By Yetunde Arebi
Sex is an expression of love, tenderness and fulfillment between lovers. It is an act where the two can express their feelings towards each other without words, worshiping each other at the Altar of love.
It is the oil that lubricates the wheel of progress of their relationship, bringing about peace, trust and harmony between them. However, this same act, meant to be freely given and taken between lovers can turn into an instrument for exchanges far from love, forcing one to turn the other down.
For Shola, a lady I met at the salon, sex is no longer on her list of to do things with her husband after three children. His crime is that he has refused to work while she slaves away for the family, and rather turned sex into a major accomplishment. Her story was both pitiable as well as hilarious. But is saying NO, the solution to their problem? This is Shola’s story:
I never used to reject his sexual demands until I realised that he is just a lazy man who is not ready to work and didn’t really care what happened to me and the children. About seven years ago, he lost his job in the North and we had to move back to Lagos. His parents were kind enough to give us accommodation. Without them, maybe we will be living on the streets by now. Though it is just one room, at least we were able to have a roof over our heads. That is all the comfort my husband can provide for us and he is content and proud of that. Is that the kind of man I should be happy to be giving my body to be using me anyhow?
My husband and I met in the North so I did not know anything about his background before I got pregnant for him. He’d painted the picture of a rich and affluent family to me, so I thought I was marrying into a good, rich family. It is not that I am from a poor family too. My mother is a teacher and we are just two children.
It is just that she did not marry my father legally and his original family did not give us anything when he died. It was after the birth of our first son that my dream world was shattered. Though his parents were quite comfortable, they are not a rich as I had thought. His siblings were also doing well with two of them living abroad, but my husband is the black sheep of the family. He does not even possess a school leaving certificate.
He’d dropped out of school in Class four to be doing guy all over the place, indulged by his mother. The job that had brought him to the North had been arranged by his father through one of his friends. He was jobless and had no certificate for any decent job.
We started quarrelling over everything from then, but there was nothing I could do anymore as I was already deep in the relationship with two children. So, I decided to stick to my fate and try to make life worth living. On my part too, I was not better off having dropped out of school in SSS3 to be with him against the warning of my mother.
I thought he was everything he told me he was. I never knew it was a lie. My sister, even if a wife is not properly educated or working, shouldn’t a man, being the head of the family be working to maintain his family? This is not the case with my husband oh! When we first returned to Lagos, he used to go and eat at his parents, then ask the workers there to bring our own to us. My husband is so proud that he believes he cannot accept just any job. Once, they helped him secure a job with the civil service as an office attendant, but he rejected because he’d seen one of his school mates there who is now a senior officer. Can you believe that? What did he expect?
No matter how much I try to make him see reason that he must be patient, drop his rich man son toga and pride because of our welfare, he never listens. At the time I am talking about, we already had two children and my niece who was assisting me take care of the children was also living with us, all in one room.
As I had no job at the time, I could not watch my children die of hunger, most times I had to purchase food items on credit from sellers in the neighbourhood. On other occasions when shame would not permit me to, I would go and collect food stuff from my relatives who were aware of my problems. Though they would rain abuses on me that I’d foolishly allowed myself to be sweet talked into such a situation, they would still oblige me because of the blood tie. Out of whatever I am able to bring, my husband would come home to eat.
When he is done eating, the next thing on his mind is to have sex. And whenever I refuse, it would turn into a quarrel. And because I wouldn’t want to cause a scene in front of the children and other tenants, I’d have to give in. Because of his uncooperative attitude towards sex as I had made my stand clear about not having more children at the time, I was forced to have six abortions in a spate of two years.
It wasn’t as if the money was there, but when I weighed the cost of procuring an abortion with the cost of bringing up a child, clear reasoning would always tell me that one was better than the other. Whenever I get pregnant, I would always fight him, because I know that we would have to borrow or beg for money to have it removed, also knowing that the money could have gone a long way in the feeding and education of the children. Because I couldn’t afford good hospitals, we would always use some cheap ones where I would have to be awake to see the instruments go in and out of my body. Madam, I suffered!
The last one we did before I finally decided to let the whole world know what I was facing, nearly took my life. As usual, we could not raise any money for it. Then my husband informed me that he had discovered that one of his friend’s wife, who is a Nurse does it at home to help people for a token. It was her PP (private practice) So, I’d gone to their house one evening to have the operation. It was done on their matrimonial bed as they lived in a little room and parlour. After the operation, she’d prescribed some drugs for me and I went home.
Two days later, my husband was forced to go and bring the woman in the dead of the night, and in the process, woke our neighbours up. I could not bear the pain anymore and had been bleeding for two days. My children were taken into a neighbour’s room while the whole operation was repeated again in the presence of my husband. I nearly lost my life.
I was glad that he saw it all, believing it would help change his attitude towards sex and our welfare. I vowed not to have anything to do with abortion again that night. To complicate matters, my mother called a few days after to warn me that she dreamt that I died while trying to procure an abortion and begged me to have mercy on her.
However, after barely two weeks, my husband forgot about the whole thing and resumed to his usual demands. I had to cry out for help. But this was after we’d had a very serious fight and people had been forced to intervene. The matter was taken to my in-laws with my husband insisting that I must be having an affair if I continuously refused him. He told them all sorts of lies, that I always complain about his hygiene; that he does not brush his mouth and take regular baths before coming to bed at night. He left out the actual facts of the whole matter. I am happy that my in-laws are not wicked people. After stating my own side of the story, including the number of abortions I’d procured for him, everyone agreed that he must try to control his appetite for sex. One of my in-laws even went to chatter several boxes of condoms for him to use. But after trying some of them, he said he could not use it as it doesn’t make him feel like he is doing the ‘thing’. Sometimes when he’s at it, the condom would just tear. When this happens, he would not take a new one, but yank it aside and hump away. This was how we had a third child because I refused to try an abortion again. Something told me that I’d had my last chance already.
During the pregnancy, I received advice from many people, neighbours and family members. The most important was on getting myself occupied with a trade that will take me out of the house. If my husband won’t work, why can’t I find something to do too. So, after the child’s birth, I took the little money I received from well wishers, and borrowed a little more from one of my in-laws and was able to construct a little kiosk right in from of our house where I now sell provisions as well as fry akara, puff puff and yam. My business has continued to grow ever since and I just can’t thank God enough.
However, the problem still remains the same or is even worse now. As I told you, we live in a single room given to us by his parents. We have three children and my niece who is a big girl. It is becoming increasingly difficult to do anything while they are around. Many a time, he does not want to know that the children are already grown and know what sex is.
I have overcome the fear of pregnancy now because after the birth of our last child, my in-laws paid the bills which included placing me on a contraceptive regimen. This he believes is his licence to unhindered sex. But it is not so.
When I retire inside after a long day, he still wants to have sex. When I say no, he accuses me of infidelity, even though my trade is right in front of the house. I used to feel concerned initially, but not anymore. My children are my priority now, not him, not sex. He is free to do whatever he wants.
Hmmm!! Do have a wonderful weekend!!!