LOVE, SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS
© Kevin Oselumhense Anetor, 2016
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Our bodies are gifts, not liabilities…
I think about the many who struggle daily to understand themselves in a deeply secularized world.
My heart goes out to the many young people who try to figure out what Human Sexuality must be all about.
I try to understand this nature of ours that’s constantly shifting between weaknesses and strengths.
Through it all, I have hope that God knows; there is none like Him. And when it all seems not to make sense, I ponder on the words: “God makes sense even when He seems not to make sense.”
The thoughts I have put down in this book do not follow a particular pattern. They are mostly personal reflections and should not be taken as official Catholic Doctrines; neither are they binding on everyone on the pain of death. It is my hope that through my reflections, you too may learn to chart a path through the vicissitudes of life.
The renewal of our minds is a task that must be done (cf. Rom.12:1-2).
God Bless You!
Kevin Oselumhense Anetor
[*Lemme tell you something about Generation X and Next! *]
You heard that right. We’re tagged Generation X because we don’t even know who we are. So how can you? We’re a people that can’t be defined. We’re so un spiritual and spiritual, reverential and irreverential, holy and unholy, busy and bored, restless and at rest… all at the same time. We’re the twenty somethings and thirty somethings. But just behind us are the Generation Next. They’re the teenagers. They’re a lot worse and better than us. Put whatever we are together and times it by two – and you get the Generation Next.
We like adventures, especially the ones we know are risky and dangerous. We also like to play safe. We are fascinated and repulsed by sex. We have had too many broken hearts. So we love and hate. We trust with suspicion. We make many friends and enemies. We go to crusades and praise God genuinely. We love and hate Church. We love God with all our hearts. But sometimes we just don’t understand him. They say we lack a spirituality; maybe they don’t understand us. We can be more spiritual than the Pope.
We hate authority and authority figures – people outside our circle always telling us what to do. They can’t understand us. They can’t even see us. We’re on the fast lane. On ghost mode. Dem no dey see us. We don’t try to make them understand. There’s just no point.
So we nod our heads to our pop music, and dance our limbs out. We love and hate our Pop culture. Inside it we connect. We synchronise. We connect on cyberspace. We’re more virtual than we’re traditional. We know our Pop Stars. We love them, we copy them. But they are us, and we’re them. We speak the same language. We dance to the same rhythm. We’re lost but found. Confused and certain. Hopeless and hopeful…
We love our selfies and selfie sticks. We make faces we don’t feel and feel what we don’t make. We can upload pictures and tag for Africa. Oh! We love and hate the like button on Facebook. We smile when we’re sad and cry when we’re happy.
So here we are, still searching. Just passing through. We worry so much without a care in the world. Cos one day, we’ll be through this passing phase. We’re the Generation X. We’re the Generation Next.
And if you can relate with this language, search no more cos you’re one of us…
[*Beware of fantasies: Don’t let your mind outsmart you! *]
Anyone who’s had to deal with temptation (that’s pretty much all of us) will readily tell you that the actual battle is fought and won in the mind. So once you say ‘yes’ in your mind, it is finished. It is also finished if you leave your mind undecided. It doesn’t matter if you’re the Pope. Don’t be deceived. In essence therefore, although potential situations of temptation should be avoided, they do not directly determine your actions. That’s why we’re wholly responsible for the things we do. We can blame a friend for misleading us of course. We can blame the devil (as we often do), but we’ll still have to face the consequences of our actions afterwards. Period!
In other words, situations around us have only an indirect power over our consciousness. Being exposed to sexually explicit materials for instance, may be indirectly responsible for an act of masturbation. But in essence, masturbation happened because the will to control the mind into rejecting the idea of masturbation when it came up was either uncertain or nonexistent. Get the point? I hope so. I wish I had a better way of expressing it. Okay, here’s the thing! Fantasy is not reality. In fact, fantasy may be worlds apart from reality. Take another example; research has shown that pornography is deliberately designed to exploit our sensuality and sexuality. Nowhere in the world are human beings as perfect as they appear on TV. There’s loads of makeup, lighting, false movements, false sounds, awesome cameras, etc. The skins of models always look smooth and adorable. Truth is, it’s all faked. That’s why it’s ‘make-believe’.’ These people have huge budgets to make it so. It is simply advertisement and business.
In other words, pornography advertises sex. Oh, but that’s not even the worst thing. Pornography is meant to force your mind to think in a certain manner that it becomes dependent on sexual fantasy. Understand? And of course, once the mind gets addicted, pornography producing companies make more and more money. End of story. The models continue to appear smoother with your money, they keep showing you the same unreal and ‘perfect’ bodies and the world is worse for it. At best, people start behaving more like animals, genuine relationships are corrupted, and marriages are broken.
But this reflection isn’t about pornography. It’s about fantasy. What is fantasy (if this were an academic work I for don fail by now. Imagine beating about the bush this much before getting to the issue at hand)? Fantasy is defined as unrestrained and extravagant imagination. You hear? That’s imagination without limitations. The very definition of fantasy is troubling. And you know what? The mind is an expert at imagining things – both good and bad. In one of my reflections, I mentioned that the mind is like a baby, but not a weak baby. It’s a very powerful baby. It’s like a six year old President. Just imagine what a baby President would do if not controlled. But the problem is that we pay too much attention to external formation, without many attempts at forming the mind. There ought to be courses at every level of education on mind formation and self control or something; especially in churches.
Anyway, we were saying that fantasy is unrestrained imagination. A lady sits very innocently somewhere, and across the street a guy has totally stripped her naked with his mind. He goes on to imagine doing all manner of nasty stuff to her. Now, it’s possible that this lady is not very decently dressed, but she can’t be held totally responsible for the bizarre levels of negative activity in the guy’s head. What happened to self control?
Hey, relax! I know we live in a world that’s constantly waging war on both our conscious and subconscious minds. Signs, symbols, billboards, music, movies, art and culture… It’s a maze that we have to sift through. But how can you sift if your mind isn’t trained to be a filter? Rather than rug the world so you wouldn’t have to step on the bare ground, why not just get a pair of good shoes instead? It’s a lot easier and a lot more effective. Take it or leave it, you can’t stop perverts on social media. You can’t stop night ladies from advertising their business. You can’t close up brothels or end the pornography industry… You could try… But in the end, it’s a lot better to learn the art of self control. And mind you, self control isn’t always about ‘running’, it’s more about ‘dealing’. It’s much more effective to stay close to reality. Know that sex is serious business. We can’t all get married to models with perfect bodies and shining white teeth. Reality is not subject to our fantasies; we are. So put your mind on a leash already. The world is not a pleasure play ground.
Finally, consider St Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans, “and so I beg you brothers (and sisters), by the mercy of God, that you offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, with the subservience of your mind. And do not choose to be conformed to this age, but instead, choose to be reformed in the newness of your mind, so that you may demonstrate what is the will of God: what is good, and what is well-pleasing, and what is perfect” (Rom.12:1-2).
[*What to do with all that sexual energy! *]
Well, young people aren’t the only ones who think they have too much energy to burn. We all get caught up in a web of excess energies sometimes. And you know, excessive energy tends to become negative energy. But there’s a simple (perhaps not too simple) way of channelling energy. Yes! Even negative energy. Think about it. But it requires commitment and determination. There comes a time in your life when you realise that parents can’t solve all your problems. There comes a moment of taking charge; of taking responsibility. And no, you can’t wish these problems away by masturbating, or smoking, or drinking, or engaging in one of those compulsive behaviours. You just have to deal with them. There’s no other way. It’s called growing up.
So here’s the thing! You need to learn to listen to your system. Then you need to learn how to interpret the messages that the body sends.
Many of us tend to agree that the most powerful energy is sexual energy. Yea? Especially young people. We’re sometimes overwhelmed with thoughts of sex. Don’t get me wrong. On the one hand, you have many thinking about and fantasising about how to have sex, what it is like to have sex, at what point is sex right or wrong, etc. This pattern of thought could lead to much use of pornography (pictures and videos), which in turn could lead to self abuse (masturbation), fornication, and blah blah blah.
On the other hand, there are the really scrupulous ones who spend all their time trying NOT to think about sex or relationships, or love etc. But they keep failing and they keep wondering why. Tell you what? The brain interprets these signals pretty much the same way. So whether you’re thinking about having sex or about how not to have sex, your brain simply registers SEX, and activates the portion that deals with pleasure and fantasy, and the results end up the same. For instance, if I say “don’t think about elephants”, what comes to your mind? Elephants! That’s my point exactly. The brain is like a child. It needs discipline.
We earlier said that we must learn how to listen to our bodies, right? And how to properly interpret what it is saying to us, right? This is absolutely important. When you feel pain for instance, realise that it’s pain, then ask yourself what it could mean. Are you getting sick? Are you wounded? What about sexual urges? Ahaaah! Dont run off in search of pornographic materials, or a sexual partner. Don’t just jump into action. First ask yourself why you’re getting these urges? Have you been fantasising too much? Have you been sexting, or engaging in unholy conversations? Have you been avoiding stuff you should have done like yesterday? Writing your assignments, meeting deadlines, taking tough decisions, etc (you’d be amazed how the body tends to interpret most stressors as sexual energy)?
So if you’ve been engaging in too much sexual fantasising or sexting, or naughty behaviour, you’d need to stop. You must find a way to convince that little part of your brain that enough is enough. You need to sit that baby down and take control of it. You need to listen to what your body is actually saying. You need to realise that your brain knows there are activities you don’t naturally love doing; like reading, writing, studying, painting, exercise, etc. So rather than engage in these activities your body simply sends you an alternative – fantasy! Don’t buy it. You must learn to rewire your brain. Yes! Research has shown that the mind can actually alter brain patterns and brain waves. That’s why people get addicted to behaviours. That’s why some repeated behavioural patterns become compulsive. But again, that’s also why some seemingly useless people later become great achievers.
So is sexual energy the most powerful energy? Not at all! I think the most powerful energy is fear. Oh yes! Fear can paralyse or strengthen with remarkable swiftness. It can release adrenaline in some persons, which can make them perform super human activities. For instance, if a man is on the verge of committing adultery, and the husband of the woman comes in unexpectedly, sexual energy gives way to fear with immediate alacrity. This could give the man the ability to jump down from a storey building, and still run off with broken bones. Get the point? On the other hand, a proper understanding of fear can bring about resolve, determination and success. This is called courage!
Finally, here’s what you need to do. Don’t deny that you have these sexual energies. You’re not the only human being on earth (you’d be abnormal without them). But your body is not telling you to go have sex anytime you get these sexual urges. Your body might only be reacting to your naughty behavioural patterns, or it might simply be trying to avoid stress, even necessary stress. That’s why you have to master your body. Go beyond the feeling and interpret what it means. Negative behavioural patterns must stop, issues must be dealt with, and the body must be taken through necessary stress.
Above all, pray to God for the grace to stay committed to this cause.
[*Wondering what the boundaries are? Set them yourself! *]
If you ever read the book “Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships”, by Eric Berne (you can download a pdf soft copy if you want), you’ll come to the conclusion that relationship laws are pretty much set by us. Period! In any and every relationship, no one determines what the boundaries are except you.
Hey! Let’s make this simple and straightforward. You have a boyfriend who’s coming at you too strong; too ‘grabby’ and ‘touchy’ and you’re worried that one day you may give in (you should read my reflection on ‘Moral Elasticity’), stop the person already. That’s how to deal with it. Don’t begin to pray that God may change his attitude and make him better. And please (rolling eyes) don’t be shy about it. It’s so not the time to be shy. God expects you to do this yourself.
Lie lie questions!
Perhaps an illustration will help. A young lady goes to a priest and says, “erm Father ooo, is kissing a sin?” And the priest responds by asking a question of his own, “kissing out of affection or affectation?” And the young lady goes, “Father na!” And the priest responds, “it depends on what you mean. You see, kissing can be a form of greeting, a display of love to a sibling, a relative or parent, etc.” The lady rolls her eyes and says, “father na, I mean my boyfriend. Is it a sin for him to kiss me?” Then the priest says “you tell me.”
I call these kinds of questions lie lie questions. My dear, the question is not really a question. You’re being oppressed by your hormones because you have a grabby boyfriend. He has broken your defences and gotten through to you. You’re not asking if kissing is a sin because you want to avoid it. Chances are that you already failed. And you so want to fail again. Well, that may not be the case. Maybe he actually attempted to kiss you, and you were so overwhelmed, you couldn’t stop it the first time. Now you’re genuinely concerned about whether or not to let him the next time. Here’s the thing! Why are you worried at all? Religious convictions? Societal norms? Instinct? Conscience? It does not matter what you call that tiny flutter of concern. What matters is that you pay attention to it and do something about it. Fact is, you’re worried, because something tells you it isn’t right.
But for the sake of argument, let’s presume that two close friends start kissing, and they somehow convince themselves that it’s nothing. Then a time comes when kissing becomes romancing. Again, they somehow convince themselves it’s nothing. Then again, another time comes when all sorts of moral perversions set in (from mutual masturbation to sex in its varied forms).
Set those limits!
My advice? Please stop asking lie lie questions and set those boundaries. If you can’t have a pretty lady or a handsome man in your office without sexually molesting him/her, make sure your secretary is around whenever you have to see one in your office. If you can’t have a relationship without kissing, fondling or romancing, then you’re not ready for one. If you can’t sleep on the same bed with a friend of the opposite sex without developing a chronic libidinal malfunction, please never try it. In the final analysis, if you do have a concern about any or all of the above-mentioned situations, then heed my advice. Set safe boundaries, and don’t move or change them. If you do, you’ll come out burned or mortally wounded.
If some or all of the above already happened to you and you’re in a mess, don’t give up. Pick up the broken pieces of your life, come to confession, embrace Jesus in the communion and start afresh. By God’s grace, this time, you’ll make the right choices and repair your broken fences. Finally, if you’re wondering why I keep writing these things, I’ll simply say, because we have a short memory!
[*Are you a pusher? *]
I’ve been working on a relationship theory recently, and this idea has been nagging at me; tugging at the corners of my intellect. Do you know that every relationship has a ‘pusher’? Okay, okay! I know you’re wondering what that is. I’ll try to explain. A pusher is one who takes initiatives in a relationship. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about initiatives in general, like ‘can we go see a movie?’ Or ‘aren’t you going to propose already?’ I’m talking about initiatives that pertain only to sexual behaviour. Yes! So we’re talking more about initiatives like ‘please kiss me’, or ‘don’t you think we should be sexually active already’… Get the point?
Pushers and non pushers…
Pushers are naturally supposed to be male. However, experience has shown that females can assume this position in some relationships for a number of factors. That said, let us consider the different levels (or degrees if you like) of pushers. We have extreme and mild pushers. Extreme pushers are those who’d never take ‘no’ for an answer. They’re very insistent, and would seldom rest until they get what they want. These are the persons that are very often involved in indecent touching or handling of the opposite sex. They also have a tendency towards abusive behaviour, like sexual assault and/or rape. On the other hand, mild pushers are only partially insistent. They may take sexual initiatives, but are very careful how their partners react. They are open to conversation and would seldom ever be involved in abusive sexual behaviour.
On the other side of the spectrum are non pushers. Just like pushers, non pushers are either mild or extreme. Mild non pushers do not take any sexual initiatives in a relationship. They may have these inclinations in their head, but they would never directly express them. However, mild non pushers have a tendency to be easily lured by extreme or mild pushers (hope I’m not getting you confused yet?). They are not very firm and may hardly be able to say no when pushed. Extreme non pushers never take sexual initiatives in a relationship. They cannot even be lured by either mild or non extreme pushers. These are the kind of persons that can give a member of the opposite sex a dirty slap for attempting to grab them indecently or for trying to steal a quick kiss. Extreme non pushers have an aggressive way of reacting to any form of sexual assault or molestation.
Why being a pusher may not be good for you…
Being a mild pusher is not negative if you’re a guy (someone has to take the initiative, right?). But this is only when you’re already married. Some marriages have fallen apart because an extreme non pusher guy married an extreme non pusher lady. The result is usually dry and boring. In a relationship, a mild pusher would have to control his or her emotions. Chances are that the moment you attempt to get that kiss or that passionate smooch, you partner (who may be an extreme non pusher) may end up rewarding you with a blazing slap. Get the picture? An extreme pusher is not normal. He or she should be in an institution. So what I am saying in essence is that it is okay to be a mild pusher in your thoughts, but not in action until you’re married. It’s not okay to be an extreme pusher at all, either in your thoughts or in your actions, before, during, or after marriage.
What about non pushers?…
It’s okay to be a mild non pusher. I mean, you’d be safe in so far as you never run into an extreme pusher. Perhaps it is most advantageous to be an extreme non pusher. Yes! That way you’d have enough ‘dirty slaps’ to spread around if you ever run into an extreme pusher. But we must be careful here. It’s not that okay to pair an extreme non pusher with another extreme non pusher. They may end up, one in the convent, and the other in the seminary, which is good for our ministry (just kidding).
Ask yourself what category you belong to. The answer may be just what you need for a healthy, God fearing relationship.
[*This thing called Sexual Addiction! *]
Take off point…
Okay, okay, I know many people find the word 'sex' offensive (for reasons that I can't understand). I apologize, please forgive me for what I'm about to do. I'm about to use that word over and over again, so don't get mad. Have you ever been involved in youth ministry? If you have, you'll discover that about 70% of the issues that'll come to your desk are sex related, and/or relationship connected. This is only natural. After all, there's nothing we (myself included) want more than to love and to be loved in return. Abi na? However, we often are not able to give the kind of love we want to others, neither are we able to get the kind of love we want from others. Why? Come with me, let’s reason together.
When I was still working inside one of the campuses, I discovered that many young ladies had fallen in and out of love for several reasons. Some had had abortions, some had had their hearts broken, some had become cold, others just didn’t believe in love anymore. There were also guys who could not understand why their girlfriends refused to get sexual with them. They wanted someplace where they could ease the tension of the attraction they felt in their various relationships. A few were willing to understand with their girlfriends when the rule of ‘no sex’ came up. Still there was a lower percentage that insisted that their girlfriends were actually the ones clamouring for sex, not they. But the central question remains “why all this fuss about sex?”
Okay, let’s look at these issues (if we can), and try to reason around them by God’s grace…
Have you heard of the law of attraction?
The law of attraction states that if you hang around someone you like too often, you’d most probably become attracted to him/her (this includes sexual attraction). I said most probably because this may not always be the case. Both parties may not become attracted to each other. But the non attracted party may become attracted once he/she senses the attraction of the attracted party. This is usually the time to make up your mind about whether or not you’re ready for a relationship. And I should add, “if you’re a teenager please stay away from steady relationships, except you’re getting set for marriage. Don’t give me that face o. I mean it. Ehen!
What about the law of progression?
The law of progression states that once sexual attraction begins, and involved parties continue to hang around each other (without parental supervision) in intimate and secret places, then things could graduate from level A to level B. Wait o! We’re not done. Let me explain. Level A is sexual attraction (‘no kissing bae, no touching bae’; just mutual admiration and mutual ‘tripping’). Level B is sexual activity (kissing, touching, blah blah blah). Now don’t be deceived. You see how in the movies people just meet each other for the first time and they go out to see a movie; before the day ends there’s kissing and touching and all the other things? Don’t believe them; that’s make-believe. Real life is not like that at all. Anyway, back to our gist.
The law of progression also states that once level B begins, then things could accelerate. For instance, you might giggle and say ‘oh come on! What’s in a kiss?’ The next week, the kiss could translate to indecent touching and fumbling and rumble-tumble. The law of progression continues by stating that if things aren’t controlled at this point, then full blown sex might commence. Now, the last law of progression states that if nothing is done then sexual addiction can occur.
What’s sexual addiction?
Have you heard of compulsive behaviours? Compulsive behaviours are so called because one has little or no control over them. Sexual addiction is perhaps the most compulsive behaviour affecting young people today. Some of our young people have lost their innocence and fallen into sexual addiction, most probably out of ignorance. But now that they want to stop, they can’t. Many young men are out there looking for pretty innocent girls to suck dry; they struggle with sexual addiction, it’s like an addiction to cocaine or Marijuana. However, some ladies have also fallen into sexual addiction. They in turn are on the lookout for young unsuspecting boys. So it’s not an all-guys thing after all. You get?
Causes of sexual addiction…
In an article written by Dr. Douglas Weiss (dated 31 May, 2014), he notes that sex addicts are usually survivors of sexual abuse, or rape, or early sexual activity (if you fall into this category please shine your eyes). Of these, many have contracted a venereal disease, some have had abortions, some have eating disorders, and others have alcohol-related problems. Some female sex addicts have a soul pain they carry around. A deep emotional hurt that they believe sex can cure. However, medically, it is proven that during sexual release, the highest level of endorphins and enkephalins are transmitted to the medial preoptic nucleus in the brain. The brain then gets a strong chemical reward which it attaches to whatever or whomever is the cause of the sexual pleasure, whether real or imaginary, pornography or fantasy. Phew! These are big words. But I hope you get the point sha? So where do we go from here?
Towards a solution…
Back in the day, many young people weren’t too crazy about sex. We didn’t have semi naked ladies dancing in every junk music video. There were no archaic phones, not to mention smart phones that could access the Internet in a matter of seconds. The media was not sex crazy. Advert agencies were still truthful… What about today? Oh dear! Things have changed greatly. Our children have become digital natives. They are exposed to endless materials from social networking sites and other related media. But this isn’t the problem. The problem is that too many young people easily get into sexual activity today, and many more stay ‘hooked’.
Has anyone ever told you that sex is the proof of true love? That person is a liar. A blunt two-faced liar. Don’t believe all that you read on these new blogs run by people with different shades of psychological and psychosexual dysfunctions (big words again, bah?). Sex does not begin a relationship. It should be the last thing. Why, because the sexual act is not just physical (as many people think). It is not about having fun. It’s serious business. God created it as the highest form of intimacy. It’s a sign of utmost and utter giving of one’s self to another (some are finding these words strange. Don’t my dear). Everything else is an abuse of this great gift. So, sex is not a proof of love. It is not the litmus paper ‘test’ to show whether your partner contains acid or water.
Funny enough, some of our young ladies think that once a guy has sex with them, he’ll stay with them. Please stop reading this article and ask a guy close to you this question “can you sleep with a pretty lady that you don’t love?” Keep the answer you’ll get to yourself (ladies only). Sex is rather the highest expression of love. Genuine love is possible even without sexual activity. When this love is properly knotted in marriage, what then stops one from fully and totally giving himself/herself to the spouse? Nothing! In so far as there’s no marriage, sexual activity is always a lie. Now tell me, how can you fully give yourself to Chioma, Osato, Ada, Obehi, Funmi and Amina and not be a liar?
Point of landing…
In Thessalonians 5:23 Paul tells us to sanctify our spirit, soul and body. Premature or premarital sex can, and does bring about sexual addiction that becomes rooted in the spirit, soul and body. We therefore need grace, liberation and deliverance when this happens. Haven’t you heard of the relationship pyramid? We can never begin a relationship with sex and expect that all will be well. Relationships must begin from friendship. Then it moves on to courtship. If all goes well, family members are involved. Then there’s proposal and engagement. After these come marriage. Only after marriage does sex come. Why? Because sex is so fragile, it should be at the tip, while friendship forms the base. When you turn the pyramid upside down and begin from sex, be sure that your world would come crashing down. No pyramid can balance on its tip.
Finally, I leave you with the words of St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.” (1 Cor. 6:15-20 NIV).
What about sexual relationship disorder?
Okay, I understand that this title sounds very psychological. But I promise you that this is not directly a psychological write-up (or is it?). I intend to set a few things straight about this whole sexual orientation palava. You’d be amazed at the many things we tend to muddle up whenever we engage in ‘sexual orientation’-related debates.
What’s sexual relationship disorder?
Sexual relationship disorder has to do with an abnormal sexual orientation. This suggests that there’s normal sexual orientation, right? Okay, first, what is sexual orientation? It refers to one’s sexual tendencies and behaviours towards others, as far as sexual attraction (or lack of it) is concerned. Let’s briefly make a distinction between normal and abnormal sexual orientation. Illustrations from the Bible would help us understand this difference. Maybe you should open your Bible at this point (you know how serious I am about biblical truths). Go to Genesis chapter one. (Please stop reading and go get that Bible. There’s something I need to show you). Now start reading from verse 27 through 28 (are you there?). See how God created them male and female? Okay. Now flip your Bible to Genesis 2; read from verses 18 to 25. Get the picture? That’s the origin of normal sexual orientation right there. What Adam and Eve had was heterosexual relationship. In other words, they had normal sexual relationship. Every heterosexual union falls within this space.
However, there’s also abnormal sexual orientation (hope you haven’t dropped your Bible yet? Cos I need to show you something else). Flip the pages of your Bible until you get to chapter 19 of Genesis. I know you’ve heard the story of Sodom and Gomorrah over and over again. But look at it one more time. Read from verse 4 to 11. Before the angels (in the form of men) could take a nap, the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, both young and old, from every quarter of the city came and stood around Lot’s house. They weren’t there to play Ludo. They came to have sex with the visitors (O yes o!). Even when Lot bargained with his daughters, they refused. Now that’s not just abnormal, that’s evil! The tendency to go out of normal sexual behaviour in relationships is what I refer to as sexual relationship disorder.
What’s abnormal may not always be evil…
Let’s pay attention, because this is where we often make mistakes. We have already taken pains to examine what’s considered normal (heterosexual orientation) and what’s not (homosexual orientation). Now we need to make another very important distinction. Do you know that what’s abnormal may or may not be evil? Today, psychology has advanced so much so that many things have changed. For instance, let’s consider how the American Psychological Association defines sexual orientation. For them, sexual orientation is “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes” (American Psychological Association, ). Let’s pay attention to what is happening here. This definition is certainly not talking about heterosexual relationships (having sexual attraction to members of the other sex) alone. It also includes homosexual relationships (having sexual attraction to members of one’s own sex), and even bisexual relationships (having sexual attraction to both sexes).
We must realise that’s there’s nothing evil or criminal about one having any of these sexual orientations. After all, psychology has been able to show that indeed many people now have an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and sexual attractions to members of their own sex (homosexuals) as well as members of both sexes (bisexual). However, this does not mean that homosexual or bisexual orientations are normal (are you getting the drift?). They are most certainly ABNORMAL.
Professor Alan Stone, in an article on the American Journal of Psychiatry (1980:137), notes that homosexuality for instance was considered a sickness until the gay liberation movement undertook a campaign to remove the diagnosis of homosexuality from the nomenclature of mental disorders. This same campaign called for an end to a legal discrimination against homosexuality. This explains why the revised 3rd Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R) places homosexuality under sexual anomalies. Today, many years later, what’s in use is the fifth Edition (DSM-5), which was updated in 2013. Not surprisingly, homosexuality does not appear here at all. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
Are homosexuals and bisexuals evil?
This is a tricky question. To be judged evil or otherwise, sexual orientation must translate into action. One who’s sexually attracted to members of his/her own sex does not automatically become an evil person because of the presence of these tendencies. Likewise, one who’s attracted to members of both sexes, does not automatically become evil because of the presence of these tendencies. However, if we mean by homosexuals, those who have sexual attraction to members of the same sex, and actually see nothing wrong in justifying and practising these abnormal tendencies; and if we mean by bisexuals, those who are sexually attracted to members of both sexes, and see nothing wrong in justifying and practising these tendencies, albeit abnormal, then we have serious trouble on our hands. But where does one draw the curtain?
The Omega point…
There are many persons today with an abnormal sexual orientation through no direct fault of theirs. They know it for what it is and they struggle daily to come out of it. God bless them for their efforts. They do not seek to make the abnormal a norm. But there are others who have become comfortable in abnormality. They proclaim homosexuality and bisexuality as a norm from rooftops. They have become propagandists, yelling stuff like gay rights, equality, gay marriages. These persons are deluded. They need our prayers. While no one is perfect, we must never become arrogant in our weaknesses, pushing our sinfulness to levels of absurdity. This indeed is the evil. We recognize it for what it is, and we say NO to it.
Finally, I leave you with the words of St Paul “do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
God bless you friends…
[*Wondering where the friendship went? Ask the SEX! *]
I’m not ‘Mr Know it all’. God knows! I don’t know much at all, but I do strive to know. I make it my business to understand situations I see around me, or the ones I find myself in. And sometimes, my search pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. But I just keep on searching. Pastoral ministry is very rewarding you know; it teaches with blunt finality and truth.
I’ve come across many young people who seem to be in search of their lost friendship (yes o!). Their story is usually something like… “I know this guy (girl) that I truly admire. We became best of friends. We laughed, talked, joked about anything and everything. Mehn! He/she was fun to be with. Then the attraction started (by the way, maybe you should read my reflection on sex addiction). Hmmm. Once the hugs became pecks, the pecks became kisses, the kisses graduated to fondling and romancing, and the romancing became sex, the friendship went out the window…” Sounds familiar?
Where did the friendship go?
Well, I know we have a basic idea of who a friend is. But to avoid presumptuous sentences, I decided to ask Google for a definitive meaning. This is what I found. A friend is "a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations." There! Now, did you know that the definition of *friend* typically excludes sexual activity? Well, it so does. Are you still wondering where the friendship went?
Here’s the thing. When a relationship becomes sexually active, it’s difficult to remain friends (except of course in marriage where a mature and well-informed decision has been made to that effect). The mind is suddenly overwhelmed by a whole range of emotions. Boundaries are gradually erased, and anything short of sex becomes painfully boring. Why waste time talking about the future when we could be kissing? Why get to know each other better when there’s so much fun to be had; so much touching to do…? Ah haaah! Here’s the problem. By the time we’re done with all the mutual sexual ‘brouhaha’, friendship has packed its belongings and disappeared through the door.
I know, I know. No theory is foolproof. This isn’t an exception, but it could be. I know in some rare cases, some people claim to have sexually active relationships and still have friendship. Seriously? I’m yet to find a single person that has agreed to this rare situation. In my experience, they all say the sex drives away the friendship, no matter how ‘good’ the sex is (pardon my language). So I’m not easily swayed by these or similar arguments. I believe there is another word for that kind of relationship. Lovers. Yea! Again, I went to ask our friend Google. Here’s what ‘he’ said. A lover is “a partner in a sexual or romantic relationship outside marriage.” See? Your friend isn’t your lover. And your spouse isn’t your lover either. So except what you wanted from the beginning was a sexual relationship, you’d hardly see a sexual partner as a friend. What about boyfriend or girlfriend? Yea yea. I knew you’d ask that. So for the last time, I went off to Google again, and ‘he’ said, a girlfriend is “a person’s regular female companion with whom they have a romantic or sexual relationship” (except of course in the case of a lady having a girlfriend, which usually would simply mean her female friend).
Phew! Pardon me. I try to keep my writings short and simple, but I don’t know what happens after I begin. The ideas just won’t stop. Anyways. I’m not saying that lovers can’t ‘appear’ to be friends. They may even believe they’re friends. But they’re not. Relationships are categorised into friends, lovers, and married couples. Simple! No other category exists. Hence, if this is your first sexual partner, and he/she is so cool, loving and understanding, and you feel he/she is your best friend, it’s only a matter of time. The hormones will soon find something or someone more interesting and challenging. Oh, perhaps it’s your sixth sexual relationship, and you’re still hoping to find the right sexual partner. Are you kidding? There’s no such thing. It’s possible you’ve gotten addicted to sex… And you just need a reason to continue the activity.
Here’s the thing. Sex is not a joke. It’s like crude oil. When refined and used properly, it can power cars, cook stuff, provide electricity or propel turbines for pipe borne water… However, it can also engender the most devastating disasters. Look around you; broken hearts, teenage pregnancies, repeated abortions, homicides… all because sex was attempted improperly. Now if by a stroke of chance, your sexual relationship graduated into marriage, well, you’re lucky. I won’t be surprised if your marriage is currently flat and boring by the way. You already killed it even before you began.
If you truly care about friendship and lasting relationships, here’s what to do. Stop the sex. Talk about it, and ask him/her to help make sure you don’t fall again into sexual activity, no matter how difficult it is. Block him/her on WhatsApp, BBM or Instagram if the first option doesn’t work. Go to bed early and rise early. Refuse to go to his/her house, and don’t ever stay the night. Don’t get me wrong. Continue seeing him/her, but make sure every potential sexual-activity-situation is decisively discouraged until marriage. When that chemical attraction goes down considerably, perhaps you’ll once again find your peace and laughter. Perhaps you’d once again enjoy the stories and the jokes, the dreams and the aspirations. Perhaps you’ll regain the lost friendship.
In the end, pray. After all, we can’t do anything without God’s grace. Finally, please don’t let anger or false self-righteousness prevent you from taking these words seriously. I’m not perfect, but I am a minister of He who is.
[*The FLAWED Saints *]
So some time ago, I saw a movie that almost brought tears to my eyes. And trust me, it’s not because I love crying. It’s rather that the film was just too touching. It is titled ‘St Vincent’ (you should totally see it). There was this young boy with issues – mom and dad living separately, mom never around because she had to work overtime to make ends meet, bullies at school… you get the picture?
So this boy becomes friends with an elderly neighbour who spends most of his time gambling, smoking and passing the time with a ‘lady of the night.’ But this ‘bad’ neighbour had enough time to take care of our young friend whenever his mom wasn’t around (which was pretty much all the time). He would come every day to pick him from school and take him to fun places. He even dealt with the bullies and taught the young boy how to defend himself. Though he also took him to bars and to gambling venues, he was the closest to a saint our young boy ever knew. And as the movie progressed, we (the audience) had no choice but to agree.
It’s true that Saints are flawed and normal human beings (like you and me), who touch the lives of those around them for the better. But this flawed picture of Saints is not always so clear to us, is it? Most of the existing literature on Saints tell us only about how ‘perfect’ they were while they lived. We’re told how prayerful they were, and how they could levitate, bi-locate and see apparitions and visions. No wonder then that the rest of us (knowing how imperfect we are) simply throw in the towel and conclude sainthood isn’t for people like us. I mean let’s face it. We’ve done too many evil things. We can NEVER be Saints. Right?
I wish we could have just as many books that tell us how human the Saints were too. We would like to also know that these men and women had real challenges – that they sometimes stole, or gambled, or drank to stupor; that they had sexual urges and struggled with weaknesses of the flesh just like you and me. We would like to know that they weren’t specially selected and chosen to be Saints. Not because we don’t want to get better, but because we like to know that no matter how bad it is now, we still stand a chance to be Saints. Then perhaps, the rest of us would summon the courage to aspire for sainthood as well, since God has given new meaning to our hitherto deeply flawed nature.
Back to our movie. So one day, our young friend was asked to write about someone he knew with saintly qualities. That was when we got to know that this ‘bad influence’ of a neighbour was a war hero. That was when we knew that he had on one occasion risked his life to save four members of his regiment under the heat of battle even though he had the option of escaping alone. That was when we knew that he had even been awarded a medal of honour for his courage and valour. But he now had barely enough money to take care of himself and his wife who had a terminal disease. It was then we understood why the old man drank, gambled, smoked and spent time with a lady of the night…
But in spite of all his troubles, he saw a lonely young boy and took the time to change his life for the better. He didn’t let his own issues get in the way. He refused to give up on hope. In the end, the young innocent boy saw past all the flaws, the pains and frustration, and recognised a saint. When the old man walked up to the school podium to get his medal of sainthood from our little friend, he could not believe he was the one being talked about. And when our young friend looked him in the eyes and said “thank you sir for changing my life”, the old man (still bent double because of a recent stroke) looked at the young boy and said, “no kid. Thank you!”
That day, two persons went home changed forever. A young boy who hitherto was angry with the world around him, and an old man who thought he had nothing else to live for.
This wasn’t a ‘Christian’ movie by any standard, but it taught me that we all can be saints, no matter what our past has been. Are you with me?
[*Why are you still stuck in that relationship? *]
Okay, I once saw a video on Naija Gossip Mill. A guy was busy pounding a young lady with his fists like he was beating a horse, while the woman kept shouting “baby I’m sorry… baby I’m sorry…” Just this morning, a dear friend asked me if I’ve written anything on guys beating up their girlfriends, or husbands beating up their wives… To put it simply; woman (wife) battering. And I said ‘no’. This aspect is loudly missing from my corpus of literature. How was I to know that I’d run into this video later in the day?
This brings my mind to the movie “Knock on heaven’s door.” Here was this ‘perfect’ man, a gospel singer, having a very respectable name outside, but battering his wife every other day. He would apologise, beat his wife up, apologise again, then beat up his wife again. God himself must be livid with this level of hypocrisy and pretense. Marriage is for better for worse, true! But no-one says you can’t do something to make him better. Talk to a third party that can help. A man like that isn’t sane. He needs help, urgently.
Now listen, ladies. If you’re in a relationship where your man (boyfriend or husband) raises his hands on you, something’s wrong. I don’t care if your marriage is just a few days away. Break up with him instantly. You don’t deserve to be married to an animal. If you’re married already, and the beatings are unbearable, you need space, yes. Try as much as possible to avoid stirring him to anger. Always have an escape route before speaking your mind. You need to get him to a counselor. He has anger issues. He’s affectively immature! Otherwise you’d end up dead one day; God forbid! If that’s not enough, then please go get some lessons in Karate or Taekwondo for self defence or something. I’m not advocating fights, I’m only trying to save you and your marriage. If your husband knew you had a black belt in Karate I’m not sure beating you will always be his first option. Understand?
But I’m not writing this primarily for those already married per se. I’m more interested in those yet to get married. Listen! There are always tell tale signs your man is a potential ‘wife-beater.’ Pay attention to them:
-Is he always loosing his temper, even for the flimsiest reasons?
- Does he throw things around or break stuff when he’s angry?
- Is he the arrogant, proud and Mr-know-it-all type?
- Does he find it difficult to apologise even when it’s clear he’s wrong?
- Is he excessively jealous and possessive?
- Is he suspicious of all your friends both male and female?
- Does he smoke, drink or womanise?
- Does he always want to have his way?
- Does he expect you to serve him and wait on him; wash, clean, cook and babysit him?
- Now here’s the most important one. Is he too perfect? Keeps to time, dresses impeccably, controls his words, never losing his cool, etc, all in an extreme manner?
These are some of the signs. My dear, if you’re in a relationship with such a man, you’re heading to the threshing floor. If he’s exhibiting the above now, he’d be pounding you with his fists, thrashing you work koboko and using you for boxing practice, the moment you get married. And if he’s already slapping or beating you up now, you need to get out of the relationship like yesterday.
Hey lady! Don’t think the sex will make him better. It won’t. In fact, if you’re still there because of the sex, you’re standing on a loooooonnng thing. He doesn’t love you. These words may break your heart. But they are true. A guy will not beat up a woman he loves. If he does, he’s either confused or insane or both. And the last thing you want to do is get married to an insane and confused man.
Do yourself a favour. Pack your things and get out of his life. You’re better off somewhere else. Do me a favour. Fight the voice that’ll tell you not to act on these words.
[*Fashion sense is awesome…only when it’s decent! *]
I love fashion (I mean, who doesn’t?). We all want to look good, right? Yea! We should totally wear hair cuts that blaze trials, braid and fix kinky hairstyles, and put on clothes that are totally dope. That’s okay and normal. No worries there at all. But you see, we have to be careful. Fashion can get addictive and crazy. Yea. I once ran into a picture of the first beauty pageant that ever held. The ladies wore lovely clothes with no bare flesh in sight. What about now? The tinier you are, the better. The less clothed you are, the better…and the rest (as they say) is history.
But I’m not here to write about beauty pageants and pageantry. I’m more worried about the dangerous fashion mentality of our Generation X and Next. The kind of clothes (or should I say clothelessness?) that’s become fashion. I feel that no matter how fascinated we become with fashion trends, we should keep our sanity. Abi? Just watch the AMA’s or the Oscars and you’ll totally understand how far we’ve come upside down. People now wear mosquito nets to big occasions, and it’s fine. Now our kids want to be Micki Minaj, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus (oh, how I miss the old Cyrus). Beyoncé used to be beautiful and elegant (have you seen “The fighting Temptations?). Now she’s… well, I don’t quite have the word for it.
Let’s come home. Nowadays, our Generation X and Next hardly listen to foreign music. They prefer the Olamides, the Phynos, the Cynthia Morgans, and the Tiwa Savages… These celebrities are super talented (don’t get me wrong). I love the way they are able to explore their talents and make terrific music. But I do wish we could tone down on the barrage of swear words and X-rated graphics. How can teenagers grow up to these kind of songs and visuals, and not lose their sanity? As Asa the popular Yoruba musician once sang, “There is fire on the mountain, and nobody seems to be on the run, there is fire on the mountain top and no one is a-running…”
The other day I advocated for alternative content. Yes! If we say we don’t want B we must create alternative content A. These days I see teenagers all over social media with a daring and crazy fashion sense. A mentality that’s dangerously hanging on the precipice of insanity. They have their tongues out in the most absurd manner known to humans (they don’t even know what that singular action symbolises). They have their hands on their crotches as though it’s supposed to communicate something mysterious and special to the mere mortals. They have their legs twisted in ways that would totally amaze professional gymnasts, and for what? I mean, I don’t get it.
The one that really worries me is the way clothes have all but disappeared. Necklines are now lower and lower until they begin to reveal shameless cleavages. Hello ooo! It’s called neckline, not cleavage line. Then the leggings, all tight and transparent, leaving nothing to the imagination. What about the double miniskirts (these are so miniature, they barely cover anything) and the bumshorts? If you love them so much, why not use them inside your homes? Why assume that everyone on the streets is sane and self controlled? There are those who seem not to know where their waists are anymore. Some put their trousers on their knees now (don’t look at me like that jor), I am serious; literally on their thighs and knees, and wear Jeans that are so perforated as though tailored specifically for the insane. I hear they call them crazy jeans. Really? My goodness! What’s all this about?
Did you know that smoking, drinking and sex have become very fashionable among some of our Generation X and Next? Teenagers who have no idea how ovaries and spermatozoa function; have no idea how to calculate their cycles, have no idea what proper health and hygiene principles state, now smoke, drink and engage in all manner of perverted sexual acts just because it’s fashionable among their peers. For them, it’s like you need to undergo this ‘rite of passage’ to truly be a teenager. It’s CRAZY.
Finally, consider St Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans, “and so I beg you brothers (and sisters), by the mercy of God, that you offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, with the subservience of your mind. And do not choose to be conformed to this age, but instead, choose to be reformed in the newness of your mind, so that you may demonstrate what is the will of God: what is good, and what is well-pleasing, and what is perfect” (Rom.12:1-2).
If we fail to listen, what Asa prophesied about will come to pass, “one day the rivers will overflow, and there’ll be no place else for us to go, we will run, run, wishing we had put out the fire…”
Please put out the fire, NOW!
Why being “too pretty” or “too handsome” may be a disadvantage
Have you ever come across those beautiful ladies, the kinds that draw every gaze and every glance away from the status quo? I believe you have. What about the handsome guys, the kind that rouse sleeping desires amongst the female folk?
There’s usually the mistaken notion that people like this are always wonderful. For instance, some psychologists are of the opinion that people tend to pay more respect to the ‘beautiful ones’ (we’re using ‘beauty’ only in terms of ‘good-looking’ natural endowments of course). In fact, research has shown that many prefer to make friends with good-looking people. Society has placed them on a high pedestal. Their faces are sought after by camera flashes, bill boards, newspapers, etc.
But the question is: “Are the beautiful ones really that beautiful?” In my experience, only in rare cases do we find beautiful ones who remain truly beautiful (now we refer to something much more encompassing and holistic). What do you expect? When people treat me nicely, smile at me, expect the best from me, and over look most of my mistakes all because I have a pretty face, I may gradually develop into a cold, calculating, unfeeling narcissist, who thinks everyone else is inferior to me. What more, I may end up with no beauty whatsoever save for what’s obvious in my physical make-up. This happens more among the male folk. Come to think of it, who wants to be in any kind of relationship with just a beautiful face?
Female folk also have their own difficulties. Experience shows that pretty faces are more prone to exploitation by their male counterparts. For instance, while the rapist may not so much concern himself with whether or not his victims have pretty faces, it is often the case that 70% of the girls that get raped are good-looking. What about those who constantly struggle with inordinate advances from men who cannot control their surging libidinous urges? Many pretty girls have had to endure different levels of sexual assault from those who should know better. The effects? Most of these girls end up not able to trust and not able to hold meaningful intimate relationships ever after. The above may likely not be the case amongst those who aren't that pretty or good looking.
I’m not saying this is always the case. I’m only saying it seems to be happening on a very large scale. Being too pretty may not be so pretty after all. What do you think?
Something happened that made me reflect on an experience I had two some years ago. A lay classmate of mine met a lady who was raped by an uncle, after series of molestations. Now she’s pregnant, what does she do? Her story is not unlike that of many young ladies around. Yes! MANY…
It was February 8th, 2013; about 8:pm at night. I was on my way from the campus, driving at top speed (the road was free and I wanted to flex my muscles a bit) when suddenly I saw her…
There was nothing unusual about a lone lady trying to flag down a vehicle at night. What was unusual was that this person was almost at the middle of the road, and she was stark naked. Adrenaline kicked into my veins, and I intended to blow past on ‘ghost mode’. However, my reason overcame my fear, and I stopped…
It was a moment of indecision. One mind told me that the lady was a distraction and that there were probably robbers hiding in the bushes. Another mind told me she was badly in need of the help (I could tell from the way she was waving her hands around like a mad woman). The third mind reminded me that I was a priest. How would I explain a naked lady in my car? A fourth mind told me to wait, but to be on super high alert. These thoughts flashed through my mind in seconds…
I decided to hang on to the last thought, and hung around a bit. That was all the lady needed. She quickly got into my car. As soon as her other feet left the ground I was off in a flash… To cut the long story short, she had been raped. Yes! A bike man that was supposed to take her to the Hospital to see her sick dad drove her elsewhere and raped her…
How many of our innocent children continue to be sexually molested and raped by wild animals posing as human beings? It’s even worse when it’s done by those who should protect them. The biology teacher pretending to be carrying out experiments; the lecturer claiming assessments that aren’t academic related; the father feigning special ‘daughterly’ love; the so called boyfriend who gets lost in lust; the doctor under the guise of ‘detailed check-ups’; even the holy man of God under the pretext of in-door counselling…
I’ll talk about the lady’s dilemma in my next write up, and the options that may be best available to her from the Christian perspective. Right now, my concern is with the root of the problem.
What’s this crazy libido that makes one forget that the lady out there is a human being? What’s this sex drive that turns human beings into dogs and wolves? We must be held responsible for our actions. Yes! All of us who are directly or indirectly guilty of sexual molestations, abuses and rapes.
Ladies, learn to make a stand! Please try to get over the shame, the guilt and the social stigma. God will definitely bring the healing. It may take time but it’s certain. Don’t give up. Talk to someone today. Don’t let rapists go unpunished. A crime is a crime!
Who’s the stronger SEX?
Take off point…
Let me say from the very beginning that I’m considering this question only from the point of view of relationship issues (from casual to intimate; marriages excluded). If you take the question outside this scope, you’re on your own, and you can’t quote me. Good! Now, I know what the world wants us to believe. I know what the patterns are. I know what tradition holds. Men are the stronger sex, right? After all, we have all the six packs, and the muscular builds, and the capacity to oppress, compel and control the ‘weaker’ sex, right? We cry less, and do appear very strong. We’re very good with words and can sweet talk the ladies. We’re less emotional (or so it seems) and are more likely to take risks. So I guess we’re the ‘stronger’ sex now aren’t we? Good! Now let’s look at the weaker sex. They are less forceful, they cry more, are more emotional and they believe whatever you tell them. They have big hearts and can love the whole world at a go. They are very perceptive and intuitive and possessive. They have less muscles; preferring to lean on rather than be leaned on. They look very fragile and weak and need to be regularly complimented… So they’re the weaker sex, right?
Let’s take case scenario 1…
A guy goes to a lady and asks her out. This is the ‘stronger’ sex asking the ‘weaker’ sex out. Now, the lady probably likes this guy, and she accepts the offer. Chances are that this guy might become really egoistic, thinking he’s so cute and smooth and handsome. In other words, he’s irresistible (I’m not saying this happens all the time. Don’t get me wrong. I’m only saying this does happen most of the time). So let’s assume that this relationship begins to make sense, and the laws of attraction set in (hope you remember what the law of attraction is about? If you don’t, you may need to resist this course by going back to read the article I wrote on sexual addiction). Anyway, nothing is done to stop the relationship at this point, and the law of progression sets in. From holding hands to hugs to pecks to kisses to romancing… and then to the whole fireworks package…
Phew! The deed is done and reality check sets in. Oh hoooo. Both the stronger sex and the weaker sex feel an acute sense of shame after the 'mistake'. But the stronger sex being stronger, encourages the weaker sex, and tells her not to worry, that everything will be fine. So the weaker sex believes the stronger sex and continues with the deed. Unfortunately, the weaker sex misses her period and gets pregnant. She is scared, hurt and totally afraid. She does not know how to tell the stronger sex about it. But she eventually makes up her mind and tells him. The stronger sex begins to exercise his strength. He shouts and insults the weaker sex. He calls her a fool for not knowing how to prevent herself from pregnancy. Then still angry he denies the pregnancy, packs his things and walks out of the weaker sex's life. The weaker sex is left with her weakness. Now she has to either abort the baby (which is hellish to do), or keep it (which is even more difficult to do because of the social stigma). In the end, she exercises the strength she supposedly doesn't have and takes one option. But the stronger sex absconds and successful dodges responsibility. This scenario happens about 50% of the time.
Let’s consider case scenario 2…
Let's assume that the stronger sex remains in the picture after he is told of the pregnancy. He is strong enough to take responsibility. He truly loves this woman (or is it the sex?) So the weaker sex agrees to bear the pregnancy. But after the child is born, he begins to treat her with disdain, seeking whatever excuses to insult her. When all is well, he is at his best, praising his stars for finding such a woman. But when issues abound, he might even end up blaming her for all his life's problems. Once again, the stronger sex fails to take responsibility in the long run. This scenario takes about 10% of relationship issues.
Let’s consider case scenario 3….
It's possible that although the weaker sex liked the stronger sex, she really wanted so much to do something about the law of attraction. She even made attempts to frustrate the law of progression. But the stronger sex exercises his strength and forces himself on the weaker sex, taking advantage of her weakness. When she gets pregnant, he refuses to take responsibility. The weaker sex is left to deal with the trauma of rape, abuse and pregnancy. She decides to abort the baby, nearly dying in the process. Meanwhile, somewhere else, the stronger sex is trying to sweet talk another weaker sex into a situation he has just irresponsibly escaped from. This scenario takes about 10% of relationship issues.
What about scenario 4…
A lady having been abused severally by a blood member of her family, or by another member of the weaker sex falls into sexual addiction. Now she's unable to say 'no' to any member of the stronger sex. But she meets this guy who loves her and is ready to help her out. After a while, the stronger sex begins to prevail, and she gradually begins to change. Here, the stronger sex takes responsibility... This takes about 5% of relationship issues.
Let’s look at scenario 5…
Given that everything is as stated above, except that this person finally ends up in the hands of a user who pretends to be helping the weaker sex with her sex addiction. But he's busy using her problem against her and taking her for a sex object. Eventually, he abandons her for someone more interesting. This happens about 5% of the time.
Let’s consider case scenario 6…
A member of the stronger sex is on the prowl for any member of the weaker sex. When the opportunity presents itself he pounces on her, rapes her and absconds into thin air. The weaker sex is left to deal with the responsibilities of the rape incidence. This happens about 20% of the time.
Relationship issues occur when something goes wrong. Usually, it’s after many heart breaks, and abortions, and in some cases, rape that the sexes begin to see clearly and take things more seriously. In all the hypothetical scenarios we’ve looked at, we see that the so-called stronger sex has an uncanny way of running away from responsibilities when issues arise. In the end, only the so-called weaker sex is left to bear the responsibilities. In the light of these, who do you think is the stronger sex?
Okay, this is dicey. How do we even begin to define loneliness? Maybe being alone is not necessarily feeling alone. Come to think of it, aloneness does not mean loneliness. I mean, there are times I just love being alone. I listen to myself think, I write stories and reflections, I do whatever I love doing, blah blah blah. But again, there are times when, poof! Loneliness hits me right in the face, like a rough punch on the nose. Oh boy! Loneliness is a feeling; it’s more a state of mind rather than a state of being (mind you, a state of mind can quickly graduate to a state of being). This is the definition that works for me. Loneliness makes you feel useless and dead. It makes you feel drained, without any zest for life and living. Loneliness hurts. Believe me, you don’t want to be lonely. Oh boy!
Have you ever got that feeling that no one completely understands you? Like there’s this part of you that never gets any fresh air, it never gets any light, it never gets any attention? But it’s hurting, it’s hurting so bad it could really use some healing? And you have no idea where to start? Good! Now that’s loneliness. If this condition persists, it could readily degenerate to depression. Okay! Enough of the theorising. Let’s bring this matter closer home.
Recently, I encountered a free spirited young man. From the outside he looked quite fine. I mean, he was good looking, smart, very intelligent and easy going. He was the kind of boy that many people envied. He seemed to have the whole world going for him. Now boys are quite different from ladies, you know. You meet young ladies with issues and before you know it, they want to share. Perhaps that’s why they live longer. Boys on the other hand? They are a hard nut to crack. Anyway, back to my gist. So here’s this seemingly perfect young man with a great smile, but a lonely heart.
Yea, you heard that right. He indeed was lonely. I mean, it was not like he had ‘loneliness’ written across his face. But one day he walked up to me and began to smile at me. I returned his smile. “Father, can I be frank with you?” He asked.
“Okay?“ I replied with that kind of uncertain hesitation one feels when surprised by a very direct question.
I listened for close to thirty minutes as he told me his story. I was shocked. What a story! I didn’t know him that well, and I’d never have guessed he had such a burden in his heart. When he was done, I prayed with him and he went on his way. I told him to come again and again. He needed help. I sat under the tree for many more minutes before getting the strength to walk away. That day I realised more deeply that appearances could indeed be deceiving.
Tom (let’s call him that for the sake of anonymity) was barely ten years old when their female house help began to abuse him. She would make him do the most unimaginable things. Tom liked the feeling he got whenever she made him do those weird sexual things. So he didn’t think he ought to have alerted his parents. He was the last of four children, and he was mostly at home. His mum and dad were seldom around. While the dad was a doctor, the mum ran a boutique. Tom found he was mostly always alone with the house help. That meant there was plenty of time for the abuse to go on unnoticed.
That was before Tom left for boarding school. When he got to school he was introduced to homosexual acts by senior students. He was an easy bait. His passion for sex was already roaring, and he didn’t resist much when he was introduced to this new evil. Tom continued to be abused by his house help whenever he came home for holidays. He was homosexual in school and a heterosexual at home. He developed into a full blown bisexual with time. This was the only way of life he knew. He told no one about it. His parents knew nothing about it, his siblings didn’t suspect a thing for six years. He was living a lie.
At the time I met Tom he was eighteen. He had just gained admission into Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. He told me he didn’t know how to love. He only understood sex and emotions. Recently, he had discovered he had developed the tendency of luring others to have sex with him, male and female alike. He had become a sort of sex addict; like one possessed by a demon. He knew he was bad. He was baptised and confirmed. He was even a communicant. But he was lonely. He didn’t feel the impact of his religion, and he certainly felt he had no spirituality whatsoever. He told me he felt like committing suicide on a number of occasions. He didn’t choose to be the way he was. He never chose to be abused by his house help. He didn’t choose to be addicted to sex. He didn’t choose to be bisexual. He didn’t choose to be what he had become. He just wanted peace. He wanted to be able to be like a normal person, act like a normal person and feel like a normal person. He felt so alone.
He told me he had only spoken to me because he knew I would advice him and write about it. He had been reading my reflections on similar issues. He wanted his story to be heard and read. He told me he didn’t want sympathy. He just wanted God to make him better. He felt God had been so distant from him. He also wanted others like him to find compassion and understanding…
Friends, there are many who continue to struggle with the effects of abuse today. They need understanding, they need love, they need to realise that God has not abandoned them. They need to know that no matter what happens, God makes a way where there is none. They need to hear these words or St Paul again, “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you (2 Cor. 4:8-12).
Naked without shame!
What does it mean to be naked without shame? Hey! Hold on! I am not talking about all those girls we see on campus with pants and bikinis oh. Or those boys with undersized trousers and dirty boxers hanging open. Those ones are shameless. They are not naked without shame. There’s a big difference. In the next few lines, we shall try to make this clearer with help from Brian and Crystalina Evert. You could also check up Brian Butler. They have done so much on the Theology of the body of Saint John Paul II. So instead of ‘whatsapping’ or ‘pinging’ endlessly, you could actually take some time out and read up on these guys.
The Situation before the Fall…
Pick up your bible (if you don’t have one, borrow), and read the book of Genesis. To be on the safer side, begin reading from verse 23 of chapter 2. (please go get your bible. I am serious about that). Alright! What’s happening here? God has just created woman from the rib He got from the man. And he presents the woman to the man. Immediately, the man says “ Now, this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken from man”. Adam did not say “Oh My God! Look at those curves, those hips, those…” Let’s stop there for obvious reasons. He didn’t even know the woman was naked. He saw the full picture. The whole being. Her role and importance in his life, hence the name, “woman”. They were both naked without shame. Why? Because they were still innocent.
After the Fall?
Wait a minute. What happens during the fall? Now take that bible once again and look at Genesis chapter 3 very closely. Before anything is said in this chapter, we are told without any qualms that “…the Serpent was the most crafty of all the wild creatures that Yahweh God had made (Gen.3:1). He said to the woman… (to the woman?). Yes! He said to the woman “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden? Friend, understand what is happening here. The devil does not attack our strengths, he attacks our weakness. Why would an ugly girl not lead us to temptation for instance? The devil does not go to the man who was actually given the instruction (Gen. 2:16-17), but to the woman. See?
Innocence is Destroyed…
Continue reading the story and soon you will discover that the serpent indirectly calls God a liar and cast DOUBT in the mind of the woman. As soon as this happens. The woman’s perspective changes. The forbidden fruit becomes GOOD to eat and PLEASANT to the eyes. Chai! Innocence was lost. Shikena!
Are you still wondering?
Stop wondering. Today, many of us have become shameless because we have lost our original innocence. The average boy wants to ‘sample’ the average girl first, in a relationship to find out if they’re compatible before marriage. That’s shamelessness. When we go around cohabiting with guys or ladies that we aren’t married to, that’s also shamelessness. What about when girls and boys alike fail to dress decently? SHAMELESSNESS. Did I define shamelessness? I don’t think so. Let me do that now. To be shameless means to be without any iota of shame. Does that help? I guess.
How do you know when innocence is Lost?
I have already mentioned some points above. To add to that I will present an illustration. When doubt sets in, and you begin to question the things you know to be wrong. A guy tells a lady, ‘hey baby, kissing is not a sin.’ They kiss for a week. Then he tells her again, ‘romancing is not a sin nah. In so far as there is no sex…’ My dear, by the next month these young people will be full blown sexually active in their relationship. Sometimes, they eliminate sexual intercourse itself and do everything else surrounding it. You know what I mean? I know you do. And then you try telling your conscience that it’s okay. That it’s not sex after all. At this time my dear, innocence has picked up all its belongings, and run far away from you. Get the point?
What then must we do?
John Paul II says ‘God has assigned to every man the dignity of every woman.’ Yes. Every responsible man must protect the dignity of her woman. Then we must go further to rediscover the original man. What’s the original man? It is the state of being naked without shame. You can Imagine children playing about in the rain naked. That’s how it was then. If children were to play in the rain today naked, they would be so busy studying one another’s body parts, they may not even notice the rain. Saint John Paul II’s formula must be applied here:
Original innocence +Original nakedness = naked without shame...
Nakedness without shame cannot exist before marriage. Once anyone sees your nakedness before marriage, for purposes that aren’t health related, you’re shameless. The state of being naked without shame is regained only after marriage. Yes, because the one who looks upon your nakedness then is at last bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh.
Dear Young Friends,
“Go and make disciples of all nations”. With these words, Jesus is speaking to each one of us, saying: “It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others.” Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission! Today, in the light of the word of God that we have heard, what is the Lord saying to us? What is the Lord saying to us? Three simple ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve – Pope Francis (World Youth Day, Rio de Janeiro).
Lord, we thank You for all of the blessings we have mentioned, especially for the dignity and goodness of our bodies. Help us to use our bodies to praise you, to rejoice in you always, and to give you thanks each day. Amen.
[*Sexting? What in heaven’s name is that? *]
There are some negative acts that seldom make it to the homilies. I wonder why. Perhaps because like everything else, sin and evil is evolving, and preachers find it most difficult to catch up. Oh yes! Everyone and everything is on the move. We talk about fornication and adultery. We talk about rape and abortion. We talk about stealing, murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and all the other things we consider to be very grave. But we don’t talk about sins like sexting that much. Why? Because many preachers have no idea what it means in the first place.
The other day I wrote a reflection and I mentioned 'sexting', and my friends were like 'what?' What in heaven's name is that? It's true they don't know what it's called. But there's a 70% chance that they've all heard about it or done it at one time or the other, without knowing what it's called. The very nature of sin suggests that it begins from temptation, then a process of active thought (where one considers whether or not to act), before action (which could be committing the particular sin, or deciding against it). This is true of every evil action (except in cases where the actor is insane or incapable of culpability (blame). These conditions are true also of sexting. It must be a sin then. Right? Absolutely!
Wikipedia says ‘sexting’ “is sending and receiving sexually explicit messages, primarily between mobile phones. The term was first popularized in the early 21st century…In August 2012, the word sexting was listed for the first time in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.” See? Sexting is a known word; a dictionary word. Gotcha! With the increase in the availability and use of Smartphones, particularly among young people, and the emergence of social media (like Facebook) and other networking apps (like Black Berry Messenger and WhatsApp), sexting is on the increase. It is a combination of sex and text. It’s not just about texting, it about texting in such a way as to induce the other party to react in a certain sexual way. It’s a form of emotional abuse.
Let’s try to bring the matter closer home. Have you ever sent a naked or semi naked picture of yourself to someone else, or posted same on social media? Have you condoned it when someone else tried to initiate it with you? What about writing sexually explicit messages? Things you would not dare say with your mouth if you were with the person face to face? Things that could lead the other person to temptation and sin? If your answer is ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then you’ve ‘checked’. Sexting is not strange to you.
Many times, we fail to see the evil that sexting can engender. The other day I saw a movie (can’t remember the title) that was about a young boy who was deceived by a friend (another boy) into sending him a nude picture of himself. This young boy (sender) actually thought his friend (receiver) was a lady. But unknown to the sender, the receiver was another boy like himself, posing as a young lady. This boy (receiver) went ahead and published the naked picture of the sender on the school notice board. Now, imagine what the sender felt when he came to school on Monday morning and found naked pictures of himself pasted on the school notice board. He went back home and committed suicide. The movie was based on a true life story. How sad! Many other examples abound. We find many nude pictures of young unsuspecting ladies on social media, uploaded by jealous boyfriends to spite them. What about the emotional blackmail that could result from a partner of a particular relationship now gone bad? Again, what about the privacy concern? Do you seriously think these chats and pictures are private? Think again! How many of us even bother to read the disclaimer on many of these apps? They don’t accept responsibility for anything (pictures or messages) that may get leaked on social media or any other platform. And nothing guarantees that your so called chats and pictures are private.
Friends, when next someone begins to ask you funny questions like, ‘what are you wearing now?’, Can you send me a nude picture?’ Or say things like, ‘You make me higher than mount Everest’, ‘Say something dirty to me’, ‘Send me a picture of your beautiful body,’ etc, block that person. You heard me right o. Block the person once and for all. It’s not normal, I repeat, it’s not normal for someone to be interested in pictures of your undies or panties, or nighties. It’s not natural for someone you barely know to request pictures of your body parts, or begin to say things to you that make your sexual senses tingle. It’s not normal for anyone to ask you to do things or say things you’d naturally not do and say if you were meeting each other face to face. How would you react if you went out on a date and the guy looks at you with a sexy smile and asks “please show me your awesome boobs?” Won’t you give him a dirty slap? We must begin to preach against these things as well. It’s a great evil. Sexting has led to pornography, masturbation, fornication, adultery, rape, and in extreme cases, murder. Make no mistakes about it. Tell someone today. It’s a worthy enough sin to make it to our homilies. Preachers beware!
[*Non-violent rape my foot! *]
I have written reflections about rape and sexual molestation on a number of occasions. I am writing one yet again. I hope many will reflect upon it and see the need to engage in the noble act of caring for and nurturing innocence in others.
There are those who fail to understand the full implications of rape. The rapist has lost his humanity; he is a debased and mentally deranged individual who should be in a psychiatric institute. The rapist needs help urgently. He is more dangerous than the naked raving lunatic on the streets. It is even worse when the rapist thinks he/she isn’t one just because he/she thinks he/she is not violent. It indeed takes a mentally deranged person to think that rape can ever be non violent. I’ll explain.
According to the medical encyclopedia, “rape is defined as sexual intercourse that is forced on a person without his or her permission. It may involve physical force or the threat of force. It may also be done against someone who is unable to give consent. Sexual intercourse may be vaginal, anal, or oral. It may involve the use of a body part or an object.” Okay! Here’s the thing. Rape is always violent. Yes! Rape is always violent even if (when) it does not appear to be physically so.
Some years ago I met a young lady who had been sexually abused by her Mathematics teacher in her secondary school days. Although this lady told me that the teacher didn’t use physical force on her, she noted that she had been too shocked and too afraid to reject the advances. In this case, there was no physical violence or force. However, the lady hadn’t given her consent either; coupled with the fact that she was a minor at the time of the incident. The imposing and intimidating position of the teacher had been enough force. Her personality had been violated and defiled; her pride crushed, her innocence stolen, and her self esteem destroyed. Many years later, she still went around with the tell tale effects of the supposed non violent rape. See?
On another occasion, I met a young boy who had been abused at the age of ten by an older student. While the younger boy agreed he hadn’t been too sure what the older boy was doing to him at the time, and he had made no efforts to stop it, he however knew that something was not right. He told me he later felt so humiliated when he came to realise the full implications of the abuse. Worse still, he spent the next couple of years beating himself up for not preventing the senior from doing what he did to him.
It’s most criminal for anyone to take advantage of the innocence of those who come to him/her trusting that their innocence is safe and protected. It’s even more absurd for such a person to throw up his/her hands later on, screaming to the high heavens that he/she was seduced by a particular manner of dressing, or enticed against his/her will to sexually molest and rape the victims. We all have a moral obligation to protect and nurture innocence. Beyond that, we have the obligation to direct even those who come to us with debased intentions.
This is also true of leaders, whether secular or religious. The medical doctor, for instance, cannot justifiably molest or rape his/her patients on the pretext that he/she was carried away by being exposed to too many naked bodies. The priest or pastor cannot claim he’s vulnerable because people share the most sordid details with him in the confessional or at counselling sessions. Get the point? The fact remains that whatever happens, in cases of sexual molestation and rape, between an authority and a subordinate, the authority is always morally and legally culpable. Period!
Victims of rape and sexual molestation seldom speak out. They fear stigmatization and further victimisation. They fear that their corrupt system may not be able to offer them justice. In most cases, they prefer to remain unknown; that way they’re sure no one would come to know their secrets. Sometimes, parents do not even help matters. Why would a mother for instance not want to properly investigate her bleeding six year old daughter? Why would a father sexually desire his own daughter? These are matters for another day.
Think about the many young people who are constantly raped by so called non violent rapists in their relationships. Think of the many young people whose lives have become riddled by insatiable sexual cravings and urges because they had been abused at a very young age. Think about the many young people who’ll never love or trust again because an authority that should have protected them turned around and abused their innocence. Think about the many young people yet unborn who’d later come in contact with these insolent and self righteous rapists.
Think! Oh please think. Hold that rapist accountable for his/her actions. Courage! Please do it for the innocence of the many yet unborn. Do it for the innocence of those yet to find love and trust. Do it for the sake of the many who today carry around the scars of sexual molestation and rape. Do it for your own dignity and self esteem. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. HOLD THAT RAPIST ACCOUNTABLE. Don’t take laws into your own hands. Seek help from family and trusted friends. Even organisations dedicated to such services. The right time is NOW.
And if you know a rapist, get them to an institution TODAY.
[*Are you contemplating abortion? Please think again! *]
I am moved to reflect on the sanctity of life, and the pains that many have had to go through because of the issues surrounding abortion. I am not going to reflect on relationship issues or premarital sex here (I have written about these on other occasions).
I’ve had the privilege of seeing deep into people’s souls; into their pains, sorrows and distress. I have also been privileged to be part of that defining ‘moment’ in their lives when they made decisions that could only have been engendered by grace, no more no less. These moments are always wonderful for them and for me. I do not want to go knee deep into all the legal and religious arguments surrounding the issue of abortion. We’ve had too many of those already. I just want to reach out to someone somewhere who’s genuinely faced with having to make the very difficult decision to either keep or abort a baby. Someone who’s not interested in taking the life of a baby but feels she has little choice. Someone who’s very scared she won’t be able to face the world with a protruding stomach. Someone who’s so afraid that parents, friends, even enemies would judge her and laugh at her. This reflection is for that someone who feels so lost, so pained, so hurt, and so alone. I intend to comfort that someone; I hope she’ll realise that all is not lost, and that abortion need not be the way out. Yes, even if that someone is YOU.
I am not a lady, so I cannot claim to even remotely understand what many of our ladies go through when they are faced with the dilemma of either keeping or aborting a baby. I cannot claim to understand the deep emotional involvement that women have with that little ‘spark’ once it begins to grow within them. I can only hint at how painful the decision to abort a baby must be for the mother. I’m not concerned with media campaigns and propaganda. I’m not concerned with misinterpreted dogmas and doctrines, I am concerned about people; human beings who have to make real decisions and live with them. I am concerned about a DILEMMA; the dilemma of “unwanted babies”.
Unwanted babies! Is there any such thing?
The fear of responsibility is innate. Many people are cowards from Adam. Perhaps boys and men are more likely to run away from responsibilities of a sexual nature; responsibilities that directly relate to the decision to keep an ‘unwanted’ baby. This is probably because they don’t have to carry the ‘telltale signs’ of pregnancy. Let’s look at it this way. Situations abound that could add the prefix ‘unwanted’ to babies. Any situation that eliminates consent, like rape, or deliberately inducing a partner into sexual intercourse through the use of alcohol or hard drugs, or both, fits into this category. We can also include situations that many prefer to call ‘mistakes’ or ‘accidents’ because foreplay ‘got too far’. What started as mere sexual pleasure or ‘fun’ soon becomes too intense to bring to a screeching halt and before you know it, voila! Conception! Then the wait begins. Days when the ‘victim’ begins to beg God for her period. Then the period never comes, and the rest is history…
Please consider that innocent baby…
I know it’s difficult to make the decision to keep a baby when one isn’t prepared. It’s even worse when the person responsible refuses to take responsibility. It’s a lot worse still when pregnancy occurs as a result of rape, or incest, or any other similar situation that boycotts consent. It’s true that the easiest option and the easiest way out is usually abortion. One could argue that since the child is not yet many months old it could be flushed out. One could go on to say that it’s better not to be born at all, than to be born out of wedlock. Again, we could even argue that the woman decides whatever she likes with her body.
But Hey! Here’s the thing! That little life; that innocent life growing in there feels safe inside the mother’s womb. It doesn’t know under what circumstances it was conceived. All it knows is that it’s life has begun. It’s true that no one may want it. It’s true that life may not be too easy for the child once it’s born. But this little life doesn’t know about any of these. So it’s sad, it’s really sad when this little baby, oblivious of everything else, begins to battle with pills, with instruments that are meant to bring its young life to an end. I try to imagine how panicked this little life must feel, right there in the supposed comfort of its mother’s womb, struggling to live, fighting for life, being punished for something it knows nothing about…
The abortion myth…
It’s true that many say that abortion is an easier way out. Is it? Really? I have come across many ladies who have been through the pains and rigours of abortion. Some severally. But I’m yet to come across a single one of them who truly believes (deep down) that her decisions to abort were for the best. I’m yet to come across one of them who doesn’t admit to the hurts (physical and emotional) and traumas of the experience. In the end, many of these young girls regret their actions. They really wished they had been strong enough to keep their babies…
A way out?
What about rape, or incest, or other circumstances that exclude consent? What about situations where the baby just can’t be brought up by the young to be mother? My dear friends, I’ve seen many strong ladies decide to carry their babies to full term no matter the cost. When we see these ladies with swollen stomachs we’re quick to judge them. We laugh at them and call them names. Sometimes we may think we’re smarter than they are. What pains me most is the fact that the same young men who refuse to take responsibility for their sexual actions, and the same young ladies who’d rather consider the easier option of abortion would usually laugh the most. It’s so sad. Please be strong. Don’t be discouraged. Abortion is a way, but it’s never the right way out.
If someone is reading this, and that someone wants to keep her baby, and she doesn’t know how to go about it, please you could speak with someone you trust. Your priest, your pastor, your close friend. I’m sure you’ll find understanding and love. These persons could find organizations and institutions that are genuinely willing and ready to work with young expectant mothers; from counseling services, to accommodation, to prenatal and post natal care. And if you’ve had abortions, it’s never too late to make a return journey to God. Pope Francis has even made the coming year an extraordinary year of mercy (December 8th 2015 – November 16th, 2016). So there’s so much opportunity for repentance and coming back to the Father.
On our part, we need to learn to develop the pro life attitude. A baby is a blessing. Babies are always gifts. ALWAYS. God knows, that’s why conception can take place even in the most unwanted situations. We need to learn to accommodate and encourage those who truly need to deal with the abortion dilemma. We need to let them realise that they are not alone. We need to let them see that keeping the baby might be the best decision they’d ever make, despite all odds. Are you with me?
We’ve tried to briefly consider the issue of unwanted pregnancies and the abortion dilemma. We’ve established that although abortion may seem like the easy way out, it’s really not, since victims of abortion go through a lot of trauma. Many have even died in the process. In the end, it pays to keep a baby alive. It pays to protect life, especially that of those so innocent that they rely on our sense of compassion and generosity to keep them safe. I leave you with the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5). Do you still think God does not know about every living foetus?
Finally, if you disagree with me, please make sure it’s for all the right reasons.
[*Why are we so emotionally Immature? *]
If you look through lexicons and encyclopaedias, you’d probably get a ‘text-book’ definition of emotional maturity. However, I don’t think anything that has to do with emotions can be easily defined and put in a box. Nonetheless, I would say that emotional maturity has to do with the ABILITY to be able to react reasonably to persons and situations in a relatively stable and understanding manner that reveals strength of character and will (rolling my eyes). I know this is a lot to swallow, but it’s not that difficult when you break it down, really. Just concentrate on ability, reasonable action, understanding, strength of character and will. Shikena!
You may have started reading this with hope of getting the answer to the topic question in a few lines. Well, sorry o! You may have to continue reading. I believe one of the most worrying issues of today is emotional immaturity. Yes! There’s no meter mighty enough to measure the devastating effects of this single monster. Don’t get me wrong. No one is fully emotionally mature (you’d have to be a god or something), but then, ‘some people no just dey try at all!’
Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with well over 500 young people from the Archdiocese of Ibadan at their annual Youth Congress in Ijebu – Itele (Ogun State, Nigeria). During that session, I told them that the greatest problem of the young person today is immaturity – emotional immaturity. But this is expected na. Abi? After all, we young people are still passing through a phase – there’s minds to be formed and reformed, characters are yet to be fully developed, there’s no full understanding of temperaments or personality traits… But what about the ‘mature’ people – those we expect to have successfully passed through the phase of the Generation X and Next (see my reflection on Generation X and Next)? Isn’t it chilling to come to the stark realisation that many of them pass through the youth phase without developing any emotional maturity whatsoever?
Here’s the thing! Maturity does not come with age. Read my lips. Maturity does not come with grey hairs or bald heads. There are many elderly people going about with infantile mentalities. Yes! Have you ever listened to some people talk? Their perspective on serious issues like faith, morals, relationships, family, etc? You’d be amazed! It takes conscious and consistent efforts to develop strength of will; to develop good character. I know many married people who complain that their wives and husbands react so immaturely to issues. Imagine a wife denying the husband sex because they had a quarrel about her hairstyle. Huh? What about the husband that kept malice with his wife for close to three weeks because there was too much salt in the soup, again? So should we build a maturity school or something? Nah! The very idea is preposterous (I fit still speak grammar).
What we need is to set our minds to this task of character formation. To remix the Gowon slogan, “the formation of our minds is a task that must be done.” A teenager does not know he/she has to learn self control until puberty sets in and the body begins to go haywire in the presence of the opposite sex. A talented actor may not know he has emotional issues until a more talented person takes the stage. A man of God may not know he’s capable of evil until he sees himself struggling to outdo a better and more ardent preacher in the most ungodly manner. A young girl may not know she has anger issues until she succeeds in breaking things and hurting all those around her. And we may not know we are emotionally immature until we react in the most embarrassing and unbecoming manner to simple matters we should have been able to handle or overlook. See?
Since no one offers formal courses to us on character formation and emotional maturity, the world becomes our natural school. Our relationships become opportunities to learn more about our many feelings as they develop. Situations and events become moments to grow deeper and exercise control over our baser desires. In short, every potentially negative situation, becomes just as positive as well. What becomes paramount therefore is the daily striving to be able to act reasonably and react sensibly to persons and situations as they come.
So why are we so immature? Because it is always easier to be. Why should I apologise when it’s so much easier to keep malice? Why should I deal with an issue when it’s so much easier to avoid it? Why should I control myself, when it’s easier to lose control? Why should I react reasonably to situations, when it’s so much easier to be unreasonable? The list goes on. So unless we take emotional maturity as a divine project, we’ll continue to have mature bodies but infantile minds. Do something about it today. Take charge!
Chapter Twenty One
[*Are you worried too? *]
I once saw a story on CNN about boys forced to prostitute for money. You heard that right! Boys! Teenage boys for that matter. Oh, don’t worry, this wasn’t happening in Nigeria. Men of all ages will come to a certain park in that city at night, agree on an amount of money with these boys and take them home for the night. One of the boys was interviewed (with his identity masked of course). He said he loved following the men who could pay him very well; men who would allow him get a bathe (which he seldom got on an average day), eat a good meal, and have a comfortable bed for the night. And yes, these men would eventually go on to have sex with these teenage boys.
Now let’s come down to Nigeria. Beyond all the media campaigns and propaganda about gay rights and the many other shady details in between, let’s consider the actual state of things. Did you know that many (you’d be amazed just how many) teenage boys today engage in sex with older men for money? Some for far less – phones, clothes, even food. Thanks to the internet and social media. Thanks to social networking apps like WhatsApp, BBQ etc. Don’t get me wrong. These social platforms are not evil in themselves, but they have been hijacked by sexual predators and perverts to orchestrate and perpetuate the most bizarre of evils. This much is true.
The issues surrounding this topic are endless. Some young boys get caught up in this web because of poverty. Some out of sheer ignorance. Some others, because of an abnormal sexual orientation and many other related reasons. But there’s an emerging trend that many fail to notice – the abuse of minors by minors.
Frankly, I am most worried about this one. I think something should be done about the traditional secrecy that surrounds all issues of sex and sexuality here in Nigeria. We need to stop propagating the obsolete argument that sex education makes teenagers promiscuous. Hellooooo? These same teenagers are exposed to sexually explicit materials on a whole lot of fronts these days. So why not do something about it already? This is a clarion call to all stakeholders – parents, guardians, preachers, teachers – whoever feels a need to effect positive change in this regard.
The other day I met someone who had taken a decision to stop sexual relations with his elder sister. The relationship had been ongoing for years, under the noses of their parents. The shocking thing was that both of them were minors. There’s just no name for this one. I’ve come across young people (below 18) who are in several stages of sexually active relationships (and these include gay relationships), from the nearest to normal to the outright bizarre.
This is a whole new area for research, and I’m just wondering if you’re as worried as I am?
[*Why I can’t stop talking and writing about sex and relationships! *]
I had a running battle with a lady some time ago on my Facebook wall. She wanted to remind me that I am a priest and I have rejected sex. She went on to tell me that since I have rejected sex and have concluded that sex is dirty (her words, not mine) I should stop writing about sex and relationship matters. When I tried to make her see sense, she said I have never experienced marriage, so I can’t give her any valuable advise (see me o).
If I was worried before I started trying to make her understand what celibacy truly is, I was even more worried when I was done explaining. It was then I understood the ancient saying, that “even if you take a goat to London, e go still shit black shit” (pardon me language). In the end, I couldn’t tell why she was that angry. But I knew it certainly wasn’t because I was writing about sex and relationships. It couldn’t be. Could it?
I’m not about to launch into self defense mode (it is hardly necessary). But I know the basic Christian message to preach the good news to the ends of the earth is to all of us. And like St Paul says, “woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” Perhaps the problem we have sometimes is a problem of scrupulousness (this is a matter for another day). Yes! So I can understand why a supposed Christian would think sex is ‘dirty’. But this myopic mentality needs to change. There is nothing dirty about sex. Sex is inherently good. I have written about this on many occasions. But like anything else that is good, sex can be abused, which is why we need to keep preaching.
I do not claim to know everything, I am not God. What I do know is that the sexual craze out there is so loud that I would hold myself accountable if I do not spend time writing and talking about alternatives. I do know there are persons who are genuinely interested in these grey areas that many prefer not to talk or write about. Rather than refrain from helping a drunken man because some might perceive alcohol on me and call me a drunk, I’d rather risk being called a drunk if it helps save him.
So I’m sorry. So long as our people continue to face relationship, marital and sexual issues; so long as Eros continues to trouble many young people; so long as we continue to have broken hearts, abortions, rape, sexual abuse; so long as many continue to be confused about the true meaning and nature of human sexuality and sexual orientation, so long as the goat continues to ‘shit black shit’… I CAN’T stop writing and talking. I do apologise, but this is my FINAL answer.
About the Author
Rev. Fr. Kevin Oselumhense Anetor is a Catholic Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria. He holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Philosophy and Theology, from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and Urbaniana University, Rome respectively. He is currently a Post Graduate Student of Communication Studies at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
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