By Christine Siamanta Kinori
I vividly remember the sex talk I had with my mother.
It was on a rainy December day when I started my periods. I was only 13 years old and my mother simply sat me down and told me three things. First, I was now a woman. Second, I could become pregnant if I started “smiling” at boys. Third, I needed to keep my distance from the human male species.
She concluded the sex talk with a warning that if I were to ever get pregnant before finishing school then I was on my own. This topic was never brought up again.
At school, my Biology teacher made sure we could name the different parts of both female and male reproduction systems and their functions. That was all we were taught on sex.
The reality is, I wish they opened up more instead of letting me learn really important information about sex on my own. Growing up, sex was such a mysterious taboo. Parents and teachers were so tight-lipped and no one was ready to openly talk about it. I am a mother now and I want my daughter to be able to have a healthy, open sex talk with me when she grows up. That way she can gain the skills that are needed to navigate relationships and manage one’s own sexual health. Here are a few things I want my daughter to know about sex.
I have already taught her to recognize sexual abuse. She may be young, but I feel safer knowing she is armed with this information. I, however, don’t want her to be scared of sex. I want her to know that it is okay to have desires. I don’t want to approach the subject so formally and make her scared of her new desires or shame her. I don’t want her to be so afraid of pregnancy or STDs. I have had two friends die while procuring illegal abortions because they were so afraid of being disowned by their parents and being slut-shamed by the society. I want to be approachable to my daughter so she can be able to come to me even when she is scared.
I also want her to know that it is important that she feels comfortable and respected as she determines what she feels ready to try as she wades into her sexuality. This is only possible if she understands consent. I want her to know that I went through peer pressure and thinking if I was in a relationship, I needed to have sex to prove my “love” to my partner. I have been there and now know how to best handle the situation.
Lastly, I want her to know that I will still love her no matter what her sexual orientation is. I want her to always be assured in my love for her. As she grows up and explores who she is and her sexual identity, I want her to feel safe to tell me about it. I don’t want her to feel ashamed or have a fear of rejection.
At the end of the day, I want to tell her so much, but most importantly, I want to create a safe environment that will welcome her questions and give her the space and time to grow. Ultimately, these are the things I wish my parents told me. Now, I want my daughter to know since I know better now.
About the Author:
Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.
Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.