Daniel Yaw Fiaveh, University of Cape Coast
While studies have overemphasized use of traditional and complementary medicine in the West African context, we know little about how gender and sexuality impact the uptake of local aphrodisiacs (herbal alcoholic bitters) therapeutic types. Using data from urban Ghana, the paper examines how cultural expectations of sex influence the marketing and patronage of herbal bitters and gender. The analysis makes links with how men talk about herbal bitters and notions of masculinity, including issues related to insecurity about hegemonic masculine ideals and women’s power. In the attempt to conform to ideologies of manhood through the use of local aphrodisiacs, real men encounter sexual vulnerabilities that relate to both biomedical and social harm. There is need to educate men about the pressures of desperation that are coercive on their sexuality, as well as monitoring policy development and implementation in regard to the production, advertisements and patronage of local aphrodisiacs in Ghana.