Male Virgins Can Make Good Husbands
Popular culture would have you believe that sexual promiscuity is everywhere. It would also have you believe that while women can remain virginal and sexually inexperienced and still manage to create fantastic marriages, this is virtually impossible for men. In fact, men should not wait for marriage to have sex. They should be sexually experienced lovers if they are ever to make great husbands.
Enter born-again virgin men in Nairobi – yes, you read that correctly – virgin men in Nairobi. So what kind of husbands do they make? Are their wives sexually frustrated? Is it an easy transition?
Recently I read an article on www.TheWeek.com that explored what happens when men who abstain from premarital sex get married. The writer was trying to demonstrate that men who take abstinence pledges have trouble adjusting to sexual norms when they become husbands. She also said that they have a hard time talking to their wives about sex.
After reading the article, which posited that years of having to think of sex as ‘beastly’ made the transition to a healthy sex life next to impossible, I wondered if this was indeed true. If Maina Kageni is to be believed, the only virgins in Nairobi are in lower primary, and even then for the boys, that is not a voluntary state of being. But, trust me, there are virgin men in Nairobi. In fact, I managed to meet a few in their late 30s (!!!).
1. Religion plays a big role
The Bible, and in fact most major religions view sex as a sacred rite of marriage. According to Christianity, the union of man and woman reflects the union of Christ and his church – He, the groom and the church are his beautiful bride. Pre and extramarital sex are forbidden, and couples save themselves for each other. It is no wonder then that the virgin men I have met are born-again Christians waiting for marriage.
How have they managed this feat? In Nairobi, the city that put chips funga on Wikipedia, albeit for a few months? Well, they have a support group of sorts and they talk about what to avoid (pornography and masturbation), and come up with creative dates that facilitate getting to know each other but don’t tempt you into sexual situations.
2. Sex is fun without experience
So, when one of these men manages to create a marriage with a like-minded woman, what is their sex life like? A lady who asked to be called Ms Macharia said she was a virgin on her wedding night, as was her husband, and they fumbled through just fine: “Ignorance truly is bliss. We laugh now about how bad we both were but at the time we thought it was great and awkward and fun. We were very comfortable with each other.” Blushing and mid-giggles, she sheepishly added: “Sometimes we didn’t even go to Church.”
3. Men learn from their wives
The two women I spoke to who weren’t virgins but married virgins said it was interesting to teach their men how to have sex. The first, who asked to be called B said: “He was fine. I knew the whole time that we were dating that he was a virgin but it didn’t bother me because we have similar values and that mattered more. I knew that we would figure the sex thing out because we could talk about everything, and he was a quick study.” When asked if he rates better than previous lovers, B says: “Now, yes. He is my husband and he values my pleasure so we’ve learnt together. A new man or woman would take years to catch up.”
The second, Annie, said it was frustrating. “He would climax quickly then get self-conscious and embarrassed. He also didn’t want me to initiate sex. He thought it is a man’s job. He would get shocked that I wanted sex in the morning, or in the afternoon… I think he thought there was something wrong with me. It was interesting those first few months but slowly he acclimatised and I also learnt to be patient. Three years later, we have a playful sex life and he let go of some of his old-school ideas.”
4. Men do not need expert advice
I spoke to Pastor Kyama Mugambi of Mavuno Church. I was wondering what they do to prepare couples for the transition from ‘the untouched’ and into ‘sexually active and loving it’, and he had a wealth of information to share. Kyama married his wife at 29 and they were both virgins. Now, thirteen years later, he laughed uproariously remembering his wedding night: “I was completely inept, but blissfully so. We were naïve together and I think that improved the quality of our marriage. No experts, we just figured it out together.” Kyama also points out that he had a support system: “There was a group of men in the church who threw me a bachelor party where we really talked and they were very kind to me. Intimacy with my wife is a point of thanksgiving, and that is incredible.”
5. Premarital counselling helps
Premarital counselling is a prerequisite to weddings in most churches, but what do they actually teach in these courses? A couple, Melissa and Albert, who just completed the 12-week School of Marital Wisdom course at St Andrews Presbyterian Church said they were taught that sex is the best thing ever. Melissa explained: “They are very committed to the idea that you are all virgins so they speak to you that way, which was hilarious because one of the girls in the course was pregnant. But they were very encouraging, telling us that we shouldn’t be shy when it comes to sex, that we should communicate, be playful and even shower together. They covered contraception, and at the end they had a bridal shower for the ladies and a bachelor party for the men.”
Albert adds: “The course is highly informative and I recommend it to everyone, married or dating. But if we were virgins, I think we would have wanted a little more information, especially for guys. While we were doing the course, we decided to abstain until we got married, and we found that our communication changed a lot. Previously, we would disagree on stuff but not really finish our debates or fights – instead we would have sex. Once that option was taken away, we had to talk about what we were really feeling and explain ourselves to each other. We really got to know each other in a different way and it brought us closer.”
6. Love and affection is key
When I ask Pastor Kyama about Mavuno preparing people for their marriage bed he says: “Valentine, we have a course called Ndoa but our focus is on ‘doing marriage’ not ‘doing sex’. Sex is an important part of marriage so in the course we encourage each participant to face their sexual history. We have a process for men and another for women so that we can all start the journey of healing and letting go of attitudes that will not serve you in marriage, and also baggage from past relationships. We teach couples how to talk about sex with each other, we cover sexual positions and also how to look for information on sex. We discuss pornography and its pitfalls, and also why ‘kiss and make-up’ is the worst way to solve problems.
The sexually experienced amongst us remember peri-virginal sex as a series of awkward and unfulfilling fumbles in the dark. Learning to have sex might have taken us a while because sexual encounters were difficult to create. What with living at home and hiding from maids, parents and siblings – coupled with breakups, makeups and school schedules. In a marital context, a couple has plenty of opportunity and the awkwardness is mitigated by commitment, lots of affection and love.