The Most Homophobic Countries in the World Are Watching Gay Porn

The Most Homophobic Countries in the World Are Watching Gay Online

We love a good hypocrisy story, especially when it’s about gay porn.

A 2013 Pew Research poll showed countries like Pakistan and Uganda were overwhelmingly intolerant when it came to homosexuality. But  as Mother Jones has reported, Google trends reveal that those sane countries also lead the world in the number of “gay sex” searches on the Internet.  Is that irony or something else at play?

Pew shows only two percent of Pakistanis said society should accept homosexuality. Nigeria was the least accepting at only one percent, while Senegal, Ghana, and Indonesia all had only three percent vote for acceptance, and Uganda was at four percent. 

But Uganda was also third on the list of countries where the descriptor “man fucking man” was searched for most. Users in Pakistan also led the gambit in searches for “man fucking man” and “teen anal sex.” Kenya was number one for “gay sex pics.” One of the strongest epicenters was Pakistan’s capital, Peshawar, a city that is predominantly Muslim, and notedly homophobic.

So the question is: Why is it that a huge number of homophobic countries are watching gay porn? Are they reminding themselves why they hate gays? Getting off privately on what they are condemning publicly? Is religion to blame, or can it be tied to the culture of male dominance?

A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle piece, "Afghanistan's Dirty Little Secret" noted that military investigator AnnaMaria Cardinalli reported homosexual behavior being common among Pashtuns, maintaining that Afghan men have taken young men (and even teens) as lovers for centuries. An earlier PBS Frontline special report examined the practice and an Afghan journalist's own expose of it (captured in the documentary film, The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan).

Despite having sex with other men, Pashtun men usually deny being homosexuals and end up throwing the term away altogether, making sexual health more difficult to define. Cardinalli describes a group of interpreters who contracted gonorrhea and refused to acknowledge it was due to condomless sex with other men — because they were “not homosexuals.” In fact, they joked about it, saying they contracted it by mixing green and black tea. Because they couldn't acknowledge their risks they didn't take steps to protect themselves, and many of them contracted the STI multiple times.

Many Muslim cultures avoid linking sex to homosexual behavior — suggesting as long as you do not “love” a man, you are not “gay.” The virulence​ in which homosexuality must be repudiated may also hint at the prevelance of same-sex desires (if you're secure in your heterosexuality why fear that homosexuality could somehow seduce your countryment?).

Regardless of why the men in these countries have same-sex encounters but don't consider themselves gay; the bottom line is that the mindset can limit efforts at improving sexual health, and preventing HIV and other STIs among these men. 

New research shows that health care providers' personal values and moral judgments about their patients can impact their willingness to prescribe PrEP, the HIV-prevention protocol that is remarkably successful. A study at Yale University found that medical students were less likely to prescribe PrEP to gay men who were not monogamous and/or engaged in condomless sex, even though those are the people who need PrEP the most. This could mean that doctors in these countries might assume that their patients don't need (or conversely don't deserve) to be on the HIV prevention medication. 

Watching gay porn is an excellent way to feed our fantasies discreetly and our browser history tells more about our character than we may like to admit. But regardless of how you chose to identify and who you chose to have sex with, we need to take responsibility for our sexual health, even if that means being a straight guy taking a daily pill most often prescribed to gay men. 

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