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More Kenyans are having unprotected sex

In a pleasure-driven society, an alarming trend is taking a toll: a surge in unprotected sex as Kenyans take risks as adventurers.A series of interviews by The Nairobian showed that Kenyans are hitting it raw for more pleasure, better orgasms, to massage their egos, or just out of a passion for adventuring.

However, some prefer it raw, citing the scarcity of condoms, the high cost of living, which correlates with condom prices, or because they are allergic to condoms.

Jimmy*, a communication expert who preferred that we use one name because he is 'famous', said that he is used to having it raw at home and is finding it difficult to protect himself when he finds another lover.

"When married, it is hard to use a condom both at home and away. I have three kids away from home, but I can't just stop... it's hard," Jimmy told the Nairobian.

The interviews, backed by State reports, demonstrated a shocking surge in unprotected sex, increased Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and unstable marriages.

For instance, the 2022 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey showed that 20 in every 100 women admitted to having more than one sexual partner at a time during the past year.

30 out of 100 Kenyan men had more than one sexual relationship

The report revealed that 30 out of 100 Kenyan men had more than one sexual relationship at a time during the period. It described cheating as a high-risk sexual behaviour that poses a risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

"Murang'a and Kericho Counties reported the highest percentage of women who had an addition of two sexual partners in the last 12 months at 11 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively, followed closely by Busia (6.2), Kiambu (5.8), Bungoma (5.5), Nairobi (4.8), and Kilifi (4.7)," the report showed.

Jerman Oketch, a Third Year student from Rongo, said that he prefers not using a condom when having sex since it is uncomfortable and confining.

"My first sex experience with a condom did not end well. I felt itchiness all over my private parts after the intercourse," he said.

The 23-year-old said he has tried to use different brands of condoms on various occasions, but the discomfort has persisted for years.

"I stopped using the condom, and I have frequently relied on medical checkups," he said.

Oketch said that those using condoms should not feel 100 per cent safe since they can burst during the act, leaving users in distress.

"I don't use the condom, but those using the condom should also be aware that it can burst," he said.

The most affected are sex workers, where some clients are demanding 'ngozi kwa ngozi' while others are taking advantage of the shortage of condoms for unprotected sex.

Eldoret Sex Workers Alliance director Alice Saina said in April this year that the members are now risking their lives by entertaining clients without protection.

"They are opting to use PREP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) taken to prevent HIV, but they do not protect the sex workers from other STIs and unwanted pregnancies, unlike the use of condoms, which are all-round protective," said Saina in a June interview.

Sex for Sh100

However, some sex workers said clients purchasing sex for Sh100 was a clear indication that they did not have extra money to buy condoms, thereby exposing them to diseases and pregnancy. Other sex workers prefer selling to clients who demand raw sex and paying better.

"For us, we are here for business. Some men come and demand raw, most of them are married people who just want quick sex and go home," Jane, a sex worker based in Nairobi's Hurlingamarea, said.

"We just ask them to pay more, and indeed they don't shy off since they want pure pleasure," she added.

The celebrated "king of condoms," Stanley Ngara, who is known for championing for safe sex among sex workers, told The Nairobian early this year that some of them are forced to use the withdrawal method, hoping that they won't get an STD or pregnant.

Ngara added that as a result, some clients refused to pay the sex workers, claiming that they must cum inside the women to justify their pay.

"I always say and believe that the only withdrawal should be done over the phone, where you are withdrawing money. Any other withdrawal is dangerous and bad," Ngara said.

"Many people having sex and believing in the withdrawal method are risking their lives."

Vincent Moses, who hails from Kilgoris, believes that having unprotected sex "gives him complete satisfaction and pleasure".

He confessed that during his first experience of protected intercourse, he felt like the relationship was not trustworthy and that he was forcing himself to have sex.The 22-year-old said that he had to take his partner to conduct all the necessary tests required to confirm their status.

"I have never thought of contracting HIV or STIs because I trust my partner, and since I got into one relationship, I have never thought of looking for another," Moses said.

Moses blamed unfaithful partners for causing infections and diseases in the relationship, exuding confidence that his case was different.

Moses' sentiments are backed by World Health Organisation (WHO) data, which indicates that despite efforts to identify simple interventions that can reduce risky sexual behaviour, changing behaviour remains a complex challenge.

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