Aphrodisiacs help Nigerian men keep multiple wives happy
KANO, Nigeria: Men trying to keep several wives happy and women competing with co-wives for their husbands’ attentions have led to a boom in the sale of aphrodisiacs in predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria.
« Demand for sex stimulants has been unprecedented in the last four years, » herbalist Sule Adamu said in his dingy office on the outskirts of Kano.
Adamu, who has 40 years in the business, reckons his clients, mostly men, have more than tripled in number since 2005.
Women not satisfied with their husband’s sexual performance also come for the drugs if their husbands are too shy to do so.
« Women also go for aphrodisiacs to make themselves appealing to their husbands. Mothers provide sex stimulants to their newly-wed daughters to aid them satisfy their grooms’ sexual desires, » said Hafsat Musa Baba of Kano-based Sustainable Development Centre (SUDIC), a reproductive health NGO.
Talatu Jatau, 53, has been selling aphrodisiacs for women, known simply as « women’s stuff », in Kano for six years and makes a good living from it.
Every other month, she brings a bag-load of « women’s stuff » from Zamfara state, 400 km away, and sells it in less than a week to women in purdah.
Lami Bello, 28, has been using women’s herbal sex stimulants since she met her boyfriend three years ago.
« I have a very virile boyfriend who is so affectionate that I don’t want to lose him. I realized the only way to keep him to myself is to satisfy his sexual urge; that is why I use aphrodisiacs and the experience has been worthwhile, » she said with a smile.
Herbal aphrodisiacs are displayed everywhere in this city of some four million – in markets, bus stations, offices and even outside mosques.
Itinerant vendors advertise their wares using megaphones and loudspeakers hoisted on car roofs or on two-wheeler carts.
The drugs come in all forms – liquid, jelly and powder and are taken orally or rubbed on sex organs.
Mairo Bello of Adolescent Health and Information Project (AHIP), a Kano-based NGO, said: « People have the notion that manliness is gauged by how sexually virile a man is, which explains the increase in the demand for sex improving drugs. »
Being a conservative Islamic society, Kano is largely polygamous with men taking as many as four wives, the maximum Islam allows.
With the wives competing for affection, the husband must prove his « manliness » to each of them to maintain peace in the home, SUDIC’s Baba said.
Conventional aphrodisiacs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are available in big drugstores in the city but many people prefer the herbs, which are cheaper.
A four-tablet pack of Viagra costs $27 while a handful of herbs which lasts the user several days costs no more than $2.
Although users of local sex stimulants believe they are safer because they are herbal, side effects from sustained erection occurs in many cases.
For the moment traditional medicine is not regulated anywhere in Nigeria, although legislation is pending.
Legislation or no legislation, Sammani Maimukulli, 50, now steers clear of herbal sex stimulants.
« I stopped using them seven years ago, » he said.
« I was given a strong potion by a herbalist and after taking it I became aroused but the erection refused to subside even after I made love to my three wives, » he said.
« For four days my penis stayed erect and I had to be admitted to Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital in Zaria (140 km away) where doctors told me that I stood the risk of becoming impotent. »
« I stayed for more than a week and it cost me 50,000 naira ($340 dollars). Since then I have refrained from any sex stimulant. »