The more one tries to understand the culture around sex in Pakistan, the more confused one gets. For the most part it is completely taboo to talk about sex, with even the slightest mention of it raising countless eyebrows. However, at the same time it’s still somewhat accepted to seek “information” from “experts” within the context of marriage. This happens because of a lack of sex education in academic settings, as well as because of Pakistan being such a sexually repressed society that people need to seek help when they get married because they don’t know their way around each other’s bodies.
Sexperts claiming to provide the ultimate cure for mardana kamzori have always enjoyed an semi-popular under-the-radar existence in Pakistan
The juxtaposition of a limited acceptance of people being active sexual beings and lack of sex education has allowed a host of entrepreneurs to set up shop. Mainly capitalizing on male insecurities, several self appointed ‘sex experts’ that don’t have medical certification have started to offer various services relating to impotence, premature ejaculation and other such mostly-male sexual health concerns.
In certain areas you see chalking on public places wherein a local hakeem or amil baba have advertised the services they offer along with their contact information.
In addition to wall chalking, detailed pamphlets are also distributed randomly. They are often given out in public transports, placed on the wind shield of parked cars and even slid inside houses. A number of Urdu newspapers have sections where these ads are published.
In certain areas like in front of the Empress Market in Karachi, aphrodisiacs like sanday ka tail are actually prepared in front of a live audience accompanied with sleazy commentary about the benefits of the oil, by the seller.
In recent years, these sexperts have moved their businesses to digital mediums
After a crackdown against wall chalking in Pakistan and because of the proliferation of internet in Pakistan, social media is full of pages that have propped up, selling remedies for sexual health issues.
One particular page has videos of an individual offering counselling on sex life for married couples. Another offers services to improve men’s sexual health. One can find several videos on these pages where a man talks in great detail about what sexual prowess is and how to keep it “intact”.
Since the overall theme relates to sex on these Facebook pages, the discussions are very explicit in nature. For instance in one of the videos a person discusses how its the girth of the penis that matter rather than the length.
Considering the stigma associated with this kind of content, the identity of the men remains anonymous, with their face hidden and voice manipulated.
Most of the videos on Facebook are aimed at pushing the products such digital hakeems have produced
For example, one page links to a website that provides a catalog of products under their brand. On the website you can purchase these products like lotions, potions and tablets.
In addition to Facebook pages, products are also advertised through spam text messages
According to a survey by Dawn.com, back in May 2017 around 72.2% of the respondents actually blamed mobile operators for these spam messages among many others.
A major concern that has arose is that the sale of these products is not regularized therefore there’s no way to make sure these aren’t harmful to customers’ health
There is no guarantee whether the products these digital hakeems are selling are actually safe to use or not. According to a report, up until 2012 Drug Regulatory Agency of Pakistan hadn’t listed Viagra as a drug that needs to be registered and tested therefore the sale of any drugs labeled “Viagra” aren’t tested by any medical authorities.
There’s no clarity in regard to the status of Viagra, or other such drugs, as a registered pharmaceutical drug, since 2012.
Most of the sex experts, or sexologists, as they’re popularly referred to as, are not medically certified professionals, either. There have been cases where users of drugs peddled by such experts have been rushed to the hospital after suffering medical complications.
Taking this into account, one must consult a medical professional if they’re having trouble in this regard before turning to the internet and self appointed sexperts.
Cover image via: dissolve.com