- Our battle with side effects, by aphrodisiac drug users
NEPA Street, Alaba Rago, at Okokomaiko, along the Badagry expressway, is a very cluttered Lagos neighbourhood, populated by a market, a mosque, a brothel and a host of vendors of needful things patronised by the homeless males, man or boy. Among the needful things are aphrodisiacs in various forms such as herbal concoctions and exotic pills.
By dusk of the second Thursday of January, the neighbourhood was witnessing a Kafkaesque drama of a sort, the protagonist, a boy barely 18, looking wild, wet and worn-out. The story was pretty straight: He bought a strip of Viagra, ignorantly swallowed all the tablets, and at that moment, was bearing the brunt, tormented by priapism––persistent and painful erection of the penis––since 5 pm.
The villain, a much older man, who sold him the drug, was there to give his own side of the story, and his version detailed a costly mix-up. “I told him to take one,” he insisted. The teenager mistook one for the one strip he bought. The one strip was a sachet of four pills. He swallowed all four.
This anecdote, a frightening facet of sex pills, depicts the arbitrary, indiscriminate and overdose usage of Viagra and its kinds, a dangerous drug abuse encouraged by unfettered access. Hawked openly on the streets of Lagos, sex-enhancing pills can be bought as easily as buying cookies and candies. Bought less for medical reasons and more for recreational sex, the pills are sometimes damaging to the body system.
Three men who had since desisted from using such pills shared their stories with Saturday Sun. Their narratives added up to a close-angle view of the drive and dangers of drug-fuelled sex.
Curiosity and experimentation
Thomas Oguike’s first contact with sex-enhancing pills was in 2009 when he was a member of the National Youth Service Corps in Bauchi State.
While serving in Zabi Village in Giade Local Government Area, he developed a bond with the local chemist, because of their common ethnicity. So close were they that their no-holds-barred conversation included their sexual exploits.
It was during one of such salacious chats that the chemist introduced the corps member to medical aphrodisiacs, going as far as recommending a brand called Vega.
“He was regaling me of his sexual exploits, of how he used sex pills regularly and how those pills work wonders,” Oguike recounted. “I told him I don’t know what it looks like. He said I ought to experience it. He told me of three different brands, but particularly recommended Vega 100.”
He not only told him the name, the chemist directed the corps member to a pharmacy where he could obtain the drugs since he was out of stock at the time.
“He told me a sachet costs about N70 but advised I go there with N100.” Thomas Oguike’s first buy was a packet of four blue pills. “I used the entire pill,” he said.
“My girlfriend at the time was doing her national service in Kaduna. Whenever I went a visiting, I’d take one pill, and she never knew I was taking any enhancement drug. I usually swallow a tablet about 30 minutes before sex as per instruction and really, the pills worked.”
Action, science says, produces a reaction. Oguike noticed changes in his metabolism that gave him concern.
He said: “The chemist advised me to ensure that I was well fed before taking the pills. That bothered me a bit. I also noticed I was feeling dehydrated. In fact, hyper dehydrated. I was drinking a lot of water, and yet still feeling thirsty and dry. Initially, I thought it was the weather causing that. But soon I was certain something was wrong with my body system.”
Despite the drug’s efficacy, he swore never to touch it again. “I am now older and wiser and I know what to take if I want to enjoy sex without jeopardizing my health. I won’t advise anybody to take it,” he insisted.
Fear of diminishing libido
Segun Hunsu had a genuine reason for using sex-enhancing pills in late 2016. “I was suffering from erectile dysfunction,” he said matter-of-factly.
“After one round of sex, I had to wait for another four or five days before I would have a strong erection that could sustain a robust sexual act. Each time I attempted to defy this timetable, I’d lose erection halfway through the act and after two instances, it became an embarrassment for me. To minimize the humiliation, I restricted myself to having sex just twice a week or in some cases once.”
He continued. “One day, a girl I had been chasing finally gave in. She gave me the green light and it was to be a one-night stand. Perhaps, my anxiety sapped my strength. We got down to the act, and for no reason, my manhood suddenly failed. The lady was so angry she called me names. It was a big blow to my ego. And what was worse, my sexual urge did not diminish; it was in the finishing that I was having a problem. It was a big dilemma for me. To worsen the situation, my fiancée was beginning to ask questions. I knew I needed some medical attention but I couldn’t tell anyone. So, I decided to try the pills, out of my own volition.”
The first trial worked, finely. He became a regular user. “I was using it at least twice a week,” he admitted. The fun lasted two months. “I noticed no side effect until I suddenly took ill.”
The symptoms of his strange illness included shortness of breath, sharp pains below the ribs, woozy sensation and nausea. “My doctor asked me a lot of questions, to which I could not truthfully answer. I remember he told me sternly: if there is any drug you are taking, it is better you discontinue the use” he said.
He regained his health, according to him, at the cost of over N20, 000 and two months of body pains.
A wife’s wish
Mr Joseph and his wife (surname withheld to protect the identity of a third party) are a couple who jointly pleaded mea culpa to the sex drug crime. The man refined his plea with the standard ‘Adam’s Defense’: My woman’s fault. Strangely, his wife did not rebut.
Joe spilt the story.
Their journey into the use of sex-enhancing drugs started with his wife complaining about him not satisfying her sexually. “At the time, I lost my job and I had been at home for over one year. The few months I was home and idle, we had good sex. Then I got a job at Apapa Ports and because of the distance, from Badagry to Apapa, I’d go on Monday and return on Friday night. That means a sharp decline in our sexual activities, reduced from everyday action to only Saturday and Sunday.”
The reduction was not the problem, but the intensity. He admitted he was always dog-tired and therefore lacked the strength for marathon sex. As a result, their sex became quickie. “When a woman complains too much, you won’t want her to look elsewhere. So when she told me about her friend who was having a good sex life, and that her husband used sex pills, and asked ‘why can’t we try it too’, I said why not? I was open to it. In fact, she got the drug’s name from her friend. So, she bought the first one we used.”
The first use, in July 2017, according to him, worked. “We started using it every weekend.” Their sex-driven Kama Sutra lasted three months. By October end, they were beating a retreat.
“The husband of her friend took ill and was in critical condition. He fainted in the night and his wife’s cries woke the neighbours at 4 am. He was taken to a nearby hospital here in Imeke. Later in the morning, he was taken to the general hospital in Badagry. For some few days, everyone was in the dark about his ailment. Eventually, he was taken to a private clinic in Surulere. We heard, at first, that he was suffering from chronic diabetes. Later, we heard things like renal impairment and some sight problems. The doctors said his situation degenerated because of the use of Viagra. My wife was so frightened she insisted we stop using it.”
The experience put the fear of God in them so much so that, today, their sex life excluded the use of any sex pills.
Voice of the repentant
Thomas Oguike, Segun Hunsu and Joe are no longer users of sex drugs. Hunsu has got his mojo back. He has learnt that the use of Viagra is not the answer to all cases of erectile dysfunction. The big lesson came from his treatment at the hospital, that the answer to low libido or the like, sometimes, lies in some underlying infections.
“I was treated for urinary tract infection. Strains of staphylococcus and streptococcus were found in my blood. After the treatment, I got my sex life back in order. Now, I can ‘fire from all cylinders’ every two days, if not everyday.”
Oguike is still a bachelor, and still has his regular dose of sex, but no longer touches sex pill, after the initial experimentation. He has developed a strong reservation that insulates him from future use of any Viagra-like pill.
Said he: “I later discovered that 100mg is the recommended dose. The last ones I bought were 200mg. I remember the Aboki that sold it to me guaranteed that if I use it. my ‘this thing’ will be standing for three whole days. That was clearly a dangerous overdose of the recommended dosage.”
He added: “Now, I noticed that even the Vega around now is mostly counterfeit. I have read about it that some of these sex pills can damage body organs like liver and kidneys. So, each time I think back to what I was doing to my body, I shudder.” He concluded thus: “Using a sex drug? Not again. It’s not worth it.”
As for Joe, he laughs at his folly each time he looks backward. Today, he has a phobia for aphrodisiac pills. “It could have been me,” he said, referring to his neighbour who has since become an invalid of sort due to sex pill usage. “We still have great sex,” he said of himself and his wife. “We made an adjustment and the sex is just as great.”
According to him, they have been able to rejig their sex life satisfactorily “we have no need for ‘chemical sex’.”