Women rarely discuss sex with their husbands – Ifekwem
Mrs. Nkiru Ifekwem is one person that has taken a deep interest in gender issues. Over a decade she has been working on issues concerning women. With first and postgraduate degrees in business administration and general management respectively, from the University of Lagos, Ifekwem is the Lagos State Coordinator of Women Organization for Gender Issues. She is also the co-coordinator of Anambra Women Association in Lagos.
Below, she shares her thoughts about why men stray. Excerpts…
The woman in the house tries to change the man by all means
I attended a wedding recently where the lady that made the cake said that marriage is like the components she used to bake the cake. The woman said that she added sugar and brandy, explaining that sugar is sweet while brandy is bitter.
In essence, marriage is at times sweet and sometimes bitter. I tell women that the effort to make a marriage stable should come more from them than the men. By nature, men are polygamous. They have the tendency to stray but the level depends on how the woman handles the marriage. A lot of things come into play. Men stray when the home is not conducive; they stray when they no longer find their wives attractive. It means that the very things they saw in them when they were dating, they no longer see.
During courtship a woman is compassionate, she's worth staying with, but after marriage most women tend to lose interest in romance. They no longer care to look beautiful; they no longer care to do those things they did which thrilled the man.
Recently at a function, someone made this statement: “Wives try to train the man whereas the woman outside wants to retain the man.” In other words, the woman in the house tries to change the man from what he is by all means. To her, this man must be doing this function at home as the husband but the woman outside wants to retain the man instead of training the man. Men tend to stray when their wives do not try to retrain them.
You must compete with the woman outside
I tell women most of the time that it is a competitive world, you are competing to retain your man with somebody outside because there are lots of women outside. When the man goes out he sees other women. So it is your duty to compete with the other woman. So how does the woman do that? She should try to make the home conducive. There should be a good communication channel. You see, a lot of women don't communicate with their husbands.
There should be a communication channel in the home. I'm a busy person but everyday my husband knows where I am at any particular time because all through the night or in the morning, we discuss. For instance, I will say something like, 'I'm going to this workshop or that seminar to present a paper there, or I'm going to the university to do this or do that. That is communication; when there is no communication in the home it brings about lack of trust. He cannot know what the woman is up to, he cannot know what the woman is doing, and these are things that make men stray.
Women rarely discuss sex with their husbands
Due to our culture, women rarely talk about sex with their husbands. Let me tell you the whole truth: two basic things keep a man at home. Sex and good food are the two basic things that keep men at home and these are the two things that men normally go out to look for. Most times after marriage, women begin to think like this - he is now my husband.
During courtship they try to do anything to keep the man but after marriage they believe they now own the man. Because they married in the church and did traditional wedding, they believe they can never derail. Most of the women I counsel say that in their home they are not comfortable, they don't enjoy their husbands. I tell them to be open to their spouse. The husband and wife should be open to each other concerning the issue of sex.
Women should be brave to discuss sex with their husbands. After all, he is your husband, if it is an issue that requires seeing a medical doctor you two can go. For example, if a man goes on a trip maybe one week or two. When that man is coming back from that trip, two things are uppermost in his mind, to eat home-cooked food and have good sex with his wife. But you find out that some women do not get this message.
When the man comes in to find food on his table, after eating, he goes straight to the bedroom, waiting for the woman to come. But that is the time the woman will now remember to do all the washings in the house, clean the kitchen etc and the man is there waiting. After sometime he sleeps off. The very next morning he is going to his girlfriend's house, if he has one. She should know that this man has just come back from his trip; all she needs to do is give him good food, and lie with him and talk about his trip, discuss what he went through, everything and laugh over it.
You should have done those house chores before he came back, take a good bathe and wear your nice nightie, dab good perfume on your body and wait for him. But in this part of the world, it is not discussed because of our culture. The way we are brought up, sex is never d§iscussed and there is a lot of damage to marriages due to this. In my NGO, we talk to women about this and make them realize that sex is breaking most homes. That boyfriend you had that later married you, let him continue to be your boyfriend. My husband and I have been married for 30 years. In fact if he goes out on a trip or I go out, I will be jotting some things in my diary.
If he comes back or I come back we are going to talk all through the night. We will talk and talk and talk - this is what marriage is supposed to be. No matter how busy you are, try as much as possible to take care of your husband and prepare his meal; most of the time try to do that. There is this seminar I want to hold for female political aspirants in view of 2011. It will focus on how to keep your home while holding onto your job. I will show how to keep their homes while keeping that leadership position. Basically, if your home is in shambles you cannot make it out there, so you must try to balance things.
I try to prepare my husband's meal myself. I have people who can do it but the things I do for him, make him feel happier, and he loves me more. I put wifely hands on those things. Make the home and environment neat and conducive. Make yourself beautiful. People always tell me my husband is fashionable, that is what my husband wants, he's proud of me anywhere we go because he knows his wife must look special, fine and neat. Keep to shape; it takes me a lot to exercise to keep to shape. Because if I become obese and fat, he may not like that and he could stray.
Turn your long distance trips into a honeymoon
I was talking to some women that I can set out on a journey to the east with my husband and use it as another honeymoon, all the way from Lagos to Onitsha; we can stay three days on the road. When we get to Benin we check into a hotel, stay, chat and play; then we set out again and get to Onitsha, we get into a hotel, do the same. That will make the marriage fresh all through; marriage doesn't have to be stale.
When he stops being excited, the man tends to look for a place that is more exciting. There are some things my husband likes, which I don't like it but I must try to like them. There are some foods he likes, but I don't like at all. For instance, my husband loves ukwa (breadfruit pottage) so much but I hate it. However, I cook it for him and I tried to develop interest in it because he likes it. So, try to like what your husband likes. My husband tries to get involved in the things that interest me too.
You need to discuss anything you want to do
I take permission from my husband to go out to do anything I want to do. You need to discuss anything you want to do with your family. Let them be able to advise you on issues. After 30 years of marriage I still seek his permission and if he is not comfortable with what I want to do, I try to let him see reason on why I want to do it. And when he is not convinced I keep pressing until I convince him, then I go ahead. The woman has a lot to do in order not to make the man stray. It's not that rosy but the woman has to be patient. We cannot deny the fact that we are living in a man's world; we are not yet living in a woman's world.
Some women try to compete with their husband
Some women try to compete with their husbands. You don't need to compete with your husband. The bible says we have to be submissive. People erroneously think that being submissive is that a woman should not talk when her husband is talking. That is not being submissive. At times, you can reason along with your husband. Like my husband, I'm sure he will not feel comfortable marrying a woman that will not contribute anything during discussion, one who could not argue intelligently.
You don't have to compete with your husband – he is the head of the family. Some people are talking about gender equality. Personally, I don't believe in equality. No two human beings are equal talk less of a man and woman being equal. We are trying to talk about the female potential complementing that of the male, so whatever talent you have, whatever potential you have should complement what your husband has. Women should not claim equality with the man and trying to be the man because it doesn't bring peace to the home. Most of the time there is a lot of argument, the woman wants to prove a point and want to show all she knows. Even if you want to do that, it should be in a subtle way.
Some men who are insatiable
I am not totally absolving men though I feel like talking to my fellow women. There are some men who are insatiable. Do whatever you can, such men will still stray. I advise women to just ignore such men. Get yourself occupied physically and mentally. I don't believe in quarrelling. Still be nice to him and God will take control. 1 I believe that keeping men from straying is a huge investment that needs a lot of hard work and commitment. There is no one single method that works in all situations since every family is peculiar and unique. Just look inwards to find out the method that suits you.