Hi, my name is Tolani and my dad taught me about sex on a sunday
An ungrounded child becomes a menace to himself/herself and to society. Pedophilia is ingrained as an 'enjoyable' part of NYSC because society internalized that shade of pedophilia - but I avoided it.
If memory serves, that moment must have been at a football viewing centre — three guys ranging between their mid-20s to early 30s shared stories of their experiences during their compulsory one-year Nigerian Youth Service Corps while drinking pelebe and dealing with the equally near-mandatory post-NYSC depression from unemployment.
What they discussed; their various sexcapades, taking advantage of underage girls in the schools they were posted to. Some of them even told stories of how they slept with other people’s wives in the face-me-I-face-you apartments they lived in.
It was not wrong, it was simply a rite of passage, that you couldn’t dare ‘miss’. Anybody like the graduate-turned-barber sat amongst them, who claimed he never got a taste of the forbidden fruit was shamed and made to feel inadequate — he was dead to them as the discussion suggested. Admittedly, I even judged him — he wasn’t was not 'man enough.'
ALSO READ: Pedophilia is an illness, not a sexuality
Honestly, that wasn’t the first time
NYSC is historically a time to frolic. That couldn’t have been the first time I learned of such crushing details. Of course, I must have noticed some weird eye contact and favoritism towards my classmates who matured early from Corps Members posted to my schools over the years.
That moment, at 14, was when it truly registered. It’s also most commonly practiced amongst men than with women. But now, I see these men as kids; products of what porn and internalized vices do to an impressionable mind. Sadly, we don’t discuss it enough.
It was also during these times that you heard tales of how a woman wanted you to chase her when she says ‘No’ in the heated room of colliding pheromones and heat-seeking objects from the nether regions of the body.
We were told It was ingrained in us that ‘No’ in fact meant ‘Yes.’ We ran with this for a while and some of the claims on what now turns out to be rape seemed true for a while — but thank God for good parents.
Back to 14…
My memory of that particular conversation became my target of enjoyment during NYSC — even though I was only an SSS2 boy who had just recovered from a collision with a sliding glass just 5 months prior.
I wanted to jump out of that era to NYSC and equally start sowing my oaths; a life of sexual activity; testing hormones stimulated for my selfish and very ignorant pleasure.
I even fantasized about ‘the life’ — some of those girls cooking for me.
Sorry to burst your bubble, it never happened
About 10 months later…
It was a Sunday morning, we had just eaten a delicious plate of yam and fried eggs. As usual, at the time, my Dad wasn’t much of a churchgoer, fighting his inner demons and intellectual rebellion against religion as a former 'Rosicrucian’. Mum also decided to have a day off.
Out of the blue, Dad decided to give us some very harsh education on sex — my sister and my cousin were 17, I was going to be 15 in a month.
Quite characteristically, Dad didn’t hold back or sugarcoat the truth. He lectured us on managing our sexual urges, how to deal with harassers — yes, even us guys, the wrongness of pedophilia and the age to truly think about having sex and the perils of having sex — even responsibly.
After the crushing weight of that message, it was like the three of us had our cookies yanked from us. On Sundays like this, we would usually watch movies all through, but that day, we didn’t; we couldn’t.
At that moment, I realized that a lot of people are victims of internalized practices — my first rude awakening to the cruel life of sex at different levels, including what was consent and what was in fact, rape. Oh yes, Dad held nothing back.
I felt robbed of an opportunity to live like the streets had promised I could live, but I couldn’t disobey my Dad — his instructions have a hold over you and were imprinted psychologically, that whenever you intend to do anything contrary to what he lectured you on, you literally see his virtual face repeating those instructions you intend to flout to you.
My Dad was clear, “never have sex with any girl under the age of 18 between now when you’re 23. When you’re 23, your target should be girls above 21. When you’re above 25, you can act according to what is right because then, you’d have a clear idea of what’s right and wrong.”
Mind you, he said all these things predominantly in Yoruba, with explanations delivered in English. He also rubbished the sex education we got in school, our Guidance Counselors and Biology teachers — he was from a different era.
I think you get the picture; dreams were shattered, but then, I conformed because he was my Dad. Eight years down the line, I fully understood his point, while I also appreciated him forcing me to take cognizance of my environment.
A lot of people were not as lucky as I was
We are a product of the terrible vices we have internalized as norms. It is why we face an uphill battle to help people understand and accept that, ‘No, in fact, means no,’ and anything outside that is rape.
It’s also why some of us struggle to grasp the concept of gender equality for what it’s meant to be. Vices and problems relating to sexual impropriety get transmitted generationally through time in its essence — they don’t just up and exist one day.
The reality of one generation then becomes the problem another generation struggles to eradicate because no generation simultaneously internalizes solutions unless the threat of brute force or punishment is involved.
As such, the middle class is usually the last set to shed the last skins of a terrible run.
Pedophilia is one of such problems and one of its vectors is one of its NYSC. Just as those egbons who unintentionally informed me of ‘the life’ at 14, a lot of other young Nigerian men go into their mandatory one-year of service to sleep with as many female students as they can, wowing the village girls with the predatory nature.
Though some of them understand the wrongness of the action to the extent of these girls’ parents finding out the sexual activity of their daughters, they do not grasp an understanding of the fundamental wrongness of bedding teenagers into sexuality that early.
No matter how you want to spin it, anybody below 186 is a developmental mind and should never be open to the dangerous forms of sex.
Some of these brothers of ours also introduce some of these straight children to homosexuality with the threat of failure and other things an impressionable mind would fear.
But still, our brothers enjoy it
I think the idea isn’t just to tell someone something is wrong — it’s more about letting them know why it’s wrong and the risk factors attached.
What is wrong is wrong. Sex is an emotional and physical activity that should be enjoyed by two consenting adults and not between an adult and a minor.
In this world where women are held to higher moral standards and conscripted to sexual conservatism, indulging a girl that young could be more disadvantageous to her than even her abuser long-term.
Thus, it is important to teach our children the brutal truth of sex education when they start getting into puberty. We do our children no favors by protecting them from the conversations around sex, they will found out!
The best we can do is prepare them for what’s coming because puberty is an age of curiosity and early youth is an age of experimentation. An ungrounded and unprepared child could easily fall off the rails from experimenting or what we deem ‘enjoyment.’
It is also important to not hold our girls to a higher moral standard or tell them to not have sex, the idea is bringing our children up in the right way, so they distinguish right from wrong and then, hit them with the brutal truth of sex education and let them make their own choices. Lessons from our own lives should teach us that we cannot shield kids from having sex.
Also important is teaching our children the truth on consent, rape, pedophilia, methods of protecting themselves from predators and more importantly, self-worth.
I learned all these thanks to my father.
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