Let’s get straight to the flesh of this post and talk about sex, teenagers and pregnancy. Let’s do some straight talking people. I’ve always loved straight talk meanwhile. The ‘Ask Straight Talk’ section especially. It used to give me some good laughs. The problems kids sent in seemed like they were from another planet.
Dear Straight Talk. How are you? All my friends have boyfriends. I don’t have one and they are all saying it’s because I don’t have breasts yet. What can I do to get breasts faster and also get a boyfriend?
Dear Straight Talk. Me and my girlfriend had sex the other day. In class they said it’s supposed to be painful for girls, but it was also painful for me. Does this mean I might be a girl?
Dear Straight Talk. I’m 8 and I already have pubic hair and it is growing very fast. My friends tell me I should have sex to slow it down or it’ll grow all over and I’ll look like a monkey. How can I get a girl to have sex with? I’m scared of girls.
Dear Straight Talk. My boyfriend says if I love him, I should have sex with him to prove it. I love him very much and I don’t want to lose him. Should I have sex with him?
And on and on they went with questions and problems I couldn’t believe people actually had. Those local kids also, I thought to myself. But when you meet a statistic like 1 in every 4 teenage girls gets pregnant, laughing at these questions just seems plain mean. The information gap on how to deal with sexted matters in your teens seems to be scarce, or if it’s available, it’s not reaching them. This caused me to reflect on the early stages of my relationship with sex.
How did I learn about sex? I guess I encountered it several times in the few movies I was allowed to watch while growing up. But most of the time, our parents would send us out of the living room when these scenes came up, or when they anticipated them to. I remember that one time when we all stayed there and no one moved while a couple made out fiercely on the screen. The was one of the most awkward family moments I can recall. Not even a mosquito dared to move in the few seconds those guys got busy. There was also this one time in my boarding primary school when we were watching The Specialist and Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone went at it for what seemed like an hour in the shower. I’m not sure how we even managed to watch that movie without any adult supervision.
Fast forward to a few years later and it was time for that science lesson about sex. I think this was in P.6. This was the most anticipated lesson of the entire seven years of primary were we’d finally learn about the human sexual organs and how the reproduction process occurred. Now, our science teacher was your stereotypical mukiga man. Well built, above average enthusiasm and a heavy slap for anyone that dared to misbehave. But he was good at what he did and his lessons were usually jovial affairs.
That day though, there were no jokes. He came in late and found the entire classroom giggling and strode directly to the blackboard without looking at us. Without any greeting, he started the lesson and talked non-stop till the end, all this time with his best poker face on. I still believe the reason he came in late was to allow him to finish the lesson close to the time for the next class because, after like only one or two questions, he strode out of the room saying the time was up. I was disappointed. All that excitement and this is all we had managed to get.
My next session of sex ed was in my S1. This time, it was in the entertainment room of our school where a few of us who had connections would stick around after 12 pm to catch some extra hours of television after everyone else had been dismissed to their beds. These were the days when MNet still used to show some soft porn at around 1 am. By this time, I’d encountered sex scenes in Mills and Boons and other novels I’d been reading. This was the real deal though. I was exposed to lady bits I’d only read about, I heard the noises I’d only seen described in the pages of books.
The next phase of sex education occurred the following year in my S.2 when I changed schools and ended up in a boys only school, again. This one had reliable internet. Because I was fresh out of the village, the computer lab became my favourite place in school as I tried to exhaust my malo for these machines. But the close relationship I have with my laptop is anything to go by, I don’t think I’ve yet successfully exhausted that malo.
One day before one of our computer lessons, I entered and found all my classmates gathered around one computer monitor. This was odd because the computers were not enough for all of us and it was always a struggle to get the best seat, which was right in front of any of the monitors. I made my way towards the crowd and tiptoed so I could see over all the heads and find out what was going on. That was the moment, I discovered internet porn. After that day, I utilized the internet to embark on a quest to learn all I could about sex, relationships and everything related.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, I was in single-sex schools till I was done with the secondary school stage and finally got to use all this accumulated knowledge to lose my virginity much later. When I finally lost it, I was a superstar at it, the girl had multiple orgasms and books and poems were written about my prowess. I’m sure the girl has her own version of events, but this is my blog. What I am trying to say is I knew what I was doing, or managed to pretend like I did, but, most importantly, the necessary protection was used.
Now, that’s my story. I pretty much learned most of what I know about these things by myself in very non-conventional ways that I wouldn’t recommend for anyone else. I have also had the opportunity to hear a number of friends versions, especially those that went to mixed schools, and man, some of those stories had very close calls. A couple of these guys could have very easily been fathers right now.
One thing I seem to notice in the majority of these stories, mine included, is the absence of adult people at the time to break down the complexities of sex and relationships for most of us clueless teenagers. What passed for a talk for me was my dad telling me to be careful and behave myself when I was heading for campus. It was like a one minute talk and my dad looked more relieved than I was when it was over. Thankfully my teenage years were powered by curiosity and a love for reading so I consumed all the knowledge I could. But I guess the kids who write to Straight Talk don’t have the same opportunities I had (if that’s what you can call them). Most teenagers for that matter rarely have that adult who is willing to listen to them while they pour out their confusion.
How do we change this status quo so teenagers, both male and female don’t have their lives ruined because of a pregnancy that could have been avoided? More information? I happen to think so. I’m no expert but I’ve always found knowing more about something helps make you make better-informed decisions. When and if I have kids, I intend to have this talk soonest and keep the door to that line of conversation as wide open as possible till I’m sure no mess-ups are going to occur. I might even volunteer to be there in the room when they decide to go ahead with the act to make sure they are doing it right.
Okay, that’s too extreme, but maybe I’ll first sit them down with me and we watch some tutorials as I explain where things are not clear so they know how it should be done right. Still no? How about if I buy some bananas and show them how a condom is put on? Or maybe, for movie night, I play one of those videos that traumatizes them so they never want to have sex (the Eat the Poo Poo equivalent for teenage pregnancy).
Maybe I’ll send them this link? That ought to do it, right? This seems like a particularly good option, especially if said teenager is a girl. Girls tend to get the worst part of this teenage pregnancy business. Should I like, buy a box of rough riders for my nephew as soon as he hits the age of 12, just to be on the safe side? He is not even 5 now, but with the ease with which the internet has made access to information, you never know when the kids start finding out things.
I don’t know guys, I’m not a parent yet so I’m just speaking hypothetically here. Maybe the actual parent who have raised kids can tell us about what has worked for them and what hasn’t. I have a teenage brother and I am trying to be that adult for him. The one he can talk to. It’s very strange territory, especially since he is one of those teens that is having a hard time dealing with all those hormones and the resultant teen angst. I urge you to also be that adult for a teenager in your life, even if they are not your kid.
And how do we take that 4 in 1 statistic to zero? Especially now that a big chunk of our populations is still based below 20 year’s. What’s the right time to present to them the different methods of contraception available? And for those where it might be too late, what do we do with these pregnant teenagers? Is abortion a path worth considering? How can the affected families raise and support the resultant kids and teenage parents? STD’s and STI’s? What do you think guys? Let’s toss around some ideas in the comments section and open up this discussion all over the internets.