N.D: What is ‘Intimate Pleasures’ and what inspired you to start this business?
I was inspired to start my business Intimate Pleasures Desires of the Heart after having shopped for several friends who never had the courage to venture into a sex shop whilst abroad and select what they wanted. So they’d say, Madam Butterfly you know you have no shame, when next you’re in London please pick up these items for me. Often times, they would have sourced the net and thought carefully about what they wanted but making that effort to “walk into a shop” was always difficult. I also realized that my confidence about my own body, needs and wants had grown as I have aged; also, after several years working in a feminist organization and engaging with African women on what they expected in intimate relationships I think I have a better understanding of our issues. Moreover, I always found myself as that confidante fellow women could come to and ask the most unusual sexual questions. Often times, they just wanted someone to listen to them.
In 2010 I attended the African Feminist Forum (AFF) and Esther Passaris ran a session on starting a business and making a success of it. Now remember, this idea had been rolling around in my head since the last 2008 AFF meeting. When I got up and spoke about my idea, I was reminded by my colleagues that I had mentioned this same idea in 2006 and 2008, and nothing had happened. So Esther, for the rest of the meeting had a daily if not hourly coaching session with me. When I left the AFF in 2010, I had the skeleton of a business plan. Before the end of the year, I had sourced my products, completed my maritime insurance payments and had a website up. The rest is history.
So Intimate Pleasures Desires of the Heart offers a total package, from our online sex toy shop www.myintimatepleasureshop.com to preparing bridal hampers for bridal showers, birthdays, valentines, 50th wedding anniversaries, exhibiting in health or valentine themed exhibitions and not forgetting our “Wellness and Intimacy” afternoon sessions which are held once a quarter. More recently, we have started engaging in one-on-one counseling, but this is still in its infant stages.
For those of your readers in Lagos, on Saturday May 11th, we have a “Wellness and Intimacy” health afternoon taking place at Delina’s restaurant, 9b, Samuel Manuwa Street, by entrance 1004 flats, Victoria Island, Lagos. It will start at 2pm promptly and end at 5pm. There is an admin fee of N2,500 and it is a ladies only event so our brothers should ensure they encourage the ladies in their lives to attend.
N.D: How have Nigerians responded to this new service?
Well, it’s been a learning curve all the way. The rigidity of our cultural and religious norms means that everyone has concentrated on asking “what does your husband think” rather than on how have I found the sexual intimacy market!
My reputation as a feminist has helped in that people already know I’m engaged in working on women’s issues and have been willing to trust that I have their “best interest” at heart. I have appeared on Naija Info radio station speaking about our products and the importance of having a healthy sexual life.
However, there’s a lot of self-censorship on the social media side by our famous Nigerian bloggers who are worried that they should not be seen talking about sex outside of marriage. So creating additional awareness of who we are and what we do has been hard work. The sad reality is that the hypocritical nature of how we live mean that people will always be engaged in sexual activity whether in acceptable relationships or not.
I have discovered so many things about how we organize our sex lives in Lagos. For example, did you know that there is a silent bondage and fetish community! Yep! In this Lagos.
More importantly, they love the website which is uncluttered, fun and easy to use, like the rest of Africa Nigerians have taken to twitter and follow us religiously @naijadesires.
N.D: What’s the best selling item on your site?
Our best selling item for women is split between the Jessica Rabbit and the Lelo brand of products. Women just love it and the wonders it can perform. Am constantly asking that women ensure they are buying the right product for themselves rather than what has worked for their friends. When it comes to sexual fulfillment, the “herd mentality” is not going to work. You need to know what works for you.
On the other hand, our buyers for the Lelo brand products are high end and for a more discerning buyer who’s familiar and comfortable with vibes, and does not mind purchasing an expensive vibe.
For men, it is always any lotion that prolongs the sexual act or makes the sexual organ longer or bigger than what they currently have. However, we have a lot of men that buy products for their wives, such as naughty board games, chocolate paste, bullet vibes, etc.
N.D: Recently you received death threats because of the business you run. Tell us more…
This was all rather bizarre and worrisome. It started out after our international women’s day radio discussion programme and gradually began to spiral out of control. A gentleman had called accusing me of all sorts how I was encouraging the women to be prostitutes, leave their husbands, etc. He then proceeded to threaten to deal with me – no need to go into the exact details of how he was going to kill me but I was advised to file a formal complaint. The phone calls and explicit text messages went on for several days. In one four hour window we received more than 10 vile offensive text messages and several telephone calls from him and his friends. A real consipracy. He clearly was upset with our business and was on the verge of doing something silly. We sprang into action immediately, our telephone service provider was immediately notified and so were the police.
It has all ended now, but phew it was scary and we had to think seriously about our safety. The good thing is we are an online business only.
N.D: Is this experience going to affect how you run your business?
No, it will not affect how we run the business but I had to sit with our Directors and brief them after filing the report with the police. You know the world is full of crazy people who are convinced women should be chained to the table and horsewhipped with koboko for initiating any intimacy demands. So, it’s better to ensure that all our staff are protected because it is clear that some sectors of society are upset about providing women with information on sex, intimacy and relationships.
We will continue to provide online facilities and still be able to deliver all over Nigeria.
N.D: What’s your top sex tip for women?
Well for women out there who have never tried Ben Wa Balls or done a lot of pelvic floor exercises I would advise you try these. It’s an all-round winner for tightening the pelvic muscles, walls of the vagina, and generally ensuring that your sexual experience is wonderful for you and your partner. The balls come in several forms, some without a string attached, some with a string, some with raised surfaces, etc. All you have to do is make your choice.
Whatever you do, just try the Ben Wa Balls or Kegel Balls as they are often called.
Finally, we can be reached at the following
BB pin 28e45009
Order line: +234 818 480 8686