Suffering in Silence

By Wafula p’Khisa

Dr. Makaja’s sexology clinic opened at 6 am. By sunrise, it was a beehive of activity. Clients were everywhere, hardly managing to keep a social distance from one another as per the new regulations from the ministry of health. Most of them had called to come early.

“Good morning!”



Dr. Makaja shouted greetings at his clients as he reached for the keys to open his tiny office. Their faces lit up as they responded cheerfully. It was clear that his arrival inspired a sense of hope in them. His secretary ushered them in, one by one.

“Hi Doc,” Pendo said. They could not shake hands. The ritual had been banned since the Covid-19 hit the world to minimize the possible spreading of the virus.

“Hi too Pendo. Please have a seat,” he said warmly.

“Thank you.” she said, folded the back of her skirt and sat on a bench opposite the doctor and his tiny table.   “Sorry for waking you up…,” she started as she beckoned a man in.

“Oh, never mind. That’s my job.”

She was with her husband. He could read joy written all over their faces. The first time she had visited the clinic, her marriage was on the verge of falling into oblivion. She was in tears, thoroughly beaten by frustration.

“Doctor, save my marriage please,” she had cried.

“I’ve tried to endure the pain for two years now… I’m afraid I can’t hold on any longer… I’m walking out…” she explained. Dr. Makaja was confused. He was torn between consoling her and listening keenly to her problem. He ended up doing both.

“I’ve never enjoyed sex right from our wedding night,” she said t.

He narrowed his eyes and looked at her, wondering what on earth could deny such a beautiful woman the glory of sex. Is she bewitched? Did her man fall with a sack of maize?

“That shouldn’t be the case. What’s the problem?” he asked.

“My husband roughs me up everyday. Every time he erects, he rams into me furiously and falls off once he’s reached heaven. Then, I would be hanging somewhere between Egypt and Canaan…,” she explained tearfully.

Dr. Makaja pitied her. But as a sexologist, he recommended that she brings her husband along for therapy and coaching. They had several sessions afterwards.

“Sex is not a one person’s moment of pleasure, but a detailed process for two people to derive pleasure from one another,” he told Dula, Pendo’s husband. “It’s not all about penetration and you are done. Think about her. Is she ready? Have you prepared her? Is she satisfied…?”

There was gradual progress after every session. Even Pendo banished the thought of divorce from her mind. Today, they came to thank Dr. Makaja for saving their marriage.

Six more clients came and left. Then a middle-aged man came. He looked withdrawn and troubled. After exchanging pleasantries and rushed introduction, Kioo proceeded to explain his predicament.

“I’m married with two kids. I last made love to my wife one year ago. It wasn’t an interesting thing though for my engine weakened and went off before I could reach the promised land. I chewed kumukombero the next day but the results were terribly worse. I decided to avoid sex since then…”

“Oh, that’s very disappointing,” the doc said. “How, then, have you been managing? Is she comfortable staying in a sexless marriage?”

“I arrive home late from work. She would be asleep then. Sometimes after supper, I watch the TV until late for her to be dead asleep before I go to bed,” he explained desperately.

“Well. So what’s the problem?” he asked gently.

There was a little silence. Then, in a subdued voice, Kioo opened his heart.

“You see, daktari, ever since we were instructed to stay at home in an effort to combat the Corona Virus, things went South for me,” he paused and looked at Dr. Makaja.

“Yes, go on please.”

“I’m zero-grazing in the house and my wife is on my neck demanding for sex all the time.”

“Have you been doing it?”

“Not at all doc! I’ve been dodging. I’m afraid I may not rise to the occasion and you know what damage that could cause if she discovers. But what scares me is that this lockdown is taking too long and I have run out of my tricks. She is already suspecting something.”

“I understand,” Dr. Makaja said thoughtfully.

Silence reigned again.

“Have you been suffering from any terminal illness?” the doctor asked.

“None that I can recall.”

“I think you need to undergo some medical tests and see if we can establish your sexual history. It’s only after that that we can tell the source of your problem,” the doctor explained.

A series of lab tests were carried out. It was established that Kioo had, for a long time, been on Viagra– a sex enhancement drug. He had stopped upon his wife’s complaints against his mechanical bedroom performance. But its long term effects started to show when he could not have a full erection. Upon the doctor’s recommendation, Kioo was not to touch Viagra again. Thence he had to undergo sex coaching and skills building. He brought along his wife for the doctor insisted that such an issue was to be handled in the presence of the two.

Three weeks of regular coaching would pass. In the fourth week, Kioo experienced his first full erection, thus restoring the glory in his marriage. But now, the lockdown is almost ending, and he does not want it to.



About Wafula:

Wafula p’Khisa is a poet and writer from Kenya. His work has been widely anthologized and published in various online (and print) literary journals and magazines.

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