As a church-raised girl, one of the things I was told was that abstaining from sex before marriage, would make my husband respect me. He would place value on me, because I brought an ‘intact’ hymen to the table – literally and figuratively. Apparently, some still believe and peddle that … gospel.
I remember breaking up with this guy. And when someone found out (I didn’t tell her cos there was nothing to tell; dude went and told her), she said, “At least you didn’t sleep together.” And I remember thinking, “No, we didn’t sleep together. But what’s that got to do with anything?”
When you raise a woman with the ideology (warped in all its twistedness), that sex is something she ‘gives’ a man, or a favour to him – there are bound to be all kinds of problems. For one, you’ve taught her that she is less valuable than a boy. For another, you’re telling her that her hymen is more important than her personality or intelligence – she can be a sh*tty excuse for a human being, but that doesn’t matter, because she’s a virgin. And she can hold that over the head of the unfortunate man who has to be with her, for as long as he can stomach it. Your hymen is more important than your character, potential or brain.
A real hymen can only be broken once. I feel the need to emphasize ‘real’ – because there are rejuvenated hymens in existence. There are operations to ‘repair what has been torn’. And the only way a man can know is through a scan, using medical equipment. But during the sexual act itself, there will be discomfort and bleeding; that’s what some dudes want to see, because that’s what they have been schooled to expect. So, those will be/have been recreated for them to see.
A lot of Nigerian men are so deluded, that they believe an intact hymen (not that they know the difference between the real and the rejuvenated) is evidence of good character. That’s one reason why some of them go, “I married her as a virgin; therefore she can never cheat on me.” There is absolutely no co-relation between those two statements. Which is why some Nigerian dudes wake up 25 years later, to discover that they have unwittingly raised other men’s children … with the wife they met as a virgin.
Some women who have trouble conceiving, pray along the lines of “Why don’t I have a child, yet? I married as a virgin. But my former classmate, that I know had countless abortions when we were in school, she now has two sets of twins!” I’m confused; what has one got to do with the other? Why is the name of another woman being mentioned in your prayers? Has the fact that she is a mother, tampered with anyone else’s quota? Have you and your husband had medical check-ups? Contrary to what you may have been told, having children is not a ‘divine reward’ for virginity pre-marriage. If in doubt, ask all the teenagers who got pregnant as a result of engaging in consensual sex with other minors. Erm, if you’re an adult, sexually involved with a minor, you are a rapist and a paedophile – you belong in a tiny jail cell, from which you are released only for psychotherapy sessions, after which you should be sent back to jail. But I digress …
When some women having problems in their marriages go, “And I was a virgin when I married him”, it baffles me. What has that got to do with the issue in the marriage? If you married a douche-bag, or you’re both decent people who are just not compatible; it is what it is. The hymen – real or rejuvenated – you arrived the marriage with, is not the problem.
Or they break up with a guy and they go, “Thank goodness I didn’t sleep with him!” As if they were doing the guy some kinda favour. On a personal note, the guys I didn’t sleep with, I am glad – not because sleeping with them would have been a favour to them. That wouldn’t have been the ‘demeaning’ part. Some of them were idiots; who wants to have memories of getting in bed with an idiot?
Anyone who tells you that a man respects you more, because he met you a virgin is lying. It’s really that simple. No, I don’t care if your mother, grandma or pastor told you that – certain comments, dogma and lifestyles are nothing but a way to control women’s sexuality. Why do you think some people still practise female genital mutilation? A man is rarely penalised for having sex, which is a normal physiological need; but a woman hears absolute rubbish about how she needs to place her entire life’s worth on the acceptance of a dude who is so thick in the head, that he would judge her based on the big V. And that’s normal? In other words, that is what she is on earth, for.
This control of women’s sexuality continues even in the marriage – there are women who have been married for about a decade, and have never had an orgasm. And their husbands have no idea. They have been lying to the clueless man … because they were told that good girls aren’t supposed to enjoy sex. So, they just lie there, like logs and think about how offended all of heaven probably is.
While I am not saying you should sh*g everything that moves (not that I would presume to tell anyone how to live), I think it is worrying that the value of a person is reduced to what is between their legs. It’s a mindset for which religious organisations and other facets of society, should be deeply and thoroughly ashamed.
Copyright ©Chioma Nnani, 2015