‘Libido epidemic’ as women force men into sex drugs

RUZVIDZO MANDIZHA uncovers a growing trend for libido-boosting drugs and asks what the effect might be on health and relationships.

The increasing number of vendors selling sex enhancing pills and herbs to an ever-growing number of customers is a trend worrying health experts.

“They walk in in droves to buy the sex enhancers,” says Lilian, a pharmacist. Such drugs were once used only by people with a medical need, often the elderly, but things seem to have changed.

The Zimbabwe Pharmaceuticals Distributors Association told The Zimbabwean that the use of sex enhancement drugs has risen incredibly quickly.

“Sexual enhancement drugs are outselling even popular painkillers like Panadol,” added the pharmacist.

Some medical practitioners and distributors say that the rise in use of sex enhancement drugs among the youth, some as young as 16, is being driven by women who want their boyfriends to be supermen in bed.

Peer pressure and the influence of pornographic movies also make men try to fulfil their fantasies.

But the increasing sexual assertiveness of Zimbabwean women was a common thread in many of our interviews.

“A number of customers who come to buy the sex enhancement drugs are young women accompanied by their boyfriends. Many are barely out of their teenage years,” another pharmacist said.

Kumbirai Moyo, a former University of Zimbabwe students’ union chair, says Zimbabwean men are struggling to adapt to female sexual liberation.

The new generation of women in Zimbabwe is less influenced by religion and tradition and is willing to do what it takes to have good sex, and this includes arming their boyfriends with drugs like Viagra.

Joyce, who complains that her sexual ardour intimidates most Zimbabwean men, encouraged her banker boyfriend to start using the drugs popularly known as blue pills when his sexual

performance dipped.

Traders dealing in sexual potency, penile enlargement, vagina tightening drugs and aphrodisiacs say that they are doing booming business from those seeking a quick fix solution to challenges in bed.

Many of our interviewees admitted they didn’t suffer from erectile dysfunction, but only used chemical assistance to impress their partners.

In a further twist, medical experts are alarmed by the transformation of sex enhancement drugs into party drugs, which young people are combining with other substances to make a cocktail that some call Sextacy.

Sex enhancement drugs are supposed to be prescribed by a physician and sellers are expected to have checks when issuing them.

There have been warnings of that these drugs may cause nerve damage to the eye or directly trigger cardiac deaths, but their status as a cultural phenomenon seem to be growing. According to neurosurgeons and cardiovascular specialists interviewed for this article, heart related diseases, which used to be the preserve of the elderly, are gradually hitting younger people because of unhealthy lifestyles caused by use of junk food and performance enhancement drugs.

The main ingredient for sex enhancement drugs being sold locally is sildenafil citrate and tadalafil, substances that help increase the blood flow and can be effective for up to four hours.

John Hove registered 11 sex enhancement drugs, 10 of them tablets and one a jelly. Viagra and Cialis are said to be the fastest selling drugs among those listed.

The unregistered drugs, some marketed as ‘herbal’ remedies, are unregulated and it is unclear how they work, or whether they contain potentially dangerous chemicals.

Although the sex enhancement drugs may help Zimbabweans have better sex, experts warn that they are neither an aphrodisiac nor a sexual cure and will not, in the end, save a relationship or a marriage.

“There are some risks to taking such drugs that everyone, whether dysfunctional or merely dissatisfied, should consider before rushing to the pharmacy,” said a doctor. Not everyone welcomes Zimbabwean’s sexual drugs dependency. Nicholas Mudimba, a TV sports anchor, says that widespread use of sexual enhancers is destroying rather than strengthening Zimbabwean male sexuality.

“There are people of a certain age that should not use sex enhancement drugs,” he says. “It’s worrying that young people are falling into peer pressure and high expectations.”

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