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Safe sex: who is responsible

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By Yetunde Arebi
Hi, Sometime ago, we discussed the issue of safe sex practices. Some of the many questions we asked our respondents was whose responsibility it is to ensure safe sex, the man or the woman? Another was, what methods the adopt in ensuring safe sax?

The place of condoms; multiple sex partners, polygamy and even cultural practices in ensuring safe sex, the level of awareness among Nigerian about the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other sexually transmitted diseases, among others. Several Nigerians expressed shock and dismay at the kind of responses some of our respondents gave. Today, we are bringing you some of the responses we received on the topic. Feel free to add your voice to the discourse.  Our address remains: The Human Angle, Vanguard, P.M.B. 1007, Apapa, Lagos, or, e-mail Cheers!

Hello Yetunde,
I’m a man and I have a girlfriend and our sex life is active. Im 26yrs old and she is 23. Now the problem is that we practice unprotected sex cos we’re actually faithful to each other. But when I tried to buy condoms, the salesman was looking at me funny, as if I had said something odd, after which he told me that he does not sell it. Since then, I’ve been quite reluctant and shy to buy condoms, although I believe in safe sex and avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

That is the problem me and many other male counterparts face: we are shy to go and buy condoms and we don’t even know where to buy them from. So you should advice readers about how and where to buy them.

Dear  Yetunde,
The University of Carolina of Chapel Hill researchers, reviewing data from the National Longitudinal study of Adolescent Health have found conclusive evidence that teenagers who engage in safe (risky) sexual and drug behaviour will have an increased likelihood of depression. But depression itself does not cause teenagers to indulge in such behaviour.

According to this research, statistics from this research help to explain why teen depression has increased: 47 percent of high school students reported that during the past month, they had had intercourse, while 45 percent had been drinking alcohol (Janice Shaw Crouse, ‘Teen Sex Leads to Depression and Drug Use,’, Jan. 30, 2007).

The result of the research shows that abstaining from sexual activity until marriage results in more stable mental and emotional health. In other words, safe sex before marriage can lead to depression before and even within marriage. The bad habit of having safe sex with multiple sexual partners before marriage can damage the potential for long commitment in marriage.

Also, those who view television programmes containing a lot of ‘safe’ sexual contents are twice as likely to become involved in practicing safe sex, than those who watch less. Maybe this is one of the factors that motivate people to practice safe sex.

Moreover, condoms do not protect users from all sexually transmitted diseases. Studies have shown that condoms do not prevent human Papillomavirus (HPV), the most common viral STD today, which affects more than one third of all sexually active unmarried people and for which there is no cure. HPV can cause genital warts and cervical cancer. The effectiveness of HPV vaccines is also under question because it is not very useful for women who have already contracted HPV, and its side effects include cancerous lesions.

In the long run, safe sex may not be safe. Abstinence until marriage and staying faithful within marriage is the only certain way to make sex safe. Thus, everyone is responsible for safe sex.
Olusegun Jegede,
Cooperative Information Network,
Obafemi Awolowo University,

Dear Yetunde,
I have noticed this growing syndrome I call “men-bashing” among most Nigerian women.  As much as I want to keep quiet about it, I constantly desire a retort and hope for the occasion to have my pound of flesh. I dare to ask, what is it with the Nigerian woman?

From the few that attempted to do justice to the topic, all that resonated from their argument was men bashing and nothing more. From politics to religion, men have always been the problem of women especially the Nigerian woman.

It is about time they are told the home truth. But back to the topic; the reasons why sex which ought to be enjoyed by ‘married couples’ (permit my sample) could become a sour game are legion but I would concentrate on two, given our age-long customary and religious inhibitions – physical and psychological. I am going to attempt explaining both together.

Men suffer from premature ejaculation while women suffer frigidity which according to means failure of a female to respond to sexual stimulus; aversion on the part of a woman to sexual intercourse; failure of a female to achieve an orgasm (anorgasmia) during sexual intercourse.

This disorder can stem from psychological or emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, worry, guilt, fear of painful intercourse and fear of pregnancy. It can also develop from the undesirability of a partner, the undesirability of the setting, and the use of alcohol or drugs.

Wherever and whenever a woman is not satisfied or could not climax, both of them – the woman and the man concerned should share the blame.  I believe it is a woman’s God given right to enjoy sex (in which her body participates). But who would she blame if she inhibits herself? It is the woman most of the time that holds the key to her orgasm and not the man.

A man would be willing to help his wife especially where he lacks the skills provided the woman is forthcoming with ideas. But the woman is in constant worry about how she would be perceived. Culture and society have conditioned the African woman to be sexually unenthusiastic.

Harmful traditional practices such as circumcision pioneered by older women folks are not even helping the matter, but she turns around and blames the man.

How many Nigerian women have engaged their husbands in serious sexuality discuss? How many have demanded to know their husbands’ sexual fantasy (not in a fetish sense, but how best they could satisfy each other) whilst readily disclosing theirs? For the avoidance of doubt, I am all against unnatural sexual habits be it anal or oral.

Most women don’t know what men think about sex and love. They see childbirth as a license to be unattractive only to turn around to complain.

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