Sex Education: The UG Way
Sex education #MeAsMe definition:
Instructions or lessons that Ugandan parents, guardians and/or elders presume they do efficiently but miss the mark on so effortlessly because the information they share on reproduction, sexual bodies, sexuality and sexual intercourse is equivalent to hoping for nsenene in January i.e. hopeless.
Sex education! Me as me, I have not met anyone who has received any real sex education. If grew up in Uganda, you know what our version of sex education is and how inefficient it is. So, let’s talk about it.
Church youth seminars
This is how I received sex education during my teen age. I know! I know!
Anyway, my parents did what they could when it came to sex ed (i.e. nothing) and left me in the hands of the church to teach me about the birds and the bees (even though the church’s stance was to act like the birds and the bees didn’t exist).
Our church had these youth seminars that they held during the holidays. What happened at these seminars? They told us sex was bad! They told us that sex was evil! They told us sex would ruin our lives! They didn’t use those exact words but some version of these kinds of messages was shared.
We’d spend about 5 hours. Yes, 5 hours, being taught that the only sex education we needed was “ABSTAIN! REMAIN VIRGINS!”
Was there any information on how to deal with urges when you see that cutie?
No, just tuck in your *horn!
Any info that explains our sexual bodies? The changes that we were going through at that age?
No, just tuck in your horn!
Any info on STDs? Or how kids can protect themselves if they do engage in sex?
No, just tuck in your horn!
Any info on how to use condoms?
Condoms are devices of sinners, manufactured by the devil! Just tuck in your horn! So yeah, that was it. Sex education from church and the youth seminars I attended pointed to one fundamental lesson: “Sex is evil. You are evil if you think about it.”
Then they made us sign “TRUE LOVE WAITS” pledge cards.
(This is why your high school relationship didn’t last. Ati "true love waits", what if you had found your love already. Maybe also why you’re still single because you pledged it away 😅)
And then they get surprised when more people especially women are either scared of their bodies and/or of getting married or just simply walking around on God’s beautiful earth ill-informed on what sex actually is.
Two words: SUNSET BEACH.
Was there sex on Sunset Beach? I wouldn’t know because we weren’t allowed to watch TV past 6.30 p.m. But everyone in the house spoke about Sunset Beach like it was a sweet taboo and so we all assumed the forbidden sex was in there somewhere.
Sunset Beach aside, the info we learnt about sex and sexual activities was all from TV. I saw more kissing on Nickelodeon than on any other station. Perhaps because everything else was out of bounds and blocked. But these Nickelodeon kids 😲 were doing the kissing tings. When we weren’t getting sex ed from Nickelodeon, we were watching PG13 movies in which fellow teenagers were talking about taking things to first, second and third base. Heh?
If that wasn’t sex ed, I don’t know what was.
Then of course…music videos. As a teenager who loved music, it was NECESSARY to have watched the music videos of our favourite songs and artists. You of course had to learn the lyrics and dance moves too to be a cool kid. So, there we were, with our innocent minds, singing the most sexually charged, sexually suggestive words with all our hearts with NO CLUE what we were saying.
For instance, Flo Rida’s Right Round featuring Ke$ha was a banger but let’s analyse these lyrics:
You spin my head right round, right round when you go down when you go down down.
Head and going down? THIS MAN WAS SINGING ABOUT FELLACIO, freaking oral sex. Our baby selves were singing along to a song ABOUT ORAL SEX!
Did we know what that was at the time? No!
Me, after the multitude of youth seminars I had attended, I would have been trau👏🏾ma👏🏾tised if I knew what I was singing along to.
Harlequin Romance Novels
Me as me, I didn’t read those things. I’ll admit that I tried but those books just weren’t up my alley. My apologies to anyone that enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels. They just weren’t for me. The descriptions were strange and some of the characters…outlandish (😅 says the girl that loves sci-fi)
All I know is that the people who were into these books had wild romantic fantasies and sometimes even imaginary boyfriends. But there was obviously something in those novels that was making these girls’ blood hot.
Hesitant and heh-embarrassed parents
We’ve all seen our parents fight to find the right words to say while trying to teach us anything about sex. If my memory serves me well, my father has never said anything that can be regarded as sex ed. The only time when anything remotely related to sex ed came up between my father and myself was when a cousin in her teens got pregnant and without looking me said, “You see!”
“If you want to talk to me, talk to me direct. Don’t go through de corners.”
But that’s what most parents did when it came to sex ed, they went the corners. That’s why they sent us to church and locked us away in our homes like Rapunzel.
Science or biology classes
P.6, P.7 boys were a problem because they were the most enthusiastic during classes that introduced reproduction. They felt like they finally had something to tease girls about; fallopian tubes and eggs. The mind of a pre-pubescent. It still doesn’t make sense how any of this was funny.
But that’s when the true meaning of sex was introduced to us and it was horrible. The information they shared was only about the biology around sexual intercourse and reproduction. This gave our young minds to run wild. That’s not a good thing because the hormones are brewing and puberty is knocking. That’s the age when suddenly the boys stop being disgusting because you start thinking they’re kinda cute. The boys start writing little notes to their crushes and blushing. It’s a weird time and the only info you have on sex is how to name the parts and the process of fetal development from zygote to baby.
I was in a single-sexed school from S.1 so my regards to everyone that had to deal with raging hormones from the age of 12/13 in mixed schools.
There was always that one teacher; the one that loved to teach kids about life, the one that loved to tell her love story, the one who reminded everyone that staying a virgin would reward you with a great marriage.
I had that teacher. If I remember correctly, sex was only, I repeat, ONLY, for procreation.
Why? Because the flesh is what leads us to sin and sin damns your soul to hell.
Do you want to be damned to hell and eternal suffering? 😈 Then go ahead and have sex for pleasure, you heathen!
Let’s laugh together! 😂😂😂
Did it make sense that even in marriage sex was this taboo thing? That even in marriage, there was freedom to express your sexuality and scratch the itch?
No, not at all. Sense was not sensing.
But that’s what you get when teachers who aren’t actual sex educators drag their own beliefs into what they believe is ideal sex education for kids.
PS: That one teacher told us that she once had a crush on a guy and when told her that he liked her she ran away. Literally.
Those random speakers the school invited
The schools I went to can’t have been the only ones that did this. The speakers ranged from counsellors and priests to young couples who had been able to date and abstain. They’ll have you signing cards pledging not to have sex until you’re married, will scare you into thinking sex and your sexual body are little monsters that you should never address.
Not once did any of these speakers ever share advice on how to deal with sexual encounters. None of them ever spoke about consent. None of them ever spoke about the natural processes our bodies go through. The only message, just like those from the church seminars, was abstain, tuck in your horn and run.
The random speakers also made us sign “TRUE LOVE WAITS” pledge cards. I had many…you can’t say I don’t want to sign another card because you already have one. Ayayaya! How? They’ll just assume you want to have sex and die.
There’s always that kid; the one that says that their older sibling told them about sex, or that they watched a movie that they weren’t supposed to.
Of course, this is one of the problems with kids no receiving real sex ed: they just find a way to teach themselves what they are curious about but won’t get honest answers (or will get shamed or punished) if they ask sex questions.
The other kind of misinformed peers were those that had actually engaged in sex and thinks that their experience is going to be gospel truth for everyone else. The thing about sex (which you learn later in life) is that everyone’s stories, experiences and desires are different.
My experience with listening to a peer talk about her experience with sex trau👏🏾ma👏🏾tised me. This one girl said that her first time was like having many tiny razor blades cutting her on the inside. Because this is what her experience was like, she declares that that is how sex will feel for everyone else. Then another girl spoke about a friend of hers who bled profusely and passed out.
You start to question why people engage in such horrific activities and put themselves in harm’s way.
The first bridal shower you attend
So, you’ve grown up and made it to your first bridal shower. A ssenga is brought to give the bride advice on what to do to maintain sex life in her marriage. No one prepares you for the information overload you get from those kinds of ssengas. First off, these women will have you questioning whether you’re getting into a marriage with a man or a god…because everything is about serving, giving, pleasing, helping, supporting the husband. They’ll tell you (and show you) how to wiggle your waist. They’ll tell you (and show you) how to moan. It’s questionable but…well…
You want to know how crazy these streets are? Some of these ssengas and kojjas (yes, mean entered the business) offer live sex tutorials. I have heard some people opt for these “classes”. So yes, there are people out there that offer to have sex in front couples to “teach” them how to get it right. Yup, these streets are wild.
You either learnt about sex on your own (good luck with that) or rely on your friends and hope for the best.
There are friend groups though that will be the best sex ed resource you’ll ever receive. They’ll talk freely about the normal things that happen with our bodies, for instance how women’s underwear discolours because our environment is naturally acidic and bleaches the dyes in panties. (yes, demystifying things our bodies do is sex ed too)
They’ll also tell you about what you’re likely to enjoy, what you should try, how to take care of your body before and after sex. And they’ll continue to share any relevant info they come across.
All freedom, no judgement, just vibes.
On that bombshell (bombshells?), stay safe ba-people. Don’t let the upcoming festivities (or the rains, this country’s weather is weird) confuse you.
*horn definition the urge one gets when they are horny