God won’t love you any less if you’ve had sex but he’ll appreciate you waiting.
An interview with Patience.
Patience | Age: 21 | Location: NYC, USA | Born: Rwanda | Occupation: Law student | No. of sexual partners: 0
Why did you take part?
Two things. I was very intrigued about the work. I never heard about this kind of work. I don’t really have a sex life so it will be a good exploration.
What events in your life shaped your sexuality? What’s your story?
I grew up in Rwanda, it’s quite different there you know. When you’re growing up in Rwanda, aunties help you. They use creams and butter to elongate your labia. They pull it with their hands. Sometimes they do it in a group, sometimes it’s just you and your cousin. If it’s a 1-1 you do it more often than in a group. In a larger group it’s 1-2 a week. You basically use your hands and sometimes spices. With spices it swells up. When it’s swollen you pull it and it hurts. A lot. The first time they pulled mine I freaked out and never did it again. When the labia is longer it’s more pleasure for the guy. It increases the friction and all. If you end up with a traditional guy he could send you home if you hadn’t done it. If you please your husband you get to keep him and keep him from cheating. If he cheats he won’t bring another wife like they could in say Kenya; he’ll just go out. There’s a push to avoid that. We don’t have a lot of polygamy. Not sure why. Belgians and their Christianity. Your dad’s sister is meant to tell you about everything. What positions and stuff. She’s meant to give you all these lessons. The husband can leave you and just tell - she’s terrible in bed. You don’t want that. Back in the days it was very much that the children were thought of as the father’s tribe and not the mother’s. We have clans. You take your father’s clan. Whatever bad happens would reflect badly on the father’s family. The auntie therefore protects the family by making sure you do things right. Like keeping your husband coming home. Being away, I have the privilege of being alienated from all that.
I grew up in a pretty conventional Catholic family. Mother, father, two sisters. I feel like I lived a pretty normal childhood. I was good with school. My mum used to force us to go to church. As a kid I was always attracted to guys but they weren’t to me since I was always just doing school work. I didn’t grow up sexually wanted per se. From an early stage my father had relationships with other women. I think that has affected a lot of how I see men. Like a man can shag other women and then come back home to a wife. I was very close to my father. When I was 15 he passed away and it rocked my world. I was very lonely. I then went to a boarding school in South Africa. I was very low and had some troublesome teenage years. I abused drugs and alcohol. My way of staying clean was not to have sex with any gys. It was the one thing I had control over. After highschool I moved to NYC and became a Christian. My faith doesn’t depend on whether I’m celibate or not but I’ve never had sex. God won’t love you any less if you’ve had sex but he’ll appreciate you waiting. In Kenya or Gambia or Nigeria they do genital mutilation. Girls die. They do it to curb a girl’s sexual desire and get her to stay a virgin for her husband. My upbringing has been helpful with staying a virgin. Being a christian or not, you’re kind of expected to be a virgin when you get married. Back in the day people used to be 12 getting married so hard to not be a virgin. My generation is far from that. Very common for people to hook up. Even just knowing each other at a club. I know I wanna live in Africa, Rwanda maybe. We’ll see. In a sense if I go back I’ll go as an educated woman. The person I’ll get married to will probably be in the same class as me. Sad to think but it’s true. People with education, that’s the people you’re in the same circles with. My husband won’t send me back but it does happen. I’ve heard stories.
It’s a very two sided feeling to be a virgin still. I love being special, knowing that I’m on my own path. On the other hand there is a lot of restriction that comes with it. What if I’m missing out? You know like FOMO? A lot of the guys don’t share my faith. I’ve been asked to make love, they ask. Most people aren’t willing to wait, to make that sacrifice. I haven’t been in any serious relationships. Had some flings, make-outs here and there, but nothing to talk about really. I also hold back because I don’t want to get to a point of breaking up and break my heart because I can’t have sex. In friendships I have to go out of my way to talk about it. They know I’m not active in that space and are hesitant to share it. I’ve made it a point to let them know it’s ok to talk about it. Most of my friends aren’t Christians. One is but we don’t really talk about it. We decided we’re going to wait till marriage. Why talk about it if we’re gonna wait till marriage. Don’t want to breathe life into it if it ain’t happening, you know. There’s this whole idea that women have it easier to control themselves. That’s not true. It’s very hard to be at this point and still be a virgin. I have desires! I really liked this guy a few months ago. I called him and told him that I was ready to give it to him. I called my friend and asked about what kind of contraception I should use. Come the day before meeting him I was like, what I believe in is so much more important than this.
It doesn’t matter if the man is a virgin. This is my decision. For me so long as the person is on the same page as me when we’re together it doesn’t matter how they got there. We all have pasts. I’d actually really like for them not to be a virgin - I’d like some expertise on the table really! Being a virgin makes me feel really insecure about having sex in a way. For the longest time I used to watch a lot of porn just so that I could have some knowledge base. Of course it’s the worst place since that’s not meant to be how it goes down. I have things that pop up they make me feel really insecure. Other day 3 of my friends were talking about sex. This whole time I thought doggie style was anal sex. I thought clearly, from the back, got to be ass sex. It wasn’t! They couldn’t stop laughing. Damn. Stuff like this makes me feel really insecure. I try to stay away from porn because it really messes with your mind. Moments like those make me watch porn. I need to learn more so that I’m not completely clueless. Haven’t seen other ways of learning about it. I want to stay away from temptation but I also want to know about it. It’s a slippery slope knowing about it. Normally you learn about things because you’re gonna do them.
It’s impacted how I interact with men a lot. It’s very much - when I meet a guy for the first time it’s with a lot of reservation. I don’t want to come too close, to like you too much, to feel like I owe you something. I’m so good at making them into friends. If you call a guy a bro it kills romance straight up. Call a guy a bro and you get them right off your back! It’s a really sad reality. I’d like to be in something. I think I’d like to be in a relationship. I need to find a way to find guys with similar viewpoints on this. I think me distancing myself can also prevent me from finding the right guy. Like which direction it’s going. Like i’m in control with where it’s going. The scary thing about relationships with guys is that there’s a half you don’t control. It freaks me out to have my happiness at the table and I’m not in control of half of what’s going on. That’s one of my biggest fears.
What does sex mean to you?
It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a gift. Intimacy. My thinking of what it is is very defined by my journey. I think it’s a new level of intimacy. Soul unison. Spiritual alliance. Not holding anything back and do the same to you.
What’s difficult about sex?
There is a possibility that I may never have a husband. Freaked out is how that makes me feel. I legit have panic attacks about it. I really don’t know. If the truck I’m on persists it may happen. Honestly the way I’ve come to terms with it is I’m gonna be faithful in the now. In the future...I’ll just deal with it when I deal with it. I have a huge desire to adopt kids and have kids. It’s not about marriage. I want to have a family. Never thought I did but now I do. Probably in like 9 years or so. I was reading this book about the defining decade. I don’t want to have a baby when I’m 40. I want to have them early and then chill. It doesn’t make sense otherwise. Early in my 30s or 29. That’s just my personal preference. I’d probably want to get married when about 27. But when have things ever worked out according to plan? Never, never ever. I don’t need someone to be perfect. So long as we have similar values and we agree on what we want to build together. More than love each other, respect each other, we can get along fine.
Do you orgasm?
I don’t really let it go that far [in masturbation]. It’s a very repulsive thing for me. I don’t really know what it feels like. Couldn’t even tell you. It’s meant to be like this entire body thing. Contracts. Whatever they’ve explained I never gone through that. I don’t want to do it. It sources from having desires I can’t get over. I don’t want to be touching myself I want to save myself for my husband.
Do you masturbate?
Every so often. I mean like once every couple of months. It comes with a lot of guilt. Like I can’t stomach it. I can’t look at myself. That’s not how I want it to look like. That’s like one of the times when I fall. It’s too hard, you know. We’ve made out and I want to go further and don’t want to. Much easier to touch myself instead. I’m praying and praying about it. I’m praying for strength to carry through with it. I don’t want the desires to go, they’re a part of us but to not look for the easy way out.
How do you see female sexuality portrayed in the society and how does it make you feel?
How I see sex in society is it’s glorified and great and the ultimate way of showing someone you love them. On another hand you can do it with people in a party. Both can’t be true. It is really confusing for me. It is hard when it’s so much in your face. I feel like i’m going against it all. Makes me feel like an outsider. Even this conversation is so strange to me. People probably talk about this all the time.
What’s your advice to women?
I have no idea how to answer. At the end of the day we came to this world by ourselves and our journey is just our journey. I certainly feel like I owe it once I’m closer to a guy that’s why I stay away. But neither you or I owe it to anybody. Your journey is your journey. Society should be the last reason to do it.
What’s your advice to men?
If a woman says no, there’s a level of you that starts being creepy if you keep insisting for too long. If i want you to pursue me I’ll say yes or tell you.
Is there anything you want to explore?
I would give the world for my husband to go down on me as many times as possible . A great act of service, it really is.