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Bad bed business

Most time couples talk about sex openly only when their relationship has broken beyond repair. Or when it is on the verge of dying and they have rushed to the marriage counselor to see about saving it. The Japanese have this tradition where when a pot breaks; they bring the pieces back with a powder of something beautiful. Gold or silver maybe. It is a tradition they call Kintsugi. The idea is to emphasise on the beauty that something once broken could have, if it is pieced back together. What stands out about such pots are the golden joints. A thing of beauty!

Unfortunately, this kind of thing doesn’t happen in most modern relationships; or marriages, hence the concept of divorce. In which case the chagrined ex-couples regale their friends in embarrassing tales of how low the bar was set between the sheets. Sex is used as a weapon to shame somebody. The tools for this activity are mentioned in the same sentence as the word ‘toothpick’ or ‘trenches’, depending on whose turn it is to take the shame and those listening laugh and contribute, not knowing that when their turn comes, they will lie in the same murky waters.

“I used to think that when I got married, I would have the best sex of my life, every day of the rest of my life.” she cries. Her voice as she says this comes with layers loaded upon layers of disappointment.

Aching field

Unfortunately for her, this remained a fantasy. Sex is like food. One toils in the kitchen to prepare a meal and when it is finally served, if one hurries their way through it, they won’t enjoy it. When I was younger, I would compete with my elder brother to see who would finish their plate fast. He would always win of course, maybe because he had a wider throat or maybe because the food was too hot for my young mouth. And mum would always look under the table as she asked him playfully, “Did you pour your food?”

Then again, If you eat your food too slowly, it becomes cold on the plate and isn’t as enjoyable.

“But this man of mine,” she complains, “He comes home and dives right in. He scores a goal way before half time and he is off to the dream world, leaving the field aching for plowing.”

Maybe she should have a conversation with him about it. She wishes he would use his hands more. On the good days, it is a good march, the fields are satisfactorily plowed, but her skin still aches for his hands. “Have you ever heard of a game that does not have a warm-up session?”

But sex is a bit of a taboo topic and her tactful instructions to him, ‘Maybe we should try this’, or ‘Oh, I saw something interesting on the internet. Want to give it a shot?’ are met with a frown accompanied by a quickly dropping windsock. Nothing snuffs out the lighting fire like a man being told what to do between those sheets.

She points him towards a few books he could read but he finds some of the things in there too ‘weird’ to even consider. Like, “What? Me? Doing that? Ah, hell no!” The book is tossed away and sex stays at the bare necessary minimum. Like those hugs some people give where they stand a mile away from you, bend over with their chin on your shoulder and give you a gentle double tap on the back.

If a couple cannot comfortably talk about sex, what can they be completely honest about? Sometimes, the subject simply never comes up. Expectations are high at the beginning, but things remains bland, like tasteless food and it becomes something they do because it has to be done. The lady in question takes what she can get in silence; the gentleman gives what biology dictates he gives and they both move on.

Sex is reduced to just another thing they do; like eating, doing laundry, working. The whole activity a necessary burden that they’ve vowed to never talk about. A vow that is broken when the whole mechanism breaks down and sex is used as the weapon with which somebody is put to shame.

I drive my passenger to Loresho where a marriage counselor awaits. “Finally my husband and I get to talk openly about sex, but through a third party. But hey, half a loaf is better than none, right?”  

Tracking the Big Five
Sunday Magazine
By Ferdinand Mwongela
1 day ago