Google Trends: Pakistan Is World Leader for Gay Porn Searches

Jun 14, 2013 8:30 AM PST

In a Pew Research Center of gay tolerance in 39 countries worldwide, Pakistan ranked as one of the least tolerant nations.

And yet, in a quixotic twist, Pakistan is the world leader for Google searches of the key phrases, “shemale sex,” “teen anal sex” and “man fucking man” according to Google Trends, reported.

Gay sex is currently illegal under the Pakistani legal code.

The report notes that the highest number of hits are generated not in the country’s large, metropolitan centers, but from Peshwar, a small city known for its Islamic extremism.

Farahnaz Ispahani, an expert in Pakistani minorities, told MotherJones that popularity of gay porn may be due to the fact that religious Muslim men often have physical relationships with other men without conceiving of themselves as homosexuals.

 "Religious extremism is at a height today — there's very little personal safety for those seen as 'the other,'” she said. “So what do [gay Pakistanis] do? They turn to pornography because they can't live their lives openly."

While gays in larger cities may be able to form communities outside the scope of their family and immediate social networks, Ispahani says that is much harder to accomplish in conservative strongholds like Peshwar.

According to the author of a book about the evolution of sex in the Arab World, Shereen El Feki, the Middle East and India once had a strong literary tradition celebrating gay love that has been obscured in the modern era.

"So very often, any attempt to open a dialogue in the Arab region is branded as some 'Western conspiracy' to undermine traditional Arab and Muslim values,” she said. “The reality is that long before the West was talking openly about homosexuality, Arabs in particular were writing about this very frankly. Our history has come to be rewritten by Islamic conservatives."

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