It happened so much while we grew up that we learned to look out for the cues. You’d be seeing a movie with them and as soon as Jim Iyke and Rita Dominic began to look into each other’s eyes too deeply, you’d close your eyes and just to be sure you’d cover your face with your hands.
All of this was basically because our Nigerian parents did not feel comfortable talking about sex. Sure, it was packaged as many things; that we should not get corrupted was the most morally upright explanation.
But we did. Most in my generation learned about sex on their own in manners that differ from person to person.
The implications stretch far into all the inane offers that you’ve gotten and the ignorance that has created and normalised a culture of harassment among Nigerian men.
Ignorance is Bliss
One of the primary reasons why Nigerians are reluctant to talk about sex is the safety of ignorance , the simple illusion that “If they don’t know about it, they won’t try it”.
Obedience is better than sacrifice, the Holy Book says. And what better way to treat disobedience than to protect you from temptation.
The biblical analogies aside, Nigerian parents avoid talking about sex because of the belief that ignorance will prevent younger people from getting lured into experimenting.
Virginity and sexual fidelity have great cultural value. The society does what it can to protect the innocence of the younger ones, forgetting that they are sexual beings who will find answers to their questions by themselves.
All of us are children of God
It's hard to not strike a connection between this and the idea of traditional Morality — Because nobody wants to be the one who's getting asked, ”Why are you teaching people things they should not know?”
Even in modern Nigerian society, the standards set by tradition are still highly regarded. Morality is at the core of most of these, and most people try to satisfy that standard, at least in public.
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It means, while lewd jokes are flung about in the comfort of privacy, most people are reluctant to talk about sex in public. It’s a fun topic but nobody wants to bea the one who’s spreading immorality like a cold.
Dirty linen and all that sturvs
Finally, there's the idea of Intimacy. You must have heard older Nigerians speak condescendingly to a young child after the latter blurts something private out in public, “We do not talk about such private things in the open”
Bumbling about in your birthday suit and trusting your body to another individual is about as intimate as one can get. Within the privacy of that space, people have sex in ways that will confound you.
Most people feel a strong need to protect their decency so talking about sex, especially in public, is a No. There are few things more animalistic than sex; it is us at our most rabid and unfettered.
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Our reluctance to talk about sex means we get to deny or ignore this part of ourselves. It is basically a protection of privacy for the most part.
As I earlier wrote, the implications of this silence are far-reaching. However, there's some reprieve to be found in what social media offers.
Apart from an audience that is more open to talking about their sexual habits, the emergence of sexual therapists, counsellors and vendors have thrown what was a hidden habit right in our faces.
So we may not be talking about sex on the street yet, but all you have to do is just wait for it.