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February 18, 2019

Banning 'sex talk' on radio

Move to ban ‘sex talk’ on radio not wise
Move to ban ‘sex talk’ on radio not wise

We are all embarrassed by sex, sexuality and nudity. Some of our boundaries might be a little tighter than others but everyone has a line. However ‘good manners’ cannot be the driving factor behind a ban on a topic that is so central to the human condition. Following the conversation around this ban, I cannot escape the feeling that what offends us most about those who are younger than us accessing information on sex, is our presence while they do it. The government ban is a reflection of manners and the importance of being 'proper' and not embarrassing Kenyans as opposed to really providing some direction for a society that is inundated with sexual information.

Embarrassed though we may be, we must talk about sex as the previous avenues for sexual education are largely antiquated, especially for the urban population. A cucu to tell me about marital issues? In a language that I will understand and relate to? An auntie who gets Twitter, or even better Tinder? Even basic texting and Whatsapp is a challenge, not to mention sexting, Instagram or Snapchat. Then what about how to maintain interest and excitement in the oh-so-familiar territory called marriage? As bodies lose their youthful glow, response time and stamina?

Depending on who drives the conversation, sex talk can very easily veer into the crass and obscene. Do I blush at the conversations on Kenyan radio? Definitely. Am I always ready to visit my opinions on matters sexual in a face-to-face conversation? God no. In fact those who know me are frequently shocked at just how shy I am. But I write about sex because I believe it is a vital part of being human. It is one of life's greatest pleasures and instead of relegating it to shadowy back rooms and branding it filthy, I think we should focus our efforts on giving our children a healthy attitude towards sex and sexuality.

Kenya is a country rife with stories of rape and defilement. Perhaps instead of a ban, the government should have had the same stations that are profiting from the titillating conversation, talk about consent and an individual's right to say yes or no to sex and sexual advances. Most of us aren’t even clear that flirting and consent are two different things. Perhaps we should be talking about creating safer homes and schools for our children; and open parent-child relationships where kids feel they can talk to mum and dad about these things. Perhaps compulsory coverage of safe sex should be introduced?

There is a lot under the ‘sex talk’ title that impacts the development of a country, family life and the quality of life in general that its citizens enjoy. A blanket ban is laughable as data bundles and smartphones become cheaper and more accessible to Kenyans. What about a guided conversation? Some mandatory cornerstones that must be covered? When a conversation is embarrassing, entertainers, and not necessarily educators have a lot to offer in driving that conversation. Is educating these entertainers broadening their sexual scope (so to speak) and demanding more from them out of the question?

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