In A World That’s Dissappearing – condoms for kids?

Growing up in a conservative Christian home as a minister’s kid, there were certain things we never talked about and number one on the list was sex. When I had my first period, my mom went like, ‘now if a man touches you, you will get pregnant,” and that was it for Sex Education 101. At school, some of my friends told me that if you use the same toilet boys used, you could get pregnant because they leave sperm on the toilet seat and they can swim and get into you. If you asked me what went on during sex, I would have probably told you that adults rub their bodies together on the bed, under the blanket and that was all. Of course, I knew there was more to it but once you’re naïve, you are naïve until… well, until you stop being naïve.

Eventually, I knew all about sex from Mills and Boon, TV, friends, school and other educative media but to be honest, I wished my parents had sat me down and told me all about it. Yeah, well, thinking of it now, that could have scarred me but seriously, it would have helped a great deal. I am sure my story’s not just peculiar to me alone but to a lot of youth from my generation. I met some friends though, who told me their parents gave them graphic details but that is just a small fraction of the population. In countries like the United States, giving your child ‘the talk’ is a normal thing every parent has to go through. I know some don’t but most of them do and in my opinion, that is the best way to prepare a child for the world of sex he or she is going to have to face. In Nigeria, we have a big problem facing us and there is this hypocritical air that we float in that we have termed ‘African culture or tradition’ that is destroying us. How many times have I heard in Africa, we don’t do this or that. It’s for the white man. Our religious institutions would rather talk about 100 ways to kill the devil than properly teach teens about sex.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, there are now condoms offered to twelve year olds in Switzerland and a school in Massachusetts in the States was also considering sharing free condoms  to their twelve year olds and i think it is now available so you can order it and it would be delivered to your home (not in Naija). Now, I have two thoughts on this issue. Like most people, when I first got wind of this information, I was worried and a lot of bad thoughts as to how this could go wrong for the future generation bugged my mind. First, what does a twelve year old know about sex? I mean, in this child’s mind, is he/she saying, ‘I’m making love to this person because I am matured enough to be in charge of my emotions, my mind, my spiritual and physical expressions at the moment’? or is he/she just ‘doing’ as the world has told him/her that that is what sex is all about—just doing. Meaning, it’s all about the pleasure. And I ask again: for twelve year olds, is sexual pleasure made complete in their underdeveloped bodies or does the word spring up because they’re told they have to enjoy it?

Secondly, with the increasing number of pedophiles and sick, perverted adults in our society, is it wise to get a child sexually active at this age, making it easy for these beasts to prey on them. Of course, child abuse has been an issue as old as time. I remember being in a salon somewhere and it amazed me how every girl there (about eight of us) had been abused during childhood. All the same, do we make it a free-for-all for pedophiles that live and breathe amongst us?

After considering the above (not the photo), I calmed down and revisited the the condom issue and looked at it conversely and I began to see, though vaguely, from that point of view and these were my deductions. Sex is everywhere. It’s on TV, internet, radio, phones, newspapers, posters, billboards, cinema…  everywhere! I’m certain even my eleven month old has been exposed to it on TV despite all my protectiveness and who knows what has sipped into her brain that even I could not stop. The other day, a video about a teenage girl and a four year old boy having sex was made available for download on the web and before that, a photo of a four and six year old having sex under a table also went viral. Somewhere in the South-west, last year, a ten year old girl had a baby for her boyfriend, a twelve year old boy. Cases like these are not isolated and are becoming rampant around the world, especially now when we have grandmothers from the ages of twenty-four and twenty-five. In the midst of all this, these children are now very exposed to HIV/AIDS and a host of other deadly STDs. And if that be the case, doesn’t it become imperative to encourage the practice of safe sex as against forbidding them from being around the opposite sex and acting like sex just doesn’t exist around them? Now, before you go biting my head off, that was just a thought. I don’t think any sane individual would ever imagine their eleven or ten year old having sex and encourage them into it.

Wow! Having considered both sides of the argument, my conclusion is that in these times, parents and guardians have the grave but very important responsibility of properly tutoring kids about sex. About the timing, it is a matter of personal choice. Children who come from homes where sex is not seen as a taboo or a meaningless act just for pleasure will often face the adult world with a grounded and rounded approach to their sexual issues. Telling a child sex is bad, makes that child only want to do it and when he/she does it and enjoys doing it, then it becomes all about pleasure and the end result is meaningless sex and yes, the even best of us, as much as we want to deny it, know that it is not always all about the pleasure. It is a conscious, mature decision to share oneself with another and if we go giving condoms to twelve year olds who are not mature enough to comprehend this, we can as well be snatching them away from the playgrounds and throwing them into brothels and with our very eyes, we will watch them follow our steps and hand condoms to three year olds in the very near future.

Maybe I am too extreme with my thoughts. I really would love to hear what you think.

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16 Comments

  1. Bringing up kids is not the easiest thing to do. Not having the talk with your kids is the worst thing to do. Many Nigerian/West African kids are victims of all these “traditional” beliefs, kids are kids—lets leave it like that. I have a 13 month old son and he acts like an old man. These kids from long before birth have been exposed to Sex, they heard you but cannot comprehend. He pops out and then figures he has a peepee and plays with it—-a natural thing, its his afterall. Shutting them out of anything they wish to learn including Sex is a very dangerous thing to do. Mothers shouldn’t feel shy to tell ur kids “anyone touch you anywhere that makes you uncomfortable, report to me immediately, I will beat that person. You trust mama can beat that person?” They already see you as a hero anyway, so let them believe it and they will tell you when someone touches them inappriopriately.

    If you as a parent do not feel comfortable talking to them, get someone you trust….a teacher, a really trusted PASTOR, an uncle, friend , whoever….to help you out and hopefully someday, you’ll be brave enough to explain why you were so shy or have a follow up talk.

    And don’t think Boys are not targets these days…..have the talk with your kids.

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  2. I purposely chose not to comment on the condom for kids issue. That’s a different soceity, they have different beliefs on how to raise kids. It works for them. Till we get to a point where we make ourselves aware, let’s just talk and then we can start issuing comdoms…..only because we believe our kids listen and are intelligent and smart enough to protect themselves should they chose to have sex….till then, let our brains work and our mouths be a tool for education.

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  3. I don’t think condoms for kids is not such a bad idea with the way they’re having sex these days, they certainly need to be taught how to protect themselves

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  4. Emmanuel chux chukwurah Reply

    Every thing that has a disadvantage has its own advantage it seems. For us afrcans sex education is near taboo but not always. (Come to this point latter). Now there is prevalence of child abuse in the western world more than we have it here. Sometimes, the kind of knowlege we have may affect us negatively. Because a child gets to know about sex on time in dat world, they tend to practice on time what they have learnt irrespective of some notes of caution that might have accompanied the class. So what that kind of class does is to put some curiosity into the child‘s mind and next is d practical aspect of the biology class. You may not agree with this point but i wil buttress it with a point from d scripture. On a certain ocasion Jesus told his disciples dat he had many things to tell them but he thot dat they wud not be able to understand it at dat time & so he promised to send them the helper, the holy spirit, to help them understand things they cudnt understand. There are some information which are fit for the heart of a little boy or girl. Even as adult, all d information we need does not get to us at thesame time. Otherwise, we wont spent 4-7 yrs in d university to study a particular course. If you noticed, u wud understand that that u cud ve done all ur courses in 1 or 2 yrs but it had to come in beats and pieces to avoid misunderstanding and misapplication. The thing is: information overload is dangerous to the mind.

    You girls are fortunate here in africa. Atleast you were told that if a boy touched you, u wud get pregnant. For us boys, nobody told us anything. But a certain ‘instinct‘ governs our behaviour. I remembered that at about 8yrs, i still took showers with my female distant cousins. I knew that d region below her abdomen was a region i cudnt play into. But sometimes, some of us kids experimented with sex, tho without pleasure attached. It was something we did, not in d open tho, cos dat ‘intinct‘ or i shud call it ‘conscience‘, wud not let us do it in d public.( page 2 comin later)

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  5. Emmanuel chux chukwurah Reply

    Now let me continue from where i stopped. I remember on 2 different ocasion i caught my frend with one of my cousin sisters. That instinct/conscience told me to report what i saw. My frnd invited me to d ‘meal‘ which i declined. I waited till my cousin‘s mother came back and then i reported the case. Ofcourse my cousin was trashed and pepper was rubbed on dat region. Same was done to my frend.

    It is not dat sex education was totally absent in africa. There was sex education in certain african region. Camara Laye in the book AFRICAN CHILD talks about circumsicion and initiation. That was a traditional african society where values such as sex education were inculcated. It was an institutional affair rather than a family issue or girl and mother relationship talk. That is why i ealier said that sex education is not totally a taboo in africa. Yes it was not in a world before ours. Now because things fell apart with the advent of d white man (sory i have to go into this), our cultural values were eroded. But who stops us from bringing back aspects of our culture that is beneficial to us?

    In this times, Asa, one of my favourite artistes, asks: ‘ who is responsible for what we teach our children‘? The internet, tv, home video, cartoons, disney tv, etc. Dont think that these are programmes for kids. Wel may be they are for kids. But in these programmes, cartoon xters marry, kiss and have sex IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN.
    I deal with kids. Sometimes they amaze me with what they know. And when i probe them to know the source of their knowledge, they tell me its from cartoon, from disney, from high school musicals and from ipads. Parents have become too careless. Coupled what they see around them with what their instincts naturally tell them, you go see danger, danger, danger eeeh

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  6. Sally this is not only broadly reserched and articulated,you have chosen a topic many care givers and parents shy away from. Unfortunately our world has moved on and in the area of sexual orientation and litracy…not for the better.
    I am a mother of 7 ranging between ages 22 and 5, and I had the sex talk with each as soon as the time called for it.
    As you rightly noted, our world is a sex orientated one; it’s in our faces everyday.
    The sooner parents and care givers decide to face facts and talk to their wards,the better…else they will get their education from the wrong sources which guarantees to be warped on every level, trust me.

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    • Thank you for sharing, Dotta. I wish all parents were like you and mother of a 22year old and you’re still hawt! Hmmm…you go, girl!

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