EMAMEH BABRIEL in this piece captures the pictures in the world of nymphomanias, people who are unable to control their sexual urge

She is a reflection of a mirror turned upside down, forced to succumb to dual personalities- on the one hand she is a normal person, while on the other hand, she is consumed by aggressive thoughts, fantasies, urges, sensation and an explicit sense of seduction that drive at a very high level.

She fights unsuccessfully to suppress these feelings. It has become an obsession she has no control over.

She is not unfaithful to her partner; it is something that comes and goes leaving her burning in guilt because she just cannot explain what has come over her. Every day in her somber mood, she wishes she could do something about it.

But unfortunately, she is helpless. It is that part of her life she can’t just wish away.

Joy has been living with this emotional trauma since she became conscious of her womanhood. At first she thought it must be some evil people from her village who are bent on destroying her life.

She has not been able to discuss her problem with anyone, not even her mother. In fact it was a miracle that she opened up to this reporter amidst tears.

It is obvious she is tired of such a life.

But she is not alone in that insatiable appetite for sex. In fact, it is a global problem. This is the world of nymphos, a world that conjures up aggressively sensual women who terrify and titillate men.

This is a story told by our reporter who had near personal encounters.

They had lived happily in their three year old marriage, though there were occasions of squabbles over domestic issues, unknown to him, besides the whispers within that had long been kept away from him by neighbours, there was a secret locked not just under his roof but right under his nose.

But then, the bubble burst, it took just a single change in his work schedule for him to unravel what he had lived with for six years without a clue.

A hotelier in one of the five stars hotels in Abuja, who runs a 12-hour shift daily, Monday Ezeh (real name withheld) had left the house located in a suburb in the FCT, for work as usual.

He had left his wife with a 20 year old young friend who hitherto served as his errand boy.

Something happened and he left the office earlier than expected that day. He has been relieved from duty by his employers to enable him attend to his health after suspecting some symptoms of malaria in him.

‘‘I decided to surprise my wife, so I stopped by at a fast food point to get her ice cream and barbecue,” said Eze who had earlier turned down speaking with this reporter who had witnessed some of the drama between him and his wife.

“When I got home, I noticed an unusual calmness because there was no light and I know my wife would have put on the generator because she loves watching soap opera. I opened the door to my sitting room and saw my one year old son laid on a couch, clothes scattered on the floor, that was when I suspected something was wrong.

“This time, I didn’t know what was happening but it was what I suspected from the pictures on the floor. I believe they were carried away because it was noon and people had gone to work, perhaps locking the door may attract suspicion. When I advanced further to the bathroom, I can’t possible described what my eyes saw.

‘‘I felt the heat of a furnace burned in my head and I almost got chocked. My wife was standing naked with my little errand boy in our bathroom. Those images are yet to erase from my vision. “It was after the incident, that I started hearing about my wife sleeping with a teenager under my roof.

‘‘Ordinarily, I don’t think I would have caught them but the noise from the tap in the bathroom did not allow them to notice I was home, so I took them off guard. I am still wondering why my wife stooped so low to sleep with my errand boy under my roof.

‘‘I recall instances where if I didn’t come back home with fast food, she would deny me sex and sometimes I would have to give my wife money before she allows me or I would have to force her to, which was why you hear us fight sometimes at night.’’

But the story did not end there, he told LEADERSHIP Weekend that he actually forgave his wife believing it was one of those slips.

‘‘I forgave her but the worst was yet to happen. I came back from work one day only to see other tenants and neighbours gathered in my compound. Behold my wife was caught having an affair with my landlord by his wife who traced them to a hotel at Mararaba through text messages they had exchanged the previous day.

“One thing that surprised me most in the content of the messages was that my wife was lured with ice cream that I could afford. Ice cream?”

‘‘How many men will I sleep with before someone will accept me as a wife material?” asked Bola Ekuns (not original), a graduate of Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa State,  who doesn’t want her real name in print.

‘‘I get high easily, particularly when I am around any men. A touch alone could easily put me on. I get high and crave for sex when my girlfriends are not around.”

She told LEADERSHIP Weekend that several potential suitors had left her because of her insatiable libido.

‘‘I think that most of the choices I have made about the men I have had contact with haven’t really been deliberate at all. I really just do not know how they happened most times, usually it is out of my control,’’ she said.

‘‘My elder sister in Benin is beginning to suspect me because of the number of men I have introduced to her as husbands to be but they ended up running away.

‘‘The last one was a pastor. I don’t hide it from any man who comes into my life. I told them straight about my body system and he said he was okay with it but just months to our wedding he came up with flimsy excuses and he dumped me.

‘‘So how many more will I sleep with? I know I am not okay because the feelings all over me is not normal and I don’t know how to go about it before I get myself destroyed. My consolation however is that I am not alone in this. I have a friend who is also having this condition, in fact her case is worse than mine.’’

Bola explained that she has tried to stay away from her friend because her own case is severely wild.

‘‘I tried to stay away from her,” she said. “She is that type that when it comes, she behaves like a junky and you can notice it all over her. She behaves like someone who is on drugs and wants to take it but doesn’t have it. She can grab any man around just to satisfy her urge.”

Ikpomusa Imafidon told LEADERSHIP Weekend that he had to call off plans to marry his ex fiancée upon discovery of what she is.

‘‘My girlfriend will not stop anywhere,” he said. “Even in the car she does funny things that I began to imagine if she was possessed. She wants it all the time, and I don’t have that strength. It is strange to me.”

Ikpomusa Imafidon narrated how he met his ex at the University of Benin.

‘‘I met her in a friend’s boutique and the next day we started,” he began his story. “Then we were both students of the University of Benin. She was a medical student. But I noticed something strange about her; she is never satisfied and wants it at odd times. She is a good person, intelligent in academic and beautiful.

‘‘There are moments when I noticed she get really horny and if I don’t do anything about it, she just go crazily wild and in most cases she masturbates.

‘‘I wanted to marry her but I foresaw danger ahead. What if I can’t give her what she craves for all the time, there is the possibility that she will indulge in promiscuity.”

Ikpomusa told LEADERSHIP Weekend that he had to let her go because at a point he discovered that she was also a pornography addict.

There are millions of people suffering this fate as Magdalene and Bola but are too afraid to say anything about their conditions. Consequently, they have compromised their relationships or marriages, families, jobs, health and even their human dignity.

‘‘These feelings are strong enough to interrupt the victim’s life and makes work, friendships and other relationships difficult,” a family psychotherapist, Bunmi Osaro, told LEADERSHIP Weekend.

This condition was formerly called ‘Nymphomania’, but that has been replaced with ‘hypersexuality’. Experts described it as a mental or psychological disorder marked by compulsive sexual behaviour. It is a ritual that a person engages in repeatedly without getting pleasure from them or being able to control them.

It has often been debated in the medical community whether or not nymphomania qualifies as a true mental illness, but evidence suggests that compulsive sexual behaviour is a real and serious disorder.

The underlying cause of nymphomania, experts say is not clearly known but like other mental illnesses, it may arise as a result of environment, heredity or life events. Some have also said that it may also be linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

There is little consensus among experts as to the cause of nymphomania. Some research suggests that some cases can be linked to biochemical or physiological changes that accompany dementia.

Professor Ayo Hammed, Provost, College of Education, Osun State University, who spoke with Leadership, described it as a ‘‘disorder caused by genetic dysfunction and habitual behaviour resulting from changes in the brain part waves, leading to addiction.

He said these people often bring shame and embarrassment to members of their families and in some cases lead to loss of job and marriage.

‘‘The kind of friends we keep, the kind of books we read, the kind of peer we fall into. (These is the social aspect) This social aspect sometimes bring addiction to us,’’ he said.

At what age does it begin to manifest and how can it be arrested?

Prof Ayo said: ‘‘it occurs in late adolescent, and at the adolescent stage, we must be able to have sex education. I carried a research years back on premarital sex and contraceptive practice on female college of education students and I discovered that those that were given information about sexual activities have prepared themselves and are better informed than those without sex education.

‘‘If you educate me, you are making me to know what my life is all about. But the issue is; how many parents are willing to talk about sex education, how many parents are willing to check if their child is mentally dysfunctional or even find out about the sexual activities of their children.’’

In the case of marriage, he said the husband should be able to know that his would be wife is a nymphomania before marriage, but ‘‘if the husband does not find out before the marriage, then it is as a result of poor compatibility assessment test.

‘‘People going into marriage should carefully try to understand who their partners are. A woman discovered to have such condition should be sent to a psychiatrist or experts and professionals like us.

‘‘By identifying it early in the child and treating it will reduce the chances of it becoming a problem.”

He said what he does is to talk to them, educate and inform them but when the case of a patient has gone beyond the capacity we can handle, they refer them to psychiatry hospital.

He further explained that ‘‘people with XXY chromosome’’ fall into this category we refer them to psychiatrists for medical solution or any other related services.

‘‘Treatment for nymphomania may involve psychotherapy and medication. Medications for nymphomania may include antidepressants or antianxiety or antipsychotic medications, similar to the medications used for other compulsive disorders. Because compulsive sexual behaviour is risky and people with nymphomania are at increased risk for developing complications such as sexually transmitted diseases.’’

Kennedy Osague Uyiekpen, an Abuja based Sociologist explained that there is a clinical diagnosis used by mental healthcare professionals for extremely frequent or suddenly increase libido.

He said it is ‘‘a dysfunctional preoccupation with sexual fantasy, often in combination with the obsessive pursuit of casual or non-intimate sex; pornography; compulsive masturbation; romantic intensity and objectified partner sex.’’

He explained that such pattern of thoughts and behaviours will continue despite attempts made to self-correct them. According to him, “As such, sexual addicts typically spend a much greater amount of time engaged in the pursuit of sex and romance. They are addicted to the neurochemical produced by their intense sexual fantasy life and ritualistic behaviour. This is their addiction.’’

Prof Sola Adeeyo, a psychotherapist, said causes of nymphomania could be traced to genetic, environmental or undue exposure to sex earlier in life.

‘‘If a girl child is exposed to multiple sex partners earlier in life, the body gets adjusted to it and she sees it as passion, something she can crave for and would want to have at the slightest opportunity,’’ he said.

‘‘If a girl child is also serially abused earlier in life and there is nobody around who could counsel or win her off such experience, there is tendency for her to believe that it is normal.”

Corroborating the case of Eze and his wife, Prof Sola said most often these women go into marriage without their husband knowing who they truly are.

‘‘It is very difficult to relate and most men that have nymphomaniacs as wives don’t get to know, because such women are very smart about it,” he said.

‘‘These types of women deny their husbands sex. To have their way, the husbands have to become a lawyer, pastor, counsellor but elsewhere she is as free as the air. They are also the ones that, because of the exigencies of the way of their cravings, they get involved with the stewards in their house because they are like toys to them and there is usually no string attached.”

Asked how it can be controlled or be treated, he advised that such women should be taken to certified psychologists for counselling.

He explained that there is also a kind of therapy that can be done to win them off. But in most cases, it can only be managed. ‘‘Based on my experience,” he said, ‘‘I have not seen anyone that is completely treated of nymphomania as it is in a way similar to kleptomania. A nymphomaniac can hardly control herself if she does not sleep with a man for three days. Some use sex toys to mitigate themselves’’.

He advised parents to be very careful in exposing their children to the opposite sex and TV contents that depicts nudity and sexual scenes, adding that there are times parents give their children to caregivers and in most cases those children are serially violated and because they have no one to talk to, their bodies with time adjust to the abuse and they begin to see it as normal. He further advised that parents should learn from recent cases of perversion in the country by paedophiles, which he said are a wakeup call for parents to step up on the responsibility of protecting their children.

Dr Lawani Ambrose, a consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Uselu, Benin told LEADERSHIP Weekend that causes of compulsive sexual behaviour may be a symptom of some mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorders, psychoactive substance abuse and organic mental disorders.

He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified it as a mental disorder. He explained that it is treatable and can also be managed, depending on the degree or cause.

He said this will involve a detailed psychiatric assessment to rule out other co-occurring mental disorders. “The biopsychosocial model can be applied by a multidisciplinary mental health team in the management of the condition,’’ he said.

‘‘Medications like antidepressants, mood stabilizers and anti-androgens may be prescribed after evaluation by the Psychiatrist. Some patients with the condition will also benefit from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.’’

He however advised that greater awareness and more research need to be conducted on the prevalence of this condition in Nigeria, as anecdotal reports reveal that the phenomenon is on the rise.

While medical experts continue to debate on the very causes and how it could be cured or managed, there is also a spiritual pigmentation to nymphomania just like Mr Eze had earlier said of wife.

Pastor Felix Alegbe, President, Redemption Power Evangelical Power Ministry, told LEADERSHIP Weekend via chat, that some of the cases could be spiritually inflicted and they can be handled.

According to him: ‘‘If it is spiritual, the person can be delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have dealt with the situation of a pastor’s wife. Her case was so pathetic that she was sleeping with church members and her husband was helpless. It was leading to divorce until she was delivered.

He said it goes much more than it is seen in the ordinary realm ‘‘It can lead to divorce if it is not properly handled or managed,” the pastor said. “This woman was abused at the age of six. Her uncle slept with her and the spirit was transferred to her.”

While admonishing believers to seek spiritual help, the pastor said: ‘‘There are some that are caused by bad behaviour and men can be victims as well.

On his part, an Islamic cleric, Uthman Aminudeen, Amir Ja’matul Tahifizul Qur’an wal Hadith Society of Nigeria, Mpape, Abuja, said Islam recognizes the sexual needs of human beings and believes that the natural instincts should be nurtured, not suppressed.

He said according to the teaching of Islam, ‘‘the biological parts of our bodies have a purpose; they are not created useless. No text in Islam can be found to equate sex with inherent evil or sin; whatever has been taught by the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad and his Ahlu’l-bayt points in the opposite direction.

‘‘There are three type of sexual behaviour of women recognised in Islam. There are women who are scared of answering their husband’s sex request, there are some who are ever willing to meet their spouse’s sex need on demand, and the last group are those suffering through porn addiction and hardly stay without having sex, which inevitably lead to sexual exploration beyond monogamy.

‘‘Any woman, especially a married Muslim woman whose life has been impacted by the effects of sexual addiction, it is recommended in ‘fiqh sunah’ that her spouse should look for medicines to satisfy her sexual need or he should divorce her and let her marry someone who can meet her sexual need because she is not supposed to have sex outside her marriage.’’