There seems to be a common narrative among a bulk of Zambian men that women who are educated and financially independent are somewhat, sexually starving – as if to suggest that good education and good sex are mutually exclusive. This cannot be further from the truth.
Pardon me if I sound like a brag, but I am educated, female and sexually not starving. Let me put it this way, of the many things missing in my life, sex and money are not one of them. I speak not just for myself, but an army of women who are having it all: good education, good money and great sex.
I recently sat next to two guys who were whining about their boss, a woman. “She is a slave-driver who just needs good sex”, they declared. They took turns bashing her, each narrating how she was placing unreasonable pressure and workload on them and throwing “tantrums”, demanding that they deliver every task by “CoB”. They picked on her butt and every part of her body before concluding that “If it’s sex she needs, she should just let us know rather than creating hell for everyone.” They then burst into hysterical laughter.
A few days later, on Lusaka Times, a blogger hiding under the name of Anonymous went after one of Zambia’s thought leaders, a woman. “She probably has no boyfriend to service her”, the blogger wrote in reaction to her satirical letter, ‘Dear America, use a targeted missile’.
I once read an article in The Post newspaper with a sensational headline – Educated women are sexually starved. It was making reference to a radio discussion in which its popular host and male callers had arrived at that conclusion. The article had no details of how such a conclusion was reached at, except a cursory mention that educated women were sexually starved. For instance, the article didn’t specify which of the educated women the radio discussion was making reference to, because educated women come in all forms: married, divorced, single, celibate and dating.
In all likelihood, the discussion was referring to the single educated woman because I would imagine that the married, educated woman is getting her fair share of sex unless the suggestion is that her education is standing in the way of accessing sex in marriage.
I have written about this before but let me repeat. Spoiler: we are educated; get used!
I write to inform and, by extension, disappoint this stock of men who hold such un-informed narratives. I am sorry to disappoint you, but we educated women, married or single, are getting sex, great, safe sex under our terms. We have never been more on-demand sexually and professionally as we are now.
Listen, guys, our education is not for sale in exchange for sexual favours. We went to school precisely to run away from giving sexual favours. There is no correlation between a woman’s good education and sexual starvation.
There is no group of people to whom education has brought so much social and economic transformation than women. As for the single educated women, who receive so much scorn, research after research has demonstrated that single educated women are living better, healthier and longer lives. For instance, they have a lower prevalence and risk of catching sexual diseases compared to married women because they have more power to negotiate and insist on safer sex.
The misconception that an educated woman is less likely to get married because men are intimidated needs correcting. The limiting pool from which women must find a man has nothing to do with education, but centuries of traditions and social structures that have favoured men and disadvantaged women. Men have a wider pool from which to choose a suitor; a 50-year-old man can easily get a woman in the range of 18-65 years. Such infinite ranges don’t exist for a 50-year-old woman.
There are also biological factors that work against a woman; her fertility rate is prime in her 20s and significantly drops in her 40s, while a man’s fertility is virtually unaffected by age (only beer).
Therefore, if a woman who happens to be educated is ‘starving sexually’, it is not because of her education, but a social order that she inherited at birth.
But there is good news; education is shifting tables in favour of women. Today, a 40-year-old educated woman has a longer dating shelf life than her uneducated counterpart. On average, she makes her own money, has invested in property, lives a healthy lifestyle, looks younger and when fertility fails her, she can afford other scientific options of conceiving available on the market.
Research after research is showing changing dynamics that favour educated women. Education and financial independence have become a top non-negotiable factor for a majority of men looking for a woman to marry. This is a significant shift from decades ago where physical beauty and home-making qualities topped the list.
This has meant that a 40-year-old educated and financially independent woman has a wider than ever pool of men to choose from. I personally know of 30-year-olds dating women in their 40s. By men, I mean the educated, hot, successful and professional type and not the growing breed that lives offwomen.
The misconception that men are intimidated by an educated woman is not entirely correct. But if some men are truly intimidated, it’s about time, and we welcome that. At his core, a man is not intimidated by a woman he wants, no matter her list of degrees, achievements or social standing. When a man wants a woman, he will garner the confidence to go after her. A woman returns the right to say no if she doesn’t want him and this has nothing to do with her collection of degrees.
We educated women have never seen education as a barrier to finding a man, sex or marriage. We want both high education and great sex. Do not ask us to choose one or the other when we are entitled to both. But if we must choose, our education is not for sale, and we will never look back.
Sampa Kabwela is an artist, publisher and mother. She works for an international organisation. For comments, email, firstname.lastname@example.org