The Chama women were a worried bunch when they called me. “You know it’s January, and the start of the conferencing phase?” one member explained when I met them during their meetings.
“Yes, but what is the issue with that?” I prodded.
“Most of us have to attend these meetings, and some men take them as an avenue to sexually explore,” a member blurted.
I nodded, as I started to gather my mind.
“Men think that since we are away from home in such meetings, we can easily have sex with them,” the chairperson said.
“Yes, a man knocked at my door at 11 pm in his pajamas,” said another member, “I told him to go away or I would scream!”
One member after another narrated their experiences of unwelcome sexual advances in conferences. They said that in these meetings, men became very nice to them during the day. They scrambled to sit near them and competed in impressing them. They cleverly asked if the women were married. Many times they talked about how infidelity was fine as long as one was not caught.
In the evenings, the men sent a myriad of SMS and WhatsApp messages to them. They requested to take the women out for dinner and to pay for their expenses. Many women innocently accepted the offers not aware of what they were getting into. At dinner, alcohol was free-flowing.
“‘I want to have sex with you tonight baby’ would be their clear message,” said one Chama member amid laughter.
“What I hate about all this is that these men will not give you a break even when you have shown them that you have no interest in sex, they turn those conferences into a whole hell of an experience by continuously bothering you,” said another member.
Conference sex, as it has previously been referred to, is sex that happens when people are away from home in conferences or other meetings. People are normally confined in a hotel for a number of days. Most of them have no work to do in the evenings. Others simply feel bored. Many times, they have enough money to spend in the form of per diems.
Under the circumstances, most people want to try something exciting. They are excited to be in the company of people whom they rarely get time and freedom to engage with at a close range. Sex comes in handy. People hunt for people they think would accept to have sex with them. Unless you are strong-willed, you can easily fall prey.
Some people make plans for their intentions well in advance of the meetings. Some actually organise for their targets to attend the meetings with them.
Most men are unlucky because women will turn down their advances. When fellow conference attendees have failed to provide sex, some men are known to go for commercial sex workers. The urge to venture can be rather strong.
“Yes, one of my colleagues lost a laptop in a hotel room and CCTV footage showed that it was carried away by a woman in the deep of the night. He later confessed that he had taken a call girl to his hotel room,” one member said.
In fact, people who frequent conferences could be having similar risks of acquiring HIV/AIDS as long-distance truck drivers. They are away from home, lonely and with cash that can be used to pay for sex. Most of them are known to use protection but others engage in unsafe sex.
Chama members agreed that all who travel and attend conferences need to be conscious of these sex risks. Unplanned sex can lead to a number of consequences including unplanned pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV infection. Also, important, it can lead to emotional distraction from one’s regular partner with decreased sexual desire for your spouse, separation and even divorce. It is therefore not to be taken lightly.
“But women can also go out looking for men in conferences?” asked a member.
Well, it could be both ways. Both men and women should just be conscious of these possibilities. Whatever action they take is fine as long as they have made informed choices. From the medical perspective, they should be aware that unplanned sex can lead to psychological, social and medical consequences and disruptions.
“It is possible that as men tempt us in conferences, our husbands are also busy tempting others,” said the chairperson in closing. “We should all take note of the consequences.
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