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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-16

Sexual stimulants and their effects on women of reproductive age group in Kano, northern Nigeria

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication29-Aug-2013

Correspondence Address:
Hauwa Abdullahi
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0331-8540.117233

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Introduction: Sexual stimulants are preparations used for increasing pleasure during sexual intercourse. The study sought to determine the use and effect of such preparations on women of reproductive age group in Kano, northern Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A self administered questionnaire was used to obtain information from 500 women to determine if they use sexual stimulants and the effects of the drugs on them (if any). Results: There were 423 women that responded. Majority 228 (53.9%) of them use sexual stimulants. Most (47.4%) of them were between the ages of 21 and 30 years, married (85.5%), multiparous (46.9%), and attained tertiary education (58.3%). About 39.9% of the respondents benefited from increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction, 20.2% obtained extra favors from their husbands while 29.9% did not benefit anything from the preparations. About 37.3% developed complications, which included coital laceration (5.9%), copious vaginal discharge (16.5%), vulval itching and rashes (17.5%), lower abdominal pains (14.1%), painful intercourse (16.5%), vaginal dryness (13.0%), and irregular menses (5.9%). Conclusion: A large number of women use sexual stimulants mainly sold by traditional healers. There is need for setting up more orthodox care for sexual dysfunction. There is need for more community health education on female sexual dysfunction.

Keywords: Kano, northern Nigeria, reproductive age group, sexual stimulants

How to cite this article:
Abdullahi H, Tukur J. Sexual stimulants and their effects on women of reproductive age group in Kano, northern Nigeria. Niger J Basic Clin Sci 2013;10:13-6

How to cite this URL:
Abdullahi H, Tukur J. Sexual stimulants and their effects on women of reproductive age group in Kano, northern Nigeria. Niger J Basic Clin Sci [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Mar 31];10:13-6. Available from: https://www.njbcs.net/text.asp?2013/10/1/13/117233

  Introduction Top

Sexual stimulants are drugs or preparations that are used for increasing pleasure during sexual intercourse. Sexual dysfunction refers to persistent or reoccurring problems during any stage of the sexual response that prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction from sexual activity and causes distress. [1],[2] It has been observed that there is a high incidence of sexual problems in the general population. [3]

Generally it was found that women experience significantly more sexual dysfunction than men. [4] In addition, female patients may find it difficult to ask for professional help in some cultural settings. [1],[5] Such women may purchase sexual stimulants from non-orthodox sources following the advice of their friends or relatives, which may subsequently result in complications.

A study of the prevalence and pattern of sexual dysfunction among 212 patients attending General Hospital Benin showed that 36.3% had excitement dysfunction, 35% had female orgasmic dysfunction, 20.6% had premature ejaculation, 7.3% had male dyspareunia, 3.9% had female dyspareunia while 3.9% had vaginismus. [6]

Otubu et al., in Jos, Nigeria carried out a study among women being counseled for sterilization and reported a prevalence of sexual dysfunction to be 23% with lubrication difficulty accounting for 8%, pain at penetration 11.3%, dyspareunia 6.7%, and difficulty with achieving orgasm accounting for 8.7%. [7]

Management of sexual dysfunction involves couple therapy including communication to improve understanding, use of artificial lubricants, adoption of different sexual positions, treatment of infection using antibiotics, and also when it becomes necessary, the use of drugs that enhance sexual function (sexual stimulants). [1],[2] Such drugs includes dehydroepiandosterone sulfate (DHEAS), which is a hormone produced by adrenal glands, converted to estrogens and testesterone that boost sexual arousal in older women. [8] Ginkgo is a traditional Chinese medicine used for years to improve cognitive function and memory thus helping people with sexual dysfunction overcome depression. [9] Arginine is an amino acid that relaxes blood vessels while Yohimbine and Damiara are traditional herbs used to enhance sexual function in men and women. [10],[11] Sildenafil, which is a phosphodiestrase inhibitor, enhances arousal and orgasmic release in men. [12] Others include spark feminine sexual enhancer, such as Max desire, Herbal viva, Nymphomax, etc. [13]

In northern parts of Nigeria, it is a cultural practice in some places to give young brides traditional sexual stimulants just before their marriage. However, the drugs are also openly marketed at markets, naming, and marriage ceremonies. A lot of the drugs are derived from preparations such as herbs, leaves, honey or soup ingredients including okro, and dried baobab leaves. Some animal parts are also used as stimulants. The preparations are taken orally, inserted into the vagina, used topically, or as a combination.

The traditional preparations have different names. Some are called Eye to eye, Keep on following her, A house, A car, Hereditary access, Dangerous three, Senseless preparation, etc.

This study was conducted with the aim of getting some information that will help in disseminating more knowledge on sexual stimulants and their effects (if any) on their users.

  Materials and Methods Top

A self administered questionnaire, which was back translated to the local language of Hausa, was designed to obtain information from respondents. The information included socio demographic variables, knowledge about and use of sexual stimulants, types used, years of usage, benefits, problems, and finally opinion about the use of the stimulants. The questionnaire was distributed to sexually active women only. Premenarcheal and postmenopausal women were excluded. The questionnaires were distributed among randomly selected women who met the inclusion criteria and attended wedding ceremonies in Kano between May 1, 2012 and June 23, 2012. All the women were adequately counseled and the questionnaires were distributed to the ones that consented. The responses were encoded into a personal computer and analyzed using SPSS Version 17.0.

  Results Top

A total of 500 questionnaires were distributed of which 450 were responded to. About 423 copies were retrieved giving a retrieval rate of 94%. The analysis was based on the 423 copies retrieved.

Among the respondents, 228 (53.9%) knew about and used sexual stimulants. Further analysis involved only the 228 respondents who used sexual stimulants.

Majority (47.4%) of the respondents were between the ages of 21 and 30 years, multiparous (46.9%), attained tertiary education (58.3%), and married (85.5%) [Table 1]. About 121 (53.1%) were in a monogamous setting while 94 (41.2%) were in a polygamous setting.
Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics of the respondents

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A total of 116 (50.9%) used oral stimulants only, 27 (11.8%) used insertives only, 5 (2.2%) used both oral stimulants and vaginal insertives, 7 (3.1%) used topical preparations while 68 (29.8%) used a combination of preparations [Table 2]. The duration of use of the sexual stimulants among 107 (46.9%) of the respondents was more than 3 years, 29 (12.2%) for 1-3 years, 23 (10.1%) for up to a year and 49 (21.5%) for less than 6 months or less.
Table 2: Types of sexual stimulants used by respondents

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The reasons for the use of sexual stimulants include getting favors from the husband by 23.7% of respondent, to improve a poor marital relationship by 14.4%, and to achieve greater sexual satisfaction by 23.2% of respondents. There were also miscellaneous reasons for the use by 23.2% of respondents (including satisfaction of curiosity and maintenance of sexual clients).

A total of 91 (39.9%) of them benefited from increased sexual pleasure/satisfaction, 46 (20.2%) received a favorable response from their husbands, 3 (1.3%) achieve cure for sexual dysfunction while 68 (29.9%) did not benefit anything from the preparations [Table 3].
Table 3: Benefits derived from sexual stimulants by the respondents

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The source of information on the sexual stimulants included friends among 123 (53.9%) respondents, relatives among 59 (25.9%) respondents, health workers among 4 (1.8%) respondents while it was from miscellaneous sources (mass media, husbands, wedding and naming ceremonies, schools, and Hausa novels) among 38 (16.8%) respondents.

A total of 85 (37.3%) developed complications, which they attributed to the use of the drugs as shown in [Table 4]. The most common complications were vulval itching and rashes in 15 (17.5%) respondents.
Table 4: Complications developed by the users of sexual stimulants

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About 139 (61%) of the women interviewed were of the opinion that sexual stimulants are good but should be used with caution or following prescription by a doctor, 64 (28.1%) were of the opinion that the preparations were harmful and should be avoided. About 4 (1.7%), preferred the use of oral agents only.

  Discussion Top

In this study 53.9% of the respondents knew about and used sexual stimulants. Despite the lack of evidence from the literature on the effectiveness of traditional aphrodisiacs, the search for a remedy has been an obsession throughout known history. However, data on the use of aphrodisiacs in women is limited. [11] This is even more so in the setting in which this study was conducted being a highly conservative society. However, this study has shown that the use of these drugs is common among women even though issues related to sexuality and its problems are not usually openly discussed.

The finding that the stimulants were used mostly by young women aged 30 years and below, who are of low parity, may be because such women are still at their sexual prime and probably willing to experiment. It may also be because in the cultural setting of the study area, as women advance in age, interest in sexual intercourse may give way to taking care of children. Interestingly, men appear to be major reasons why women use these drugs at the risk of exposing themselves to unknown agents and the possibility of side effects. The respondents, however, reported benefits such as increased sexual satisfaction and improved marital relationship with their husbands. These benefits, however, have to be considered against the risk of possible complications that were reported by the respondents such as coital laceration, vaginal dryness, and discharge as shown in [Table 4].

Despite several studies, pharmacological agents have found little role in the management of female sexual dysfunction. [14],[15] It has been recommended that clinicians should emphasize nonpharmacologic and behavioral therapies with the goal of achieving satisfying and pleasurable experiences in female sexual dysfunction. [16] The study, however, demonstrated that many women use traditional sexual stimulants obtained from traditional healers in this community. Perhaps these women would not have utilized the services of traditional healers if adequate orthodox care was available for female sexual dysfunction. There is need to set up more orthodox sexual dysfunction service to address the needs of these women. To set up this service, there is need for training of more health personnel to specialize on the management of female sexual dysfunction. Such service should be offered with full complement of confidentiality and privacy in view of the sensitive nature of the disorder. The ability of hospitals to provide this service will probably reduce the number of women who patronize traditional healers at the risk of developing complications.

This study would have been enriched if the nature of the various substances used by the women were studied. It would be helpful to study the pharmacological composition of the stimulants used by the respondents. However, this is recommended in future studies on this subject. Knowing the composition will help in determining the possible effect of such drugs not only on sexuality but also on other organs such as liver and kidney in the short and long run. This knowledge is important in counseling women who use the drugs. Further studies are also recommended on the effect of the traditional sexual stimulants on men.

This study showed there is still a lot of ignorance about the use of sexual stimulants and also poor knowledge about treatment options for sexual dysfunction by women. Unfortunately, these topics are usually hidden in secrecy and discussed only among couples or very close friends. There is need for clinicians to educate the public on female sexual dysfunction. Communication between couples should be encouraged rather than the use of drugs whose pharmacological properties are unknown.

  References Top

1.Bassion R, Leiblum S, Brotto L, Derogatis L, Fourcroy J, Fugl-Meyer K, et al. Revised definitions of women's sexual dysfunction. J Sex Med 2004;1:40-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Fran R. Sexual Dysfunction. Dewhurst's Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 7 th ed. New Jersey: Blackwell Publishing; 2007. p. 651-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Ekele BA. Sexual dysfunction. Comprehensive gynaecology in the tropics. 1 st ed. USA: Graphic Packaging Ltd; 2005. p. 182-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Audu IO, Ahmed MH. Psycho-sexual problems among Kaduna polytechnic students. Nig Med Pract 1998;16:63-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Aggleton P, Ball A, Purnima G. Young people, sexuality and relationships. Sexual and Relationship therapy 2002;17:253-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Eze GO. Pattern of sexual dysfunction in general hospital setting in Benin city, Nigeria (Dissertation). West Afr Postgrad Med Coll 1994:24-32.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Otubu JA, Asien OA, Da OR, Tawobola OA. Sexual problems in women counselled for sterilization. Nig Med J 1989;19:177-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Meston CM, Hull E, Levin RJ, Sispki M. Disorders of orgasm in women. J Sex Med 2004;1:66-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Clayton A, Ramamurthy S. The impact of physical illness on sexual dysfunction. Adv. Psychosom Med 2008;29:70-88.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Adimoeija A. Phytochemicals and the breakthrough of traditional herbs in the management of sexual dysfunction. Int J Androl 2001;23 Suppl 2:82-4  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Shamloul R. Natural aphrodiasics. J Sex Med 2010;7:39-49.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Seagraves R, Woodared T. Female hypo active sexual desire disorders: History and current status. J Sex Med 2006;3:408-18.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Michielle R. Female sexual stimulants can overcome female sexual dysfunction. Available from: http://www.ezine articles.com/expert. [Last accessed on 2008 Mar 20].  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Mazaro-Costa R, Andersen ML, Hachul H, Tufik S. Medicinal plants for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction: Utopian vision or possible treatment in climacteric women? J Sex Med 2010;7:3695-714.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Fooladi E, Davis SR. An update on the pharmacological management of female sexual dysfunction. Expert Opin Pharmacother 2012;13:2131-42.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Walton B, Thorton T. Female sexual dysfunction. Curr Womens Health Rep 2003;3:319-26.  Back to cited text no. 16


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]

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