By CHIOMA GABRIEL, EDITOR, SPECIAL FEATURES
The answer is blowing in the winds. Men are from mars, women are from hell. Man Smart, Woman Smarter. Men enjoy sex. Women endure it. Sex fiends. Nymphomaniacs and maniacs crop up in the sex dictionary. You have read of the hot-blooded. An insatiable appetite for sex. Multiple orgasms.
Shhhh ! Hush it.
In Nigerian society, sex is not often explicitly being spoken about. The discussion about sex is often supposed to be adumbrated and corseted. Traditionally, men are expected to enjoy sex while the women are expected to endure it.
A decent woman who is perceived to be the weaker sex is expected to be chaste and pure and not discuss the issue openly either with her husband or anybody else. It is not the same for a man who is expected to be a warrior and a conqueror on the issue.
He is therefore entitled to as many women as he wants and sow his wild oats indiscriminately. And later, over palm-wine and other drinks, he and his male colleagues and friends would discuss and laugh over their conquests, talking about the kiss and tell syndrome. A typical Nigerian woman would shy away from an open discussion about sex. A woman who speaks openly about sex is perceived to be wayward.
That is what is expected of women in a traditional society. Cultural and religious barriers hinder women from being explicitly sexual. Across marital relationships, women are not often encouraged to talk about sexual pleasures unlike men who flaunt their sexuality all the way, sometimes, acquiring as many wives as they can, keeping mistresses and patronizing prostitutes.
Culturally, Nigerian men are perceived to be overbearing, controlling, and paternalistic. They believe it is “a man’s world” and so they have the tendency to relegate women to subservient roles. Men are fiercely macho, fiercely independent and with a burgeoning sense of entitlement thinking the world belongs to them and women are made to be at their beck-and-call.
Mostly, the rule of abstinence applies to women and not men. In traditional societies, sex was not to be indulged in for pleasure especially as it involves women. A lot of women have been made to hate sex because of their upbringing. Nigerians are still not comfortable with public display of affection and neither are they comfortable with open and public discussions of abortion, sex and exotic sex acts.
Indeed, at the core of every Nigerian, and indeed every African, is the thumbprint, the umbilical cord of their ancestors. A typical Nigerian father or mother would rarely, if ever, utter affectionate or confidence-building words like “I love you…” to their children.
Nigerian men are afraid to turn control over to their wives? They are averse to showing their sensitive side. They want to control and dominate. Sexually, the perception of women has been that of weakened relevance and subordination tied to the oppression they face in a world referred to as “a man s world”. The world at large views the women as the weaker sex.
Female genital mutilation subdues women sexually
To ensure women do not enjoy sexual pleasure, traditional societies across Nigeria for centuries have been subjecting women to female genital mutilation. These traditional societies believe genital mutilation whereby the most sensitive part of a woman sexual pleasure, the clitoris is removed as a way of ensuring virginity and curbing promiscuity, or to protect female modesty and chastity. The ritual has been so widespread that it is still currently being practised in communities in Nigeria.
But it is a practice that has negatively affected many women who passed through it. Andrew Eche, 39 , said his first marriage was a disaster because his wife couldn’t satisfy him sexually. She underwent female genital mutilation.
“How would you even bring up the issue of comparing a woman and a man when sex is mentioned? A woman’s position remains under the man. The man holds the aces and subdues the woman under him. My first marriage ended in a divorce because my wife was cold and unresponsive. She would hardly let me touch her and that was the woman I married with my money. She permanently complained of painful sexual intercourse that it became a big issue between my family and hers.
I was later told of the genital mutilation she underwent just before we got married but it didn’t concern me because having my wife crying under me each time we had sex was not funny. I did everything, bought x-rated movies to watch together with her and extended foreplay but it didn’t work. Sometimes, in my bid to contain her and make her part of the pleasure, I ended up being shortchanged. I come before the real intercourse. Sex was not her game. It was a punishment to her and so our marriage crashed after one child.
If her family subjected her to genital mutilation before marriage, it didn’t work out very well for us. It was a living nightmare for me as her husband. It was not my fault. You know, birds do it, bees do it, and men do it any time. Even domestic animals we keep like goats and dogs do it anyhow. But my wife was only doing it to fulfill her marital obligation and she would still cry over it.
And you are asking whether men have stronger sex drive than women? Of course we do. Study after study shows that men’s sex drives are not only stronger than women’s, but much more straightforward.
“The sources of women’s libidos, by contrast, are much harder to pin down. It’s common wisdom that women place more value on emotional connection as a spark of sexual desire. But women also appear to be heavily influenced by social and cultural factors as well. I couldn’t discuss female orgasm with my first wife because she didn’t seem to know what it is or what turns her on. She couldn’t even discuss it or understand that a woman needs to attain orgasm and increase sexual pleasure for her husband.
“A woman who has undergone genital mutilation dreads sex because of anticipated pain. Such women may not complain but end up becoming frigid and withdrawn resulting in marital disharmony. That was my experience in my first marriage.” On the contrary however, Bolu, a banker said he has a nymphomaniac at home. His wife of over 15 years was getting more insatiable by the day.
“ If it would not be tantamount to abomination, I would have asked her to go outside and meet other men. In fact, I suspect she is seeing other men but I cannot prove it. She is a sex fiend. Even during pregnancy, she sexually harasses me. When she was pregnant with our third child, she forced me to make love to her during her labour and just hours before she had our third child.
She has five now. As she grows older, she gets stronger while I get weaker. My work puts a lot of stress on me and whenever I return from work, I’m too tired to make love. I always try not to offend my wife and always manage to go one round but it is never enough for her. Most mornings before leaving for office, she strips me naked after dressing up and I’d end up begging her to let me go.”
The woman’s angle
Victoria, 32 on the other hand thinks women are stronger. “Women may be stronger. I have lived overseas and I know that white ladies have insatiable appetite for sex. Women are often known to have travelled across Europe to Africa in search of sexual gratification. Middle aged women from Europe come to Africa to engage teenage boys in sexual encounters. Women have two X chromosomes. Men have only one X chromosome, and then they have a Y chromosome. The X chromosome is actually a larger chromosome.
“The idea that women have greater sexual strength than men always seemed very much in line with my own experience, but it’s very difficult for some men to accept this premise. Men will vigorously challenge this but it is the truth. It is the nature of men with their strong male egos to want to be recognized as the stronger of the species and intelligent women generally recognize this manly trait, and wisely make no issue of it. Women don’t feel depleted after sex as the men do. They have the strength to go on and on.
“Men tend to see themselves as bigger, stronger and physically superior to women. However, physical dominance is hardly the proper criteria for evaluating sexual strength. Sexual strength, as I use the term, is the ability to generate and contain sexual excitement and ecstatic pleasure without terminating the orgasmic flow, and without losing vital life-force energy.
It is properly measured by how successfully an individual manages his or her sexual energy. Now a simple assignment. Ask yourself: After lovemaking, are you energetically engorged or sexually depleted? Are you happy, enlivened, and sexually fulfilled? Are you feeling emotionally connected to your partner? Or, are you sleepy, melancholy, let down, dull, feeling separate and emotionally withdrawn?
“Sorry guys, sexual strength is an area where women possess a clear advantage. A woman can sexually receive a man (or many men) for as long as she pleases. If she is properly aroused, a woman’s sexual appetite can be nearly inexhaustible. In the sexual arena, women have two clear biological advantages over men. First, they don’t have to attain and maintain an erection to have sex. Second, and more to the point, unlike men, women generally do not lose energy through sex.
“The truth of the matter is that many men are as terrified of women’s infinite sexual capacity as they are fascinated by it. Unfortunately, the general effect on men is to make them feel sexually insecure so they often attempt to compensate with some other strength. “ Mrs Celestina Ude in her contribution said her husband’s sexual strength is like a two-minute noodle.
“He’s done in few minutes and that’s when I’m just warming up. I have never experienced orgasm with my husband. Sex with him is wham-bam-gwam and and then he’s snoring while I languish in my unfulfilled desire. He can’t do two rounds. He has never done it and I’m the one left wanting more when he cannot continue. So, is that the strong man? I dated a guy before I got married who is as good as a horse.
He had taken me to mountains and plains and I kept yearning for more. He always said I would kill him one day but I never killed him except with pleasure. We were two extreme people but still he couldn’t cope. He could go two or three but that was all. We didn’t end up getting married like we planned but like I said, sex with my husband is not it. He has no drive. He is too weak.”
But Franca, 39, thinks otherwise. “We have heard of the saying, what’s on a man’s mind and the artists impression was a picture of a naked woman. The truth remains that men think more about sex. Majority of adult men under 60 think about sex at least once a day. As men and women age, each fantasize less, but men still fantasize about twice as often.”
In a survey of studies comparing male and female sex drives, it was discovered that men reported more spontaneous sexual arousal and had more frequent and varied fantasies. Men want sex more often than women at the start of a relationship, in the middle of it, and after many years of it. Men also say they want more sex partners in their lifetime, and are more interested in casual sex. Men are more likely to seek sex even when it’s frowned upon or even outlawed.
About two-thirds masturbate. Prostitution is still mostly a phenomenon of men seeking sex with women, rather than the other way around. Nuns do a better job of fulfilling their vows of chastity than priests.
More studies have revealed that women’s sex drives are more influenced by social and cultural factors.Women’s sexual attitudes, practices, and desires were more influenced by their environment than men. Women who regularly attend church are less likely to have permissive attitudes about sex. Men do not show this connection between church attendance and sex attitudes.
Women’s libidos seem to be less responsive to drugs.With men, sex drives are seemingly more directly tied to biology when compared to women. Men have embraced drugs as a cure not only for erectile dysfunction but also for a shrinking libido. A gynecologist, Dr Nwando Ibezim thinks women want sex far more than many have been allowed to believe.
“Women want sex just as much as men do, and this drive is not, for the most part, sparked or sustained by emotional intimacy and safety. When it comes to the craving for sexual variety, women may be even less well-suited for monogamy than men. Yes, guys are hornier but my encounters with women seem to portray that women love sex more than many think.
“However, men have more frequent and more intense sexual desires than women, as reflected in spontaneous thoughts about sex, frequency and variety of sexual fantasies, desired frequency of intercourse, desired number of partners, masturbation, liking for various sexual practices, willingness to forego sex, initiating versus refusing sex, making sacrifices for sex, and other measures. Based on these, I would say that as much as women enjoy sex , the male sex drive is stronger than the female sex drive. Wives consistently reported that they were quite satisfied with the amount of sex they had in their marriages, but men on average wished for an increase.”