New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Have Women Become Too Loose or Are Men Unserious?

SUNDAY VISION -There is a whole new generation of people who do not seem to have the patience to carry on with one partner. Every day means a new 'catch.'

Grace Nakitto, a 29-year-old woman, does not remember the number of men she has slept with. The longest she has dated a man is four months. And, she lied to him that she had slept with only three men.

But after a few weeks, she could not live with the lie and finally decided to tell him the truth.

"I told him I did not want to have sex with him because I was scared that he would lose respect and eventually leave me like all the other men," Nakitto recounts.

At this point, her man asked her again, just how many men were there, to which she replied: "Over seven."

His reply was: "Hmm, one for each day of the week!"

Nakitto never heard from him again. But she has decided to go on having "fun", because "men are too unserious." "I can sleep with any man I have a crush on," she says.

Carl, a 32-year-old communications consultant, lives the hit-and-run kind of lifestyle. "Girls are loose. Any day you want one, you get her," he says.

In fact, every week he has a new girl. How does he get them? Through Facebook. "Chat them up a little, meet over coffee, next for a drink and you invite her to your place, she does not even object," Carl says.

Have times changed?

There was a time when many women cherished their bodies like a sacred temple, where she had to wait for that one man who respected and loved her.

Over time, it seems that women have failed to realise the important role their sexuality plays in finding a long-term spouse.

Today, some women seem to be trying to compete with men in everything, including sex escapades.

In fact, the 2011, Uganda Demographic and Health Survey shows that of the women aged between 25 and 49, 23% first have sexual intercourse before the age of 15, 64% before the age of 18, and by 25 years the majority of Ugandan women (90%) have had sexual intercourse.

The median age at first sex for men aged between 25 and 49 years is 18.6 years, about two years later than for women.

While the report is silent on how many men a woman is likely to sleep with in a given period, it is clear that most people are on some sort of sex rampage.

The power of a woman's dignity

Some women will argue that if men have the right to sleep around, so should women.

But Laura Aryijuka, a counsellor, asks: "If women believe this, then why is it that if you ask her how many men she has slept with she will tell a lie?"

Aryijuka observes that women have sexual advances directly or indirectly thrown at them every single day. But she stresses that it should be within their means to ignore them.

"Even the wheelbarrow pusher will tell you 'size yange.' You have the final position to say no," she says, adding that men appreciate and value women who control themselves and demonstrate a certain degree of sexual discipline and decency.

"If a woman shows a man that she is loyal and sexually responsible, then she will have the most powerful weapon to attract a decent man," Aryijuka says.

She further argues that if your body is used, what else is there left to commit to?

Perhaps this explains why so many marriages do not work, she adds.

"People base their whole relationship on sex and do not realise that when the passion disappears, there is nothing left but each other's personality," says Aryijuka.

True to this, Paul Mangeni of Luzira says: "The girls I meet want gifts, dining posh and partying. I pretend for some time, but after getting what I want (sex), I let go."

Besides, a woman has more to lose from 'sleeping around' than a man does. She's the one who gets stuck with going through a pregnancy and taking care of a baby alone if she chooses an irresponsible man.

Promiscuous men sadly, could always run away from the consequences of unwanted pregnancies easier.

What about men

There is always that excuse that a man is 'hard wired' to sleep around because he has nothing to lose and can still get a good wife anyway.

But men also stand to lose, according to Gaston Byamugisha, a marriage counsellor.

Byamugisha says apart from causing a woman emotional pain, unwanted pregnancies and spreading sexually transmitted infections, a man risks raising children of unknown parentage.

"If a man sleeps around with three women, each of whom is monogamous to him, you know who the father is.

But if you sleep around with a woman who is also sleeping around, that is chaos. The father of the child she is expecting could be another man and you are tricked into raising a baby who is not yours," says Byamugisha.

This implies you could easily invest time, money and property to provide for a child that isn't carrying your DNA.

There are also stories of children marrying their siblings because their parents were reckless. About 20 incest cases were reported in 2011, up from 12 in 2010, according to the Police Crime Report.

And just like no man wants to marry a 'loose' woman, Byamugisha says decent women are also put off by men who are too easy.

"She thinks you are not worth her."

It is not too late

Pastor Martin Ssempa, a moralist and abstinence campaigner, says everyone, whether a man or woman, needs to realise that their body is a temple. Ssempa calls for assertiveness in every aspect of their life.

"What kind of fun is it if you are ruining your body? You do not want to wake up one day and discover that no one wants to date you," says Ssempa.

What do you think?

Have women become too loose or are men unserious?

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