Sera: Who’s only slept with one man, but wants to “whore herself out” sometime

Name: Sera

Age: 24

From: Ethiopia (Came to the U.S. in 2001)

Job: stay-at-home mom

Sera grew up in Ethiopia. The example of womanhood she saw growing up prioritized the home and taking care of husband and children. But Sera knew early on that she didn’t want her life to look like that and vowed that she would do things differently.

Now 24, Sera has become strong and independent in a lot of ways her mother wasn’t able to. Sera isn’t married to her boyfriend, she said, because she doesn’t believe in marriage.

She watched her mother beg for permission to leave the house
“Staying at home, waiting for the husband, cleaning for the husband… I like to go places myself and to work outside the house. The worst moments when I was a girl were when I saw my mother ask my father for an allowance or for permission to go somewhere. I hated that. My mom waited until she was married to have sex with my dad. He’s probably the only person she’s ever had sex with. She isn’t happy. I don’t want to be like that.”

But there are still challenges. Right now, Sera feels stuck in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling, but that she stays in.

I met Sera when I walked (notebook in hand) into an Ethiopian hair braiding salon in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland and encountered some inquisitively furrowed brows and squinting eyes. Sera had just arrived with her chubby-cheeked, 1-year-old son in tow. When I asked the stylists and customers if anyone was willing to let me interview them about some really personal stuff, Sera said, “Sure, you can interview me,” without batting an eye.

While the stylist ruthlessly tamed her hair into neat rows that swirled around her scalp, Sera told me about the man in her life. He’s the only man she’s ever had sex with. They met when she was 18. It was summer in Oakland and she was lounging at the public pool with a friend. She’d never really dated anyone before.

He saw her and wrote his phone number down on a piece of paper. He gave it to a little kid, who couriered it over to her. Sera was flattered.

“I was very innocent back then,” she told me.

They went on a simple date at a nearby park a couple days later and decided to make love almost immediately. Sera was beyond ready to lose her virginity, despite warnings from her religious, traditional mother not to sleep with anyone before she was married.

“It wasn’t very romantic. On the way home from the park I was just like, ‘Let’s do this.’”

Caught up in the thrill of new love and novel experiences, Sera felt fulfilled. She had a newfound freedom with him by her side and a new reason to have some new adventures.

“I never used to go out and do things before him, so when we first went out, it was just so fun. He took me everywhere. Everything was new. Now it’s not fun anymore.”

Sera’s ideas of what she wants have changed in the last six years. But she’s stayed with him, despite becoming ever more dissatisfied.

Cheating f**** with your head
She’s been going through an especially hard few months after she found out that he was cheating on her last November and had been since her son was three months old.

It happened when she called his cellphone one day and heard a woman pick up the phone.

“I figure all guys cheat, but the way he did it, it just seemed like he didn’t try to protect my feelings,” she said.

“I told the woman on the other end to come over and get his stuff and move it over to her house… but she still hasn’t come,” Sera said.

Sometimes they’ll have a row and she’ll tell him to pack up his things and move out. He’s put his stuff in a bag as if he were going to leave before, but he’s never gone through with it, so they’re still living together in Oakland.

When she looks back, Sera realizes that the things she wants and needs from a man now are not the same things she was looking for six years ago. Back then she wanted someone manly and tough. Now she just wants someone who will listen to her, help out and be sensitive about how she’s feeling.

“I wasn’t looking for nothing then,” she told me. “Then it was just for fun. Now I want someone who’s supportive. Someone who’s there, who you can count on. I actually want someone who’s oversensitive. Like if it were possible to have someone who cries every day, I’d probably like that person.”

Men, if any of you just got teary eyed, email me and I’ll give you Sera’s digits.

One of the worst parts about the cheating thing is that Sera hasn’t felt comfortable having sex with her boyfriend since it happened. When we spoke, she said they’d made love twice in about three months.

That might be fine for some people, but Sera likes having sex — a lot.

“I’d probably do it all day if I could … in fact if I was single, I’d probably whore myself out just to get experience,” she said.

Sidetone: I couldn’t tell if Sera really meant that, or if she was just tempting fate, daring herself to seek out something more crazy and interesting — an extreme remedy to the extreme lack of sexual contact she was suffering from.

Sera’s been trying different things to make herself feel better after the cheating. Getting her hair braided was one of them.

“When someone cheats on you, it makes you want to change things about yourself. To build yourself back up again … I’m trying to be more girly… I’m not a ‘girly girl.’ Like wearing makeup, taking hours to get ready, not wanting to get dirty — that’s not me,” she said as she flinched and the stylist pulled a section of hair into a tight braid that clung to Sera’s scalp.
“I’m gonna have Chinese eyes when this is done,” she said.

Having children is something that Sera never sought out— even though she loves her son and seemed to be doing a great job with him.
“I never wanted to have a kid,” she said.

A kid and an affair will really ruin your sex life
Even before the cheating, she said, the birth of her son all but ruined her sex life with her boyfriend.
Before he was born, sex was an eight on a zero to ten scale.
Now it’s more like a two.

“After you have a baby, your relationship changes. You’re not there mentally,” she said. “Even though he’s there, it’s the woman in the relationship who grows up and has more of the responsibility.

He’ll still be like, ‘You can’t find a babysitter? Well, I’m still going out,’ and I won’t stop him. But at the same time, I kind of fall apart. I wish he would say instead, ‘Oh you can’t find a baby sitter? I’ll stay home with you.”

For whatever reason (because he isn’t paying attention, or because he sees her through his own lens) Sera’s boyfriend doesn’t seem to know how sexual she is.
“He thinks I’m very innocent,” she said. “I doubt he knows that I masturbate.”

She could have been stoned for masturbating
In case you were wondering, female circumcision, also known as genital mutilation, whereby part of a women’s vagina is removed, is practiced in Ethiopia. It’s believed to be a way to make women “better” partners by removing the clitoris, effectively making it way harder for a woman to experience pleasure and orgasm from sex.

Don’t get me started on that practice right now. My point is, Ethiopia is one of those places where there are traditions that strongly discourage female sexual pleasure or subvert them while prioritizing things like fidelity and servitude.

“In Ethiopia, I’d probably be stoned to death (for masturbating)! At least when I lived there!” she said. “They told me it was a sin.

That probably explains why Sera didn’t start masturbating until just over two years ago, when she had already been living in the US for years and a girlfriend told her she was doing it all the time. It isn’t as satisfying for her as sex for her, but she still likes doing it.

“I like it when I’m having a bad day or when I’m bored or when my son’s asleep, or when there’s nothing on TV,” she said.

I’m really happy that Sera took her pleasure into her own hands (get it?). Because life is hard enough even with regular orgasms. I hope that she’s able to sort things out with her boyfriend or find strength in what she already knows deep down: that she is infinitely capable of striking out and taking care of herself.

Good luck, Sera. Hope you liked your new ‘do.

Love this story? Click the “Follow” button on the right to get a shoutout when we publish something new.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s