Ask Ciiku: Does Masturbating Induce Periods?

Hi Ciiku

This one is probably weird but I’ve been wondering so here goes… Does masturbating a few days before one’s period is due help induce it? Over at google, the information says it doesn’t but it has happened over my last two cycles. My period, that is mostly very regular, has been popping up a few days earlier after this. I wonder if it’s just coincidence or there are others that have had the same results?

Anonymous

Hi Anonymous,

This is a very interesting question in many ways top of which is that I have no idea. Truly. I would have had to Google as well much like you did and therefore sadly, I have no adequate response to this outside of maybe seeing a doctor?

Ciiku

Ask Ciiku: Should I have broken up with my boyfriend?

Hi Ciiku,

I broke up with my boyfriend of two years a little over a month ago and it’s been the most miserable time in my life. We met a almost 3 years ago through mutual friends and and struck up conversation and became closer with time. I have never known anyone like him, he is kind, thoughtful, he puts me first, he shows attention and I have never doubted or questioned his commitment, he makes me feel so loved. Being with him has been a great time.

We have our minor issues but we try and resolve them as amicably as possible. All that is good but here is the why. I have never had a problem with his light drinking but in the two years we have dated he has gotten a bit drunk once in a while and I loathe it when he does. We went to my cousin’s wedding and even when we knew there was an open bar, we agreed to just have a little then go home. Mandem went ahead and got quite sloshed and we had to leave the car and cab home. I was so pissed that he actually did that and he woke up and apologised before he picked up the car. I felt horrible and told him we needed to end this . He was upset but said we would work it out but I am now worried that I gave up something that was good. He has talked before about marriage and to be honest I don’t know what to do. This is someone I would like to spend my life with but I am also hurt. I have been thinking of the response you gave B but I also feel like I need to fight for this, for my joy but I am so conflicted.

Please help

Manzi wa Accounts

Dear Manzi wa Accounts,

I am sorry for how you feeling. It is not easy to break away from someone who you love and have invested time in. Especially when that person who you say loves you and is committed to you and has never made you doubt, hurts you and doesn’t respect a course of action that you have both agreed upon.

I am curious, what does fighting for the relationship mean or how does it look like to you? Does it mean that you accept that he will get drunk once in a while and that you will not get angry about it or does it mean that he stops drinking too much? Because you know there is only one person’s behaviour you can control here. And that’s you.

In fighting for the relationship, this means understanding that asking him to stop and him not stopping is something that will likely happen again. He has to be the one to initiate that change. He has to be willing to stop for his own sake, because he sees that it is detrimental for him and by extension the relationship. Not because you think he should because you asked him or because you think that if he really loved you he would change. That is not how it works. And if this is not something that you can accept, then maybe letting go of the relationship is what is the best option for the sake of your peace.

My position? Bend but don’t break. Keep in mind that he might not change and if that is something that you are willing to live with, you do so, without the expectation that he will change and without any resentment. No one is perfect and I don’t even think you expect him to be but the truth is, there are certain elements of a person that with time can cause disagreements and resentment so I suggest you think long and hard about what matters to you and if this is something you are willing to rethink your stance on.

Joy isn’t a finite thing. There is a lot of joy in this world Manzi wa Accounts. And you deserve it.

I want to share two things that I thought about with respect to your question:

The first is this quote:

No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal.

Marilyn Ferguson

And the second is a Twitter thread which you can read by clicking here.

May you find peace.

Ciiku

 

Ask Ciiku: Is the Madonna Whore Complex real?

Dear Ciiku

I really love your blog, it helps knowing that some issues I’ve struggled with are not unique to me and there’s a solution I haven’t thought of. Anyway, I was wondering, is the Madonna whore complex real? Like I feel like all the guys I meet even when I want a relationship and say this, put me in a sex only box. Like I’m good for this but not anything that involves romantically or emotionally showing up. It has happened twice now. They always move on with ‘nicer’ partners and say something about me being too sexual.

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

The madonna whore complex is rooted in patriarchy and misogyny where men believe women are either good (madonna) or bad (whore.) It is a bunch of bullshit, as patriarchy tends to be, where men think they are judge and jury over how women should live their lives. Women are complex and clustering them into two groups is ridiculous at best. Furthermore, this thing men do where they think their opinions should matter in how women view themselves is annoying.

Are there men who believe in the madonna whore complex? Yes. And they should be avoided at all costs. They are not worth your time or attention. I honestly don’t believe that anyone who has this belief is a worthwhile human being and therefore in my opinion, you dodged two bullets.

As has been mentioned often, as heterosexual women, we are caught in this space where we have to deal with these men we become attracted to. I really wish the process wasn’t as painful as it is. And the truth is sometimes, things they tell us, opinions based on ignorance, self importance and misinformation, have a way of affecting us. And I’m so sorry that things said to you affected you.

There is nothing wrong with being sexual and it’s terrible that women are always being made to second guess themselves. Women are sexual beings among many other things. We have to be careful what messages we internalise as women. This world is not interested in self assured women, women who know themselves and love themselves. You are a complex person and your being, your personality, your character is much more than this one lens.

And above all else, you deserve to be with someone who sees all of you. You deserve good sex, someone who wants to be in a relationship and someone who is emotionally available and will provide emotional support. Don’t sell yourself short.

All the best

Ciiku

Ask Ciiku: Am I overreacting?

Dear Ciiku,

Hey. I’m in a relationship with someone who claims to love me wholeheartedly but will still do things that I’ve repeatedly told them I’m uncomfortable with e.g he’s best friends with a lady friend that they used to stay all night on phone with but he’d delete their interactions. I caught him flirting with her on text a few times but he now claims he’s stopped and it’s just a platonic relationship 🙄. I feel like he loves me but can you really claim to love someone if you are still so selfish? Or am I overreacting and should I just accept their friendship?

B

Dear B

You know what I like about your letter. That you said “he claims to love me wholeheartedly“. You use the word claim. That means while yes he says you, you are not sure you believe it, you aren’t sure because his actions do not match his words. Am I correct in my deduction?

I have to ask: Is there anything he can do at this moment to make you believe fully and without a doubt that he loves you and that you can trust him and that nothing is happening with anyone else? Is the issue with the best friend the only issue the two of you have? What concerns you more: that there is a female best friend that he flirts with, the deletion of the texts, or many other things not mentioned in this letter? I mean, it is quite suspicious that he deletes them and that you know he deletes them (I assume you go through his phone) which means you already don’t trust him anyway (also using the word “caught” speaks volumes B).

My opinion? Let this relationship go.

Love is many things, and more so, it is more than what positive feeling you have for someone. Being loved is easy. Being loved the way you want to be loved? That’s when work needs to be done.

Why do you feel like he loves you? Is he because he says so? Or is it his actions that show that he does? Do you love him?

Sometimes, because we are with someone, the feeling of being chosen or the fact of being in a relationship is termed or labeled as love. That being in a dysfunctional relationship is better than being single – that somehow the fact that we are with someone means there is love. But that is not what love is. I think we assign things to love that shouldn’t be considered love. And even more than that, we tend to ignore people’s actions and focus on their words, which seems to be the case here B. For example, what compels you to check his phone? Is it because you don’t trust him?

If someone declares that they love you, wouldn’t their action indicate that they would do things that wouldn’t jeopardise the relationship or make the person they are in a relationship uncomfortable?Trust must accompany love, being able to trust someone you are in a relationship with is seminal to peace of mind.

I think you need to look long and hard at what you believe love to be, what you would want from an ideal relationship and what you are getting from this person. And remember, above all, love should be fair – to you and for them.

You deserve to be loved the way you want to be loved B. You deserve to love someone worthy of your love. And the truth is, from how you describe it, as little as you do, doesn’t seem to be it.

Ciiku

Ask Ciiku: How do I get ready to turn 30?

Dear Ciiku

I turn 30 soon. I’ve always felt a tad nonchalant about birthdays especially after I threw out all those goals I had that were age – milestone based (e.g. the moved out by 25, car by 28, married by 30 etc). This has helped me live life year by year without the added external and internal pressure and I am a very see as we go along type of person (but I still do love to make plans and I am strategic with my actions when I feel I want to go to the ‘next level’) For some time I’ve felt that my 30s are just gonna be like my 20s perhaps with worse knees, and even worse hangovers, hopefully with less mistakes etc but the closer I get, the more I feel like it’s a big thing and I should be ready for it…for something…or more (I’m not sure what) but I feel this overwhelming feeling every day as it gets closer. Any advice on how I can ‘get ready’ for my my thirties?

29 going on 30

Dear 29 going on 30,

Imagine turning 30 is a big deal. This life is such a scam that you have to celebrate surviving as long as you have. You should celebrate.

The sense of apprehensiveness that you feel is probably all the years of socialisation in you that makes the 30s A BIG FUCKING DEAL. Even when you have released yourself from the societal pressures, they always find a way to sneak back into our psyche. If you have people around you who have followed the script (school, job, marriage, kids) it sneaks in even more.

Perhaps it’s also moments of “oh my god life is moving fast” even when you are living with intention and purpose and free from what is expected from you.

I am hurtling towards 40 and to be honest, your note made me smile because who is ever ready? I believe in doing your best and finding joy.

That being said, I can offer some things that I think could be of help.

  • Work on knowing yourself – who you are, who you want to be, how to continue knowing yourself since change is always happening, what you want, how to get what you want, why you think what you think, what you believe in etc
  • Find joy – Find the things and people who bring you joy. Then do the things and spend your time with those people.
  • Forgive yourself for the things you had hoped to achieve and haven’t yet. Be gentle (continuously) with yourself.
  • Spend time with yourself. A lot of time. Figure out why you are experiencing what you say to be feeling that you should be ready for something.
  • Do you believe that happiness is a goal? Do you believe in love? Then spend time thinking about why those things (among others) matter and how it looks like for you.

Finally, Happy (early) Birthday. I hope you celebrate it in a way that means something to you.

Ciiku

Ask Ciiku: I don’t want to be lonely

Hey Ciiku,

So my issue starts with a question. Do you believe that everyone has a person out there and eventually they’ll find them? Because I’m at that place where I don’t think this is true anymore, and some people really end up alone. And like, I’m learning to accept it, I’ve decided to give up dating and I’m starting to imagine the rest of my life like this but I’m also terrified of ending up alone. Not right now, I have a lot of things I can focus on, I’m building my career, I have great friends, so the loneliness is easily masked. But I keep thinking about 10-20 years from now, when all my friends have built their lives with their partners so of course we’re no longer as close as we used to be, and basically they won’t be as available to me as they are right now. And I’m terrified that being alone then will be awful. Can you imagine being 50-60 yrs old and you really have no one? It sounds so sad and lonely and I really don’t want that. One of my biggest fears is ending up like that woman who was found alone in her house having died for like 2 years and no one knew who her people were. Can you imagine being dead for 2 years and no one even noticed? Whew. I guess I know what the root cause for this is, I’m scared of not mattering, not being valued. And as much as I know romantic love isn’t the be all and end all, there’s also a level of companionship and intimacy that you get in romantic situations that you can’t get elsewhere. When you have your person, and the two of you are committed to each other, there’s a way you can ward off most feelings of being alone. So my question then will be, do you believe in a person for everyone, and if not, then what can you tell a person whose entire life has shown her that there really is no one for her. How would this person then build a life where she will not end up sad and lonely in her old age? (As context, I’m in my late 30s so I’ve lived life, and these thoughts are not just panic led hysteria caused by “if you’re not married by 30, you’re useless) Thanks for listening and apologies for the long ask.

Regards,

A

Dear A,

To answer your first question: Personally, me, myself and I, I do not believe that there is that one person out there for someone, nor do I believe that people will eventually find that person. I believe that there are people who come into your life and then we see the possibility of spending the rest of our lives together and then we put in the work. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

The concerns you raise are not new to me. I have heard them before even from my friends. And only recently, I read this article which you should read if you have not yet.

Let me say firstly, this was a hard question to answer. And as someone who is in a committed long-term relationship, it would be remiss for me to speak about romantic relationships as something that doesn’t matter. It has to be more than me saying that you need to be self aware, enjoy your company and all those other things.  I am aware of the privilege I have in that case as well as probable blind spots I may have as I respond to you.

That being said, I think we need to re-imagine companionship and intimacy inside and outside of romantic relationships.

The statistics show that for women, they feel lonely in their marriages and seek companionship from their friends. Being married does not preclude you from loneliness and does not ensure that you are valued or that you matter. Those are the facts. I think what is more important is to create fulfilling, reciprocal, kind and empathetic relationships.

We need to make a life in this world as is and part of that means seeing and acting on relationships – romantic and platonic- differently. It means having honest conversations about companionship and intimacy, it means thinking of relationships outside of societal norms, it means asking more from our friends, married or not.

I have read stories of communal living where women friends are opting to live together. I would like to see how it works out. And I know the issue of sex will arise, but that is a whole separate issue, isn’t it?

If you think about it, capitalism is the reason we opt to live separate lives. It keeps us in a state of want and benefits from loneliness. It makes all the sense then, to think outside of the boxes that capitalism keeps us in, to speak with each other about loneliness, companionship and intimacy, to seek out people who enrich our lives and to demand reciprocity.

Be loved,

Ciiku

Ask Ciiku: I am being manipulated

Dear Ciiku,

I like a girl. She has a boyfriend. Has had one for 6 years. I know I shouldn’t be fucking with her, but here I am, nonetheless. We go on dates, we’ve had sex on 3 separate occasions, and we talk pretty much all the time, telling me things she doesn’t feel comfortable enough to tell her boyfriend or any of her close friends. But it doesn’t look like she’ll ever leave her boyfriend, and I feel like I’m in love all by myself. I need to walk away but I don’t know how to without being rude about it, because every time I suggest time apart, she says no, and that she enjoys our conversations and the time we spend together. I’m pretty certain that this is high level manipulation, and I don’t know why I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt in believing that she would hate to lose me as a confidante.

Please advise me on the best way forward, specifically, how to go about cutting ties with her.

Matt

Dear Matt

So basically she wants to have her cake and eat it?

I am glad that you know you need to walk away so that I do not have to tell you. Is it high level manipulation? Likely. She knows you want to be with her, are in love with her and uses this to get what she wants from you. You see that, don’t you Matt?

Why indeed do you think you are giving her the benefit of the doubt? Is there a part of you that hopes she will see different and choose you instead? I am not going to give you false hope Matt. I am going to tell you that cutting ties with her will not be neat and clean. You have tried to talk to her about it but it didn’t work. And you stayed. It does show in your letter that you care for her. But you know, you deserve the kind of relationship where someone listens to you, cares for you and above all your time, attention and emotions are reciprocated.

I feel you need to be as honest to her as you have been to me. Tell her via text that you are choosing yourself. And that in choosing yourself, you can no longer be her confidante and that you need to not be her friend. That you feel like you deserve better. And that you are going to find better. After that, I suggest you block her in all platforms. Sounds drastic perhaps but it really isn’t. You have to keep reminding yourself that you matter and that you are making this choice because you need to choose yourself. So do that Matt. I wish you the best.

Rooting for you,

Ciiku

Ask Ciiku: I was assaulted

Hi Ciiku,

Something really weird happened to me about a month ago and I just blocked it out of my mind and emotions. I have back issues and so do many women in my life. We massage each other often. On a Saturday morning one of the women called me asking if she could come over for a massage. I agreed and she came over. She was pushy about it but I didn’t get to it until after a couple of hours due to other obligations. Even though I had not asked for a massage she insisted that she gives me one first. I agree since I am always in need of a back rub. She got oil, spread a mat on the floor and turned off some of the light. I took my dress off and left my undies on but she sat on my back facing away from me and took them off and started touching my vagina and mourning. I couldn’t get up or scream – I zoned out, out of fear and just went numb. When she stopped I turned and realized that she was fully naked. I didn’t know what to do or say afterwards. I massaged her she left and later on texted her about how I felt about it. She said she was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again. I have not seen her since and don’t know what to do but I feel very violated and traumatized. It’s weighing me down and I just needed to tell someone.

Anon

Dear Anon,

I am so sorry for what was an assault. And for feeling violated and traumatized, which is expected after an assault.

From your note, it seems as though this was someone you knew well enough so for her to take liberty like this and then offer an apology especially only after you said something about it seems quite strange.

I have a couple of questions that perhaps will help you once you clarify things to yourself. I am sorry about your back problems. Do you think that for now it would be better to perhaps see someone professional to receive massages from? In addition, I think a professional counsellor could be someone you should consider seeing to discuss your feelings about what happened to you.

From your message you say that these massages happen as some form of group, is there a de facto leader you could speak to about your experience? This would probably ensure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else. I am a big believer in consequences and therefore this should also be the case for this lady before someone else is assaulted.

 

Be safe.

Ciiku

Ask Ciiku: What should I do?

Dear Ciiku

What do you do when you discover that most of the sexual experiences you had with an ex were not consensual? Like it didn’t matter that you were not up to it, he would still ensure that you had sex. Sometimes I’d just zone out and let him do whatever he wanted. He would hold my hands above my head whenever I said no and keep going. Sex with him got to be painful and rough and I don’t know how to forgive myself either for staying with him.

Anonymous

Dear Anon,

I am so sorry you went through this.

It should never be the case that someone you are in an intimate relationship violates your trust and your body.

What you went through is a traumatic experience. Sexual assault and being a survivor is not something that we ever want to associate with ourselves. We always expect these perpetrators of assault to be people we do not know, who attack us and force themselves on us.

You need to realise that you are not to blame. We always feel like we should have known better, or that we should have left sooner but it never is the case. So many other factors come into play and it isn’t as simple as we think it will be. But you are here and you are going to be OK. Ok means that you will find a way to forgive yourself. OK means that in time, you will find a way back to you. OK means that you will realise that you are lovely, beautiful and more so, a survivor.

I will not lie to you, there will be moments when the memory of the experiences will spring into your mind and it will not be good. But allow yourself to feel it. I usually feel like the more you ignore or try to fight things, the more you obsess over it. Time, is your friend. Let it heal you.

You might also need to seek professional counselling if you feel this experience is affecting how you are living your life.

Also, please read this essay

Find joy,

Ciiku

Ask Ciiku: Please Help

Dear Ciiku,

I have held out for so long and told myself that it was wrong to share with the world what is happening. I’m hurtling towards my mid-thirties and as I do everything seems to falling all around me. I lost my job 2 years ago at a bank and was lucky enough to have some consultancy jobs for a year but nothing has been right ever since. I have tried out a biashara but that too tanked and took everything I had. My partner has been supportive but I can see her frustration or my lack of input in building this relationship. I’m an only child and my dad died mid last year and I can’t afford to go to my mum, she has so much to deal with as it is. I was the daughter who had everything figured out. I don’t know if I’ll make it to April, in all honesty, I don’t want to. I took sleeping pills last week but my partner was able to help me vomit it all out and now the tension in the house is unbearable. I am not sure you have the answers but I know you listen and I just need to know what the fuck happens next. I lost my friends and now I just sit drinking whatever I can find in the house. I’m losing it. Please, please help.

On the brink

Dear on the brink,

I have sat with your question in my heart since I read it, thinking about a right answer or a right way to help and actually be of help.

I am so sorry. I am sorry about the loss of your father, loss of your job and for the feelings you are carrying around, of feeling like a failure, of feeling worthless, of feeling like ending your life is the only way out.

I want you to know that I have listened to you through reading your letter and offer to continue to listen if you need someone to do so.

I want to suggest firstly that you have a completely honest and transparent conversation with your partner and with your mother. More so to ease the tension you have with your partner because I feel like there is a lot of gaps that is likely being filled with assumptions. Talk to your mum and tell her what you’ve told me, that you feel like she is going through a lot but then mention that you need her to listen to you. At some point during these conversations, ask for help. Sometimes as we are knee deep in self loathing we miss looking around to see all the people willing to come to our aid, if only we asked. Look up my dear, look around and you will find people who love you, who want to help you.

I also would suggest you speak to someone about the suicidal attempt and thoughts. And also about drinking.

I don’t want to give empty platitudes about how you will get a job or that something will happen in that aspect. But I am holding out on hope that something will work out.

Ciiku