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Have the talk with your boys— no one else will

By Ciku Kimani-Mwaniki | May 12th 2021

I come from a generation that just missed out on the traditional way of life, the one birthed by parents with PTSD from the struggle for independence. A generation that struggled to understand a new religion that its parents did not quite understand. A generation, quite simply put, trapped in the matrix.

We missed out big on initiation ceremonies, where adulthood was explained, when clan secrets were passed on, where sex education was taught, uncensored. When the new religions penetrated Africa, it all went south. Sex and sex education became taboo topics, and sexually explicit words previously ‘carelessly’ used became cuss words.

Our grandparents freely used these words. They were too old to be afraid of the White man, or be intimidated by his religion.

So, on one hand, we had grandparents who ‘cussed’ openly, and, on the other hand, we had parents who would beat us black and navy blue for repeating those words. It was not the grandparents’ job to talk about sex (that was for aunts and uncles), their main role was folktales and ‘cussing’. Our parents were certainly not going to talk about it. Not with the new anti-sex religion.  

Left to our teenage hormones, it was a mess. We were walking blind, with no sense of smell, or touch. The casualties were too many. We are now the parents, and, unfortunately, too many did not learn from our parents’ mistakes.

Zero sex education, no respect of opposite gender. There are deaths and grave injuries, because of the silence on sexual and gender respect. But I also know there are many who do not look at sex and sex education as a taboo topic; anything goes. I am one of those, and I even talk about it to children I haven’t given birth to.

Take this young man I gave a lift to. His mother and I grew up together. I have known him since he was born. Half interested in his romantic life and half interested in a conversation, I asked him how his girlfriend was. Poor thing nearly choked. How do you know I have a girlfriend? He asked in near panic. I told him it was pure assumption, based on his age, and good looks. I went on to tell him that when I was his age, boys who looked like him never stayed single. He laughed, uneasily, shifting in his seat.

Long and short of it, he told me that neither of his parents has ever spoken to him about sex, or been interested in whether or not he had a girlfriend. Poor thing went through teenage years without having anyone explaining to him about the changes in his body, like we did, and he is hiding his girlfriend from his parents.

So, if you were my mother, what would you have told me about girls? He asked. We only had about 2 minutes together, and 24 hours would not have been enough to say what I wanted to say. So I compacted it.

You have a little sister, I started, and he nodded, like an enthusiastic student. You must always treat girls the same way you would like boys to treat your sister.  At your age, wanting to have many girlfriends is natural, especially because you are a good looking boy, and I imagine there are enough girls with a crush on you.

You could do the hard thing and choose one of the girls, the same way you would like your sister’s boyfriend to be true to her. Multi-tasking wears you out. You are young, and as sure as night follows day, by the time you settle down, you will have broken several hearts, and yours will have been broken several times.

It hurts, but it’s not the end of the world, time heals. Never, ever, think you own a girl, and you must never assault or insult a girl, for saying no to you.

Love sex enough to want to do it only with somebody who wants to do it with you. Never believe your friends when they tell you they have sex all night – it is not biologically possible, so please, leave enhancers alone. Always use a condom.

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