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 31-year-old woman who has only ever had sex with her husband. She talks about not being interested in sex and never enjoying sex with her husband, especially after giving birth.
When was your first sexual experience?
My first sexual experience was in 2007, when I was about 18. The first time I actually had sex was 2008, when I was 19.
What was the first sexual experience from 2007?
Generally making out with my boyfriend who is now my husband. Once upon a time, I was trying to uphold purity culture and save myself till marriage. I was just fresh out of secondary school, so I was the good girl who wanted to keep things clean.
I always wanted a boyfriend sha, so I got one. Like many guys, he had other ideas, and always mounted pressure to go beyond kissing, which is what I was okay with. I obliged because I really liked him. It was basically making out to second base, and third base occasionally. He was the one I finally had sex with in 2008.
What was the sex like?
It was really nerve-racking. I really didn’t want to, but the pressure was more than I could handle. I know people will wonder why I didn’t walk away. Now that I’m older, I wonder why too. I’m not sure.
If you asked me back then, I would have said it was because I loved him more than myself. Now, I’m not so sure. He convinced me that the only reason I didn’t want to was because I was scared of the pain. I felt he was probably right; I am averse to pain.
I remember I was under the influence of two bottles of Gordon Sparks. It was quite popular back then. This was to help brace me for the pain, but it was still painful as fuck.
That doesn’t sound good. What were your expectations beforehand?
I really can’t remember having any expectations. I mean, I expected it to hurt and it did. I also expected it to be a lot more bloody than it was based on the stories, but I actually had to struggle to find the few drops that manifested.
Did you continue to have sex afterwards?
I did. This reminds me of how a friend told me that girls often succumb to sex pressure thinking “oh, I just need to get through this” , forgetting “you no go fuck am once, you go dey continue to fuck am”.
I didn’t give it much thought at the time. I clearly wanted the relationship to go on. The first time was the hardest; it wasn’t always awful. Most times, I wasn’t into it, but I did enjoy it from time to time.
When did you get married?
Did anything change about your feelings towards sex after getting married?
Nothing changed. Scam. I was so disappointed. I expected to be more into sex because I now had “approval”. Sex was basically sanctified now. I felt there was something wrong with me. A libido gap or something because I just couldn’t keep up with him.
How could I love someone and not want to sleep with him? It didn’t make sense. I did enjoy it from time to time, but definitely not as much as he did. I hardly ever looked forward to it. But I was willing to keep working on it.
Then 3 years into the marriage, we had our kid and it was like, a switch went off. I no longer had the energy or the zeal to keep working at it. It could be pleasurable but the effort it took to get that tiny pleasure wasn’t worth it.
There were so many other things I’d rather be doing. My irritation actually started to mount during pregnancy sex, but I wasn’t concerned then. I just thought pregnancy fucks things up.
When did you become concerned?
When I was so happy about my six weeks break from sex post-baby, and was so miserable when my sex-free break came to an end.
I was so miserable, I tried to deceive my husband that the doctors said I needed two weeks extra. Dude wasn’t having that. He even went as far as inspecting my nethers himself to assure me everything was back in form.
I guess those six weeks were torture for him. Anyway, that was the point I started feeling like mehn, I no dey do again.
Did you bring it up with your husband?
Yes, almost a year after. Since I told him, it’s been a roller coaster. I wanted to walk away initially, but I was convinced to try various arrangements like sex only when I want it. Unfortunately, when I want it is never enough and always leads to tension.
I think about getting separated nearly every other day, but we’re so entwined financially, it’d be difficult. I tried returning home but my family wasn’t supportive emotionally, so it was easy for my husband to win me back. I’ve tried therapy too.
That didn’t work?
Nope. Nothing seems to be working. I’ve even suggested an open marriage to my husband, which he keeps rejecting. I tried to do the ‘separated but living together’ thing. That didn’t work.
I do want sex from time to time, and so we end up having sex, but once we do, he forgets all the boundaries and rules about only having sex when I really want to and defaults to his mounting pressure attitude, and then we end up right where we started.
It’s like an endless cycle of misery I know I’m going to have to get off eventually.
Do you have any ideas at all why you aren’t interested in sex?
That’s the most frustrating part, I have so many ideas. I don’t know if it’s just one thing or a combination of everything. At first, I thought I was asexual, but that doesn’t click because I enjoy watching porn and masturbating. Then I felt I wasn’t attracted to him physically and never have been really, even though he is good-looking in my opinion. But sometimes I’ve really wanted to have sex with him, so I’m not so sure.
Then I thought it was because he doesn’t connect with me enough emotionally and intellectually. This is true but I’m not sure if it’s the cause. Then I started wondering if I was a lesbian, because I realized I do enjoy watching girl-on-girl porn. But I also enjoy watching guy-on-girl porn, so highest I’m bi. So that doesn’t explain it.
My newest introspection is that as I’m becoming more of a radical feminist everyday and realising that my husband doesn’t truly see me as his equal, and probably never has. This is a major turn-off for me, and when I look back, I see that I’ve made myself small in my love for him, and I resent that. I feel really guilty about feeling this way, because he really is a good man.
That’s an interesting take. Does he know all of these?
To be honest, the only parts he knows are I don’t like sex and maybe there’s no mutual physical attraction. Shikenah. He is deeply religious and I know he doesn’t care to know the rest. I have even admitted to him that I’ve indulged in watching porn and self-pleasure on occasion, but he thinks watching porn is not very far from cheating.
As for the equality thing, he hardly ever gets what I’m saying because he expects me to be grateful that he’s far better than other husbands in Nigeria. The bar is so low.
Okay. What about other men? Do you ever find that you’re attracted to other men?
Just once. It was this Indian guy I met when we were engaged. If I wasn’t a faithful person, something would probably have happened between us. My level of discipline is peak. There was the physical attraction and the fact that he was on my intellectual wavelength as well. It was a surprise to me, because I mostly always connect with guys on an intellectual or emotional level, not physical. With my husband, the physical was just a means to get the emotional.
I often catch myself wistfully thinking of that indian guy, especially now that I’m going through what I’m going through.
I wish I knew how important deep physical attraction was before I got married. Everyone acts like it’s the least important thing to consider when getting married, only for me to just now learn just how important it really is.
You mentioned masturbation and porn earlier. How did you get into that? Was it during your marriage?
When I was younger, I never got the appeal, but around the time I was engaged, I stumbled on one particular video, and I felt good watching it. I had never felt that good in all the years I’d been having sex. I couldn’t help it, I had to chase that feeling. And after chasing, I liked where I ended up — I experienced my very first orgasm. I was like, so this is why people like sex? I had never gotten an orgasm from sex and even now.
So nowadays, when I need that release and relaxation, I do what I need to do.
Just to clarify, even before marriage, you never had an orgasm during sex?
Nope. Same thing now. And I didn’t know that I hadn’t because I didn’t know what an orgasm was. It wasn’t until I had it, and I was like, yup, no doubt, that’s it.
Are there parts of sex that you enjoy?
Yes, I definitely enjoy sex sometimes, but I never achieve an orgasm. Sometimes, my partner wants to try to keep going till I get there, but I get exhausted by the whole thing and can’t be bothered.
My partner has tried to introduce extra rounds a couple of times and I’ve made it clear I’m a one round girl, it ain’t gonna happen. What kind of stress is that? Why would I want to go three more exhausting rounds trying to chase something I know I can get in half or even quarter of a round with myself? Ogini?
I enjoy receiving head. That is like the only redeemable part of sex. That and skillful fingering. Everything else, including penetration is just meh most times.
Do you feel that only having had sex with one person has contributed to the way you feel about sex?
Sometimes, I do. But I can’t know for sure.
What’s sex like for you these days?
These days, it’s good because I’m now very keen on having it when I want to have it — I’m no longer bothered whether the marriage thrives or fails. Sometimes I initiate it even, but I always feel it’s unfair, that I dictate when stuff goes down.
My therapist convinced us to try having sex once a month. My guy says yes he can do that, but then he’s never able to and keeps hitting me up like twice a week. Right now, I’m so not interested in sex because we fought a couple of days ago(more like he was talking down to me) and I was so pissed because he implied I was a bad mum, and it’s not the first time. I’m tired of telling him how I feel.
I understand. Given how much you’ve grown, what would you tell your 18-year-old self about sex.
I would tell my 18 year old self that purity culture is trash..
Do you have any plans for your sex life in future?
No concrete plans to be honest. Sometimes I wish I could erase sex from my life. Other times I think, men are so trash, it would be difficult for me to find any man as good or better than my current partner in terms of progressiveness, assuming we end up splitting up. So I wouldn’t want to date men anymore; maybe I’ll give girls a try, codedly of course, because nah Naija we dey.
If I did end up dating a guy again, I would like someone mature enough to give open relationships a try because I’m beginning to lose confidence in this whole monogamy of a thing oh.
How would you rate your sex life?
Now, I guess I would say 3 out of 10.