Monday, August 5, 2013

How Safe is ‘Safe Sex’?

DJ Crosby was on the board and that statement alone tells you everything you need to know about the success of the event given that it was a salsa dance party. This guy handled the turntable with such finesse that I found myself wishing I was a turntable, being maneuvered masterfully under the tips of his fingers to produce sounds that were pure aural bliss. This was profound given that ‘Spanish Guitar’ was playing when I had this thought, and I have wanted to be played like a Spanish guitar for as long as I can remember. 

My dance partner that night was perfect, making an already awesome night all the more awesome. This guy was one of the most sensitive dance partners I have ever had. He made me look like I sashayed into the aviation social center after stepping off the plane from an international salsa competition where I won several trophies, a remarkable and commendable feat given my two left feet.

Despite my loving his partnering skills, I had only danced with Boris twice. His Barbie-proportioned girlfriend was usually an arm’s length away tensioning you with her perfect figure and flawless make-up. As if that was not enough, this girl had the most piercing brown eyes that made you feel guilty and want to confess even when you had done nothing wrong. She was a lawyer and I felt for those who would stand trial in her courtroom when she became judge.

Only one girl had been able to break her cool, collected, I-know-my-boyfriend-and-I-are-the-hottest-couple-here stance and that was my crazy twin, Robbie. When Robbie walks into a room, she immediately singles out the hottest guy in the room and introduces herself. The day I managed to drag her to salsa, she walked straight to the guy and introduced herself while he was dancing with his girlfriend. Chelsea looked at her with her best ‘back-off he’s mine’ look and Robbie, without batting an eye said “Oh, but it’s not him I was checking out. I was actually playing out fantasies with you in my head.” This silenced Chelsea, a first, and everyone cheered silently for Robbie. 

Chelsea was nowhere in sight tonight and I took full advantage to fulfill some of my tamer fantasies with Boris. I danced a little closer, popped my back a little harder to make my behind look bigger, and exaggerated every sway of my hips, using every turn to run my hands through my hair and slide them artfully down my nape, ending provocatively right above my bosom. 

The ever-sensitive partner, Boris quickly read my vibes and turned me in his arms, putting me in prime position to grind upon him during a particularly sultry Portuguese number. Caught in the sensual haze, I had not noticed the lights in the makeshift dance studio had dimmed until my furtive glance around to see if we were putting on a show. We were not. In fact, the couple next to us was bordering on obscene and no one was paying them heed because each couple was caught in their own cocoon of lust.

Emboldened by the darkness which assuaged some of my catholic guilt, I slowly unleashed some of the dance moves I usually reserved for my mirror at home. 

The song barely ended when he put his palm in the small of my back and led me outside. It seemed to have rained while we were inside, and the night was cool and dark, beckoning one into the shadows with sultry promise. For some inexplicable reason, Boris became shy when we found a step to sit on and he just held my hand and talked. He told me about his recent break-up with Chelsea (I cheered silently), and we got to know each other. In fact, he was regaling me with an anecdote about his time as entertainment prefect in PRESEC when I looked up and saw the sun had begun to rise. We had talked from 1am to 6am!

I bolted from his arms, remembering the wedding I had to attend with my mom later in the day. It was in Keta and we were scheduled to leave Accra by 9:00am. I should have gotten home eons ago.

♪♪ Ai se eu te pego, ai ai se eu te pego ♪♪. I glanced at my phone.  Boris. We had spoken every day this past week, but had both missed salsa this Friday due to work commitments. Today was a week after the wedding.

-       Hey!
-       Hey!
-       Do you swim?
-       Some.
-       My buddy is having a pool party later today. Wanna come?
-       You don’t have to do this to see me in a bikini, you know? You could just ask.
-       Okay, Miss. I would very much like to see you in a bikini at this pool party my friend is having today.
-       Touché. Where at?
-       He lives near Midindi hotel, but I insist on picking you up.
-       I’ll be around Labone visiting with cousins so text me the address and I’ll have my cousin drop me. You can drive me home, though.
-       I’d rather pick you up from your cousins. But if you insist…
-       I do (I cut in)
-       Okay. I’ll text you the address. See you later.

Boris in swimming trunks was truly a sight for sore eyes, but then I already knew that from the slim-fit shirts he sometimes wore to salsa. Besides, you don’t flip and lift all xxx pounds of the awesome I am with such ease without serious muscles. 

“Where can I change?” I asked. “I’ll show you.” He briskly whisked me off. We had scarce turned the corner when he slammed me into the wall and kissed me. “Hello!” he said, after a brief kiss. “Hi!” I said, leaning in for a longer kiss. “Behave!” He said slyly. ‘We are in somebody’s house.” I laughed, vowing to get back at him later.

Boris’ whistle when I came out was worth the $80 I had spent on the Calvin Klein bikini set I had bought on sale at Nordstrom. I stood taller and somehow flicked my kinky afro hair. After introductions to the group, we raced a couple of laps and sat down, legs dangling in the water to talk.

-       I got my test results back from the doctor yesterday
-       Which test results? 
-       Chelsea and I broke up because she was cheating on me with a girl. Well it turns out the girl was cheating on her with a boy who must have also been doing his own thing because he caught hepatitis B and passed it down the chain. Chelsea only told me because she had to.
-       Oh! 
-       Anyway, I had had the vaccine so knew I probably hadn’t caught it, but decided to do complete blood work to verify I was clean and see what else I may have caught.
-       And…
-       I’m clean
-       Oh, ok 
-       I would also like you to take all the tests
-       You’re assuming it will matter. You’re assuming we will…
(I gasped! He had snuck his hand behind me and trailed his icy-cold fingers down my sun-kissed back. I glanced sideways at him, the Ghanaian girl blush, as Mensa calls it. The heat in his eyes made me blush for real. Okay, so we definitely would)
-       Should I feel insulted because you are demanding this? 
-       No, you should feel taken care of. It’s not just for my safety. There is for instance no way to test for HPV for guys. Take the test, and get the vaccine. Let’s know what we are working with.
-       You can catch stuff from kissing too, you know? (I asked, musing.)
-       I know. You could have given me oral herpes already…
-       Among other things… (I solemnly said )

The rest of the afternoon went wonderfully, and as I lay in bed that night, I thought of safe sexual behavior and remembered a question Nana Darkoa asked last week. “Is ‘safe sex’ truly ever safe?”

This is a generation that tweets and blogs about one-night stands and having risqué oral and other sexual encounters in parking lots and backseats of cars.

A condom does not protect against contact-spread infections, and your faithfulness does not guarantee your partner’s.

With so much seemingly out of our control, it’s perplexing that we do not always control what we can. We have people priding themselves on being #teamraw. We have people thanking God they are not pregnant every month. We have people having unprotected side sex all the time and bringing back to their partners who may have been faithfully waiting at home, not just news of babies, but infections upon infection.

We see people brandishing Postinor as their birth-control method of choice, proud that they are baby-free, ignoring what infections they may be picking up of spreading.

How does one keep safe in the madness of it all? Aside the best bet abstinence which even then can only last till marriage, how do you keep safe? What are your rules and defense mechanisms? Are they truly enough?

Food for thought.


  1. Me like!! I like most especially that it is creative non-fiction!

  2. Wow this is more than food for thought, more like breathe for life. Excellent writing (pls I need some tutorials), and achieves it's aim, leaving you thinking of a very moment you...

  3. @ Nnenna Marcia: Thanks, Nnenna. Glad you like it. It's my favourite genre to read and I thought I'd try my hand at writing it.
    @ Trotrodiaries: Thank you. Breath for life dieh, my head wont fit into my door again o... Lol.

  4. Interesting read.. Hmm this question of yours, been thinking..we can only wear and hope. :|

  5. There is so much I loved about this piece. I started off thinking it was creative fiction, and then when I was referenced (Whoop whoop for my swollen head), I thought no this is non fiction...Really well written piece, with plenty of provocative food for thought. Oh a small thing, I think it was Wanlov who referred to the 'Ghanaian girl blush'. Let's ask over twitter. Great story. Send me a piece for Adventures :)

  6. Very interesting read! love how the story wakes up and is real :)
    you've asked a very heavy question! my worry is that even within marriage these questions are still valid, how do u guarantee your spouse is keeping his/her vows just because you are? you can't abstain your whole life. will u use condoms alllllllll your life?? eye asem o!

  7. Is it me, or you didnt look very far for character inspiration? Because most of them are familiar paah o. lol.
    I enjoyed the read and the combination of two different styles. Bold. Maybe you could have ventured an answer to the question? Your stance is still unclear. But ah-well, no one can beat the 'Sprinter' to it :-)

  8. @Didi: Na wa o...
    @Nana: Thanks for passing through. I'm experiencing my own swollen head here that you liked it. I will have another listen and change the Mensa reference. Thanks for the heads up.
    @Mz A: Asem paa... That is the thing. So little is within your control. So guard that little control.
    @Ben: Hehe. Why, did you see yourself? :P Not at all. We have to wait for Usain Bolt to get there and do push-ups while waiting for the rest of us *nudge*. This statement "With so much seemingly out of our control, it’s perplexing that we do not always control what we can." kinda sums up my stance, reiterated above to Mz A.

  9. Wondering post.....
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