Adolescents, their Parents and Sex Talk

The owner of a cute button nose suddenly stopped in his tracks and looked up at the large woman and reflected, ‘Wow! My mummy is so smart. She knows everything! I’ll ask.’

A few minutes prior to this conclusion, the 6-year-old boy had endured a taxing conversion. A conversation so bizarre, he’d been left almost unhinged. It was the longest he’d had to sit through so far. His innocent comment about his pregnant mother’s size had led to wasting a precious 10 minutes sitting still and listening to a nightmarish story of how cows grow baby cows in their bellies and there being nothing mummy cow can do about how big she gets, because see, it’s baby cow getting bigger, not mummy cow. She’d then gone on to tell him about the little girl growing in her own belly and how he’d soon have a sister. Boy, was he struggling to wrap his head around that. How?! His mind was a riot of questions. Oblivious to the tremors she’d just set off and satisfied that her boy had got it, mother and son continued on their way, with the mother thinking to herself, “There’s no way I’ll let
him think I ate my way to this size.”

Those tremors led to an explosion of, “How did my sister get in there, mummy?” How will she come out of your belly? If there was ever a good time to swear…Damn! Every mother gets asked a variation of these questions and all kids receive a variation of the same answer. My mother told me, “Through the belly button and don't ask me again,” while my brother-in-law was told, “The way a chicken egg does.” Both parents sought to shoot and kill this chain of questioning-- both kids were left extremely curious.

This pattern stays true to its repetitive nature for both the African and European, save for a break in
pattern during adolescence.

In modern Europe, a 16 year old introducing a boyfriend or girlfriend to their parents isn’t uncommon. In fact, said friend will most probably be invited to tea and closely inspected by the parents over tea and biscuits and their intellect gauged through clever questioning and polite conversation. Both pairs of parents might even get to meet. It’s all pleasant and cool, trust in the adolescents not messing up playing a big role. A sleep over might be agreed to though separate bedrooms are always insisted upon. The unspoken rule being, no sex and if sex, safely please.

The adolescent will now be granted permission to go out dancing unsupervised, with friends. There’ll be weekends and holidays away with friends; a group of raging hormones. The parents will reason, “Nothing untoward really happens in a group. Everybody is watching.” The first part of the unspoken rule gets repeatedly broken, fuelled by fantasies and swapped stories with all sorts of embellishment. Each one’s story seeks to outdo the other. A girlfriend (sometimes virtual) will acquire a pair of legs so long one would need the help of a ladder to kiss her. She’ll have boobs that put watermelons to shame. The girls’ fantasies are equally outlandish. Their boyfriends will have tummies a ball can bounce off of and arms so strong lifting a car is child’s play. Their hair will have a mind of it’s own—rugged sexy and they’ll have jaws so sharp one could cut through butter with it -- Sizzling hot! Blown up posters of half naked superstars will adorn every inch of the young people’s bedroom walls. Parents are personae non gratae. Posters of rockets, cars and cities are summarily discarded. That’s for the geeks. As my friend put it, “Nobody wants to be the last virgin.”

All African adolescents, on the other hand, are virgins. To everybody outside THE clique,
none have any keen interest in sex although they seem to always know someone who does. Females are on the receiving end of the whore label if it gets out they sampled the nyom-nyom and it could get worse. Males are annoyingly spared. 

Nonetheless, fantasies blossom. Every boy’s waking hour will be filled with fanciful mental images of large rounded undulating behinds and hips so wide you can see them a mile from here. What’s referred to as ‘thunder thighs’ in Europe is ‘juicy thighs’ to them. Their ideal woman will come equipped with heart-melting large, brown eyes and lips that command the presence of dimples at the slightest hint of a smile. Girls wont fanaticize about ripped muscles—yuck! Their pie in the sky will be so tall he could easily pluck branches out of a giraffe’s mouth and possesses the strength to carry out the task. He’ll have the darkest, shiniest complexion and the whitest of teeth. His lips will be thick and broody, surrounded by an immaculately scalped moustache and beard. He’ll most probably possess brows knotted in an arrogant glare that only lets up when his eyes alight on the daydreamer. Bad boys always get the girls. 

Unsupervised sleepovers, weekends or holidays away are regarded by parents as silly things done in movies. Girls will be watched like hawks. They’ll be expressly forbidden from meeting the opposite sex alone. It’ll be drummed into their heads that, “Boys are dangerous. A girl with any worth doesn’t flirt.” Any boyfriend threat is dealt with swiftly and ruthlessly. A casual rough up…a growl in the face and a verbal warning from the girl’s brother (s), may do the job. If not, the suspect might be duped into accepting an invitation purporting to come from the focus of his affection. He’ll be politely received, offered a seat and an exceptionally hot cup of tea. He’ll then be forced to participate in a one sided conversation with the man of the house, who’ll regale him with gruesome tales of lost limbs, amputations and castrations, all the while, wearing a smile. The young man will be very relieved to leave the house and it’s frightening stories behind, and will most probably never look back. Dating for the African adolescent becomes top secret. Even as adolescence gives way to young adulthood, moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend is still forbidden and the subject never gets broached, unless a wedding is in the offing. 

Much later, having been left in the dark for ages, their kids having hit and gone past the 25th year mark, the parents start yearning for openness as they are thrown into a vicious panic of, “Where are the suitors?” The previously forbidden topic is quietly and without warning, reopened. Questions like, “When will you make us grandparents?” are casually thrown around with increasing frequency. Ahhh! If there was ever a good time to swear…

How was it in your house?


  1. this is awesome....not only was this in our homes but in school too. if a boy sent a girl a note, he would get away with it and its the victim who would be punished severely....did our parents approve of this?? i totally have no idea as you would not bring yourself to indulge them in such a shameful secret!!!

    1. ....I remember thinking...No way adults have sex :D :D.. Hahahaha! I remember my brother being urged to keep a close eye on me 'now that she's grown boobies' :D...Then the confiscated letters in Boarding school...

  2. You said it all. If I had no children my mother would probably believe I am still a virgin. haha I remember how we gossiped about the girl who had lost their virginity in high school. They were considered 'dirty'. But look out here, high school and you haven't done the deed? You're boring!!!!!!! I honestly appreciate some parts of the naivety we were kept in. It protected me for a little longer, if you know what I mean. It's a crazy world. The sex talks have to start from home I believe. Not prepared for that part yet. Eek!

  3. LOL...That's hilarious and I believe you :D. Talking to any boy was to risk being subjected to extensive interrogation. If there'd been a virgin-o-meter, they'd have purchased it :D. Jesus! Ya, I think a 14 year old being sexualised is totally off and rather sad...but to expect a 20 year old to know nothing about sex is absurd.