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Solo sex sparks debate

A local youth organisation has called for the official promotion of solo sex (masturbation), to curb the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV and Aids ravaging youths in the country, sparking widespread debate on the matter.

BY DALPHINE TAGWIREYI

Duduzile Ngwenya, chairman of Dade Youth Aids Foundation, a Hwange-based organisation, said the promotion of solo sex would protect youths from STIs and the HIV and Aids scourge.

Statistics from Unicef show that the HIV prevalence rate among youth in Zimbabwe was disturbingly high.

HIV prevalence rate stands at 3,3% and 6,9% of male and females respectively for youths between 15 and 24 years of age.

Kuziva Kainos (20), who spoke to Standardcommunity last week, said that masturbation was a safer way of not contracting HIV and staying STI-free.

“This is a safer method of sexually satisfying oneself, without any hitches or worries of contracting any deadly diseases from anyone, hence I believe it should be introduced and discussed openly,” she said.

But some traditionalists and religious leaders last week condemned the notion of promoting solo sex as a preventive measure against the spread of STIs and HIV and Aids.

Some cultures and religions oppose masturbation and label it “sinful”, which usually leads to guilt or shame about the behaviour.

Roman Catholic priest, Claudious Luphahla said that masturbation was morally wrong and should not be promoted.

“Masturbation is harmful and erodes the meaning of sex because it turns one away from God, as the church teaches chastity, meaning giving sexuality in its proper place hence this evil practice separates people from their creator,” he said.

Luphahla said abstinence was the answer to curbing the spread of HIV and Aids in the country. He said it was a pity that the youth were subjecting themselves to modern technology where they see pornography which wrongly influences them.

“Masturbation is distortion of sexuality,” said Luphahla.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids foundation (EGPAF) Zimbabwe technical officer, Tichaona Nyamundaya said the organisation did not talk about solo sex in their HIV and Aids prevention strategies.

“We mainly focus on ABCD, which is abstain, be faithful, condomise, circumcision and drugs, hence masturbation falls under abstinence,” he said.

EGPAF is the primary partner in providing technical support to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to increase access to comprehensive, high-quality prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services that are closely linked to HIV and Aids treatment and care and support for families, including children living with HIV.

President of the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs, Fortune Charumbira condemned masturbation as an imported concept.

“It is animalish; in fact such a practice is unheard of in our African culture,” said Charumbira.

“It is a western concept. When circumcision was introduced, we knew about it, but this act is abhorrent because sex is between two people of the opposite sex.”
He urged youths to abstain as a way of curbing the spread of STIs and HIV and Aids.

Paul Chimedza refused to comment on the youths’ proposal.

“I have no comment because I have never done it,” said Chimedza, who was appointed Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare two weeks ago.

But according to Wikipedia, the online Encyclopedia, the medical consensus is that masturbation is medically healthy and psychologically a normal habit.

It also says that masturbation can relieve depression and lead to a higher sense of self-esteem.

Masturbation, it says, can also be particularly useful in relationships, where one partner wants more sex than the other — in which case masturbation provides a balancing effect and thus, a more harmonious relationship.

Health experts say masturbation relieves stress and keeps everything about the body — heart rate, blood pressure, reproductive system, brain chemistry — in very good shape.

While conservatives are against the idea of promoting solo sex as a way of curbing STIs and Aids, several shops in Harare are awash with sex toys, an indication that masturbation is a common practice in the country.

A snap survey by The Standard in Harare last week revealed that the sex toys such as vibrators, were selling like hot cakes and were common especially among the elite.

Two weeks ago, vibrators at one shop along Nelson Mandela Avenue were going for US$150 each but the price shot up to US$200 the following week due to an increase in demand.

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