Most Gambians like to do things in extreme. They speak and act in extreme. They also jump into bandwagons without weighing the consequences, or by simply downplaying them. If you’re currently living in Gambia, but you’re not au fait with vaginal tobacco, its famous usage and the avalanche of complications that emanate thereof, then you’re either not health-savvy or you simply don’t have any contemporary business with vagina. I’m health-savvy.
It’s a common knowledge that vaginal tobacco is the new substitute for manhood or simply the trusted proxy for sexual satisfaction in women and young ladies, married and unmarried. Whether out of desperation or obsession for sexual satisfaction, it has become their famous resort nowadays in Gambian societies, both rural and urban.
As a result, this indulgence comes with serious vaginal, reproductive and health related issues among its users. Problems such as vaginal candidiasis, locally called ‘seketo’, serious inflammations, infections, addictions and even spontaneous abortions and induced labors here and there are all implicated in its usage. And sometimes, the stimulating sensation becomes too much for the cervix to bear.
Talking about addictions, that’s where Psychology comes in. Through advocacies and social engagements, some of them would tell you that “haa, they said it sends away ‘kunto fengo’, so this why I use it”. Others would say they believe that it accelerates labor and so on. And interestingly, others would boldly tell you that it cures them, which is a fallacy. Any suggestion or assumption that vaginal tobacco actually cures its users from whatever and whatnots, let’s call that ‘Vaginal Tobacco Fallacy’. If there’s even any placebo effect in this situationship that confuses them, maybe there are high tendencies for confounders. But Psychology in itself is critical. False Psychology. If that’s possible. Haha.
So you see, this substance is causing a lot of problems for women and young ladies in contemporary Gambian societies. It even stretches to social and emotional issues. And even economic issues. How?
Since its users believe that vaginal tobacco provides the same or more sexual gratification and attention than a man, most of them barely care about their spouses. Some would tell you that, “mann, gorr duma yab”. Yeah, because they think they have a better substitute – which will eventually kill and damage their organs, knowingly or unknowingly, as well as predispose them to a lot of crazy and unexplainable conditions of the genitalia. And some of them even hide the conditions they develop until it becomes unbearable.
And this addiction is such that, to them, the more one uses it, the more addicted they become. So it gets to a point where one literally goes mad over not getting it. Consider the withdrawal effects. But it’s never too late. Perhaps we’d agree that it doesn’t make any sense, sexually or otherwise, to gradually kill oneself over a momentary sexual satisfaction. Or are men annoying that you’d not beg their attention or entertain their bullshit? With the vast array of purportedly exciting tobacco substance consignments in town, I don’t know if we also have dildos around. But I don’t care about that.
During my social engagements, I’ve tried to see this famous so-called substance. Surprisingly, it’s dirty and stinky. I was so surprised and disappointed that its users muster the courage to insert that south. Even though the vagina is self-cleaning, with every session, it dirties them there. You don’t need to study Rocket Science to know it’s dangerous. It’s even implicated to be a famous risk factor for cervical cancer – the leading cause of death among women in The Gambia. Let’s tell our women and young ladies to stop using vaginal tobacco. Gambians like to do things in extreme. But they should definitely stop this tobacco bandwagon. That’s extreme.
They said, “if your dog starts to bark at you, someone else is feeding it”, but maybe, on the whole, that someone is tobacco personified.
Batou Saidy is a Public Health Officer and a freelance writer.