Why is Porn So Popular in the Middle East?


Why is porn so popular in the Middle East

Most Arab countries prohibit the sale of erotic materials, including pornography. But Saudi Arabia recently disabled 9,000 Twitter accounts for pornography. Its religious police has even started a porn trend tracking project, which has helped to explain its growing popularity. It seems that Saudi Arabia is finally waking up to its sex-star deficiency, at least a little bit. Here are some of the reasons.

Lebanese porn star Mia Khalifa

While she's banned from performing in her home country of Lebanon, this Lebanese porn star has become a global icon in a surprisingly short amount of time. In fact, she's even received death threats based on her appearance in erotic videos featuring her in a hijab. Why is Khalifa popular in the Middle East? Want to know? Click here

According to Cyber5, much of the traffic to Khalifa comes from the Arab world. Apparently, one in four people of her age live with their parents. The high number of viewers for Khalifa is not surprising, because Arab women tend to prefer lewd content. However, there are many other reasons why she has become so popular in the Middle East.

The main reason for her popularity is her heritage. Her parents are Lebanese and her career in the Middle East has generated much controversy in her home country. Some Arabic news outlets even published a family statement denouncing her actions. In addition, some people are unhappy with her tattoo of the Lebanese national anthem. Despite the aforementioned issues, Mia Khalifa's popularity is not going to diminish anytime soon.

Pakistan's sex-star deficiency

In a new book, Sex and the Citadel, Shereen El Feki reveals the discrepancy between popular perceptions and reality in Muslim countries like Pakistan. She found that while fundamentalist clerics monopolized the conversation about sexuality, the literature in the region celebrated homosexuality. This phenomenon is particularly striking in Pakistan, where homosexuality is illegal.

Despite the lack of sex-stars, Pakistan leads the world in searches for "porn stars". Whether it is a movie or an online porn website, Pakistani men turn to porn as a private outlet to express themselves. Porn is widely accepted in Pakistan, as it is not publically discussed. However, a blog post published on 18 May 2006 showed that porn in Pakistan leads the world in searches for "sex stories". 

Lack of exposure to American culture

While most Arab countries ban the sale of erotic material, Saudi Arabia has recently disabled 9,000 Twitter accounts associated with pornography. In a bid to stop the pornographic trend, Saudi authorities organized a study, which identified the top keywords and phrases used by the people in Saudi Arabia in search of porn. These sites have been cited as an example of how the lack of exposure to American culture may be contributing to the growth of porn.

Influence of mainstream media

One of the most important factors in determining the spread of pornography in the Middle East is the use of mainstream media. In Saudi Arabia, the introduction of satellite television and the internet initiated an irreversible transfer of social relations. This shift has created a space that is less controllable and potentially subversive. While most elements of this space have been around for years, the introduction of Arabic-language reality television programs has activated this space and brought it into the public discourse.

The Saudi government has taken action by passing a new law that calls for stiff punishment for "pornography" on cellphones. This new law stipulates that violators will face 1,000 lashes, a 12-year prison sentence, and a fine of US$26670. However, the new law does not include penalties for online pornography on mobile phones. The Saudi government is considering the impact of the new law on the online entertainment scene.

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