When A Doctor Can Prescribe Sex Toys

Twenty-seven-year-old lady, Aduke (not real name) said she was introduced to dildos some few years ago. She sounded delighted while speaking to BLESSING AFOLABI about the pleasure she derived from sex toys which she described as heavenly, stating it was entirely different from sex.

 

Aduke said, “I use a vibrator and a vibrating dildo. It makes me enjoy sex better. I love to use it during sexual intercourse. Most times, I use it for self-gratification. I prefer toys sometimes to reduce body counts.”

 

She noted that the feeling was quite different, adding that manhood (a male sex organ) couldn’t vibrate the way a vibrator does.

 

She said, “I tend to attain orgasm with my partner rather than having multiple partners. My partner is comfortable with my use of dildo. He uses it on me when we have sex. I also use it outside sex play, especially when I want to masturbate.”

 

Another sex toy user identified only as Sisi told Saturday PUNCH that she enjoyed vibrators, adding that the pleasure she derived from their use was unmatched.

 

She stated that she preferred it to having sexual encounter with a man, disclosing that she started using it over two years ago.

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“The toys vibrate and men cannot do that. Asides from these, it makes the whole sexual intercourse enjoyable. My partner enjoys it a lot and it is pleasurable using it on me when we are together,” she said.

 

On whether it helps her stay faithful to one man, she said that sex toys wouldn’t guarantee faithfulness in unions but could make one get satisfaction from one’s partner.

 

Data on sex toys

An online health resource, Web MD, noted that nearly half of adult women currently use sex toys or have tried them in the past, adding that women in relationships were more likely to use them.

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According to the survey, 44 per cent of women use a sex toy or had done so in the past with the most commonly used sex toy being a vibrator. Young women aged 25-34 were the most likely to have ever used a sex toy, with 51 per cent of participants in the age group reporting current or past sex toy use.

 

Also, it stated that women aged 55-60 were just as likely to have tried a sex toy at some point in their lives. However, they were half as likely as younger women to currently use sex toys. Most current or past sex toy users were in relationships and did not view the devices as a substitute for a partner. Forty-three per cent of unmarried women living with their partners used sex toys and 17 per cent had used them in the past.

 

The grand view research noted that the global sex toys market size was valued at $30.48bn in 2021 which is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 8.4 percent from 2022 to 2030.

 

It opined that increased spending capacities and improved standard of living in developing economies were the factors expected to drive market growth during the forecast period.

 

Sexual satisfaction

Sharon Ekpatienem, (pseudonym) stated that the use of sex toys was mainly for convenience. Ekpatienem, who lives in the US, noted that the toys couldn’t replace men because they weren’t phalluses and couldn’t penetrate the vagina.

 

She said, “Sex toys are to please me and nothing more because it ironically doesn’t lay me over. It gives guaranteed orgasms but that depends on the type and how it is used.”

 

Narrating her experience using sex toys, a food enthusiast, Omodudu Osun, said that she used sex toys for sensual pleasure, explaining that she became aware of it in her late teens through a friend who had a dildo at the time.

 

She said that she was married and used it with her partner and alone sometimes.

 

She said, “I discovered that couples’ sex lives are healthier when they are open enough to use the toys together. Toys offer certain benefits like travelling and being kept in a bag. If you desire sexual gratification without negotiating as you would with a human being, the toy is a good choice.

 

“Also, a toy is usually safe and free from sexually transmitted diseases and allows you to be as focused on your needs as you want to. You can be selfish and care only for yourself without the need to get another person to climax.’’

 

She stated that using the tools lured her into selling them, stating that in recent times she sold vibrators, lipstick-shaped bullets, and flashlights, adding that the majority of inquiries she got which she described as overwhelming were for phallus, butt, and breast enlargement aids.

 

Men fancy them too

Our correspondent also discovered from interactions with online vendors that they had a handful of male customers who purchased sex toys for their partners and themselves.

 

In a ladies-only WhatsApp group where our correspondent threw open a question on the use of sex toys, most ladies affirmed that the tools were great for sex enhancement.

 

Many of them opined that they might not get involved in romantic relationships with the opposite sex if they got toys, explaining their readiness for adventures with them. Others confirmed that some men use sex toys, disclosing that the toys resembled attractive women with sensory body parts.

 

Also sharing his experience with our correspondent, a man identified only as Danjuma said he derived pleasure from sex toys and started using them when he was much younger because he wanted to explore something different from the norm.

Danjuma told our correspondent that as a married man, he uses sex toys on his wife during sexual intercourse.

 

He said, “I don’t derive any personal pleasure but I use them on my partner. The joy I get from my partner being pleasured is heavenly and we derive satisfaction from it.”

 

Asked if it helped him to stay faithful to his partner, he noted that using the tool didn’t amount to being faithful but prevented STDs and infections.

 

He said, “Vibrators work for me. I have different types of them. I love to tease my partner when we are out and I always have them on me. I label the ones I have ‘my collections.’’

 

The sex toy merchants

Some online sex toy merchants contacted by our correspondent stated that the toys were in different shapes and performed several functions.

 

They noted that they were like other commodities in the market which people buy for a particular use.

 

An online sex toy vendor, Eunice Olufunmilola, said curiosity led her to the business in 2019, including the desire to help people lacking sexual pleasure and victims of genital mutilation.

 

She added that her big break was during the COVID-19 lockdown, stating that the movement restriction increased her patronage and made her record good sales.

 

Analysing her patronage in terms of percentage, she stated that it would be 40 per cent males and 60 per cent females.

 

She noted that using sex toys was an alternative to being promiscuous and contracting STDs and sexually transmitted infections. Olufunmilola said, “One’s toy doesn’t move around like a man or woman would and one would have a low infection rate because one can care for it.”

 

She said that there were different types of sex toys; the battery-powered, universal serial bus rechargeable, and electric, adding that the rechargeable was in high demand.

 

“The silicon-based are the best types because they don’t retain smell or fluid, unlike PVC. Those who use PVC-based are advised to use condoms with it. I advocate body-safe toys and any toy that retains smell is not ideal for use,” she said.

 

She noted, “The prices vary and they are luxury goods as they are not for everyone. A popular adage says, ‘soup wey sweet, na money kill am.’’

 

She further said that there were affordable brands such as vibrators sold for N6,000, adding that she formerly sold some for N3,500 but discontinued them because they were not durable.

 

According to her, there are those sold for N9,000 and use USB rechargeable while others sell some for N15,000 and some as high as N140,000 which is a remote-controlled type.

 

Olufunmilola noted that she didn’t delve into the business for monetary gains, adding that curiosity and interest from her teenage years encouraged her. She added that she educated herself about sex toys by surfing the internet in 2006.

 

She said, “What keeps me going are my clients. I get complaints from some men that their wives have never attained orgasm in a marriage of over five years with kids. One of them told me his wife was circumcised and her clitoris was cut off but knew something could be done for her to enjoy lovemaking. I recommended sex toys to them and they came back with testimonies that their wives reached orgasm, and were satisfied for the first time in their union.”

 

She said that she had learnt to counsel her customers, and recommended diets to boost the libido of those whose genitals were mutilated, adding that great sex wasn’t all about penetration.

 

“Sex toys don’t replace a man and it’s not a competition. It’s just a toy and it should be seen and used as a play tool. There is a quote we use, ‘sex toys don’t replace a good man.’ By good, I mean a man that knows the act of satisfying his woman,” she stated.

 

She advised women to desist from letting toys replace intimacy with their spouses but learn to use them to understand their bodies and inform their spouses how they want to be pleasured.

 

Another online vendor, Adedolapo Oyekanmi, told Saturday PUNCH that people now use sex toys, adding that they had a target market because they weren’t for everyone.

 

“The price depends on the size and how it works. There are those as low as N1,000 and as high as N40,000. They are of different types and sizes,” she said.

 

She noted that there were a variety of sex toys, adding that they were all safe with some for penetration, clitoral stimulation and nipple play.

 

She added, “I get an equal number of men and women as customers. But I will say that more females patronise us because most of my male customers buy for the females in their lives anyway. Couples patronise too. Not everyone is open-minded about sex toys. We haven’t got to that stage as a society.”

 

‘Toys are sex enhancers’

On her view on use of sex toy, a Lagos State-based sex therapist/marriage counsellor, Cessa Aggrey, said that sex toys were sex enhancers and could be seen as makeup, hair extensions, acrylic nails, lipstick, or other enhancements used in everyday life.

 

She noted that they enhance sex life, staying power, orgasms, and entire love-making process from foreplay, penetration to after sex.

 

She said that research had shown that 80 per cent of women do not attain orgasm from penetration rather they get orgasm through clitoral stimulation, breast-gasm, or stimulation of some other part of their body. She also noted that some could witness penetration for hours without attaining orgasm.

 

She noted that many people frown at sex enhancers because of religious and cultural beliefs.

 

She said, “It is the manner with which it is used that will determine if it’s bad or not. It’s just like money. You can decide to use it for a good or bad cause. For those who are married, partners should both agree to purchase one to use together. Men are more satisfied when their female partners are satisfied too. Their self-esteem is not on the line as to whether they have satisfied their partner or not. They are calm and confident in themselves.”

 

She advised users to always wash the toys before and after use to prevent infection and look out for the ones best for them. She added that the danger of its use was addiction and people should ensure not to get addicted to it.

 

“Let it remain an enhancer as it is called, you don’t use or depend on enhancers all the time. Just like you could go out without your wig or days without make-up. If you can do without them unbothered, then you should do the same with the sex enhancer.

 

“Get the one that is comfortable for you. Some people react to latex and rubber, but silicon is usually the best. Ensure you discuss with your partner if they are comfortable with it and if they are not then make do with what you have. It shouldn’t be a selfish thing, it should be mutual,” Aggrey said.

 

Aggrey recommended that sex toys should be used with both partners especially married partners or else the essence would be abused and could lead to craving on sex toys. She added that addiction to their use could lead to a lack of pleasure or satisfaction from one’s partner, discouraging their stand use.

 

She said, “Sex toys cannot help one keep away from multiple sexual partners. To curb sexual urge, one must start from the mind and not from the use of sex toys. Sexual urge is like a seed that will grow if watered. Sex toys will rather make one masturbate and masturbation has bad side effects than good ones. The disadvantages are more.

 

“The essence of sex is for two people to enjoy it. If one starts masturbating, the other will not feel connected to the other. It makes one selfish with one’s body and wants to satisfy oneself only. I advise young people to abstain from sex before marriage so that they can enjoy the beauty of it fully because it is enjoyable when done rightly.”

 

Another sex therapist, Mabel Onwuemele, said that sex toys were completely safe if kept clean and not shared especially if couples use them on their partners.

 

She noted, “While sex toys are often used recreationally, they can also improve sexual function for people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, which affects nerve transmission, and can dull sexual sensation. People taking medications for high blood pressure and depression can also suffer side effects that limit sexual response. Women who undergo hormonal changes during menopause or who suffer nerve damage after surgery sometimes find their clitorises to be less sensitive; a sex toy might be necessary to increase arousal.’’

 

Onwuemele also said sharing sex toys with an infected partner could increase the risk of developing STDs such as HIV, herpes, and so on.

 

She added that there were reported cases of certain sex toys such as butt plugs and dildos trapping in the private parts of the users and had to be removed with the help of doctors.

 

She said, “Using sex toys such as vibrators can sometimes cause numbness of the area and permanent sensitivity, especially in a woman’s clitoris, thus minimising sexual pleasure. You can avoid STIs by keeping sex toys clean and washing them after each use. It is important to cover penetrative sex toys, such as vibrators, with a new condom each time they’re used. There should be no sharing of sex toys.”

 

The love doctor advised couples to maximise their sex lives because the benefits of sex were numerous. She added that they could achieve this by exploring each other’s bodies while young to avoid health issues in the future instead of solely depending on sex toys.

 

On his part, a medical doctor and sex therapist, Dr Malik Haruna, noted that generally, sex toys don’t pose any form of physical threat.

 

Haruna stated, “But if connected to electricity and causes injury, then it could be unsafe. So its safety is case-sensitive. Also, there could be a transfer of infection from the toys if not properly handled.”

 

He added that those who use sex toys alone tend to develop a dependence on the tool which could negatively affect a healthy sexual relationship with another person.

 

He noted that sex toys could enhance sexual relationships between partners when used together and not separately, advising couples to use the toys enhancers.

 

He said, “I recommend that sex toys should be used carefully. It should not be used in isolation but among couples because it sets the bar too high for partners to meet. For instance, a man’s sexual organ, finger, or tongue can never achieve the stimulation a vibrator produces. That level of dopaminergic stimulation could affect one’s relationship if not properly handled.”

 

He counselled the public to use the tools responsibly and cautiously to frustrate addiction to them.

 

The medical expert advised people to be wary of infection, injury, and allergy that could result from their use, adding that one’s body might react to the materials they were made from.

 

He also urged those who practised Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism kind of sexual activity to be careful not to inflict physical injuries on themselves.

 

Commenting on the safety of sex toys, a sexual/reproductive health specialist, Dr Kelechi Okoro, said the initial intent of the production of sex toys was to relieve the medical condition; hysteria (uncontrollable emotional excess), noting however that people had found other uses for them. She said that sex toys were safe when used properly.

 

She added that one could contract infections from sex toys when shared or not properly cleaned the way one could contract STIs through sex with one’s partners.

 

Okoro said, “If you share a sex toy with someone you’re unaware of their sexual histories, you are at risk of contracting STIs such as chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, bacteria vaginosis, HIV, and hepatitis B&C. Also, one can contract yeast infections such as candidiasis. As long as you are exchanging body fluids with your partner, you are still prone to diseases/infections.”

 

She added that sex toys were prescribed for some medical conditions such as dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse) to prepare women for actual sexual activity.

 

She noted, “There are conditions where we prescribe the use of sex toys; couples who experience disconnection in their sex lives and women who have not experienced orgasm or victims of genital mutilation are counselled to try sex toys. Consequently, women who experience urinary incontinence or prolapsed uterus are advised to use dildos during kegel exercises.’’

 

Okoro advised users to keep the toys clean by disinfecting and washing them with liquid soap and lukewarm water. She also recommended drying after use, and storage in the right conditions such as a cool, dark, and dry place.

 

She further said that one could submerge silicon or plastic toys into a pot of boiling water as it was effective against germs, adding that a condom should be worn on penetrative toys when used with a partner or alone for it reduces the risk of contracting infections.

 

Okoro, however, stated that people would always crave physical touch and that toys couldn’t replace men, adding that sex toys shouldn’t replace a man but rather enhance sexual activity among couples.

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