THE use of sex toys which of late have been on the increase in Zimbabwe, could be a trigger for loss of affection and desire in marriages leading to high divorce rates and spousal separation, a top Psychologist has warned.
By Michael Gwarisa
Over the past few years, marketing and distribution of sex toys in Zimbabwe has become trendy with the latest offering being the licensing of an Online Sex Toy Shop in the country in 2020 while other distributors use their social media platforms to market and sale the coitus enhancing products.
However, the use of sex toys has been linked to sexual addiction and a loss of attachment to human stimulation and arousal if it goes unchecked. In an interview with HealthTimes, leading Psychologist in Zimbabwe, Dr Kudakwashe Muchena said in as much as sex toys allow couples and partners to explore their sexuality and just like masturbation, uncontrolled use of sex toys could result in serious mental health issues which can lead to broken marriages and relationships.
The use of intimate toys or sex toys is around two things which is openness to experience and openness to communication. Generally, the use of sex toys has been popularized in most developed countries where they are more interested in exploring their sexuality and they believe its their right to do that.
“In our context, Sex Toys have been something that is taboo and has been mostly linked to Homosexuality because they have been seen as a substitute to having a partner. So in a Heterosexual (between a man and a woman) marriage, the use of sex toys can actually destroy that marriage because one of the partners involved may actually feel like they are being replaced by a toy so that may destroy the relationship,” said Dr Muchena.
He added that using sex toys in marriages may lead to the other partner feeling inadequate and feeling insecure at the notion that probably their partner may be looking for a sex toy because they would have failed to satisfy them sexually.
“That results in some serious damage in terms of the mental health. It impacts heavily on the mental health of the other partner involved. Research has shown that when there is open communication between the two parties and when they open up and say we need to explore more of our sexuality, they can actually get sex toys to help them.
“Whilst the idea behind getting a sex toy is to enhance the sexuality of the partners involved. In most cases, it may end up replacing the other partner. Once the part realizes that they can get satisfaction from a toy whether it’s a vibrator or anything, it then diffuses the idea of having a physical partner. For men mostly, we are looking at masturbation even for women, research has shown that a lot of people who are involved in masturbation end up losing that personification in terms of sexual contact, they feel that they don’t necessarily need a physical partner to actually satisfy their sexual needs.”
He added that once someone gets addicted to using sex toys and or masturbation, they may not feel the need to have another person in their life and sex toys creates a craving and addiction that could have negative mental health implications.
“Sex toys create an addiction and an addiction is not a healthy behavior by any manner. Sex addiction impacts on the basic fabric of how sex and intimacy is supposedly acceptable and generally appreciated in whatever form of relationships. In short, the impact of sex toys is that it leads to sex addiction.”
He added there has been a growing number of married couples in Zimbabwe who have approached marriage counselors complaining about not getting the intimacy they deserve from their partners and requesting to use sex toys instead.
“In Zimbabwe at the moment, I am not sure if there is any practice or anyone who is a sex therapist who can actually assist those facing sex addiction problems. However, i know a couple of therapists who are doing marriage counseling or marriage therapist around the country and they have been ceased with these challenges where parties or partners involved actually feel that they are not getting the satisfaction that they deserve from the other party and they even suggested the use of sex toys to enhance their marriages.
“But ultimately, it then leads to more daring consequences than what it intends to solve. Whilst its intention is to help intimacy in marriage, but ultimately it will lead to a separation or divorce because the other party like I said, may feel that they are being replaced by a toy and which might be true because the other party will be getting more satisfaction from a toy than the actual intimacy with a partner so they end up feeling comfortable with a toy than the other party and that can destroy marriages,” said Dr Muchena.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean courts have late been inundated with divorce applications with most marriage experts blaming the COVID-19 induced lockdown for the high divorce rate.