So on Saturday I was in the market with my munchkins, and one of these herbal medicine peddling guys was shouting through a bullhorn about sexual productivity. The advert was something like this “buy my medicine because as a man you must enjoy sex till you die. Women are mortars and men are pestles and everyone knows that mortars always get spoilt, but pestles remain strong. Buy my medicine and make sure that you can have children till you die.” He went on to say that after menopause, women don’t crave sex as much as men and that men on the other hand want more sex in their mid life.

So first of all, this person clearly hasn’t had experience pounding fufu. One because the pestle spoils way before the mortar does in my experience, the fronds start to come out and if you don’t change it, you’ll have pieces of them in your fufu. Secondly, since when did we start comparing human sexual organs to inanimate objects?

These are the major problems I had with this advert. One, it’s a lie. It perpetuates the archaic notion that women are not as sexual as men because “biology”. Scientific studies have long debunked that. What he was saying is basically that women stop craving sex at a certain age and men don’t. This is also a lie. Vaginas don’t become automatically dormant unless the owner chooses not to use it, or if there are medical issues which could be caused by a number of things from diet, hygiene etc. fact is older women want and crave sex just as much as older men. The difference is in the socialization. This is one prime example. Telling a market full of people that as a “herbal expert” your research shows that women don’t really want to have sex after menopause. 🤦🏾‍♀️ dude there is a whole group of women called “cougars” (although I have a problem with that name that’s a topic for another day) who are post menopausal and love to have sex.

Wild, vigorous, sensual sexual encounters. Aside that, many women are socialized and brought up by parents and society as a whole to think that wanting what some obviously very boring people consider “a lot of sex” and being sexually liberated is forbidden for women.

However herbal adverts and alcohol adverts in this country literally thrive on exploiting the lie that sexual stamina and appetite of men is higher than that of women and should never be allowed to drop from the false expectation set for all men. Creating a false reality that a man’s value to his wife is in his penis in alcohol and bitters ads, and that a woman’s value to her husband is in her cooking pot in food adverts. So men with genuine sexual issues are more or less demonized and stigmatized in the media. The false perception that a man can never have these issues and that they should be ashamed of discussing these issues is one major reason so many men keep quiet about reproductive issues. It also gives the perception that women are always blamed for things like a couple not being able to have children. Because heaven forbid the men can ever be the problem. There should be no shame in discussing medical issues for any gender. ANYONE, can have these issues and they are mostly not the fault of the sufferer.

Now about the vagina spoiling because it is a “mortar”….the vagina is made so strong that it can withstand childbirth, this man was basically doing what most uneducated (in these issues) misogynists do, which is inflate the ego of the man by making him feel as if his penis is the end of a woman’s body. Oshey, womb shifter, only you get penis. And to think that he was basically saying that although a vagina can snap back after a full human baby comes out of it, a 7 inch penis is more rigorous and causes more damage to a vagina than a full grown baby. 🙄🙄 Stop it already. The vagina is a muscle with great elastic abilities, and can expand and contract as much as it wants to. Yes with age and lack of exercise most muscles lose their original strength, however the vagina doesn’t all of a sudden become dormant or go out of operation and a specific age. There are many things that can make a vagina change and penis is not even top three.

What these ads do is to put a blanket cap on sexuality, making it very hard for individuals who have preferences, practices and expressions that aren’t in line with the falsely created “norm” to express themselves effectively verbally, sexually etc. Here lies the problem with sexual repression. Giving sexual experiences, sexual preferences and sexual freedoms a one size fits all definition. “Women don’t want as much sex as men” “men want a lot of sex” “men can have a lot of sex, women’s vaginas can’t withstand a lot of sex” 🙄🤦🏾‍♀️

I think it’s high time we call people out on their ignorance. Which is what I ended up having to do yesterday. It wasn’t pleasant but hey, it had to be done. There has to be a point where people who tell blatant lies to sell bogus herbal medicines are called out on their miseducation by those who know better. Oh and one more thing, the vagina can work till the dying day of any woman. Minus those with genuine health issues, and those who cause themselves problems by using chemicals such as alum and what not in a bid to make it tighter. Abeg google the benefits of kegel muscle exercises and save yourselves the agony.

Let’s demistify reproductive health issues, sex and sexuality for all, so we can be as open about these issues as possible.

™Maame Awereba