A leading prophylactics manufacturer, after a recent survey in 36 countries, named the women of Ghana the world’s most unfaithful, with 62 percent of the women questioned admitting they often cheat on their boyfriends and husbands. It has long been appreciated that Ghana is home to some of the world’s most beautiful women, but to find that their charms are so widely available comes as a shock. In polite company most Ghanaian women present a demure Protestant demeanour. If the survey results are to be believed, this cool exterior conceals an inner furnace of primitive passion, but, more likely, some suspect, the rubber processors have adjusted their results to suit their own purposes.
Apart from their physical beauty, Ghanaians are famous for their friendly, cheerful countenance and warm-hearted hospitality. It might seem that this combination of characteristics creates a tension that threatens to undermine the institution of marriage and life-long relationships. According to travellers’ tales, some communities of Eskimo (Inuit) in the frozen North have resolved this dilemma peacefully by adopting the custom of inviting male guests to enjoy the services of the resident wife during their sojourn in the igloo. However traditions that accommodate what transpires in long Arctic nights under a polar bear skin are unknown or irrelevant to those dark sirens of the steaming tropics whose talking waist beads extend the invitation to ‘meet me at five o’clock.’
Ghanaians were not the only people to be shocked by the findings of the international survey. Top of the male infidelity ratings were the men of Thailand, and their womenfolk came second in the female survey, only 3 points behind their Ghanaian sisters, on 59 percent. But the Thais did not take this blow to their national pride without protest, and the prominent author and commentator on Thai sexuality, Kaewmala, pointed to several flaws and inconsistencies in the survey’s method and published results. For example, it was claimed that it used the recommended sample size for social policy activity of 1000, but it surveyed only 29,000 people in 36 countries, so some countries must have been inadequately assessed: probably the smaller countries like Ghana and Thailand.
Kaewmala also points out that a few months before announcing the 62 percent rate for Ghana, Nigeria had been attributed with the same female infidelity rate. Like the Thais, the Nigerians protested vehemently, not least through an article in The Pointer in August 2012. Kaewmala even suggests that the strength of this protest persuaded the surveyors to shift their target from Nigeria to Ghana. This might not have been difficult, because Ghanaians and Nigerians share most social characteristics in common, and whatever the true rate of female promiscuity might be, it is likely to be similar in the two countries.
The onus is on Ghana to join the Nigerian protest. The Pointer demanded an apology, stating that, ‘Nothing short of an apology would pacify Nigerians, particularly our diligent and patriotic women whose collective ego has been injured and integrity stained by the vicious and pervasive outcome of (the) “unscientific” survey.’ No apology appears to have been made, and Kaewmala has accused the company of switching its ‘most sexually active’ claims from country to country for purely commercial reasons.
No doubt the prophylactic purveyors expect this tactic to increase the demand for their products. Extra-marital intercourse demands the use of contraceptives to protect against both unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases. Advertising high promiscuity encourages more of the same behaviour, and increases the demand for prophylactics. It is regrettable that this tactic arbitrarily casts aspersions on millions of humble women who are ignorant of the survey yet find themselves branded internationally by its results.