Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians.
The subject of this week’s Sex Life is a 32-year-old woman who decided to stop having sex after she turned 30. She talks about her toxic sex life in her 20s and how this decision has helped her improve the quality of her life, relationship and friendships.
What was your first sexual experience?
When I was 16, I had sex for the first time with a neighbour who was my age. We had been planning to do it for weeks just because we hadn’t ever done anything sexual before. At the first opportunity — his parents were out and my sister travelled — we did it in his place. Before this first experience. I had read too many romance novels and read the sex magazines my sister had. So I was prepared — with lube and condoms — and had high expectations. The sex was really good.
That’s great to hear.
Yup. I later found out that it wasn’t the guy’s first sexual experience. He’d been lying to me, thinking that I wouldn’t have sex with him if I found out he wasn’t a virgin and was excited about “taking” my virginity. I found out through another neighbour. I was livid. But I was also dumb, so I continued to have sex with him until I had a pregnancy scare, told him and he said that if I kept the baby or told anyone else, he’d deny that we’d ever had sex. That was my first experience with wicked men. I panicked for a while. My period came that night.
It was scary. I didn’t know how I would tell my sister or my parents. My parents would regret ever allowing me to come to Lagos to live with my sister. I decided that I needed to be more careful with sex, because I wasn’t planning to stop.
Mad. What was your next sexual experience?
I went to university and made sex my criteria for a fulfilling relationship. Well, that and you had to be very attractive. So I was constantly hopping from relationship to relationship. The most memorable one after was the guy who had an even bigger sex drive than I did and wanted sex almost every day. I was in my second year in university. He lived in a boy’s quarters, so I moved in with him for a while. We would have sex before I left for classes, when I returned and at night. And all the time, it was good. In hindsight, I wonder if he was doing drugs or something. I didn’t know much about him to be honest.
How did the relationship end?
I slept with one of the people he lived with.
And I oop—
It was bad. The day after I had sex with him, I ended it with my boyfriend. I didn’t even say too much and neither did he.
Why was it so easy to end things?
It was a purely sexual relationship, as most of my relationships were back then. There wasn’t love, and we didn’t date in the conventional way, even though they did ask me to be their girlfriends. The relationship usually started with sex and after a few weeks, they would ask me to date them. Some started with hanging out though and ended up in bed.
Throughout university, did you sleep with someone you had feelings for?
Oh yes. A bunch of times. I dated someone in my final year whom I really loved. He loved me too. The sex was not as great as what I was used to. Sometimes, I didn’t have any orgasms, and he resisted when I tried to teach him what to do. We spent our entire relationship like this: he would want to go out and have fun with me, I would want to stay in bed having sex. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that the first man I loved wasn’t great in bed. He was enthusiastic about sex, but not just as much as I was. Me I didn’t have sex-life balance. So I kept trying to make our sex lives work, while at the same time, dreaming that one day, we would get married.
Though I was still in university, a few colleagues had started to get married, so I was already thinking of the future. Then he broke up with me.
He said I was obsessed with sex and that I wasn’t even that good. This was shocking because I was doing a lot to pleasure him. I show love the way I want to be loved. That was why I was so into pleasuring him and getting him to pleasure me. And at the end of the day, he broke up with me. I felt bad.
Did his “feedback” make you feel weird about your sex life?
No, but it made me obsess over getting feedback from the people I was sleeping with. So after university, anytime I hooked up with someone, I would ask them to rate the sex. It was always great.
Did you get into any more relationships?
Not at first. I kept hooking up with people and having one-night stands. I was horrible. I had sex with people who were bad for me. I slept with my friend’s ex and lost a lot of my female friends.
Yup. They were afraid I would sleep with their partners or their exes. I admit, I fucked up.
When I did start dating again, the number one criteria was that they had to be good in bed. I didn’t even care if they were attractive. I dated someone who was very ugly and yet amazing in bed. He’d give me multiple orgasms in one round and still ask me if I wanted more rounds. I think I removed “attractive” from my criteria because of the uni boyfriend that broke up with me. I continued this way for years, accumulating exes and lovers everywhere. I never dated anyone for more than three months. Meanwhile, all my friends were getting married, having babies, settling down. I was obsessed with marriage then. I really wanted to get married, yet I didn’t want to have a boring sex life as I’d heard a lot of women had because their husbands didn’t have their time. Every woman from my mother to my sister had this opinion. They believed sex was for men, not women.
What did you do to fix this?
I tried to decenter sex. So it stopped being my criteria for a while. I think I was 26 at this time. I dated one fine boy and the sex was so bad, but I promised not to run away. He ended up breaking up with me after six months and didn’t tell me why. I dated another guy for four months. He wasn’t even into sex. Found out he was cheating on me with a guy. There were a couple of more relationships like this before I snapped and went back to having sex.
How old were you?
28. I told myself to forget about marriage and enjoy my life. But that thing where you’re not looking for something and then you find it, happened to me. I fell in love again and he was perfect. The sex was great. He was smart and attractive. He had a good job and even wanted to get married.
His parents refused to approve.
Several reasons. Cultural differences was one of the big ones.
Wow. I’m sorry.
He wasn’t going to defy them. We had this very prolonged fight about it, and at some point, I went and had sex with someone else because we weren’t having sex while we were fighting. He found out and we broke up.
And then you became celibate.
Well, I turned 30 a few months later. I didn’t do anything for my birthday. I just went to a cafe and started thinking of my life. On a whim, I decided I would become celibate. Also, I was becoming a bit religious, so it was rational.
Was that easy?
Oh no. That was when I discovered masturbation. I was vigorously masturbating everyday. But I soon realised that this too was going to become a habit. I had to break away from it and just started taking each day at a time.
It’s been three years?
Yup. Three hard years. I plan to end my celibacy vow soon, but I’m not sure. My life has been really good since I became celibate.
I have two best friends now. Two women I met after I turned 30. Before them, I did not have any well-meaning female friendships.
I have also been in very healthy relationships and I am friends with my exes. I also enjoy working too. Sex takes time to be honest. A lot of time you can spend doing other things. I mean, that doesn’t mean it’s not great. Sex is great. But it’s important to sometimes step away from it.
So why do you want to go back to sex now?
I miss it.
Fair enough. Do you still want to get married?
Yes. But I’m not obsessed with the idea of marriage anymore. My criteria is friendship and kindness. I want to marry someone who is my friend. If I don’t get married before I turn 35, though, I’m planning to either adopt a child or get pregnant and have a child outside of marriage.
Selfish reasons I’m not proud of. But it does get really lonely.
Fair. What would you rate your sex life?
When I was having sex, it was a 10. Now that I’m not having sex, it’s a zero.
Check back every Saturday by 12pm for new stories in the Sex Life series. If you would like to get this story in your mail before everyone else — complete with inside gist that doesn’t make the final cut, sign up here. Catch up on older stories here.