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 33-year-old gay man who didn’t have sex for years after getting kito-ed — a term for being set up and extorted by a straight man pretending to be gay.
What was your first sexual experience?
I was 13 in JSS 3, and there was this guy that had been bullying me since JSS 1. We were in the same class, and even though I became voted class captain, that didn’t stop him from making my life a living hell.
So, there was an evening I went to lock up the class and as I was leaving, I saw him at the door waiting for me. I immediately began to panic because I was sure he was there to rough me up like he routinely did.
I tried to run out of the class, but he cornered me. I recoiled, expecting him to hit me, but he didn’t. He just pulled me close and kissed me. Even though I hadn’t had any sexual experience before that, kissing a boy immediately felt right.
Oh? What happened next?
We made out until we eventually had to leave the class. For the rest of the night, my mind was whirling. I had a ton of questions, but not necessarily about kissing a guy, it was more about why the person that had bullied me for years suddenly switched on me.
Was that the moment you realised you were into guys?
I’d actually had my suspicions before then. In JSS 2, I was inexplicably drawn to one of my very popular classmates. I didn’t know or understand why, but in hindsight, I clearly had a crush on him.
There were also other instances that made me know I was different. While boys my age talked about girls incessantly, I could only ever see them in a platonic light. I guess that’s why I wasn’t thrown into a well of confusion about my sexuality after the kiss.
What happened with the bully?
It turns out bullying me was just his messed up way of trying to get my attention, because he turned into a completely different person after that. We became romantically involved, constantly making out and jerking each other off.
We did that until the end of the term, and by the time we returned to school after the break, he’d completely moved on from me. I was so heartbroken. We’d gone from enemies to lovers to strangers.
Ouch. So, when did you end up having sex for the first time?
Funnily enough, when I was in secondary school, I didn’t realise guys could have sex. There was a guy I dated from SS 1 to SS 3, and all we ever did was make out, give each other head and jerk each other off. I had no idea penetrative sex was an option.
Then one day in SS 2, I was hanging out with some gay friends and they were all talking about their sexual exploits. I was so confused. That was the first time I ever heard about anal sex, and I was absolutely horrified.
I eventually suggested it to my boyfriend, and we decided to give it a shot. We didn’t get very far because the pain was unimaginable. That pain stayed with me for a while, and I was really afraid of ever trying again.
Well, it was in my first year at university that I finally gave it another shot. One of my coursemates, who I became fast friends with because he’s also gay, introduced me to a guy. We immediately clicked, and we made plans to meet up again.
When we finally met up, he wanted us to go all the way. I was apprehensive, but he promised to be gentle. I reluctantly agreed, and to my surprise, it was a much better experience. I barely felt any pain.
So, you began having more sex?
Not for long. A little while later, I had an experience that traumatised me for a very long time. I was set up and extorted by someone I liked, and that made me very apprehensive about getting with guys.
Seriously? What happened?
I had a gay friend at a different school, and we’d occasionally meet up to hang out. One day, we were hanging out at his friend’s place, and there were a bunch of other guys there too.
I wasn’t sure if it was a gathering of just gay guys and I didn’t ask, but I was into the guy who owned the place. We were making a lot of eye contact, so I became convinced that he was into me as well.
I think the first mistake I made was not telling my friend that I was going to make a move, mostly because I didn’t want to hear his disapproval. Anyway, I found a way to get close to the guy, we talked for a bit and I eventually collected his number.
We were chatting for about a week, and he invited me back. So, I went to his house, we talked for a bit and started making out. Next thing, he was getting me out of my clothes. I noticed that while I’d gotten completely naked, he still had his shorts on.
Whenever I tried to take off his shorts, he’d evade my hands. I was still young, so I didn’t think anything particularly shady was happening. Next thing I knew, his door — which I figured he’d locked — swung open and a guy stormed in.
Yup. The dude came in screaming, “HOMOS”. He was slapping us around, but even while I was panicking and begging, I began to notice that I was the one getting the brunt of the beating.
Whenever he focused on the other guy, it just seemed like a shitty fight sequence in a bad Nollywood film. That’s the moment I began to suspect that something shadier was going on.
The guy then said we’d have to settle him or he’d report us to the police. I initially believed that he would, but whenever my cries got louder, he’d tell me to keep quiet. That’s when I realised that he didn’t actually want any attention being drawn to this.
So what did you do?
Well, I started shouting louder and getting more dramatic with my pleas. He started panicking and asking for what I could drop. I told him I didn’t have anything, and since he’d already taken my wallet, I said he could keep that.
I also suggested that we go to the bank to withdraw more money, but he refused. The more I realised that he didn’t want to expose himself in any way, the less scared I was. He ended up just taking the money in my wallet and throwing me out.
I was very bruised, both physically and emotionally. When I got home and replayed everything in my head, that’s when I became 100% sure that the guy had set me up. I texted him to confront him, and while he denied it, I didn’t believe him.
Fuck. I’m so sorry.
Yeah. That’s when I learnt that it’s quite common for queer people in Nigeria. Homophobes pretend to be gay men so they can extort their victims by blackmailing or physically harming them — they are called “Kitos”.
Most of the people I know who have been victims of this always talk about how they not only have to deal with the pain and trauma of what happened, but they also feel a lot of shame. I was so ashamed that I never even told my friend about it.
Did you ever see the guy again?
A few years later, I did. He entered a bus I was in and immediately he saw me, he looked really ashamed. Before he left the bus, he apologised and admitted that he was in on it. At that point, it was already buried, and I wasn’t interested in rehashing it.
I know that some people have had even worse experiences. I hear some stories and I’m completely heartbroken. I was even lucky — I was still able to protect my identity. A lot of people get outed in situations like that.
How long did the experience stop you from attempting to hook up?
I can’t say how long exactly, but I definitely stayed away from the hookup scene for a long time — somewhere between a year and two. It even began to affect my relationships with strangers. I was very jumpy around everyone I didn’t personally know.
I wasn’t interested in going out or meeting people. Everyone who wasn’t already a friend felt like a threat to me. So, it didn’t only stop me from having sex, it also affected my ability to foster new relationships.
Do you think you’ve completely shed the fear?
Yeah, I think so. I was young when it happened, and I’m much older now. If anything, as years have passed, I have moved from fear to righteous anger about the fact that I or anyone in the gay community should ever have to deal with something that traumatic.
What’s your sex life like these days?
My sex life is satisfying. It’s pretty active, and it helps that I’m very openly gay. So, I’m less restrictive when I see a guy that I like. If I get the vibe that he is into guys too, I make my move. My friends call me a hoe, but I don’t think I am.
So, what’s your opinion about sex now?
As I was coming to terms with my sexuality, I was also coming to terms with how much I actually enjoy having sex. Immediately I stopped letting other people’s opinions dictate how much sex I should be having, I’ve been a lot happier.
Since I don’t feel ashamed of my sexuality or my sexual appetite, no one can shame me for it. So, even when people — from friends to past lovers — try to slut-shame me, I just laugh it off and own it. I consider it a signifier of my liberation.
You’ve had past lovers slut-shame you?
Yeah. For some context, I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve slept with. There are names and faces I don’t remember. So when I was on a dating app, chatting with a guy I’d apparently hooked up with years before, he got really offended that I couldn’t remember him at all.
That’s how he went off, talking about how “loose” I am. Then he said that since I’m a bottom (the receptive partner during anal sex), I’m meant to take it easy and not be jumping around from bed to bed.
I was so offended because it just reeked of heteronormative sexism. Since some people consider bottoms to be the “women” in gay relationships, we are not expected to explore ourselves sexually. Thankfully, I don’t believe in that stupid dynamic.
Good for you. So, how would you rate your sex life on a scale of 1 to 10?
I’d give it a solid 8. I can’t say a 10 because I’m not having as much sex as I would have preferred, but I’m still quite content. While I’m not out here juggling multiple hookups, I’m certainly not starved.