Updated: Oct 21, 2021
I grew up in a culture where girls were raised to believe that they exist to please men, especially when it comes to sex. From the moment they are born, girls are physically and mentally prepared for that moment when they get to finally “offer themselves to men”. Young girls, even before they become sexually active are taught how to modify their genitalia by pulling their labia because it is said that most men prefer women with elongated labia. On top of that they are also conditioned to cover their bodies the reason being that, it should be reserved for their husband’s eyes only.
In some traditions, when baby girls are born, it is a mothers’ duty to tie waist beads around their waists because it is believed that doing so later helps the girls to develop fully into a woman with physical characteristics which are thought to be sexually appealing to most men, for instance, a well-defined waist and large buttocks.
Women are constantly reminded that sex is a gift which they can offer to men, especially their husbands. It is often considered that a girl’s virginity is the most precious gift which a woman can offer her husband. This mentality has led to some women being sexually abused without acknowledging. Women get raped in marriages but fail to acknowledge the abuse, because sex is something which they offer and not something they can experience and enjoy. Until today women are treated as passive participants when it comes to sex even our vocabulary agrees with this statement. For instance, “Kudyedwa” implying a woman was devoured by a man or “Kudyetsa” which roughly means sex was done upon a woman.
Women go to extreme lengths to the point of hurting themselves because they want to look or feel more sexually pleasing for men. Some women even feel guilty for wanting more sexually or demanding pleasure from their partners. It is a taboo for women to talk about their sexual pleasure. Women are shamed and called names for using sex objects equivalent to a dildo. Women are shamed for owning dildos, to the point that religious people have linked the use of sex toys to evil spirits.
It is a relief now that some women are singlehandedly taking an initiate of providing women with services like sex toys and other materials solely for women’s pleasure. They offer platforms which allow women to freely share their sexual experiences. For instance, Leirdas Bliss, a boutique which also doubles as a sex toy shop. It sells a wide range of merchandise which aims increasing pleasure in the bedroom. openly sells dildos and encourages women to do so without shame. By being there, these shops and women reassures and empowers women to take back control of their sexuality and sexual pleasure. By openly advertising sex toys, they are sending a message to women and everyone else that it is very much okay to want to satisfy one self and that there should not be any shame associated with that.
Little girls should grow up with the knowledge that sex and sexual pleasure is a gift they can offer to themselves and not something that they gift someone, or something they should deny themselves for someone else. As a woman, you are allowed to explore your sexuality and your sexual pleasure without shame. Instead of teaching girls on how to satisfy men, how about we teach them about sexual awareness so that they can make informed decisions based on the information provided.