him. But I can’t shake the feeling that he’s cheated on me more than once. Sometimes, I see little kids and imagine he’s their father
Yet you stayed with him?
I did. I want to say that I was young and didn’t know better. I want to blame everyone, including my mum, but it’s all on me.
Are you still together?
I’m not even sure whether to say yes or no. After almost 7 years in the relationship, I started reading and paying attention to other people’s romantic and sex stories and my life just felt incomplete. Especially my sex life, I felt like I was constantly having sex to please other people — not even just the person I was sleeping with.
What did you do with that realisation?
First, I told him that we had to break up, that our relationship didn’t even make sense and hadn’t made sense for a long time. He beat me up.
Damn. I’m sorry.
I was actually hospitalized. To put things in perspective, I wasn’t able to really enjoy sex with him after I found out he slept with my sister. But after he hit me this time, I knew I was done. My dad took police officers to arrest him, but they later released him after family members intervened.
After his release, he told me that he wasn’t going to let me go and that we could go on a break, but that he knows I will come back. Half of me feels he might be right.
Oh no. How long have you been on this break?
Almost 6 months.
What did you do next?
In late December last year, I joined a dating site and met a slightly older woman. I wasn’t specifically looking for someone of the same gender. It just happened and I ran with it. On the first meeting, we made out. On our second meeting, we had sex in her house. I didn’t even know how or what to do. It just came so naturally. It really felt like I had been suppressing a part of myself and after the sex, it opened up. I’m actually happy for the first time. I’m having good sex. It feels like a clean slate.
Did you ever have any same sex attraction growing up?
I did. But I assumed that all women had that. It didn’t seem like a big deal.
So would you say you’re bisexual?
Maybe. But I’m not a fan of tags. I am queer. I know that. But what if I’m lesbian? I don’t want to sit in one box and believe that’s who I am. And I’m reading about several other identities that exist on the spectrum. Who knows where this new part of my identity that I’ve discovered will lead me.
How would you rate your sex life then?
A solid great.