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The joy of keeping my family together by understanding our sexuality

Gabriel Dinda during the opening session of the panel discussion entitled: Starting my Family: Understanding our Sexuality.

The dynamics of ‘modernity’ and its effects on our sexuality is a topic that cannot be wished away anymore. There are different and sometimes contradictory voices weighing in on the issue and so there is a great need for credible voices to address it. It is for this reason that on 25th September 2019, the Strathmore University Institute for Family Studies and Ethics (IFS) hosted a panel discussion entitled Starting my Family: Understanding our Sexuality, the first in a series dubbed “Keeping My Family Together”. This session brought together experts in family health, Strathmore University staff, students, alumni and the general public with a view to discussing and understanding our sexuality in relation to the true nature of the human person.

Dr. Jane Wathuta, the Director of IFS, in her opening remarks, highlighted the need to have candid discussions on the topic. “Through research and policy input, the Institute has a role to provide leadership and to offer a platform that supports understanding of these issues,” Dr. Wathuta said.

Dr. Lucy Muturi, a Pharmacist and Health Systems expert, commenced the evening’s panel discussion by presenting the pharmaceutical perspective of human sexuality in light of dominant trends, what she called the “street opinion”.  She depicted the prevailing scenario regarding the current use of the Emergency E-Pill (also known as p2), a fast-selling (albeit sometimes counterfeit) commodity that is designed to disrupt the way the female body works in order to prevent conception or else trigger an abortion if conception has occurred.  Some medical side effects were mentioned, including the possible inability to conceive in the future, when so desired. Dr. Muturi presented the existing alternative of natural regulation of fertility and medical management with its notable benefits for reproductive health.  Success stories do exist, she assured her listeners.

Dr. Wahome Ngare, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology and an active promoter of life and family, began by illustrating the human life cycle and its basis in male and female complementarity.  He then amusingly highlighted the similarities and differences between men and women. He explained the rationale, vis-à-vis human freedom, of the norms related to sexual intercourse, and drew the attention of the audience to various ways of deviating from these norms. True freedom, he said, is not ‘doing anything you want’ but acting in accordance with one’s nature.  Dr Ngare aptly broke down complex issues and explained how faith-based teachings are corroborated by science.  He urged the holistic understanding of the fertility cycle and graphically illustrated how it works.  “Abstinence does not kill!” he affirmed.  “Women need to know their cycle for their own health”, he concluded.

Hedaya and Thomas Mundia married 17 years and blessed with six children, shared their practical views on the issues raised.  Thomas decried the typical way of socializing men that rarely views sexuality beyond the physical aspects.  Women, he said, are great at teaching the meaning of sexuality as a gift of self that requires chivalrous waiting.  Natural regulation of fertility enables a man to know his wife more deeply, he revealed, and to savor the beauty and freshness of nature’s ways.  Hedaya encouraged sincere dialogue between spouses and greater openness to each other.  Daughters should be taught about their fertility, she reminded the audience.  Having experienced several miscarriages, Hedaya said, “Ultimately, we realize that life is not in our hands. The author of life is God and He directs every step of it.” New life calls for more generosity, love, and acceptance. When asked whether large families are expensive, Thomas underscored that large families are good for the economy and many families, including their own, prosper with a greater number of children. “Each of our six children has brought with them immense blessings that we can’t explain. There is so much fun in our family,” the couple concluded, as the audience got to admire a beautiful family picture.

This was the first of the eye-opening sessions aimed at enhancing the strength of families. The upcoming topics are IVF and Surrogacy: What we need to know (27th November 2019) and Thriving Amidst Evolving Family Needs (29th January 2019). Inquiries and registration through ifs@strathmore.edu.


This article was written by Dr. Jane Wathuta and Gabriel Dinda.

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