Seks, plesier en geloof: hoe meisies gesosialiseer word ten opsigte van seksualiteit


Die sosialiseringproses van meisies ten opsigte van hul seksualiteit is onlosmaakbaar van hulle gender rol wat ‘n sosiale konstruksie is.

Met sosiale konstruksie bedoel ek die manier hoe ons iets verstaan en die waarde wat ons aan iets heg word bepaal deur die dominante diskoerse in daardie gemeenskap. ‘n Voorbeeld van so ‘n dominante diskoers in die Christelike psige van meeste Suid-Afrikaners, is dat mans die hoof van die huis is. Julle mag nou dadelik wonder hoekom ek hier van ‘n diskoers uit die Christelike tradisie aangaande sosialisering praat. In die 2001 Suid-Afrikaanse bevolkingsensus het die oorweldigende meerderheid van Suid-Afrikaners hulself beskryf as Christene beskryf, om die waarheid te sê, 79,8% waarvan 42,8% van die Wit deelnemers aangedui het dat hulle in die Gereformeerde kerke is. Ek maak dus die aanname dat die manier hoe die gereformeerde kerke die rol van mans en vroue sien, ‘n groot impak het op hoe die verskillende geslagte gesosialiseer word.

Een van die mees dominante diskoerse in die kerk was en in sommige gevalle is steeds dat mans die hoof van die huis is en dat vroue ongeskik of onderdanig moet wees aan hulle mans. Saam met hierdie diskoers vind ons die idee dat mans die broodwinner of ten minste die primêre broodwinner moet wees en dat vroue die versorgers van die gesin is. Uit my navorsing het dit geblyk dat hierdie diskoers ‘n groot impak het op hoe vroue hul seksualiteit ervaar.

Vir dekades was vroue se seksualiteit gekoppel aan voortplanting. Met die ontwikkeling van  veilige gesinsbeplanning het die klem van seks begin skuif van voortplanting tot dit van plesier en ‘n spesiale vorm van intimiteit. In my navorsing, wat meestal met ouer vroue was, het dit egter duidelik geblyk dat baie vroue steeds sukkel om hul seksualiteit te skei van die voorgeskrewe gender rolle en daarom dikwels hul seksuele behoeftes onderskik stel aan hulle intieme partner of eggenoot sin.

Uittreksel uit my doktorale tesis:

Mayer and Mayer (cited by Mager 1996:19) believe that it is important to acknowledge that women, like men, have sexual desires that require fulfillment. Nevertheless, there is a distinct difference in how men and women’s sexuality is defined. McFadden (2003:1-3) argues in Sexual pleasure as a feminist choice that, for many years, African women’s sexual and erotic inclinations have been suppressed by the patriarchal system which merged female sexuality with reproduction within a hetero-normative culture and society. In my experience, this is also true for westernised White Protestant women. McFadden links the suppression of female sexuality by tradition and religion with being a mother and a nurturer. Isherwood and McEwan (1994:18) concur, arguing that patriarchy established the role of the woman as nurturer with the aid of religion: ‘[r]eligions have reinforced…. [and] prescribed roles of wife and mother [to women]’. For many centuries the Bible was used to justify and maintain the construction of the wife within the nurturing role (Landman 2002:25).

The discourse of woman as the nurturer is reinforced by the way in which girls are socialised to be complaisant and accommodating (Fredman & Potgieter 1996:52). In their interaction with others and in gender discourses, girls soon learn that their worlds are much more limited than boys. The effects of the socialisation process are often seen in how women view their sexuality: they focus on their partners’ sexual needs instead of focusing on their own. Fredman and Potgieter (1996:52) conclude that girls tend to experience their sexuality as something that others do to them and define for them rather than something they can initiate and define. Buys (2010:2), a well known and ‘modern’ South African sexologist, confirm the belief that men and women are created differently:

Men were created as the ‘hunters’, the providers, and the protectors. They need physical strength. Women were created as the nurturers and the carers. They need emotional strength….Another big difference between men and women is the ways in [which] we perceive love and affection. Women often see kind deeds – like her husband washing the dishes without being asked – as acts of love. Men feel loved when they are intimate with their partners.

I argue that the conditioning of women to be sexually accommodating and/or complaisant can set them up for sexual disappointment and disillusionment, especially in the presence of the expectation of marital sexual fulfilment. Although women might expect a sexually happy marriage, they are often reluctant to pursue this actively in their marriages, especially in the early stages of the marriage. Within Christian marriages sexuality is often shrouded in silence due to many of the discourses as explored earlier in this chapter. All these factors contribute towards women becoming sexually frustrated in their marriages and the establishment of patterns that undermines sexual happiness for both partners. Due to a variety of reasons (which will be explored in the following chapters) many women in sexually unhappy marriages are not able to leave such marriages. This causes great predicaments, dilemmas, relational complexities and challenges, especially for Christian women.

Extract adjusted from my doctoral study: Spies, N 2011. Exploring and storying Protestant Christian women/s experiences living in sexually unhappy marriages. DTh thesis, University of South Africa, Pretoria. 

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