If there is anything I am fascinated with apart from people and how they reason, it is an understanding of the dynamics of relationships and how people conduct, live or cope with the uniqueness of their situation.
So you can imagine my interest in the ongoing saga between Jada Smith and August Alsina. For those of us not in the know, August, a young musician recently revealed that he had been in a relationship with Jada with the knowledge of her husband Will Smith.
Jada has since denied that Will was aware of the affair but it has brought to the fore the subject of open marriages and I must say that the views of the younger generation on it is cause for concern. Open marriages, are marriages in which each partner may engage in extramarital sexual relationships without it being regarded as infidelity. There are variants of open marriages such as swinging and polyamory and you may be forgiven if you think that these things happen only abroad and amongst Caucasians but in actual fact we are seeing an upsurge of such activities here in our clime and the responses of our youth on social media is quite telling.
For those that are in the know, there are swinging clubs in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt where couples go to with the main aim of sleeping with other people’s partners.
These things are not strange though, they have been ongoing for a long time, it’s just that now both sexes are indulging openly in it. I dare say that the way some of our fathers lived, they were in open relationships with their partners as some of our mothers knew their husbands mistresses. Heck, a lot of them lived with their husbands mistresses. I know a family where the father rented a house and his wife and children lived in one part and his mistress ( who he wasn’t married to) lived in the other part. In my opinion, Fela’s relationships with his wives in the Kalakuta Republic fell into this category. The only difference between then and now is that in the past, most wives did not consent to these arrangement but now the wives actively engage in them.
Research has shown that most people that engage in these relationships are between the ages of 20-35 and most of them start out because they find it somewhat boring to be with one person or they want to add some spice to their relationship or some even because they want to save their relationships and think of an open relationship as a shock treatment. For others it’s because they are in different countries and they understand or agree to the need for their partners to have sex with other people.
I hear that there are rules and conditions to these “affairs” but the reality of most open marriages/ relationships is that the heart and emotions do not always agree with the head and before you know it, emotions get involved, people either fall in love with one another or become jealous and possessive about their partners. There is also the danger of sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy and the birth of children whose paternity is questionable. I heard of a case where the DNA test result showed that the child had about 40% of the known father’s genes whilst the remaining 60% were contributed by someone else.
There is an ongoing sexual revolution in our country both amongst our youth and also with the more mature generation and things hitherto hidden are being done and spoken about in broad daylight. Both generations are more daring and adventurous but whilst the younger generations tend more to look outside the relationship for adventure, the older ones tend to be more inward looking and so are having second thoughts about their attitudes to a heightened sexual experience through body enhancement, sex toys etc.
I remember the first time I saw a vibrator upfront, I was in a pharmacy in mainland Lagos with my kids who were then in their teens and in one corner of the shop were vibrators for sale in full glare. I picked one up and showed it to them telling them what is was for ( though I suspected that they already knew) mainly because I wanted them to hear my own version of the place sex toys had or didn’t have in a marriage.
I say with all humility that at first I totally decried the use of sex toys amongst couples mostly because I couldn’t see the need for it and because as a “good Christian wife” I felt it was unnatural. I still have my doubts about its use or rather about it’s abuse but I am more emphatic towards its use because I recognize that there are situations where it may help to save a marriage and keep the couple from having external partners.
It is common knowledge that most men in their mid 40- through their 60s suffer from erectile dysfunction due to many factors the most common being medical. In such cases, especially where the woman is sexually active and aware of her sexual needs, it is a huge injustice to the wife, if the man is unwilling to employ the use of sex toys to ensure that both parties experience some sense of fulfillment sexually and vice versa as the case may also be true for a woman who falls sick.
In talking to most men my age their attitude to sex toys has been that of fear because to them it speaks volumes of their dwindling performance and they feel it may replace them. But the truth is that no machine can ever take the place of a human being in matters like this and sometimes its just plain selfishness to insist that another should not enjoy a pleasure because you can’t. Also the statement “it’s not what you have but how you use it” is true and in situations like this a bit of creativity can help turn things around. In my opinion, sex toys are not much different from all the concoctions albeit in powder or liquid form being sold on the streets promising men enhanced virility.
My generation is not likely to engage in open marriages but I fear for the younger generation as I find their attitude to the sanctity of marriage a bit worrisome . If you don’t believe me, please follow the famous relationship bloggers on Social media and read for yourself what our younger generation is getting up to. Also, take time to talk to your children and ask for their views on certain topics . You may be surprised that they may see nothing wrong in open relationships so long as all parties are agreed to it even though they may agree that it might not be for them.
I think it’s time we open up the conversations about these topics and start talking about them especially to our impressionable youth who swallow up everything they are being told by the media without reservation.