Guest Contributor Frema: A teenager trying to find her way out of the woods

I would first of all like to say that this was inspired after I read Darian’s post on her sexuality and Christianity. (I know, it’s from way back in 2009) This post is very much a personal one, and I’m in no way trying to judge the sexual climate in Ghana … I’m just talking about my experiences.

Anyway. I remember when Nana Sekyiamah visited my high school. I was probably in my second year, somewhat naïve about life and in the stage where I was still trying to be a ‘good girl’ but still incredibly inquisitive about everything beyond the walls of my school, home and church. Not that I am out of that stage yet…

I really liked this lady; her enthusiastic self, the dreads colored brown at the edges, glasses on the bridge of her nose: it was all really cool. She talked about her clothing line and the other things she was involved in. And then I remember her vaguely talking about her website ‘Adventures from the bedrooms of African women’; the name stuck and I decided to search for it later on.

Fast forward to a day of aimless web browsing and coming across this website, and that is where this story really begins. I came to the notice allowing only 18-year olds and above to enter the website. Haha, no one was around, and it was a computer system anyway. It wasn’t like it could do anything to me. I am not sure what my 16 year old self expected to see that day: stories of 50-year old African women talking about how their husbands could no longer satisfy them, maybe? Maybe sexual abuses from family members, girls and their boyfriends… You know, stuff you see in the newspapers.

After crossing the line and lying to the computer software, my greedy eyes searched for interesting things to read. Do I need to tell you how shocked and disturbed I was? Lesbian sex? Masturbation? Sex with 10 guys? Porn? What was this, the devil’s website? Still, the stories were amazing and I allowed myself to read for a few minutes before I shut the page and vowed never to go there again. I’m sure I must have mumbled ‘ei these people are really in Ghana’, about 20 times before closing the page.

It’s been about 3 years since then. I have finished my first year of college (the western ideals have caught me), and have had everything shaken, from my staunch beliefs that Jesus saves to my resolve to not curse, drink, have sex etc etc. (All the things that make you ‘pure’ in Ghana). Obviously these variables are all somehow intertwined. Apart from making sure that my mother doesn’t somehow creep up on me to see me on this website, I’m pretty excited to read whatever posts are up. My efforts to be a ‘good girl’ didn’t really pay off… I’m more aware of my sexuality than I have ever been and I am not ashamed of it. I used to read the blog wondering: ‘will I have stories like this? at 30? 27? What will I end up as?’

But I am very sure my story isn’t unique. This is Ghana for goodness sake, and there are probably at least a million girls who have wandered off the paths set out for their bodies and minds, girls who have been doing it before I was born, and many more who are doing it now. I wonder where they are though. And if they think about their lives the way I often do about mine or if they often feel the need to dissect their behaviors in relation to their society.

I am in friend circles where someone having sex with a guy is still news that sells, and where we are all kind of waiting till our Prince Charming comes. Where are the girls who are going beyond the ‘limit’ and going to church the next day singing in the choir? Maybe I’m not friends with any of them  It can get pretty lonely here. I often have the need to discuss sex within the contexts of social restrictions, religion and moral obligations. But three quarters of my friends are apparently not doing it till they’re married at whatever age, and those that are fucking guys right now, don’t talk about it. Nothing. The politics of sex? How you can’t really say no sometimes? How you feel when you compromise? We can’t talk till we are 24 and have completely (partially?) rid ourselves of societal norms and shit? Yeah, I can find all that in college and I can go to forums that talk about giving consent and whatnot but I want to discuss it with my Ghanaian ladies. Who shouldn’t be afraid to speak because half the boys in our circles are still calling them sluts. Who shouldn’t be afraid of pleasure just because they might go to hell or because someone told them that it would make them less worthy. Because I was. And if they don’t care or bother about either of these things, I would like to know why too.

Damn, I can’t believe I am writing these words. You see, I’m still my mother’s child. Still the pastor’s kid. Raised with Jesus on my walls and at a point, in my heart. There must be more 19 year olds like me, no? Are there no kids that are transitioning? Or am I just the wuss that wants to sob and talk about how I’m unsure about the sexual decisions I am making, and how unstable my life feels at this moment? Probably. Do I just go with the flow till I’m older and content with what life gives me and become confident in who I become, regardless? Is it okay that I kind of wish I was still the good Christian girl going for the all nights and church services at one moment, and then the weed-smoking, promiscuous lover at other times? (Can I do both? Lol)

I don’t know anything, except that I never thought I’d write for this blog at any point in my life. Maybe I will figure it out one day and wander back to my beliefs about opening my heart to God and closing my legs. But until then.. I’m still that teenager trying to find her way out of the woods.

11 comments On Guest Contributor Frema: A teenager trying to find her way out of the woods

  • @Frema – This post really touched me. Well written, evocative and points to the dilemma that many young women in Ghana face. This definitely took me back to my teenage years and believe it or not I was not much different from you. I had only one friend that I could talk to about sex…and she basically just teased me about being a virgin…now back to your post.

    Awww thank you, its nice to know I made an impression on at least one student when I visited your school. Now let me try and answer a few of your questions. No doubt I will not be able to answer many so I’m hoping others will also share their opinions and experiences.

    How you can’t really say no sometimes and how you feel when you compromise? You feel like really bad afterwards…one of the things I have learnt as I’ve grown older is to stronger with my ‘no’s’. Sometimes we say no to guys (I’m assuming you’re referring to hetero relationships) and they read that as ‘Oh she just wants me to con her into saying yes’. Puhleeze. I make it very clear that my no means no, and when I say yes, then its on. Also I can change my mind and say no at any point of time even if we are both butt naked (however try and avoid those situations in case you can’t make a vast getaway)

    And you are absolutely right. Young women should feel free to talk about sex, and should not be scared of being called sluts, whores, whatever…because that is how society tries to restrict our sexuality and control us.

    Do you want to share more about the sexual decisions you are unsure about? Generally I tend to feel that one should listen our instincts…if you are unsure there is probably a good reason why.

    In any case I am thrilled that you wrote this post and feel free to submit any of your queries/posts anytime.

  • I’m just impressed with the writing style… Frema, are you a particularly good writer, or would you say that your writing skills are similar to those of your classmates? And if it wouldn’t give too much away, perhaps you could tell me what school this is.

  • Great post Frema! 

    I am trying to recall  what it was like for me when I moved to the US from Ghana for university. First off, i’m a huuuuge tomboy….I spent most of my time in JSS and high school hanging out with the guys – first time I ever watched porn was with a bunch of JSS classmates. I never spoke about sex with my female friends…it has always been with the guys. 

    For some weird reason, I have never had the sex-religion conflict….trying to rationalize that in retrospect: i think I am not Chrif enough and I am oddly good at compartmentalizing. This probably does nothing to help your current dilemma.

    Finding fellow-minded Ghanaian females would be virtually impossible because I think we are trained not to talk about it. As a freshman, most of my African female friends were sexually active and blasé about it   My female BFF (not from GH) from college and I did talk about sex occasionally. She is not religious but abstained from sex throughout university because she did not feel like she was ready. 
    THAT is probably the best advice I can give – and it follows closely with what Nana said, follow your instincts and you will do fine. In addition to that, it’s your body and yours only – what you do and whom with are all your choices. Oh and be safe.

    If you still can’t find Ghanaian females who want to talk – the ladies on here are brilliant. Also, I am pretty sure this clears the path for you to start a sister-blog targeted at your peers 🙂 

  • Ei a pastor’s daughter?? Ha *goes for a layer of pringles* Once you POPPPP!!! HM!
    Argh KOFI. asking about her school? isn’t it evident. Good writting skills. Can’t talk about sex with her friends.most likely a pretentious bunch. The aaaall too similar goody two shoes stance. Kaai! Chale definately GEY HEY!

    Look life’s too short to stay entrenched behind murky religious beliefs. Go for it when you mentally feel ready. “Mr right” doesn’t exist. I and I does :p.Neither does a special place in hell cos you popped your cherry.

    Besides there’s been cases of marriages going awry because wifey didn’t know how to get dzzooown.
    hanyway you’ll definatley know when it’s time and you can always whistle I and I seeen? lol

    -What!! It’s campaign season

  • Frema…this is a great piece and well done. I came out of my teens just abt three years back and i understand your state. trust me, you will soon realyz that ure not alone.. most of your peers feel the same confusion and experience the same dilemmas as you are. The major problem is the lack of a suitable, judgement-free, unhypocritical environment. I had to move out of my regular social circles to find people i could feel comfortable talkin about such stuff with, and today, those are the people i consider true friends….they knw the dirt on me and the best part is, they dont judge me for it. we are not just sme freaky bunch dishing on the nasty in our lives..we are people who care about and advise each other as the need arises. my old friends, even my roomate who used to have sex with her bf in our room whn she thought i was sleeping kept living on denial…pretending to be what they were not. i couldnt take it anymore….nt just because i needed someone who understood but because i needed someone who could i could trade experiences with widout fear of judgement. Trust me,there are wonderful Ghanaian peeps like that out there…only if ure willing to move out of the restrictive minded circles we so often find ourselves in….. my tuppence.

  • I am 28 and i have not ‘popped my cherry’ because i choose not to and though i am ready, i again choose to wait till i get married. My choice and because of my Christian believes and until then, i am reading all i can about sex (oral and all the other bits; :)) and talking about it with friends who are like-minded. We tease each other and express shocks about our fantasies and yet with-hold judgement. I have friends who have had sex, are having sex and those who have chosen to abstain.
    3 rules i hold myself and my partner in present and past relations are no lying, no cheating and no sex; all of prime importance. I have faltered several times and suffice to say there are a few good men who will not take advantage when you are in the throes of passion and your head is no screwed on straight (no pun intended)
    Yes, again, you choice but get friends who have transcended the don’t-talk-about-sex stage and are real about their fears and fantasies and will seek for knowledge about the heck sex is all about.

  • @Nana Thank you so much for the encouragement. It’s definitely reassuring to know that other people have been there before. With regards to the sexual decisions.. I guess I’m not entirely sure that I should be doing what I have been.. esp with the person in particular. There are times when I feel it’s just a reaction to the advice i’ve received my whole life about sex. And I just worry that there are some unforeseen repercussions to my actions. Then comes the whole other dimension of the relationship with said person and whether I should be doing anything with him at all. So I’m unsure in both ways.

    @Kofi Thank you haha. I think my classmates are just as good as you say I am.

    @MsMartei Compartmentalization must be amazing! Thank you, and I will think about the blog 🙂

    @Landl Not Gey Hey :p

    @Adjeley @Aba Thank youuu 🙂

  • @Aba if at 28 you are still saving yourself till marriage then it will be better to sieze talking about sex else curiousity may get the better part of you and you may end up having sex when you didn’t intend doing so particularly if you keep getting into those throes of passion with you boyfriend. Its better to abstain completely. No touching, kissings etc. It can be argued, according to your christian values, that you have sinned any time you get into those throes of passion. What do you think?

  • @Kwaku: You are right and my bf and i have gone ‘cold turkey’ on kissing. 🙂 At 25, a friend of my sister said “when you are able to abstain pass the age of 26, you have overcome a big hurdle” and he was right. Between 22 and 26, i had to make a decision and consciously ignore sexual innuendoes in conversations and pretend not to ‘get it’ when people make references to things of sexual nature, no reading of romantic novels and the like.I can talk about sex in a disinterested and scientific manner devoid of experimentations. 🙂

    @Frema: 🙂

  • Frema, I completely relate with your background – super crif home, went to college abroad etc, hold/held high values when it came to sex, was/is confused about what is pre maritally sexually permissible in Christ (I read Song of Solomon constantly to understand what Christian pre marital passion could possibly mean. I can’t help all these things I feel when my boyfriend only so much as touches my arm!).

    Throughout college I stayed away from being in any kind of relationship because it would have been a distraction and because there were too many other things I wanted to do.

    Post college I am with a young man and we do lots of things but no penetration – because I want to save that one little thing for marriage. I enjoy being with him thoroughly. Sometimes when we get really really down, I have some guilt afterward but generally, I enjoy him in my life. Although he doesn’t believe in abstaining he cares about me and so is happy with the current situation – or so he claims 🙂 According to him, he likes me not because of sex so he’s happy to wait as long as I need him to.

    At the various points in my life when I have had to make ‘sexual’ choices, I have listened to my body, listened to my heart, prayed about what I was hearing and just gone on to do what felt right for me at the point. I have tried to make decisions based totally on me and not on other people anywhere in the world. Who cares what other people are doing or have done and when and how they did it? Are they me?

    I discovered a couple of years ago that it’s easy to listen to people on such forums as this one and wonder about the other life (i LOVE adventuresfrom btw!). It’s also easy to read magazines, watch movies, observe college life and wonder about those seemingly easy and exciting lives. But thing is, at the end of the day, those lives are not yours. Those bodies are not you.

    What does Frema truly want? I would challenge you to listen hard to you – Frema. Discover what you feel at peace with and do that. Anxiety is really a waste of energy so if your current situation is making you feel that perhaps you should question it?

    Also it’s okay to be your mother’s child, the pastor’s kid, the all-night-attendedee and the not-sure-if-Jesus-is-still-in-my-heart-girl. It’s okay to be super curious and it’s okay to be wanting to experiment. This is what makes you Frema. It’s who you are at this point in your life and if it’s different from other people, well, of course: they are not Frema.

    Listen to your heart my dear girlfriend, it usually leads you to the right place. And, allow Frema to be Frema 🙂

    big hug

  • This was so pure, honest and brilliant!

    I think a lot if girls and women who grow up with Judeo-Christian values have gone through or will go through similar struggles. If they say otherwise they are lying. God created sex for pleasure as well as procreation. Why else do we shout His name at that critical moment? (No disrespect Lord!)

    Perhaps I wasn’t reading you right, but you said Jesus was at one time hung on your heart. Does this imply that he no longer is? I certainly hope not. I think you can find joy in your self discovery as well as in your Christian life. If you truly care about your faith (NOT your religion) then ask God how he feels about your choices in the context of his best will and desires for YOU. God doesn’t want you sad and confused. There’s this other guy who is the master of confusion that we must all fight against. 🙂

    Again: BRILLIANT post!

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