Meet Iheoma Obibi: A human rights activist, feminist, and groundbreaking businesswoman.
Iheoma Obibi’s online store, Intimate Pleasures [NSFW], is catered toward Nigerians from all walks of life, age, and sexual desires. Intimate Pleasures opened in 2010 after Obibi had repeatedly been asked to bring back sex toys for her friends when she traveled to London.
“They were asking me to buy vibrators, nipple suckers, lubricants, water-based lubricants which were non-flavoured, specifically with a pH balance for the female genitalia,” she told BBC.
Nigeria’s conservative culture regarding sex had made exploring sexual satisfaction difficult for women. Obibi told BBC that many women are told they should aspire to remain pure for marriage, and once they are married to fulfill their husbands’ needs, leaving their own sexual desires unrealised.
“It makes me glad that my business idea has allowed for women–single or coupled up–to begin to address issues around intimacy, sexual fulfillment, lust, and love. In fact, I have had to engage a counselor because some women will call the order line and burst into tears. There’s very little opportunity for women to discuss issues of intimacy, sexual fulfillment or even address previous history if they have been survivors of sexual abuse or rape in Nigeria,” Obibi told feminist blog MsAfropolitan.
Braving the world of sex toy retail wasn’t easy. For safety precautions, Intimate Pleasures remains a solely online retailer. Obibi said that finding staff to run a brick-and-mortar store would be difficult. She also believes no Nigerian would venture inside.
“I have received death threats,” she told MsAfropolitan. “I’ve been told that my business is “devil business” and I’m regularly told by people that they “pray for the salvation of my soul”…Being a feminist allows me to create the mental framework to always move on.”
But the store goes beyond just selling adult novelty toys. Obibi regularly presents on several shows as Madam Butterfly, creating a safe space for listeners to engage in sex-positive conversations and to ask about sexual wellbeing.
Despite the country’s conservative culture, Nigeria’s sex toy market is reportedly booming. However, Obibi warns about an influx of fake sex toys from China to meet this demand. She recommends seeking out quality toys made of the appropriate materials.
Obibi’s store Intimate Pleasures seems to have opened the door to the sex toy market in her country—encouraging others to explore sex-positive relationships and healthy intimacy, whether that be alone or with a partner.
Article By Jasmine van den Hoek