I’ve had many discussions about relationships and sex with Nigerians. Here are some of the cultural assumptions I’ve discovered:

  • You can’t have a relationship without sex. If the person is not sleeping with you, he/she is sleeping with someone else while they’re with you.
  • All men cheat.
  • All women are materialistic.
  • Sex is a commodity paid for with money, gifts and dates.

After interacting with several men and women who don’t fit these stereotypes, I now find the narrative quite alarming. How base. How devoid of joy, goodness and light.

Another thing I find peculiar is our careless use of language. I love to have a good laugh but there’s a reason I rarely listen to “popular” Nigerian jokes. Words matter. They made me who I am and so, I am a custodian of words. Sometimes the language of relationships in Nigeria is so profane and disrespectful. Relationships and sex did not become commoditised by happenstance. We commoditised them. They have become beer parlour fodder. They are also cloaked in heavy silence – the silence of unexpressed pain and social media facades.

In Nigeria, we rarely have honest conversations about relationships and sex. It’s difficult to. Our narratives are a hodgepodge of western mindsets and village proclivities. We don’t allow inconvenient stories – narratives that don’t align with what is popularly accepted. We rely on history, myths and populist tales crafted for comedy punchlines. From what I gather, honesty is too weak. Character and values are seemingly antiquated terms reserved for the prudish and lonely. Lies sound so much better to us.

I believe there is incredible power in choice. As a child, you will be exposed to religious and cultural beliefs about relationships and sex. As an adult, you must choose what to believe. It’s now your responsibility. You can no longer hide under what is commonly acceptable. That everyone around you is doing something or spouting something does not mean you should. Grow a pair. And I mean a pair of balls.

Sex didn't become commoditised by happenstance in Nigeria. We commoditised it. Click To Tweet We rarely have honest conversations about relationships and sex in Nigeria. Click To Tweet That everyone around you is doing something doesn't mean you should too. Click To Tweet Many cultural assumptions in Nigeria are devoid of joy, goodness and light. Click To Tweet