Dashiki Dialogues: When arousal is a threat

2011-05-26 10:33

My friends and I have been scuttling about in search of fitting ways to talk sexuality and self-discovery with our siblings.

I know! You’d expect somebody born at the start of the disco era to have no problems talking reproductive health with his siblings, right?

But contrary to what you may think, the post-76 generation – like the babyboomers before them – grow tongue-tied when required to face their nephews and nieces on anything sexual.

But the truth is we need to navigate that space – fast. It’s a matter of life and death if you place HIV/Aids into the equation.

That’s why I recently convened a young uncles’ imbizo over jazz and cold waters. Yes, the type meant for people of 18 years and older.

You see, I discovered that some of my friends hold a cold and candid view on children and their sexual habits. One of them even kept stressing that innocence is something adults project on children but is not really there.

I could have argued otherwise, but he delivered a mouthful of chilling facts. Squinting his left eye, he said: “Out of 110 000 teenage pregnancies attended to in three government hospitals in Joburg, 6 000 of these were in children as young as 10 years old.”

A recent survey actually confirms these sobering facts.

And, of course, these are tragic things to have to confront. This means if you have a 10-year-old child in your family, you must accept that he or she is probably already experimenting with sex.

But we can’t afford to jump on to our high horses. I mean, at worst, this is clearly a tale of children burning their fingers in a valid quest to learn about their bodies – especially when considering how hyper-sexualised our world has become.

So these things will happen if children have no one to talk to about their curiosities. Besides, there can’t have been a time when being young was as tough as it is today.

My pot-bellied friend actually laments that “this Aids thing is messing with the quality of our lives. It’s become dangerous to be aroused”.

This means for the young, HIV/Aids crafts a story of innocence lost to a simple urge to be human. Think about it, how are people meant to learn about their bodies when it can mean losing their very lives?

This means we need an urgent trans-generational Dashiki Dialogue on responsible sexual behaviour.

Otherwise, we’ll discover a tragic world that turns life into a perilous path from birth, through puberty and, ultimately, death.

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