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D-e-a-d-l-y p-a-s-s-i-o-n : Why men die during sex

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 By Yemisi Olusina

On February 13, the story of a man with two wives, who died after a sex romp with another man’s wife, who incidentally was his lover, kept many thinking how what ought to be a way of relaxing one’s nerves has suddenly become deadly.  

The 57-year-old man, identified as Ismaila, was reported to have died in a Lagos hotel after a sex romp with his married lover.

He was reported to have gone to the facility (name withheld by us) in the Akoka area of Yaba, Lagos, with his alleged mistress and later checked into a room.

However, his mistress was reported to have called for help when the deceased allegedly slumped, but unfortunately he was confirmed dead at the hospital where he was rushed.

On January 5, Nigerians were once again served with the sad news of a former manager of the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), who died during a marathon sex with his lover in Ebonyi State. 

The lover, identified as Mrs. Uzoamaka, who allegedly killed the former NEPA manager with excess sex dosage, is said to be a nursing mother and another man’s wife.

The deceased’s wife is also said to be a nursing mother, who gave birth in December 2018, just about the same time as the alleged killer lover.

According to the report, the incident occurred in a hotel located along the Abakaliki/Enugu Expressway.

A police source said the deceased picked up the woman along Ezza Road, Abakaliki, just after she finished withdrawing money from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

They were alleged to have checked into the hotel for sex, and when the emotional surge from the woman overwhelmed the man and he overshot his ecstatic holding capacity, he started gasping for breath and eventually collapsed and died. 

The woman, knowing that her sexual prowess had landed her into trouble, wanted to escape, but was promptly stopped by the hotel manager, who became suspicious of her move.

She was led into the room where they found the lifeless body of the deceased on the bed. The hotel management, thereafter, alerted men of the Ebonyi State Police Command, who rushed to the scene and arrested the woman.

Again, in November 2018, a 65-year-old man was found dead in a hotel room on the outskirts of Awka, the Anambra State capital. He was said to have collapsed and fallen into an unconscious state during a sex romp with a 34-year-old lady. 

The deceased, identified as Mr. Obi Nwoda, reportedly checked into the hotel with a lady, but when the woman discovered that her sexual skills had forced the man into a coma, she wanted to escape. She was, however, stopped by the management of the hotel, who led her into the room, where Mr. Nwoda lay unconscious on the bed. 

“The incident was reported at ‘B’ Division Police Station where the Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Odion Ekeinde, led a team that moved the unconscious man to a private hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival,” a source volunteered.

The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Mohammed Haruna, who confirmed the incident, said after the lady was arrested, and was being interrogated, she confessed that the deceased died while having sex with her. 

“The woman alleged that the victim collapsed while making love to her. She was subsequently arrested and the case is under investigation to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident,” Haruna said.  

Suddenly, sex, which ordinarily ought to provide emotional relief to humans, has become a death trap. A good number of men have died in the process, with a sizable number of such incidents not reported in the media.

The question on the lips of many people is how what ought to be a normal way of life has become so injurious such that many have died in the process. 

“Sex is God’s creation to provide relief to man after the day’s hard work, but how the same God’s creation for man’s pleasure has now turned around to be man’s albatross is what surprises me,” a driver, who simply gave his name as Jimmy, submitted.

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Many Nigerians are on the same page with Jimmy, wondering, confused and wanting convincing answers to the puzzle.

However, investigation by The Nigerian Xpress revealed that unless Nigerians take the issue of regular medical check seriously, more men are likely to die during sex. This is because according to health experts, sex is an intense physical activity, just like sports, and those who already have a compromised health condition are likely to fall victims if they are not aware of their health condition before embarking on such intense physical exercise like sex.



Doctors provide answers

For the Chief Medical Director, Hosanna Hospital, Festac, Lagos, Dr. Chikodi Onyemkpa, just like any other ordinary life event could end in sudden death, sexual activity, which is also an ordinary life event, should not be an exemption.

Approaching the development from its ordinariness, he said: “I will prefer to hold a very simple view in this respect. You probably would have heard that somebody was driving a car and died. You might also have heard that somebody was eating food and died in the process or that somebody even went to bed, slept and died doing ordinary sleeping. So, if these ordinary life events can end up in death, is sex not a life event? In other words, if somebody can be driving, eating or sleeping, and suddenly dies, why is that of sex generating so much fuss? In fact, some people were even talking when they died, and we know of those that were playing football and they died; so there is nothing out of place that somebody is having sex and he dies while doing so. He is living and while in the middle of living, death comes. That is a simple view that I would rather have of that.”

But, as a medical doctor, he also did not forget the contribution of somebody’s health condition to all of these occurrences. And he said: “If we try to think of what could also go wrong during sexual intercourse and maybe, we try to apportion blame to that segment of normal part of the process of sexual intercourse, we should know that sexual activity itself is an intense nervous and physical activity. And to that extent, the number of things that happen during intense physical activity can also happen during sexual encounter. I have just mentioned of somebody dying while playing football because that is a contact sports that is associated with a lot of intense physical activity. And, when that happens, the body adjusts itself to intense activity; the heart is pumping more than it ordinarily does at rest and the blood pressure is raised, as it would when there is an intense activity.” 

He explained that people who already have problem with their health, especially heart-related problem, are more exposed to dying during sex. “And for people that their health is already suffering one compromise or another, this intense activity might now become too much weight to bear in terms of an already compromised situation. For example, if you see somebody that is sick and you ask him to do a 100 metres race; it is not the race that is really a problem; it is that he is sick and you are now adding to that the demand of a 100 metres race. So, if you see somebody that has a compromised heart function and you add the intense activity of sexual intercourse on that person; that already becomes too much load for the heart to bear. That itself can lead to death. Or in the event that somebody’s blood pressure is already plenty and you add to that, the increased blood pressure that will happen as a result of intense sexual activity, you can have the person getting into trouble,” he explained.  

He also identified sex-enhancing drugs as another factor that could lead to death during sex. “There is a popular medicine in the market that is used to enhance sexual activity for people that have erectile dysfunction. A popular brand in the market is called Viagra and you often notice that part of the warning there, is that the medicine might raise your blood pressure. So, if you already have a raised blood pressure, you already    know that the manufacturer is forewarning that you get counsel from your health care provider before using it because the medicine will raise your blood pressure. So, while having sexual intercourse, such medicine can make you to have a stroke, and the story will be that the person was having sexual intercourse and he developed stroke; meaning there is a problem with the woman. That is what the interpretation in the street will be but the reality is that you already had a compromised health condition and you are piling pressure to it.”

Dr. Onyemkpa decried a situation where such sad developments are blamed on the innocent woman when the man actually caused his death. “So, because we are a deeply religious cum superstitious people, we tend to read more meaning into these events more than it should ordinarily be. And maybe, it is good for public knowledge that we should make it as simple as it should be, so that we don’t label and cast them in bad colour, when the actual blame should go to people that are otherwise having a problem already before the incident.”

He argued that the person that has a problem during sexual intercourse did not commit anything more than any other person. “Probably, if you do a background check, you will actually find what created that problem and help him appropriately,” he submitted.

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Casualty rate high among men

Checks by the The Nigerian Xpress indicate a higher casualty figure among men, leaving many to wonder why women rarely fall victim. Responding, Dr. Onyemkpa argued that by nature’s design, men are more vulnerable because they are the aggressor gender. He said: “I don’t see why it should be the other way round. The way nature designed it is that the aggressor gender is the male. It is the male that would more easily start up sexual activity; the female sometimes do, but it is the male that is more physically involved in sexual intercourse than the female.”

He cited a statement credited to an artist to drive home his point, saying, “An artist once said that female nudity means nothing. It is male nudity that means something because it is when you see a nude male that you actually determine whether there is intent for sexual activity or not. He is the aggressor; it is in him that you find quick play of hormonal activities that are involved in sexual intercourse. It is just a design of nature more than an intentional problem.”


Way out

He stressed that the only way to avoid or reduce incidence of death during sex is for people to take the issue of their general wellbeing seriously. “You know, on grounds of culture more than poverty, we don’t believe that we are not well as long as we are breathing and kicking. But, the increase in awareness and population has even made people more health aware and they are more inclined to make enquiries about the status of their wellbeing even when they are apparently healthy but if people are not health aware and you compound it by an environment of lack of means; they will not go to enquire about their health as long as they feel well. 

“But, feeling well in itself does not imply that everything is alright. I have seen people that walk into hospital without apparently any problem, but when you check their blood pressure, it is 220 over 120 or 240 over 140 and you tell the man that he is almost dead, he will tell you that he doesn’t know what you are talking about. And you now take time to explain to him that his blood pressure is so bad that in the next minute, if God doesn’t help him, he might be brought into the hospital unconscious. Well, you will need a lot of persuasion for him to spend his time and money to address that issue, which to him, is not causing any discomfort as yet. “And, if we have to believe those that said that Nigeria is the poverty capital of the whole world, if such a man has no means, he will be more concerned with eating food to stay alive than addressing a problem that does not cause him any discomfort at the moment. But that same person will like to live life like any other person. So, you can now picture what will happen if such a person goes ahead to have sexual intercourse and suddenly a blood vessel bursts in his brain and he has a stroke and they are thinking that he will get up; a few hours passed and he is a dead man; the innocent wife will now be accused of having killed her husband. After all, he was very healthy and all over the place; in fact, we greeted him this evening. It is only you that knows what you did to him, especially if there was even quarrel about money in the morning of that day and they exchanged words. 

“It is the same poverty issue that may have been responsible and yet you have a dead man and the wife is accused of killing him because people think it is not usual for a man to have sex with his own wife and die; the woman must be a witch. That is the way we rationalise such things and it is so unfortunate.”

He submitted that the only solution is for people to go for regular health check up to determine their health status.

Dr. Uche Okenyi of the Hova’s Place Hospital, Festac, agrees with his colleague when he advised that people should be very much aware of their health status. He also argued that there is nothing mysterious about somebody dying while having sex because if a man has a heart condition and he doesn’t know, and he goes on to take sex-enhancing drugs, he might just be exposing himself to sudden death. 

“So, if you don’t know your health status, it is a problem. Knowing your health status is very important and key to avoiding sudden deaths during sex,” he submitted. 

Dr. Okenyi argued that death during sex happens to both men and women, but maybe, the case of women has not been reported widely like that of men. He cited an instance of a woman that almost died during sex because she was asthmatic. 

“During orgasm, she passed out but she was lucky that she was quickly rushed to hospital and she was revived. She could have died. So, it could happen to both sexes. But, again men are the ones that exert more energy during sexual intercourse,” he stressed.

He equally pointed out that most often it has to do with heart-related complications. “Again, if the person has a swollen blood vessel in the brain, it could burst during ejaculation and that could lead to sudden death,” he said.

Also looking at the issue, a Consultant Sonologist Dr. Chike Ilukwe, described the development as worrisome and pointed out a number of situations that could dispose a man to death during sex. 

He said: “Apart from the reasons so far adduced by my colleagues, it is also possible that there could be some drug-related incidents. There are some drugs that people take to enhance sexual performance. Some of them will have side effects in other parts of the body like the heart. There are some concoctions that are a mixture of local herbs that enhance sex, with questionable constituents and in the body, they can cause other things that are not related to the reason for their consumption. Some of those drugs can cause negative effects on people such as narrowing of the blood vessels, embolism, or fatigue of the cardiac muscle.”

He further said that other possible causes in the body could be diabetes. “For instance, there are endocrine problems like somebody that has diabetes and the blood sugar level is low. If the person takes something that will further depress the blood sugar level with the motive of enhancing sexual performance, the person may die suddenly because the blood level will drop so much,” he explained. 

He identified space-occupying leisure as another major cause of death during sex. He said: “They are in some parts of the brain where their presence is jeopardised by intense sexual activity; thereby causing sudden death.” 

He also did not forget the place of alcohol in the system, when he said: “Another possible cause is extreme alcohol consumption. There are some levels of alcoholism that can disorganise the body in such a way that the stress of sex becomes a danger. Sometimes, such people don’t easily admit their limit because they want to impress their partners.”

He equally included epilepsy, as one of the causes of sudden death during sexual encounter, saying, “For somebody that has epilepsy; that is abnormal electrical activity in the brain, the stress imposed on the body and the brain by intense sexual activity can trigger off an epileptic attack and at that point, the person aspirates saliva or discharges, suffocates and dies.”

Like Onyemkpa and Okenyi, he also believes that there is nothing mysterious about dying while having sex, but strongly advised that people should go for regular medical check to be able to know their health status before embarking on any intense physical activity, which sex, incidentally, happens to be one.