Though Baba Segi, Iya Segi, Iya Tope, Iya Femi, and Bolanle are all very different characters, one particularly human aspect that all of them possess: each of them has some sort of obsession with the body and/or its functions. Baba Segi is constantly occupied with his digestive system and sex drive, Baba Segi seems to think about her lust for other women almost as much as she thinks about her desire for money, Iya Femi and Iya Femi both have a very high desire for sex, and Bolanle is constantly being reminded of her rape and barrenness.
Whenever anything upsets Baba Segi, he immediately needs to find a bathroom in order to quell the rebelling of his digestive system. There are numerous references to his upset stomach, belches, farts, etc. Paired with his irrepressible sex drive (seeing as how he sleeps with one of his wives every night), this suggests that he is generally motivated by the needs of his body. His body’s need seem stronger than his emotions, though there is the possibility that his emotions are strong (even when he doesn’t show it) enough to influence his body in the manner that they do. For example, when he found out that Bolanle had had sexual relations and even been pregnant before their marriage, he was clearly upset about this, but his response was his need to use the bathroom. Therefore, it is a possibility that the obsession with his body could simply be that he withholds strong emotions to the point that he is only able to release them in a physical way, whether it be part of his digestive system or sex.
It would seem that on the other hand, the wives have some sort of sexually related body obsession. Iya Segi is clearly attracted to other women, often lusting after them, but she is unable to act on it. She doesn’t even really seem to understand it. Even so, when she thought about the tomato seller, for example, her lust distracted her throughout the day and made sleep difficult without a pillow between her legs at night. Iya Tope and Iya Femi openly refer to their desire for a man on multiple occasions, and how they worry that the addition of Bolanle to the family will diminish the nights they get to spend with Baba Segi. All three of the wives with children, however, have conceived them from another man. They mentioned that they were not satisfied with Baba Segi’s sexual encounters, so they have had relations with other men on the side. This shows that their sexual desire has affected their loyalty to their husband. Bolanle, on the other hand, is constantly reminded that she is the only wife who has no children, and, unaware the the other wives’ children are from other men, she believes is her own barrenness. It becomes an embarrassment to her and she views it as a shortcoming. It colors her thoughts quite often and she does quite a bit to find a way to fix this perceived problem. It is not something that she can forget or that the other wives and Baba Segi allow her to forget.