In Nigeria, within marriage, women are expected to pleasure their husbands, and preparation for marriage focuses on teaching the girl how to do so. In contrast, non-married women were expected to enjoy sex with their boyfriends. Yet, what emerged from research by Aken’Ova’s organisation INCRESE (The International Centre for Reproductive Health and Rights) was women’s deep lack of sexual pleasure in their relationships, married or not. Some men mistakenly believed they were giving great pleasure to their lovers, and had not discovered the truth due to lack of communication.
After two years research, INCRESE developed better sex and communication training for couples to address these findings. The training uses ‘sexual pleasure as an entry point to promote women’s rights and health’ and challenges assumptions about men’s performance and women’s pleasures. In some cases, couples taking the trainings have broken up as they realise they cannot give each other what they want, in bed or in life. However, in other cases the trainings have led to greater equality in relationships, reduced domestic violence, and happier sex lives.