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 40-year-old woman who didn’t have sex until she got married. She’s been with her husband for 20 years and has never enjoyed sex. Now she looks forward to divorcing him and exploring sex outside of marriage.
When was your first sexual experience?
I didn’t have sex until I was married. Before I got married, I didn’t do much making out with my husband. We didn’t call each other boyfriend and girlfriend then, but we knew we were ‘seeing each other’. We had known each other since we were children. Then one day, before he went away to university, we kissed for the first time and that sort of became the beginning. Every holiday after that, we would make out in his room. No one really suspected anything was going on. Everyone already called us husband and wife, so it was only natural that we got married, which we did after I finished university.
How old were you?
I was 20 and he was 24.
But why didn’t you have sex before marriage?
It was for a lot of reasons. Lack of opportunity was one. We made a lot of plans to have sex, but they never worked out. His house was always full of family. Mine too. Hotel was an option, but I didn’t want to have sex just anywhere for the first time. Then there was religion. Because all the plans to have sex didn’t work out, we just concluded that God was preventing us from having sex. Haha. Finally, we decided to wait when we knew we were going to get married.
What were you expectations before you had sex?
Well, I knew sex would or should be great. I read a lot of books and magazines about ‘how to satisfy your husband’. So I was actually prepared.
And did it meet up to your expectations?
We didn’t have sex on the first night because it was our first night in our new home — we both moved directly from our parents houses to our new home, so we didn’t have a lot of furniture and beddings in place. In addition, we were just tired.
When we did have sex, it wasn’t fantastic. I had read a lot of books about ‘sex’, but none ever really addressed a woman’s orgasm. So I didn’t know that women could actually orgasm from sex. I spent time doing everything to please him and he spent time doing everything to please himself. And after, I just thought, this doesn’t feel right.
That doesn’t sound exciting.
No, it wasn’t. I mean, back then, I was happy that I could make him happy. I was doing everything I could so that he wouldn’t ‘look outside’. My father was a serial cheater, even with the three wives he had. Because my mother was the first wife, I assumed she was the one who dropped the ball in bed, in her dressing and in keeping the home and that it was for these reasons my father was cheating.
It’s silly, but I don’t blame myself. That’s what all my aunties and even the books and magazines were saying. That you had to do everything you could to satisfy your husband or he would cheat on you or beat you. So in my first few months of marriage, I had the impression that I was the best wife ever.
How did that change?
The babies started coming. My husband is one of those people who pride themselves in being good, but isn’t really good. So when I found out I was pregnant, and even started showing, he started doing more around the house, helping me carry my bag in public and doing the shopping generally.
Here’s the interesting part: he said he couldn’t have sex with a pregnant woman, as if it was an abomination, or I had a disease. I was shocked. I started asking if this was normal. An aunty asked me if I was sure my husband wasn’t fetish — jazz and all. Smh. I consulted my doctor and he said it was safe to have sex.
Did you tell him that?
Yeah. But still, he said he wasn’t doing. So I left it like that, as an ‘amazing wife’ and all.
What about you, didn’t you want to?
I did, but what could I do? It was during my second pregnancy, about two years later, that I discovered that masturbation was an option. And when I discovered masturbation, I discovered that I could orgasm. So I used to masturbate a lot. I masturbated in and out of pregnancy and stopped depending on him to show me affection the way I wanted. It was bliss at the time.
Did this affect your relationship?
Definitely. I should add that, immediately after my first pregnancy, he wanted to have sex, but my doctor had told us to wait for a month. He didn’t want to wait. This was shocking to me. I kept thinking: is this the man I knew from when we were younger? The one who used to do absolutely anything for me? It felt like I was married to a stranger.
Then there were other things like asking me to start gyming ASAP, so that I could lose all the belly fat and become more toned like other people’s wives.
No! He didn’t go there.
He did. Worst part was that I would complain but eventually oblige. I didn’t learn my lesson until my third pregnancy in 2007. I found out after everything I was doing for him, that he was cheating on me. And he had probably been cheating since the beginning. I was hurt, in more ways than I can put together.
Wow. I’m so sorry.
Yeah. I never suspected that he would cheat on me. He was a dick, but we had settled into a comfortable routine. Toxic in hindsight, but comfortable. He was also just a very caring father and a minister in church.
So I approached him with the texts I read on his phone. I shouldn’t have been going through his phone, but I did and that’s that. He begged. I was like nah, I’m leaving with my children. But to where? Jokes. I stayed, but I stopped following him to church. I stopped cooking for him. I just stopped anything that seemed like a wifely duty. When the baby came, he seemed remorseful, and I told him, I’m going to forgive you, but on my terms. My terms included a lot of finance and household things, but at the center of it all was sex.
What did you want him to do?
Oral sex and everything in my fantasy. Role playing, some mild BDSM. One of my friends suggested counselling in her church, that there was a professional, Christian therapist. Lol. Scam. We got there and the guy was using the Bible to solve situations that were clearly outside that realm. So we just managed ourselves, taking it one day at a time.
How did that work out?
Not that good, if I’m being honest. I’ll give him an E for Effort, but even the effort was bare minimum. At some point — I think in 2010/2011 — we just stopped having sex altogether, because it seemed we were not sexually compatible. It wasn’t an explicit thing. It was just quiet. Before you knew it, we started sleeping in separate rooms and we became distant, only talking about things that affected our children. It became worse when the first two went to boarding school. I’d bump into my husband in my own sitting room and apologise for encroaching on his space.
So the problems were beyond sex.
Yeah. But sex was still a big part. That’s why I keep telling my girls to have sex before they get married and explore as much as they can. Of course with protection and safety, but it’s just necessary.
What happened after 2011?
Hmm. We decided to try again. This time, we properly courted each other. We went on dates and all. And it felt good while it lasted. Then I found out again that homeboy was cheating on me. I found out in the most twisted way. My cousin who lived in another state saw him going to a hotel with a woman. She said they were overly friendly and she didn’t feel comfortable about it. I thought my cousin was just being a bad belle. I even told her that it’s because she’s single that she would lie like that. I also told her that she was seeing double, even though I knew my husband was in the state for a work thing.
Then one day, my husband and I went to the end of the year party at his company. I had a little too much to drink and was super horny. So I asked him to just give it to me in the car. Like I made him park the car on the road and have sex with me in it. That’s the wildest sex thing I’ve done with him. And then the next day, I started feeling funky. I went for a test and discovered I had an STD.
Yes. This was 2012, I think. This time, I was ready to get a divorce. But family members intervened. The only reason I stayed was because I wasn’t financially stable enough to hire a lawyer and start a new life with my children. All this while, I was working as a school teacher and the pay wasn’t much. Again, I decided to stay. The funniest part is, people kept saying, “At least he’s not beating you.” “At least he’s giving you money.” But does he fucking respect me?
That is so so important.
Since then sha, I’ve not slept with or kissed him. We live completely different lives.
Wow. That’s like 8 years.
Do you have any plans to leave him?
It’s in the works. A fool at 40 is a fool forever, you know. I just turned 40 and yeah, I’m ready to start living the life I didn’t live at 20 because I was so caught up in a foolish fantasy of what marriage should be. I was in such a hurry to grow up. My kids are no longer babies, so now is the best time.
What are the next steps?
So, two years ago, I started seeing other people. At first, I was cheating, but then I was like, this doesn’t make me better than him. So, I told him, that it’s like we should open our marriage oh. And he was like God forbid, that it’s not godly. I told him, well, you didn’t you didn’t think about that one when you were cheating. He said, it was the devil and other stories. I wasn’t sha taking any more orders from him. So I explained to my kids in the way that I could and they have been quite supportive.
Do you still live with your husband?
Yes. For now. But I’m moving out soon.
How many people have you dated since you told him?
Three people. I’ve also had proper sex. With the man I’m currently dating, I feel on top of the world. He’s about 10 years younger. My first experience with a younger man. It’s the best experience ever. He gives me head and is good at it. We role play, I orgasm multiple times… it’s the romance I didn’t know I needed.
Super lit. Do you think you’ll get married again?
Maybe. But not now. Definitely not now. Let me just enjoy small. Marriage often changes the dynamic.
Fair enough. How would you rate your sex life?
Really? I don’t think we’ve ever had a 10/10 in this series.
Haha. Maybe it’s just because of where I’m coming from. Or maybe I should say 9/10. Once I have my own space and I’m free, I know that everything will change. I’m looking forward to that.