How being stigmatised for buying condoms rob housewives of sexual rights
They are considered the most effective barrier that protects against sexually transmitted diseases but importantly, one among the many family planning methods that are readily suggested to women, especially at primary healthcare centres during antenatal or routine child immunization. Ironically, PUNCH Healthwise discovered that an alarming number of husbands do not like to use condoms or have their wives buy or bring them home from PHCs where they are most times distributed.
Elizabeth Izuchukwu, 33, still regrets buying a pack of condoms for her husband from a nearby pharmacy on July 17, 2020.
The mother of three said she had been using the injectable method of family planning but due to the outbreak of COVID-19, she was afraid to visit the hospital for a shot of the contraceptive for fear of contracting the viral infection.
Not comfortable with the withdrawal method suggested by her husband, the businesswoman who said she was afraid of getting pregnant so soon, appealed to her husband to start using condoms.
Though he vehemently refused, he, however, promised to give the suggestion a thought. “He told me that using a condom will make sex uninteresting but said he would think about it. He said I should give him some time to buy some.
“When after three months failed to buy, out of concern, I went to a pharmacy and bought the condom for him,” she said.
Sharing her frustration with PUNCH Healthwise, Izuchukwu said that singular act almost broke her home.
The woman told our correspondent that she got a terrible response from her husband, which she was yet to get over.
With a pained expression, she recounted, “That fateful day, I went to a pharmacy where I usually buy drugs for the whole family and requested for a condom with very good quality. The pharmacist smiled and gave me the one that he felt my husband would like.”
“With that assurance, I was expecting my husband to appreciate my sincere effort, since it was the first time I was buying something like that for him.
“Unfortunately, the reverse was the case. Later at night when we wanted to make love, out of excitement, I told him that I have a surprise for him and he was happy. But when I brought out the condom and gave it to him, he screamed and asked me if I have become a prostitute. He also wanted to know how many men that have slept with me. He said that he never knew that he had been married to a prostitute all the while.
“At that point, I was lost and confused. I tried to explain to him that I bought it to avoid getting pregnant but he wouldn’t listen. At the time, my last child was eight months old.
“I cried from that night till morning because the words he said and the questions he asked were too agonizing to bear. My pillow was soaked with tears.
“By morning, I was so traumatised and couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t get over what happened no matter how hard I tried.”
The housewife said subsequently, his attitude towards her changed and he became a total stranger.
“This was all because I was trying to protect myself from becoming pregnant for the fourth time,” she sobbed, wiping tears off her face with the edge of her wrapper.
“What made it worse for me was that friends and family members also reacted negatively when he told them. Some of them questioned my action and said it was wrong. They blamed me for taking the action. It’s sad that women don’t have control over their bodies when it comes to sex and having children with their husbands in our society,” she said.
According to an online portal, Cleveland Clinic, condoms are the only way to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV and herpes. Punch
“As a barrier method of birth control, condoms stop sperm from reaching eggs. There are condoms for men and women, and dental dams for protection during oral sex. For more effective birth control, you can use condoms with contraceptive foam. They also greatly reduce the chance of pregnancy.
“Condom sizes range from small to extra-large. It’s important to choose a condom that fits properly. In addition to being uncomfortable, an ill-fitting condom can reduce condom effectiveness, increasing your risk of pregnancy and STDs”, it stated.
Meanwhile, studies have shown that self-efficacy, autonomy, partner communication, positive attitude to condoms and condom use skills promote condom use.
Bitterness and jealousy
Another housewife, who simply identified herself as Kate, also shared a similar experience. Punch