Men are under pressure to ‘perform’ in bed – UNZA
By Mwape Mbwelela
FORCEFUL names for aphrodisiacs such as phwanya chinena, gunpowder and mwana apeluke come from our cultural background on how a man is expected to perform in bed, says culture and literature expert Gankhanani Moyo.
And Moyo says the pressure for men to use aphrodisiacs comes from women.
Presenting a paper titled the “Poetry of Phwanya Chinena, the metaphorical nature of names of Aphrodisiacs” at the University of Zambia on Thursday afternoon, Moyo, an assistant dean in the School Literature, Culture and Arts, said men were under pressure to ‘perform’ in bed.
His presentation which aroused interest from men and women who filled the lecture room, addressed the many myths and realities of the presence of aphrodisiacs in Zambia.
In his presentation, Moyo said the growing popularity of aphrodisiacs was due to men’s desire to perform beyond their expectations during sex.
Moyo, an expert in Interchangeable Culture Heritage (ICH), further explained that the names of aphrodisiacs and their metaphorical nature gave users an idea of a subject and its uses.
“The forceful nature that comes out of the aphrodisiacs used by men are given much force and emphasis. The names depict killing, crushing, aggression but that comes from a background that that’s how a man is supposed to be; that’s how a man is supposed to perform in bed,” Moyo said.
“[The names] portray that one is supposed to do it [sex] three hours without stopping and all that. Names like seven hours, AK 47, gunpowder, mwana apeluke, phwanya chinena and all that give an expectation that comes from our cultural background that this is the way we should be.”
He said men were traditionally expected to be strong in bed and this caused the pressure on them.
“The pressure comes from women and generally in a sexual act, you will realise that to a certain extent, the man really has to work a little harder to sustain an erection,” Moyo said, much to the amusement of his audience.
“Without an erection, the whole process is doomed. If you don’t have an erection then you won’t have sex; it’s impossible, of course in a traditional sense. Our friends in the Western culture can have oral sex but we don’t really talk about that in our traditional culture. Mostly, it’s a man who has to take charge and it has been believed that a man has to have a strong erection and needs to go for so long. So if you only go for one round and it’s over, then you feel that you are not doing enough to an extent of crushing a man’s ego. The thought of ‘what can I do to continue’ creeps in…and it’s the women who at this stage want more. Women talk with fellow women and men as well [talk with fellow men] so the failure to sustain the act will be the topic.”
He explained that from the talks that women and men engaged in, men were under pressure to impress in bed.
“Once you know what is expected of you, for instance you are told that you should not climax before your partner does and when you climax even before you start the act, what then will happen to your partner? So the moment you realise that such is bound to happen, what does it say about you and your performance? A man is strong and has to be on top of his game in everything,” Moyo said. He further explained that cultural expectations put pressure on men as historically, societies only eulogized men who were strong in bed. “In everything they say, you are the man…remember the praises that we have in our home setup that praise men like analume ngao ngao [real men], so we always have this weight on us. Yes, pressure comes from women,” Moyo said.
He said men always felt inadequate if a woman was not responding to them during sex.
“What is expected is that the response has to show that you are doing the right thing. Think of a case where there is literally nothing happening in bed; she is lying there and she asks you whether you are still doing it,” explained Moyo.
“How would a man feel? It’s like you are not doing anything at all. You would feel insulted. But if there is response then you know that you are performing. The moment you feel that you are not doing anything, that crushes you as a man and crushes your ego. We always try to go beyond our imperfections as human beings and not just for men.”