I was born in the UK to parents of Nigerian descent who came to the UK to study. My parents separated, moved to Nigeria in 1975 and left us with relatives in the UK who eventually sent us to live with my dad in Nigeria in August 1977. I came back to the UK finally in December 1989. My first same gender sexual liaison was in 1993. I had in fact been married for 4 years by this time. I got married in December 1989 before finally moving to the UK. I am still happily married despite going on a difficult journey to accept my sexuality. This personal journey has had a negative and in some cases positive impact on a number of people lives, but it was a journey that I needed to go through.
I am not sure whether it was to my advantage or not that I was sent to live in Nigeria when I was 10 years old. I say this because I focussed my energy on surviving the difficulties of adjusting to a new environment and in fact a new way of life. Nigeria was not a bed of roses for me. I was shunted from pillar to post i.e. between different relatives because my parents were no longer together. My sexuality was far from my mind throughout my secondary and university years. I was more focussed on completing my education and moving back to the UK and becoming independent and emancipated from my parents and my father’s relatives. Both my parents used me as a pawn to get at each other and this impacted in shaping who I was and who I have now become. I am a very complex individual still discovering myself and will be possibly discovering myself until I die. I was quite a loner during my years in Nigeria and had many acquaintances but very few friends. Funnily enough, most of my close friends were women, though this has since changed.
Throughout my secondary and university years in Nigeria I felt it was normal to like girls (women) and despite enjoying the company of boys (men) as friends, it did not occur to me (or perhaps I was in denial) that I could be sexual with someone of the same gender as me. I was always admiring the naked male form whenever the opportunity arose in communal showers and when I shared a room with other males whilst at secondary school. At university, I had one particular guy who was my best friend and I loved seeing guy naked when we shared a bucket of water in the shower and when changing in our bedroom. This was a regular occurrence because clean water was at a premium and needed to be rationed. It has now dawned on me retrospectively that this was my way of being sexually fulfilled and I was a chronic masturbator during this period of my life at university.
I was also quite possessive of this male friend who in my mind was my best friend and I was always jealous when he became friendly with other guys, but this was not the case when he had girlfriends. I loved hanging out with him and going out on joint dates with him and our girlfriends. I shared university accommodation with this friend from 1986 and we both came to the UK together in 1989 and lived together until 1991 when my wife came to join me from Nigeria after she graduated. I never had a sexual relationship with this friend but perhaps this is what I was yearning for.
I am not sure whether I did not act on my sexual feeling for men due to some form of mental repression or the fact that I was in denial that I am attracted to the same gender in a sexual way. I was always rather religious and being religious helped me survive many a hardship while living in Nigeria and in retrospect, I believe I felt same gender sex is a taboo and a sin.
Coming to live finally in the UK in 1989 seemed to liberate me and questions about my sexuality started to become a major preoccupation in my mind more so from around 1991 when I became a prison officer in a male prison. I started to see a lot of homosexual behaviour amongst male inmates and I also read a lot about sexuality. I was an avid reader of the ‘personal advertisement’ section of the Voice Newspaper. This section of the paper had adverts posted by gay men and bisexual men. Well, one day in August 1993, while my family was away in America on holiday, I took the plunge. I responded to an advert posted by a gay man. He called me and we spoke at length on the phone. We eventually met up at his place and I had my first sexual liaison with a man. It was not a really fulfilling experience for me. I am not sure how it was for the other person. It was a one off experience and I never met up with the person to have sex again. It was a rather selfish experience because I was not very responsive to the person’s needs, not really clear about what I enjoy sexually with a fellow man and I was still battling some demons because I had not at the time accepted that I was gay. I struggled with my sexuality for a further two years and eventuality parted and divorced my wife in 1996 by which time I had two children. I got back and remarried my wife in 2003.
I have now accepted who I am as a person. I have passed through a range of phases and experienced a range of emotions. I have had different types of relationships, some good and some bad. I have treated some of my partners poorly and others has treated me badly too. I am still quite a complex person but I now know what is most important to me; and I am grateful to my wife who has accepted me for who I am. She has true generosity of spirit and is my female soul mate. I am still seeking a male soul mate though this may seem odd to some people and perhaps a paradox.
I have learnt some important lessons from each of my experiences and I am currently in a happy though often lonely place because I have not yet settled with a male soul mate. I know who I am and what I am; and I have made a lifestyle choice. I acknowledge and embrace that I am selfish with my lifestyle choice and I am often lonely and unfulfilled sexually, but I am still happily married.
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