Kayan Mata: The Money Spinning Herbs Redefining Sexual Taboos In Nigeria
In recent times, some very effective Nigerian herbs have risen to fame. These aphrodisiacs challenging taboos have become a multi million naira industry.
- For centuries, these local herbs have existed without much attention. Today, they are aphrodisiacs challenging taboos and racking in millions in profits.
Amra Mansur was a makeup artist in Abuja. She often overheard conversations of her clients and their relatives about how to please their men in the bedroom. The older relatives would recite aphrodisiac recipes that contained ingredients like fenugreek, dates, honey, watermelon and the silky kola fruit.
After completing her law degree, Mansur decided she didn’t want to be a lawyer. The bridal makeup industry was also becoming quite overpopulated. She needed a means of livelihood, and so she thought, “why not Kayan Mata?”
What Is Kayan Mata?
“Kayan Mata” is the local name for the aphrodisiacs made of herbs, roots, spices, seeds and fruits. They have been used for centuries by women from northern Nigeria. They were originally used to prepare brides for marriage, to ensure a healthy sex life. However, the aphrodisiacs are becoming increasingly popular among all women across the country. Recipes travel down from generation to generation.
Kayan Mata is not only becoming a thriving business, it is challenging the taboos surrounding sex and marriage. It is also redefining the roles of women in society.
The society expects women to fulfil the conservative roles of wife and mother. Speaking about these forbidden topics on platforms as public as radio stations, attracted some backlash.
Radio journalist Fatima Umar, aired a four part programme on the subject. She says the backlash came from men who said she was encouraging immorality among women. In two of the episodes, women talked about sexual dissatisfaction in marriage. What she thought was innovative journalism became almost a threat to her life.
Beyond the backlash, Umar is excited for the new generation Kayan Mata. It is opening conversations around female pleasure within communities and social groups. A popular myth about around Kayan Mata compares it to love potions and charms used by women to bewitch husbands or lure them away from their wives.
“Kayan Mata is sex food. That’s what I call them,” says Mansu. “You take this food and they make you wet and sweet. That is just their aim, not to make you bewitch your husband. If you are like that in bed and then he enjoys you, if he does any nice thing afterwards, then that is on him.”
Social media has helped Kayan Mata, which has in turn empowered women financially.
Social media platforms like Instagram have helped increase the popularity of these local aphrodisiacs. Kayan mata has financially empowered many northern women.
Much of the history around the use of Kayan Mata centres around men as the principal recipients of sexual pleasure, a myth Mansur is keen to bust.
“When I started, all the women were like, ‘Give me something that is going to drive my husband crazy! Give me something that he will enjoy.’ And then they say, ‘I don’t care if I have fun, as long as he does.’”
As these requests continued, she believed that women needed a change in mindset and decided to teach them about embracing their own sexual pleasure.
“I am so proud of myself because now, I have women who actually enjoy having sex. I have women who have had orgasms and climax because a lot of women didn’t know what orgasms were.”
Resource: The Guardian