Sexual health

by Charles Kanjama

I love the English word ‘sexes’. First, because of its symmetry. Symmetrical words are called palindromes, and genuine ones include ‘redder’, ‘madam’ and ‘level’. Second, because each symmetrical half of ‘sexes’, namely ‘sex’, is a meaningful word that stands for the two components of the complete word. There is a visual and notional congruence in the word ‘sexes’, including the equality of the sexes, their convergence and divergence, and unity (the converging x’s of each ‘sex’ merge).

But beyond the notion of gender, sex is also the ultimate marital act that brings the sexes into real physical union, and also engenders and distinguishes them. The richness of the word ‘sexes’ goes beyond its symmetrical halves to reach to its middle symmetrical letter, ‘x’. The letter ‘x’ is a unique letter, symmetrical along four axes, whose two halves are joined in a node the way sex physically joins two spouses into one.

There is a visual and notional congruence in the letter ‘x’ and its link to the two sexes. The letter also denotes the ‘X’ chromosome that is responsible for the equality and likeness of the sexes, and yet also hints at their distinction, when contrasted with the ‘Y’ chromosome. Ultimately, ‘x’, ‘sex’ and ‘sexes’ tell us about the great dual configuration of the human race.

Sex, both as a state (gender) and an act (of union), is at the heart of human identity. So of course, sex really matters. We should not become too prudish to discuss sex, nor too perverted to treat it with respect. Sex is like an ‘x’, which unites spouses physically, in an act that is both intensely personal and communal, that sublimates the self and yet expresses the self to the summit of bodily pleasure.

Sex is also like a dance, whose steps bring the spouses emotionally together before the conjugal act begins, and keeps the emotional bond long after the pleasure has subsided. Sex is thirdly like a prayer, that lifts the spouses in the spiritual experience of procreation to the very gates of heaven, and if perverted throws the couple down to the very gates of Hell. The triple meaning of human sex sets it apart from animal sex.

Sex is healthy when it is wholesome. This insight is lacking in recent attempts to push for ‘sexual health’ by Kenya’s mission to the UN and by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR). Kenya’s mission to the UN shocked African and Arab countries when it recently co-sponsored a radical document calling for liberal sexuality, even for minors. KNCHR on its part released a report calling for legalisation of prostitution and same-sex behaviour as human rights.

‘Do Kenya’s UN ambassador and KNCHR have the right to use our public funds, public office and public mandate to oppose our laws and cultural values?

Rights pertain to persons, not to harmful behaviour that a person may engage in. The harmful liberal sex agenda will destroy the biological, organic and human meaning and structure of sex, in the name of a liberty that means licence, or licentiousness. Since sex is physical, emotional and spiritual, its perversion will ultimately destroy the human person, society and universe.

Sex education, like sex, should be confined to controlled settings where intimacy, privacy and values can be transmitted or shared. ‘Sexual minorities’, namely gays, lesbians, transsexuals and the incestuous, are the barbarians at the gate clamouring to destroy Rome. Thus Rome is right to establish laws to marginalise them, which means to keep them at the margins, to deny them entry into the city.

These laws exist in Kenya under the Constitution and the Penal Code. They are supplemented by our cultural values that use the more subtle approach of stigmatisation. Do Kenya’s UN ambassador and KNCHR have the right to use our public funds, public office and public mandate to oppose our laws and cultural values?

African culture values sex rightly. It recognises that the sexes do not battle, they dance. This dance of the sexes makes love, and this love makes the world go round.


 (The author is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya)

Adopted from with the kind permission of the author.


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