I saw my first period later than many of my friends, i believe i was well into my teenage years before it finally came (guess I’m a later bloomer). It was not shocking because prior to that I’ve heard plenty first time stories from friends and cousins and I’d watched an episode of this on I Need To Know – a family oriented TV series at the time starring Funke Akindele aka Jennifer.
That was my first encounter with the talented actress. Her character (Bisi) played out so naturally that I could relate with the girl I watched so religiously. So when I experienced my period it was like walking a path I was already familiar with.
Thinking back on the TV series that influenced me while growing I can surely say the major sex education, I had growing up was through I need to know series. Why? Well, safe to say I was brought up in a very conservative Nigerian home. My dad is very shy to even use the word sex in any sentence. E.g instead of saying someone is sleeping around he’d say ” she’s uselessing herself” Lol. Uselessing bawo! He’s very uncomfortable talking about sex so no sex education from him sorry. He’d just keep saying “don’t useless yourself” lwkm. That was the sum total of sex education I got from him.
While I understand, talking sex with your daughter can be awkward, I’m certain my father is incapable of giving even a male teenager sex education because my brother got none from him either. Sigh.
And my mom? Oh well, any time the topic comes up she always has one statement. “A boy will just ‘sex’ you and leave you pregnant” lol. Or the only thing a boy wants from you is to sex you o tan! In fact i remember going to my mum when i first saw my period. (All i wanted was to ask for money to buy some sanitary towels) but nope my mum that never gave any form of sex education before then decided that was the best time to put the fear of God in me. She sat me down and said “now you have become a woman, you cannot play with boys any longer because ones they touch you like this (tapping me on the arm) you will become pregnant and that is it no more school for you. You will start, fetching water and washing dishes for his mum and become their slave” mhen ! that scared the shit out of me.
The thought that my life will literally end just because a boy touched me was terrifying. She gave me a pack of pads that day though but I became seriously boy-o-phobic from that moment. In my mind boys became my immediate enemy . But guess what? That very week, a boy playing ball accidentally hit and fell on me on a field. Omg I’m pregnant!!! …
Weeks passed and I kept checking my belly, eventually after more than two months I knew for sure I wasn’t pregnant. I was relieved, but then I also knew I was lied to. I won’t get pregnant because a boy touches my arm. No! It’s gats to be more than that. And that was when I became very curious.
Unfortunately, there was no one to ask what the truth was. If I tried asking a teacher then, I would be suspected for more than curiosity.
Funny enough, the topic came up in one of our subjects. I was elated, thinking finally i would get an answer to my unspoken questions. It was time for class as I heaved a sigh of relieve knowing for sure my questions will be answered in this class…
I ended up doing an assignment on classifying a list in Asexual, Bisexual, Heterosexual blah blah blah. Arrrgh. The lesson had nothing to do with my questions. There is no teen class or teen church section in my church maybe if there was I would have had answers. So at this point in my life till a few years later, I had my hormones raging mates, sibling, cousins and luckily the TV show to learn everything I knew about being a teenager, having boy friend, setting relationship boundaries, sex and generally social functioning.
Thinking back to those days I believe I can say “I need to know” saved me. It brought me the kind of education I could not get from home, school, my mates or church and saved me from getting the wrong kind of education. I became wise and was able to make the right decisions just because I was able to have access to this show/ information.
These days I see many TV series are based on super hero stories which I find interesting and entertaining, but I wonder who is breaching the gap, which TV series is addressing adolescence and sexual issues for the new generation, who is answering burning questions our homes and religious houses have refused to answer leaving teenagers and young adult to their own devise.
Hmm, writing this makes me feel the need to start teen class or social group that will give correct information about sex especially. It was hard enough in my teens. In this age of over information I can only imagine how lucky this generation of youths are. Yet I fear for the quality and type of information (fake news/ fake info) they are getting for burning questions.
What was your experience as a teen?