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Burgeoning clan of nudists, sex tape peddlers stir concerns

By Eno-Abasi Sunday, Deputy Editor
30 January 2022   |   4:09 am
Decades after it was originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, Lysistrata, a Greek comedy by Aristophanes remains an interesting read, much as it also underscores the power of sex in our everyday life.

Tiwa Savage

Decades after it was originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, Lysistrata, a Greek comedy by Aristophanes remains an interesting read, much as it also underscores the power of sex in our everyday life.
 
The play chronicles the ingenious manner, in which a woman used the instrumentality of sex to end the Peloponnesian War between Greek city-states, after the heroine, Lysistrata, mobilised and persuaded other women to deny all the men of the land sex – the only thing they truly and deeply desired- to end a “needless” war.
   


After enlisting the support of a Spartan, Lampito to set sail on her mission, Lysistrata initially could not make serious headway in her daunting mission, as the women were largely reluctant. But to get them deeply committed in the endeavour, she initiated and sealed a deal with a long and detailed oath around a wine bowl, where the women renounced all their sexual pleasures, including the “Lioness on the Cheese Grater,” (a popular sexual position of that era).
  
Shortly after the oath was administered, the women seized control of Acropolis, which held the state’s treasury without which the men could no longer fund their war, while Lampito went off to spread the word of revolt, and the other women went behind the barred gates of the Acropolis to await the men’s response.
  
The play, which portrays Lysistrata as an extraordinary woman with a large sense of individual and social responsibility, got quite hilarious when the withdrawal of sexual privileges from the men eventually forced the men to come to their senses and call off the war. 
  
One scene specifically blew the top in the satire. It is where Kinesias, Myrrhine’s husband suddenly appears on the scene desperate for sex. Upon his appearance, Lysistrata instructed Myrrhine to inform her husband that she will have sex with him after he has promised to end the war. He did. But as they prepare for sex on the spot, Myrrhine runs around readying the odds and ends, including the beddings, and a flask of oil, and in the process wearing out her husband’s patience. She finally disappoints him completely by locking herself in the Acropolis again. 
  
In the course of the play, Lysistrata takes time to explain the frustrations that women encounter during wartime when, according to her, men make stupid decisions that affect everyone. She also complained that during this period, their wives’ opinions are not listened to. 
  However, after immense intrigues by the women, back and forth movements and interactions between the choruses of old men and women, young men, Scythian Archers (the Athenian version of police constables), and all other relevant delegates, peace talks got underway in the play.
 
Even though the delegates briefly squabbled over peace terms, the burden of sexual deprivation, which weighed heavy upon them ensured that they quickly overcame their differences, ended the war and retired to the Acropolis for celebrations. 

Sex, a sacred and intimate connection between two, especially in a monogamous relationship, means more than just between-the-sheets action.

Even though history is consistent with episodes where women have used it as a bargaining commodity or manipulative tool, recent events in the nation, where nude photographs and sex tapes are served ala carte in short video clips, clearly suggests that the act is either overrated, or our collective sensibility is waning at the rate, which the importance of the naira is evaporating against the American dollar.
  


Internationally, it is not very clear when peddling nudes started playing out, but the debate on nudity gracing the social media space was largely ignited in March 2016, when reality television star, Kim Kardashian, put up a censored nude picture on her social media. 
  
Shortly had that happened than a band of worried persons across the globe rose in condemnation of the act, even as another set of persons moved to silence the outraged crowd. With time, the practice became like the new normal, and an acceptable conduct in American entertainment circles. 
  
It did not take Nigerian entertainers long to copy the behaviour, which many have described as horrible and abhorrent. 
  
For some of those involved in the shameful conduct, especially celebrities and sundry characters, the explanation that they tender after such lowly conducts, is even more disheartening than even the blunder that they are seen to have committed.
 
Over the years, the country’s entertainment industry has, like its counterparts in some other climes, not been without scandals for long. But now, hardly does a month go by without yet another “home video” of a creative, or some “public figure’s” sexual behaviour coming to llimelight. 
  
In October last year, the shocker to Nigerians from yet another entertainer was served by songstress, Tiwa Savage, and a recent Big Brother Naija reality show participant, Ikechukwu Sunday, better known as Cross.   
    
Days before the debasing clip finally hit the Internet, Savage had revealed that a blackmailer was in possession of a video footage showcasing an intimate moment that she had with her lover.

According to her, the sex video was accidentally posted on Snapchat by her lover, who deleted it immediately when “he realised the error.” However, it was too late, as an eagle-eyed detractor sighted the explicit content and made a copy for himself with the intent of extorting her. 
  
But Tiwa, 41, who made the revelation in an interview with Angie Martinez of Power 105.1 radio in New York, United States, stressed that she would rather make the video public herself rather than pay the blackmailer to make him change his mind.
  
She said: “I am not going to call it a sex tape, but it’s a tape between me and the person I am dating right now. Why now, when the music is so good and I don’t want this to overshadow what’s going on.”
  
She vowed never to fall for blackmail over “something that is natural,” adding, “I am that crazy I could put it out myself- you are not making any money off me.”
  
Earlier on, the “Dangerous Love” crooner had released black and white photos where she was largely unclad, with only her pubic region covered with a white towel in what was tagged the “towel series.”

Celebrities As Low Budget Porn Stars?
IN our clime where the absence of role models is glaring within the political class, scarce among clerics and equally rare among technocrats, celebrities, reality stars and sundry characters fill in the gaps, and their cult-like followership comprises the young and the old. Unfortunately, millions of youths, who look up to these celebrities as role models are now beginning to re-evaluate their stands as a result of the sexual indiscretion of some of them. 
  
Be that as it may, despite tonnes of denials by the Savage and her indefatigable team of fans/backers, not many believed that the release of the sex tape was not deliberate. Indeed, many still believe that it was an obscene antic deployed as a publicity stunt only weeks before the release of her latest single, Somebody’s Son, featuring Brandy.
   

Flavour

It is from the same prism that many also look at BBNaija housemate, Cross, whom they pointedly accuse of committing an intentional mistake by releasing his nude photograph online, only weeks after the Savage sex tape leaked.   
  
Still basking in his newfound celebrity status, Sunday posted a sex tape on Snapchat, and immediately deleted it afterwards. Unfortunately, deleting the video didn’t stop it from being leaked and going viral on social media. 
  
After claiming in a television interview that he posted the video mistakenly, he again restated his position in an interview with a national newspaper.
  

When confronted with claims that he intentionally posted his nude photograph to trend on social media, he retorted: “I know people have their opinions and it is okay, that is why we are humans after all. However, I would like to say that I am not the type of man that would deliberately put my nude photographs outside. That day was one of the worst days of my life, because I had to face my mother and siblings too. The issue was quite humiliating. I never wanted to put myself in that kind of situation again, not even my friend, or my enemy. It has happened and it is gone and I pray it does not happen again. I just want the issue to die because that is not how I was trained. However, life happens and I have learnt that social media is a very deep place. I have moved on and I hope my friends and my fans know that it was a mistake and that they forgive me for it. Honestly, anyone that thinks I can do that intentionally does not know me and is not my friend too. If I was in the house and I wanted to trend, that would have been different but this is a reality now. There is a difference between being on the show and real life. Sincerely, there are certain things I cannot do. Unfortunately, it happened.” 
 
Tokunboh Idowu, a former Big Brother Naija housemate, popularly known as TBoss was one of those that kicked against Cross’ defence of committing a mistake.
  
While acknowledging that mistakes do happen, she stressed that mistakes amongst celebrities would soar because there are no repercussions for such mistakes.
   
Interestingly, as the public continues to deplore celebrities’ continuous assault on their sensibilities in what appears to be the era of celebrity’s sex videos, Idowu equally regretted not taking many nude pictures of herself.
  
The former reality television star who said that she misses her old body before she became a mother, said, “Motherhood: Everything’s different on these streets these days. Some days, I don’t even recognise myself. I want to say that I love my new body, but that wouldn’t be entirely true – we struggle with so many changes and while I do realise that this change has to come for me to feel the joy and life which I feel- I sometimes miss my old body. Damn, I was sexy. My body was banging. I just wish I had taken more photos naked…”  
 
Creatives Caught In Nude Images, Sex Video Web
APART from Savage, some other Nigerian celebrities have also suffered a similar fate of being “blackmailed” with their nude photos/sex videos. They include Yoruba singer, Salawa Abeni, On-Air Personality (OAP) and television host, Toke Makinwa, reality television star/former BBNaija housemate, Anita Natacha Akide, popularly known as Tacha, as well as musical artiste, Adekunle Temitope, better known as Small Doctor.
  
Conversely, other celebrities that have willingly posted their nude photographs include, but are not limited to singer and songwriter, Olawale Oloforo better known as Brymo, singer-songwriter, Chinedu Okoli, better known as Flavour N’abania, actress, Uche Ogbodo, socialite and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tiannah Empire, a fashion outfit, Toyin Lawani, and multi-platinum Afro R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer, Darey Art Alade, who shocked his fans after he released a promotional photo of himself ahead of his fourth studio album, “Naked.”

Sharing Nude Photographs As New Pastime For Youths
BOTH Gbonjubola Babalola-Abiri, a consultant psychiatrist/managerial psychologist, and Maryam Hassan Baba, a professional guidance counsellor specialising in strengthening marital relationships agree that nude pictures and sexually explicit videos are secretly changing hands a lot between youths, lovers and married couples.
  
According to Babalola-Abiri: “Contrary to what many know or believe, sending nude pictures is quite popular among young people, and even married couples these days and may not be considered as a deviation from the norm. The cases we often sensationalise are those that get leaked to the media either by the person who owns the video, or the person it was sent to, or even other people who were able to access it.”
  
Asked if there is something wrong with otherwise sane people posting nude pictures of themselves on social media, or whether there were reasons to worry about the mental health of such people considering the expanding nude tribe in the country, she retorted: “People post nude pictures for various reasons, and it is difficult to ascertain a mental health condition just by the examination of this solitary act. While people in the general population may post nude pictures for pleasure-seeking, and libido enhancement, even without the presence of a mental illness, we have found out that attention-seeking, feeling of inadequacy, peer pressure and the need for publicity rank as top reasons people post nudes. Yes, this could indicate mental health concerns, but may not be enough to ascertain a diagnosis without a proper assessment by a professional.
  
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Redi-Med Consulting Services (a medical consultancy firm) added: “It is important that in trying to provide solutions we do not stigmatise the concept of mental health. As stated earlier, there are many reasons a person would share nudes that may not be explained away by an underlying mental health issue. The question is how distressing it is to them, others and their functioning. We must find out if it deviates significantly from the norm; the individual’s previous personality, belief and value system.
  
“However, to determine if a person needs psychiatric attention they will need to undergo an assessment as the act in itself can only predict but can’t be used to ascertain who and who doesn’t need psychiatric attention,” she added.
  
Baba, who is also the founder of The Northern Therapist, and a mental healthcare professional admitted that: “Women are likely to send nudes and sex videos because research has shown that women are more emotional. Sex might be a physical act for men, but it is an emotional act for most women. A woman would gladly make a sex video, or send nude photos to their partners to ensure that they (men) are thinking about them, and to be able to satisfy their sexual urges while they are apart or away from the men. For a woman, sending nude pictures is special; she sends them to the person that she trusts the most. But for a man sending nude photos might not be only out of love. It is the way it is because of the psychological and physical needs of men and women, which are different, and because of these differences, the reason a woman will send nude photos is not the same reason a man will do the same. Sadly society only frowns at the woman.

Low-self Esteem, Unending Quest For Acceptance, Love Aiding Exchange Of Nude Images 
A University of Arizona study exploring the motivations of people for sexting and sending nude selfies found out that women are more likely to send nudes to retain their partners’ romantic, sexual interest than men. 

However, as many continue to question the level of sexual satisfaction that drives couples to engage in recording their intimate moments, Kingsley Enekwe, a relationship expert noted that apart from doing such with ulterior motives, some females do this to show their partners that they are deeply in love with them. They, therefore, believe that in doing so, they would finally secure the love of their partners. This, of course, is not always the case. Sometimes, the lover boy or the lover girl end up using the pictures or videos as a bargaining chip when love goes sour, or when they want to extort or blackmail their partners.

Baba agrees with Enekwe saying, “In my years of experience as a therapist, I will say the most common reason women send nude pictures to their men or allow them to make sex tapes with them is that they want their men to be faithful to them. They also send these nude pictures to ensure that if they are not close by to satisfy their partners’ sexual urges, they can go through the nude pictures or videos and feel okay,” she stated, adding, during sexual intercourse, couples feel the closest, intimate and vulnerable with one another. At such moments, there is complete trust for each other, recording themselves at that moment is as a result of the feeling of safety, trust and satisfaction that they have for each other, which is a result of the love hormone oxytocin they released during the sexual act. 
  
She continued: “Posting nude pictures or release of sex tapes could also be by an individual or someone that is trying to blackmail or tarnish the images of lovebirds. But when individuals post the explicit materials by themselves, it is usually a quest for attention or validation. People do this when they don’t feel loved. Now, when it is released by others, it could be to get back at the partner for breaking up with them, to blackmail them or for any other selfish reason. 
  
Also commenting on whether the level of sexual satisfaction among couples can push them into recording their intimate moments, Babalola-Abiri said: “The level of sexual satisfaction cannot be estimated as it largely depends on the desires and experiences of the couple. It also depends on how it is used. Sexual materials have been found to elicit sexual desires in those exposed to them therefore it can aid the sexual experiences of some persons largely as a way of spicing up their sexual activities.
  
“The male and female sexual systems work somewhat differently. While men are attracted to what they can see, by touch, and what they hear, women are attracted to what they hear, which may be affirmative, or sexually suggestive words, and to touch. So, when women send nudes it is usually intended to arouse their male partners. In turn, men say sweet things to their partners and provide gifts. This is not to say that women are not attracted to sexual materials too,” Babalola-Abiri, a fellow of the West Africa College of Physicians and a member of the American Psychiatric Association added.
  


No Big Deal About Commodification Of Nudity, Sex In Arts
FOR associate professor of theatre, media management and criticism at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Liwhu Betiang: “Talking about nudity, sex and their commodification in the arts, there’s really no big deal, newness or prudery. Nudity has always been with us, at birth, in private moments and at death. So, we should learn from that reality.” 
  

Cross

According to Betiang, who is the Head of the Department of Theatre and Media Studies: “The African tradition never really bothered about nudity. We lived it and attached no morality or made capital of it. Our weather encourages it. The West copied it in the name of freedom of expression even in their frigid weather. They commoditise it and promote it through their dominant capitalist media system. Our media technologies and content providers naturally ape the West.” 
  
He continued: “Our artists and content creators play in this global space and sometimes must adapt. But this is a personal choice of the artist. Remember, the carnival is becoming a global brand for capital and nation branding. Carnivals like the Carnival Calabar and others essentially celebrate and promote the beauty of the human body in its nakedness and beauty. The media drive and promote our culture and artists use this for their gratification. So, if Nigerian artists have begun to trade nudism and sex, it’s the postmodern times of personal choices, fundamentalism and revolt against oppressive systems and modes of thinking. I may not personally do what they do, but I try to understand the text.”
 

Steering Youths Away From Undue Peer Pressure
WITH celebrities and lovers daily plunging neck-deep into the salacious habit of bandying sexually explicit images, there is the tendency that some of their undiscerning, youthful followers could yield to the temptation of following suit.    
  
On how young people can circumvent the pressure of towing this line, especially as the development, which is scantly discussed by parents steadily gains ground, Babalola-Abiri said: “It is important to identify that there are multiple factors that come into play when trying to understand the motives for sending nude images. Some of the factors include individual desires, low-self esteem, a gratification of sexual desire by the act of sharing nudes in previous sexual encounters, use of the act as a tool for increasing libido, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs, pressure from partner and peers etc. But an effective method of dealing with this problem is by identifying the factors that may precipitate the act.
  
“In cases of peer pressure, young persons must be able and willing to identify what they want, and then learn to be assertive in sticking to what they want. Families and society play major roles in educating young people on the dangers of doing such (using a two-sided message approach, showing the pros and cons). Parents need to help their kids develop a sound perception of their self-worth. Young people should also invest in personal growth and assertiveness as a way of tackling the trigger resulting from low-self esteem and peer pressure.