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Celibacy until marriage: Kenyan men share their perspectives

If we can be honest here, no holds barred, maintaining sexual purity as an adult is nothing short of a vicious cycle. One day you’re certain about no sex ‘til marriage, and the next you’re questioning your decision to stay celibate. 

In this digital era we live in, suffice it to say, celibacy is a concept that is used to define sexual restraint rather than sexual purity. What I imply is that one person may have had sex multiple times, but decides to halt the game until marriage, whereas there’s another who may have never had sex and holds out until marriage. Both of these people are considered celibate.

However, some people abstain from all kinds of sexual contact, including kissing or holding hands as a means of being celibate, while others only refrain from sexual intercourse.

In matters of celibacy, nonetheless, a conundrum exists when it comes to societal expectations placed upon men and women. On one hand, women are often held to a higher standard when it comes to retaining their “purity” until marriage. On the other hand, they are expected to possess an array of skills in the bedroom. Talk about double standards.

Nairobi News dives into the complex perspectives of men, shedding light on the intricacies of these double standards and the implications they have on modern relationships.

Also read: How your lover’s best friend can make your relationship difficult

From time immemorial, women have been burdened with the notion of maintaining their purity until marriage. Rooted in patriarchal norms and cultural traditions, this expectation places an unfair burden on women’s shoulders. While society historically viewed female virginity as a symbol of purity and virtue, this perspective perpetuates harmful gender inequalities.

Simultaneously, men find themselves grappling with conflicting expectations when it comes to their partners’ sexual prowess. Society often places an undue emphasis on women’s ability to satisfy their partners in the bedroom. This sexual performance expectation, coupled with the pressure to maintain their “purity,” creates an intricate web of contradictions.

Men, like women, desire a fulfilling sexual relationship based on communication, exploration, and shared pleasure. However, the societal conditioning that burdens women with the expectation to be both sexually skilled and chaste can create a challenging dynamic. Sexual skills develop through exploration. 

Nairobi News spoke to some men who shared their opinion on the matter.

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“Imagine walking down a street and meeting a girl who looks and smells heavenly, alafu ukuje uniambie mambo ya celibacy? No! Just saying it doesn’t make any sense. Unless all the pretty girls are removed from society and segregated. Then, I would stay virgin until marriage. Thing is, when I pursue a woman, I just forget where she’s been before as long as we don’t talk about it, and she’s loyal henceforth, then she’s pure to me.” ~ Timothy Njuguna, 24

“I don’t see any problem for those who are willing to go through that journey. But as for me I wouldn’t go through it. Reason being I have to connect with my fiancé in every way to avoid situations that would lead to disagreements or even our fallout in our marriage,” ~Vincent Gakuo, 25.

“Celibacy till marriage is a good thing, and that also depends on either side of the relationship. See, a lady may want celibacy, but a guy does not so that definitely will end up ugly. For someone our age for example I noticed a girl’s look into the future and guy’s vision of his future are very different.

“A girl may want to pursue that (of which celibacy is mostly prefered by the ladies more than the guys) but a guy may be like ‘mbona nijinyime for 3-4yrs, then eventually it doesn’t work out? Now that brings up the question, are you doing it for your partner or yourself?

“Okay at first I was against celibacy because my goals at the end (with these Nairobi women) may not have you in the future. But after spending my time with someone who wanted celibacy, and it was more of a spiritual thing than just not wanting sex, my perspective is on the verge of shifting,” ~ Chris Kinyua, 28.

Also read: Gender double standards – Why should a woman’s body count matter more?