By Yetunde Arebi
Sexual abuse in marriage is common mainly because of societal norms and expectations. Often, many things are taken for granted and others as conditions for a stable relationship. Still in my quest for answers to question of finding sexual pleasure and satisfaction, a couple of women shared their experiences with me. It appears that the problem is more wide spread than I had imagined. If every woman is wearing a cute smile at the mention of the word sex, then who are these men?
Debby, (42), Banker, has resigned herself to fate:
I have been married for 15 years with three children. Rather than improve, the sex just kept growing worse by the day. Finally, when I caught him playing around, I just resigned myself to fate. I can’t divorce him because I don’t like the idea of being a divorcee, so, whether I like it or not, I must stick it out with him. I’m not sure he can divorce me too, so, that is sealed.
When we met, the feeling was intense and I enjoyed the lovemaking. Though I did not reach orgasm then too, in fact, I had never experienced an orgasm before but I was happy because I truly loved him. I had hoped that the sex would only get better after marriage. I just assumed that marriage would bring more intimacy and we would have it all the time we could create for our own pleasures. I never thought things would turn out the way they did.
Since I was already pregnant with our first child when we got married, I could not really enjoy the sex and so I just allowed him to do whatever it was he desired at the time. Again, I was informed that sex would help during child labour, so, my goal was to really enjoy it. But after the child was born, I told him my mind and suggested how he could do it better, but he was not so interested. He said we were still getting to know each other and had a life time to do so. Life was a learning process and I had no choice but to accept. Only he did not learn anything.
Sometimes, when I would insist and place his hands where I wanted him to touch, he would only do it depending on his mood. It was under this cat and dog situation that I had my three children in the first five years. Then I got the banking job and my work schedule changed. We would leave home early in the morning and return very late. That meant, we were both tired most of the time. Or rather, that I was tired most of the time.
It wasn’t a good excuse though. For me, I would love that we tried to create time for enjoying ourselves. I know and do appreciate the fact that women are not likely to reach orgasm every time they have sex, and that it does not mean that they do not enjoy it. But I believe that once a while, we ought to both create time to give each other that pleasure, but my husband will not change.
When I insist he touches me in certain places, he will put up such arguments that will irritate me to the point that I may just change my mind. For instance; He insists that marital sex is different from courtship situation; That he cannot be using his hands and other parts to my pleasure, except his manhood which God specially designed for that purpose;
That it was becoming obvious that I had lesbianism tendencies since I did not like coitus, nor consider it as the ultimate form of sex; Later, he told me that the period he would use between getting me to the point that I want coitus is too long for him as he loses his erection and interest in sex before I am ready. And surely, my husband cannot afford to waste his erection for the purpose of foreplay alone. So, I just let him do it, even when I am not ready.
I have learnt to tell him that I enjoyed it. To make him happy, I even feign moaning sounds so he’ll think that he is doing something wonderful to me. I think deep down, if he wants to be sincere with himself, he should know that I don’t enjoy his lovemaking. I guess it is on those rare occasions when his guilt is probably eating him up, that he bothers to try.
Most of the time, once he touches my breasts a little and feels for some moistness down there, he jumps into it. If I attempt to hold him back, he will insist, “but you are wet now”, and that is it. He once asked me to go and see a doctor before, you know. He thinks it’s a medical condition.
Risikat, housewife and mother of four revealed she once ran back to her parents when sex with her husband became unbearable:
Until recently, For a long time, I never talked about my sex life with anyone. But after I attended a women’s group conference a few years back, my attitude towards sex and sexual matters improved tremendously. In a way, I think it has helped me to have a broader and better perspective of my situation and also make the best of it.
I got married as a virgin. I had a boyfriend before meeting my husband that I was very intimate with. We did almost everything together but have sex. So, in a way, I had an idea or a little experience about what sexual pleasure should feel like. I had set my mind on marrying my first boyfriend but he left to study outside the country and then I met my husband.
Things happened so fast that we had sex on my very first visit to his place. It was not out of excitement or that I wanted to, he just mounted pressure on me. I don’t want to use the word force. We quarreled after he finished and though he begged me and insisted he did it out of the love and passion he felt for me and that he really wanted to marry me, I still felt bitter and refused to have anything to do with him.
He came around to our house several times to beg but I did not give him audience. However, at the end of the month, when my menstrual cycle refused to show up, I knew I was in trouble. The outcome of the trouble was our marriage.
When I think about it now that I am older and wiser as they say, I see that our kind of sex has been centred around the way we started. There is little or no tenderness involved. He just takes and takes for his pleasure and I am there to satisfy that pleasure or need that he craves. Most of the time, sex for him is to relieve his tension and make him sleep. Once he is done, he rolls off and sleeps, snoring away.
I had to run back home the third week after I got married because of the sex. I was sore all over. The place was red with sores and wet with blood, such that I would cry urinating. You can imagine how it would feel if the place was set on fire or like someone adding salt to an open wound. It was like living in hell. I’ve now met several women with similar experience, you know.
I was pregnant and in serious pain from the waist down, but he would insist that it is sex that would heal the place up. I confessed my dilemma to my mother who in turn told my father. I had thought that they would help me to warn him or help to sort things out a bit, but that did not happen.
It was my father who handed me over to him the next day when he found out what the problem was. He said I chose him and must therefore live with it. My mother also told me “that’s what marriage is all about” and that I would soon get used to it.
They were right in a way. As a woman, you learn to create your own world and find peace in it. You learn to look beyond sex to fulfill your own part of the relationship. Especially if you want to keep your home. Once children are involved, there are other more important things expected of you. I have come to realise that what you are complaining about, many women are longing for, and many are ready to accept it if given the chance.
When I hear the stories of other women, then I just accept your own fate or even thank God it is not worse. Most of our men don’t invest in their sex life as much as they do in other aspects of marriage. My husband is a good man generally. He is very generous towards me and the children and takes care of my family too.
Rita, an accounting graduate and mother of three children reveals that turning her husband down often leads to beating:
My husband returns from work as early as 6.00pm daily, eats and sleeps and wakes up around 11-12am, and all he wants to do after that is have sex. I manage my own business, do school runs, cook and clean the house, do the laundry and ironing, help with homework and my day is never over until about 11.00pm. And just as I am done and managing to crawl into bed, he gets up and wants to start riding me again.
When I say I am tired, he demands a rundown of what I have done for the day to make me tired. If I ask for permission to sleep for a while before he starts, he asks what he should be doing in the meantime. Sometimes, I don’t get to sleep until 2-3am after he is done because the sleep would have vanished and I will just lie awake with my eyes closed. Yet, I have to be up by 5.30 to prepare for the day.
Before I got married, I’d heard that some people have sex every day, I did not believe it then. For me, it is not by choice. It is so frequent I do not enjoy it. As my husband would tell me, it is part of my duties as a wife. So, I now see it as a chore that I must perform. In the early days of our marriage, refusal would earn me several slaps. It would lead to fights that he would beat me up severely.
Neighbours would intervene and neither of us would be able to tell them the reasons for the fight. There were times I left home in anger only to return because I had nowhere to go. Quarreling does not stop him from demanding sex. It will continue after he’s done. He tells me it’s because he does not want to indulge in adultery, as if that is supposed to make me feel cool.
Not having extra marital affairs and being considerate about your marital sex life are different things. After 15 years, I am used to it now. A friend of mine finally saved me from all the constant pain. She travelled and brought me a big jar of lubricant which I have placed permanently at by side of the bed. Once I get into bed and he stares, I reach out and slap it on and let him do his thing. I may not get to sleep, but I won’t have to endure pain.
Hmm!! Do have a wonderful weekend and a happy New Year celebration!!