Yomi Adegoke: A Letter To My Old Friendship Group From Secondary School

Dear my old friendship group from secondary school,

Remember our weekly after school sex ed lessons?

Where we’d discuss what they didn’t in biology?

We’d huddle in a McDonald’s, swapping horror stories over sweet and sour sauce, about the girl’s who lost their virginities and remained cosmically connected to the guy for the remainder of their lives.

We agreed it was the worst with the first, obvs, but “soul ties” – an emotional/spiritual bond that is formed after having sex with someone regardless of how little you know or even like them – could happen with whoever you slept with, whenever you slept with them.

For the most superstitious amongst us it went even deeper – character traits, bad habits and generational curses became your own, imprinted on your spirit forever thanks to a three minute fumble.

We’d regale each other with tales of so and so’s older sister, who never got over her first, or the girl in the year above who allegedly developed the same stammer as the guy she stopped seeing. It didn’t matter that we were having safe sex, “condoms will not protect you from spiritually transmitted diseases”, the saying went.

It might sound silly now, but for most of us who grew up in the church, the idea that lifetime bond was passed through semen was enough to put us off the whole thing for good, or at least till marriage. We were told having sex with somebody would leave a gaping spiritual wound within you, and if the relationship didn’t work out you’d be left wandering the world with a soul like a half-finished puzzle.

Abstinence became less about personal choice and more about hoping soul-cooties couldn’t catch through a dry-hump. It’s a doctrine confidently peddled by many Christians, even though soul ties are never explicitly mentioned in the Bible.

Many years and partners down the line, the majority of us (hopefully) have come to the realisation that soul ties are used to dissuade women in particular from enjoying safe sex outside of marriage or at least, a serious relationship. We’ve all since slept with people who we are not with anymore and despite the myths, have walked away in one piece.

Sex is sold to women as something you give, lose or is taken – have it with too many people and you’ll end up with a swiss cheese soul and eternally broken heart. It is rarely seen as a mutually beneficial thing (maybe because so few women are actually orgasming) and when things don’t work out the way we’d hoped, we can feel short-changed. It is seen as something to gift as opposed to something to get as much out of as your partner.

 

Oxytocin, affectionately referred to as the “cuddle hormone” is posited by many puritans as scientific proof that women can’t have casual sex. It has been said to make individuals, particularly women, instantaneously fall head over heels, the second our heels are back down from behind our ears. But it is well known that the various claims made about how it works are often pseudo-scientific.

By itself, it has never been proven to create emotional bonds and oxytocin surges often occur in situations that aren’t sexual at all: petting dogs, breastfeeding, singing in choirs, playing games, gambling, acupuncture, talking intimately with your friends. Plus, there’s scientists’ tendency to run tests on prairie voles as opposed to human beings.

Sex, in and of itself is not an otherwordly binding of two otherwise incompatible souls. There are of course some who do find themselves catching feelings after a casual one night stand and discernment in terms of who you sleep with is something that tends to work well in a world where slut shaming is rife and attitudes towards sex, stagnant. But I’m glad that when choosing to be choosy with partners now, it is for ourselves, not for anything else.

Love from,
Yomi

ellaOne® 30mg film-coated tablet contains ulipristal acetate and is indicated for emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Always read the label.