Let’s talk about sex, says Pakistani daily after condom ad is banned

Islamabad:  The idea of sex itself is taboo in Pakistan, a daily said Wednesday, adding: “We need to talk about why it is so”.

An editorial “Uncomfortable Truths” in The Nation said that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) recently banned an advertisement of a contraceptive brand, calling it “immoral” and contrary to religious norms.

The advertisement shows a large man approaching a roadside stall to ask for a small pack of contraceptives. He is followed by a second man, who grins as he requests a larger pack.

The daily said: “We are fine seeing scenes of death and disaster, colourful dances and dramatic cases of violence in TV dramas, but a humorous ad promoting contraception is considered vulgar.”

“We need to talk about why it is so. Why do we cringe at the mere implication of sex even in the legitimate arena of marriage?,” it said.

In Pakistan contraception is portrayed as being only for family planning and women’s health.

“The fact of the matter is, that the idea of sex itself is taboo, even when an advert addresses it in the confines of a marriage without any mention of the word,” it said.

The daily said that one can understand the immediate need to ban the advertisement. “It is too private a matter to be made into a humorous spectacle. But what is the solution?”

According to the UN, a third of Pakistanis have no access to birth control even though its population is growing by more than two percent a year. “This is alarming. If we continue to grow like this, we are heading towards a collapse – famine, starvation, war,” the daily said.

It noted that until now, any marketing we have seen has been as a public service message for family planning and women’s health.

“This has put the onus of protection on the woman, who actually have no access to contraception unless visited by a health worker. The advert addressed the male side of the issue, and we know that most of the male population is not that concerned with the problem of female health and spread of disease,” it added.