With the continued rise in prices of goods and services in Nigeria, Nigerians have continued to lament about how they have been impacted in various ways, one of particular importance which caught FRIDAY TREAT’s attention recently. In this report, ROTIMI IGE, narrates the reactions of Nigerians to the impact of the rising inflation on sexual activity.
Nigerians are currently going through a tough phase, no thanks to inflation of goods and services, the continued devaluation of the naira which has resulted in rising prices of every day demands. One sector now aversely hit, that has made many Nigerians complain, is the entertainment industry, especially the sex sector.
The adult entertainment industry in Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented boom in the last 10 years, with more allowance for public sexual expression across many states in the country.
It is common sight to see many thriving clubs, brothels, among other entertainment outfits dotting many streets around states in Nigeria, a testament to the fact that Nigerians love to be entertained. These have given rise to the involvement of many individuals in various businesses or sectors of the nightlife industry.
Deolu Ajibola, a banker, told Friday Treat how a recent experience shocked him to a new reality that things may be changing fast.
“I usually spend my evening at a lounge to avoid close-of-work traffic from Victoria Island to my Magodo residence. A few days ago, I stopped at my usual spot to have dinner and a few drinks to while away time and I was informed that the prices on the menu had changed. The waitresses also said that a 7.5 per cent VAT would, henceforth, be added to the total cost of my purchase. She explained that this had become necessary owing to the constant increase on the prices of food commodities and drinks. That night, I opted for the cheapest option, noodles and beer. Now, I am not sure that I can invite friends to join me as I usually would”, he said.
For Chinonso Alfred, the inflation had not only affected his nutritional diet, but his sexual one too. Speaking to Friday Treat recently, he said, “Nigerians will take advantage of everything to make more money whether valid or not. A crate of eggs in Lagos jumped from N850 to N1, 500. How? I understand that chicken feed etc. may have become costlier but the almost double figure increase is shocking. As if that was not enough, even our libidos are now affected. It is bad enough that we can no longer eat well, but now, even the average young girl on the street wants more from even a casual relationship.
“Our women still want to be treated special when we invite them over; they want us to pay for taxi, feed them at a good restaurant, and bed them in a nice hotel because they prefer air conditioning to fans, among other costs. All these have witnessed some increase in the last few months. How can one cope? The basic things that give us joy are now almost out of reach of the common man. Even pharmacies have increased the price of condoms”, he said.
Alfred’s submission spurred Friday Treat to do a market survey across Lagos and Ibadan last weekend, on the prices of sexual products and results were quite expository. While the prices of some condom brands were yet to change at some local chemists, many pharmacies had increased prices of the product, especially lubricants, which according to them, were mostly imported.
The Chinese and Malaysian made latex condoms mostly have not witnessed a leap in prices, but the ones from the United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA), have experienced change in prices. While the Chinese made ones were bought from around N150 per pack of three, the UK and USA made latex condoms are currently sold from around N500 to N950 per pack. Lubricants and sex toys like dildos, have also witnessed a jump in price also with some selling for many thousands of naira. Most imported items were discovered to have almost doubled in price in the last few weeks.
Ayinla Amos, a mini-importer of various merchandise told Friday Treat how sourcing scarce dollars and the reliance on black market at higher rates was killing his business.
He said, “It is frustrating. I get orders from people directly and so I can’t just buy in bulk. Every week, the exchange rate changes and I had to explain to my customers the change in price of the orders paid for in naira. Then I have to source dollars to pay for the goods I order on the sites.
“Sometimes, I may have collected money from some clients and next day, rates have increased again. Nigerians buy a lot of sex toys from China but these days, the orders have been declining. Many ladies are resorting to other means or sharing toys among themselves, which may even pose a health risk. The reliance on sex toys may also be due to the fact that more ladies may not have sex with men without gratification. Men, on the flip side, are now shying away from due to the harsh economic realities. In a nut shell, it may be cheaper to even marry now than to keep girlfriends”.
For Ahmed Yinus, a youth corps member, maintaining sexual relations with the opposite sex has become burdensome, especially for those who do not have stable relationships.
“I know I speak for a lot of men at this moment. Our sex lives are at risk especially for those of us struggling to make it in life. Even university undergraduates want the finer things in life now. Even ladies of the night now charge between N10, 000 to N30,000 for short time as against N5,000 to N15,000 before. We are now caught in between the devil and deep blue sea. The corpers and educated girls want to buy hair, ride in cabs not okadas, eat good food before we can convince them to sleep over while the call girls will charge us and prefer to meet in hotels rather than at home for security reasons. As I speak, I haven’t bedded a woman in a month”, he said.
However, Amarachi Odili, an entrepreneur, in her response, said the current situation has not affected her sex life in any way as she is still able to enjoy the little pleasures that come with random hookups.
“Although people say that the present economic situation has affected their sex lives, I can’t say the same and it is probably because I prefer to get my dates the old-fashioned way; which is to know them first. Two weeks ago, there was a guy I invited to hook up over at my house and I did the hosting. It was a decision that was very good for the both of us. I like to put money aside when it comes to sex because if I allowed the man pay for what we needed, then it would be transactional sex which would then make me or him a sex trader, which is not the case. I would prefer to meet my date half-way and pick something both of us would enjoy. On occasions where we would be going to a standard restaurant or spend the night in a hotel, we go together as a couple and try to enjoy the night with the money we both saved for entertainment, rather than worry about what our bank account will look like in the morning. So for me personally, whether Nigeria is up for sale or not, I have decided to enjoy myself to the fullest. The country is hard enough, why now put sex on the list of luxurious things only reserved for the rich?” she said.
In Bolanle Adeniyi’s (not real names) case however, any man that couldn’t afford to pay for whatever she would require for a good time, was not worthy of her time. Speaking to Friday Treat about the topic, she said, “My boyfriend is still struggling to pay rent in Abuja and cannot afford to cater for me in Lagos. I spend a lot commuting from my workplace on Lagos Island to my small flat in Ogba. I have to also pay rent, look nice and feed well from my meager N150, 000 salaries which are not enough for a normal girl living in Lagos.
“Occasionally, I get prepositions from men who want to spend time with me and I know all they want from me is sex. For this reason, I make sure I get the best out of each experience. It’s not my problem if things are more expensive but anyone who wants to be with me, no matter how short the time, has to pay premium because I have bills to pay and they aren’t cheaper also. It is the reality of the times”, she said.
Social media platforms, which had provided free sexual succor for many via various random hook-up sites, have also started charging fees and providing exclusive hook ups for paying signees. These, according to findings, have shown that these platforms no longer have high patronage based on the fees and add-ons required to complete a hook-up process. Platforms like Tinder etc which were the most patronised sites, are now not as popular because of the fees charged by the escorts on the platform. Data fees and purchasing power may be another deterrent.
While Nigerians, especially men continue to lament about their sexual woes, it seems their female partners are likely are largely unaffected and are enjoying the situation. How long this persists, only time will tell.
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