A major public debate erupted over the “Weka Condom Mpangoni” advert, a safe sex campaign by NACC ( National Aids Control Council) that was deemed to endorse infidelity. I am actually surprised that an advert that pretty much stated that it was okay to sleep around as long as one used a condom, lasted this long. From my own analysis, the ad had run for a good month before the moral police could say, “What the hell?” This advert was a sequel of the original ‘Wacha mpango wa kando’ series that featured a patronizing Jimmy Gathu, admonishing unfaithful married persons whilst tabulating the hidden costs of infidelity. The ad was criticized as being unrealistic and it was parodied quite a bit. Promoting safe sex in Kenya is always going to be a challenge because in all matters to do with sex, denial is the society’s default position.
The “Weka condom Mpangoni” ( roughly translates to, include a condom in your extra marital affairs) message highlights the vulnerability of married couples to HIV & AIDS. A recent report from NACC revealed that married couples are so vulnerable, the risk is three times that of prostitutes. Unlike single persons who are more accustomed to condom usage, frustrated married partners are most likely to skip the inconvenience of sourcing rubbers out of habit and fear of social scorn.
The advert is progressive in many ways because the target is married women. The previous limitation of the safe sex campaigns was the assumption that women are always in a position to negotiate condom use. Unfortunately, prevailing stereotypes do not make it that easy for a married woman to stash condoms and oddly many women still believe availing condoms is the man’s job. Therefore, presenting a scenario where average market women discuss condom use says loudly that it is okay to place your sexual health before your social reputation. Condoms are now part and parcel of a healthy sex life, a fact that married couples engaging in high risk sexual behaviour and in serious need of prophylactic cover remain in denial about.
Since abstinence and fidelity are a universal challenge, we might as well address the big fat elephant in the room. Why does sex seem to be happening everywhere but in the matrimonial bed? People cheat because the grass always looks greener across the fence and it becomes more apparent after marriage. In the same way, one notices sleeker cars on the road as soon as they acquire a new model. That shouldn’t be an issue. Attraction to other people is normal even in a happy marriage. Sexual frustrations in long term relationships are the norm rather than the exception. What this society needs is to get over the notion that one single person will fulfill all our sexual and emotional needs. It will save us so much heartache. The human instincts and the expectations of modern living are not compatible. Typically sexual desires will always be at conflict with what’s considered acceptable behaviour.
But if this lambasted ad tells us one thing, it is that more and more women are out there playing the field with no apologies to make and men are the game. Therefore, the onus is on the attached husband to start to place some initiative in his sexual performance and begin to pay more attention to his woman’s sexual and emotional needs. Female sexual repression is no longer a virtue in these liberal times and society is unable to police female desire. The reality is that what women want these days, they tend to get and they do not require a man’s permission.
16 thoughts on “Help! I Am Married But Starved”
I cringed about this ad from the first time I saw it. True sex is not happening on matrimonial beds…question is if that okay and thats my problem with it. If these were twenty something olds saying this on tv….i dont think there would be a problem, but its like my mum chuckling at a mpango wa kando business….nop its either black or white…no gray area with the excuse that its happening so lets face it…I say its happening and it is wrong!
I do not think it is question of whether it is okay or not. People respond to their needs and when society blocks outlets for that expression, people adapt and reinvent. Rules of acceptable behaviour change and once a majority normalizes behaviour, the rules of engagement have to change. What is considered immoral today, is normal behaviour tomorrow which is why is same sex couples have rights in contemporary society.
‘What this society needs is to get over
the notion that one single person will fulfill all
our sexual and emotional needs’
So what are you saying here Pala.That indeed marital infidelity is inevitable? Unless I missed something there…because then it’ll mean that the ad was actually spot on,especially if as you say women nowadays know where to get what they want without any apologies.
The ad was actually spot on and puts it out there as it is. By moving beyond denial over sexual/emotional craving among married women we get to place where we can actually address the issue. But by simply saying its wrong (because the church says so) against an environment that allows infidelity to thrive in shadows is what perpetuates the culture of hypocrisy and double lives. The messaging for men in safe sex campaigns for example does not attempt to mask the fact that married men are more than likely to engaged in sex marital affairs. Addressing women however, we tend to stand on a rather high moral ground. NACC have data that proves married women are now a high risk demographic and the root of this is women seeking sexual and emotional support outside the confines of marriage. We can’t continue pretending that all is well in monogamous paradise.
While that ad was in bad taste (we are a society with morals to uphold) , the church is doing very little if anything , to promote healthy marriages among their married flock. Therefore , it comes off as hypocritical when they have the ad stopped. Productive people are dying. Kids are being orphaned. SOMEONE is trying to do something about it. It’s time the church took an active role in this too.
I actually understood the ad to as a wake up call to women to be careful because, in as much as we may want to deny it, infidelity is more prevalent than ever with us men being the ones who take the ugly lead. women were being empowered to come to the realization that the matrimonial bed is not as safe as they presume it to be. Simply put, I see no problem with it. But thats just me. I am 22 and unmarried, and the people who are crying foul over the ad are mostly the folk with bands on their fingers.
Sex, unfortunately, according to psychologist theorists fall at the bottom of the hierachy of needs, together with food, water, air etc. If deprived of these basic needs, human beings are ready to resort to their basic unschooled and primitive ways of getting them satisfied failure to which they cannot progress to the other levels. While we cannot hold one cause as being solely to blame, it is a fact that infidelity is thriving in our society. On the other hand a recent study aired on BBC depicted humans as being the only species who can acquire,influence and imitate new ideas that eventually find their way and lead to culture change. That unfortunately is what our society is metamorphing to….one that accepts and tolerates infidelity. Bottom line, the buck ends with an individual. I can believe in fidelity and hope the next person picks on it…..long shot but thats the same way infidelity trend began…with one person.
About the ad…..strangely enough I liked it. Anyone uncomfortable with it is has a conscience issue!!!!!
I think people are missing the point of the advert. Morals are an entirely personal thing hence the option to sleep around when married depends entirely on the individual concerned. Once the conscious decision to stray from a marriage has been made it is redundant to try convince people otherwise. I mean if marriage vows pronounced in church are no deterrent then no earthly intervention will suffice. Logic therefore dictates that we have to minimize the damage resulting from that decision to stray hence the need to advocate for condom use.
If you do decide that you want to have a ‘mpango wa kando’ then use a frigging condom. what is the alternative?
the ad was spot on in that it gives airtime to an issue so hush hush it hurts! instead of wishing it away we should be looking at ways of addressing the pertinent issues it raises!
Divorce should be made easier in Kenya. That’s what I think. Why even get married in the first place? If you know you won’t be fulfilled by one person then just don’t do it. Or if you’ve stopped being fulfilled by that one partner get out of it. It will save us all these debates and maybe we can talk about other issues, like the unification of Africa.
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Folks! the women in the ads are aproximately forty years old which makes them still sexually active and Lord have mercy on us older women who dare express desire in a pretentious society. The last time I was hit on it was by my Pastor and Lordy! Lordy! i was miffed, kinda Iike God wanting to tumble with you. Go figure? personally if I have to sin its not going to be with a condomless randy pastor. The ad was spot on, young lads are worth the condoms we fear and enough about this sacred procreation agenda. Not all of us are Catholic we instead belong to the Church of consenting adults. A basic human right.
I wonder how people say the ad was spot on. I wonder why people say they are different from others yet all these comments I’m seeing is of people conforming to theories brought forward by the opinion makers of our society. It’s funny that people didn’t see a subliminal message being passed via that ad(they did not see because they were not meant to see)- that it’s okay for a young man to hit or get hit on by a married lady(whether he has a girl friend or not), that it is okay for women to slander their husbands in the name of ‘opening up’
It’s disappointing that open minded writers like Pala fail to see the three sides of the coin, but what is even more sad is seeing the people trying to preserve what is left of our morals being labelled hypocrites. I blame no one but the print, electronic and social media.
1)for glorifying sex
2)for glorifying sex
3)for glorifying sex
Don’t worry you are not alone!. The problem is that marriage vows don’t hold any meaning these days and people in marriage stopped caring about what their partners think!.
Thanks for sharing.
”attraction to other people is normal even in happy marriages”. What I get from this is its okay to be attracted, actually you will be attracted at one point of your marriage life but what you do after is what matters. CHARACTER.
That is right. It is what we do with that attraction that matters. We have must remain aware of the consequences our actions and not bury our heads in denial.