Are Men Sleeping On The Job? Nairobi Women Are Spending Big On Sex Toys, Survey Shows


On June 15, journalist, author and social commentator Silas Nyanchawani raised a storm on social media:

“Pornography and masturbation used to affect men a lot. But now women are hooked on the two vices, it is an epidemic. No one is addressing this. But it sweeping a lot of women.
It has the same effects on women as men. Women contribute to nearly half of the monkey genocide,” he wrote.

A week later, he reflected that the problem was not limited to addiction to porn and masturbation. 

“An overwhelming majority of women texted to tell me the real ‘epidemic’ is uptake of sexual toys and their normalization in the bedrooms,” Nyanchwani said.

 He could be onto something. According to a report by the Kenya Revenue Authority’s Customs Services Department based as the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, sex toys are among top prohibited goods that are intercepted on a daily basis. 

Notably, most of the toys nabbed are those used by women compared suggesting bedroom affairs are no longer conducted in the ‘missionary’ manner of our forefathers, or that men are, pun fully intended, sleeping on the job.

In most cases, those nabbed claim they acquire them for personal use and that they hide them in hand luggage to evade electronic scanners at the Airport.

Charles Obuya, a customs and border control officer based at the passenger terminal, said their role is to ensure that the society is safe from illegal, prohibited stuff and to collect revenue at the same time.

It might dent the ego of Kenyan men who like to believe they are well hung that intercepted toys, which are shaped like kuni, are between 18 to 30 centimetres in size. 

According to the experts, sex toys and other prohibited stuff are still available in the market because Kenya has porous borders

In 2018, Samantha, sex doll with artificial intelligence, together with other sex toys, were among multi-billion-shilling contraband goods that were recently set ablaze by President Uhuru Kenyatta.


The contraband included 14 packages of sex toys, vibrators, several Samantha dolls and pornographic DVDs worth millions of shillings.

City therapist Ruth Aduda, however, warns that the pleasure sex toys brings comes with health risks, especially if they are not stored or cleaned properly and that those those using them carelessly risk getting urinary tract infections.

“It gets risky for those sharing, generally they are not safe because most of those imported secretly don’t have manuals on how to clean them. They are used at own risk,” explained Aduda.

Experts also warn the sex toys can pass on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and infections passed on through the blood (blood-borne infections).

According to a report published on NH website, sex toys can transmit chlamydia, syphilis,
herpes, bacterial vaginosis, shigella and have an increased risk of bacterial vaginosis in women who have sex with women who have a history of sharing sex toys, or whose partners have bacterial vaginosis.

Claire Cavanah, co-founder of Babeland and co-author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex warns of dire consequences of using a dirty toy.

“Not washing your toy, using the wrong lube, or storing it incorrectly can all lead to problems,” she advises. 

Cathy Holden, a specialist in sexuality and addiction, explains that some women toys to explore their wants, needs and desires so that they can learn to share and communicate this with this with their partners.

“Or maybe they feel unsatisfied and not able to communicate this to their partners,” she says.

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