Sexual and Economic Collapse.... Impotence Invades Lebanon’s Beds

Saturday 24 July 202111:45 am
إقرأ باللغة العربية:

انهيار اقتصادي وجنسي.... العجز يدخل الى أسرّة اللبنانيين

Some might think that the act of having sex becomes an afterthought to a total economic collapse and a country heading into the unknown. But in reality, when all of life’s details suddenly go out of control, a person turns to himself, his thoughts and his body in order to feel that he has some semblance of control over his own decisions, and that he has something for himself. But in regard to the middle class, which is gradually fading away in Lebanon, along with the poor class, even people’s bodies are now the property of the state of Lebanon and its ongoing collapse.

Sex is meant to be a private and personal act, stemming from decisions that individuals take based on their desires, except in Lebanon. There, the act of sex is now being determined by the rules of the economic collapse.

Birth Control Pills Nowhere to be Found

In light of the complete monopoly of merchants, the failure of Banque du Liban (the central bank of Lebanon) to act as it should, smuggling, and the absence of control and oversight, essential medicines are now missing from pharmacies. Contraceptives are among them.

Ms. Zainab works at a pharmacy. She explains that at the beginning of the crisis, when people sensed the possibility that essential medicines will soon become unavailable in the country, they stockpiled them, which led them to run out at record speed. In addition, medicine these days arrives in limited quantities at the pharmacy and quickly runs out. And when the exchange rate value of the dollar versus the Lebanese lira rose, the main pharmaceutical companies stopped supplying pharmacies with medicines for fear of financial loss, because the medicine is imported in dollars. This led to a serious scarcity in the medicine needed by those suffering from chronic diseases. It also led to the creation of pages for medicine trade and swap on social media, and Lebanese people became dependent on expatriates returning loaded with medicines.

The economic collapse affected my body just as it had affected my job, my home and my outlook.

A group of people may think that contraception is not an essential drug, but it is actually directly related to women’s lives and their decisions when it comes to having children.

Fear of Pregnancy

About a week ago, Ranwa (pseudonym) was having sex with her husband when they realized that the condom had suddenly disappeared. At first she thought it got torn, but it had actually gotten stuck inside her. Ranwa took the condom out and visited most of Beirut’s pharmacies the next day looking for the “morning after” pills. This pill is a type of emergency birth control that women use to prevent pregnancy in the event of sexual intercourse taking place without the use of some sort of contraception, or in case it had failed. It is a pill that can be taken in exceptional cases, but cannot always be relied on, since it may cause damage. This method works if the egg is not fertilized, and it is recommended to be taken after unprotected sex within a time period that does not exceed three days.

In the end, Ranwa found her target, but before she did, she had suffered from her fears of an unplanned pregnancy in a country that is collapsing and does not provide milk for its children. “In the past, I used to rely on birth control pills, and that was before they ran out or arrived in limited quantities. Today, my main dependence is on my husband and the condoms that he buys. But there is another problem regarding the condom, because a small box of good quality condoms — which includes three condoms — costs more than 33,000 Lebanese pounds. Durex was also withdrawn from the market due to its high cost and the inability of people to use it anymore. So we started using new kinds, among which was the condom that slipped into me. Contraceptive pills are not available, condoms now are of low quality, there is no medicine in pharmacies to protect my body, and having a child in this country is an unthinkable notion and an injustice which I will not forgive myself for. So what is the solution? Should we stop having sex?”

“For a long time now, sex lost its privacy and became subject to Lebanon’s economic collapse. Here  we lost our dreams, our money, our jobs and even our right to intimacy.”

She concludes, “If we lived in a normal country, I would not have to even think about having sex with my husband, because this intimate act is supposed to provide communication, love, as well as psychological and physical comfort. But for a long time now, sex lost its privacy and became subject to the economic collapse. In this country we lost our dreams, our money, our jobs, and our right to intimacy.”

My Salary Doesn’t Allow me to Buy Condoms

“I am waiting for my best friend to come from Turkey next week so that he could bring me the condoms I need.”

This is the solution that Saleh relies on in order to exercise his right to practice safe sex, since he works for a salary that does not exceed two million pounds per month and cannot bear the costs of having sex and all that may result from it. He explains, “Let’s say I want to have sex according to my desires and the desires of my partner, it will cost me about 300,000 lira a month. Gasoline alone costs about 600,000 per month, in addition to house rent, public transportation, and food and drink. In this case, I must borrow money and become indebted to get through the month. And hence, I can no longer cover the costs of sex.”

He adds, “In the explosion, we blew up. When it comes to food, we are not eating meat. When it comes to gasoline, electricity, and water, we’ve been completely humiliated... But damn this state, it won't even let us be in our beds!”

Salah and his partner have chosen to have unprotected sex most of the days that she’s not ovulating in, and to abstain during her time of ovulation. But this choice comes with the worry of a possible pregnancy, and this constant worry is also there during sex, “There are condoms, those cheap ones. The box is for 10,000 pounds, but they are no good and are frightening. The good ones are now too expensive. Birth control drugs are nowhere to be found. We cannot bear children nor get married and start a family. There is nothing left in this country that brings joy or happiness, nor is there a moment free of anxiety, even in sex.”

The Collapse Includes Women’s Bodies

D. H. was suffering from vaginal dryness during sex. She treated it with medication and moisturizing cream. She had acclimated to her body, and she knew how to deal with it. But all this changed as the economic collapse struck the nation.”

“Smoking was one of the main causes of my vaginal dryness. So I gave up the habit, went to my doctor, and underwent the necessary treatment. The problem was partially solved, and I relied on lubricants most of the time. But today most of these items are missing in Lebanon, and therefore my sex life has been directly affected. I bought a local sexual lubricant a while ago, and when I came back to stock up on it, it was already gone from the shelves. I have enough for my needs. I will rely on importing from abroad. But in all honesty, I can say that the economic collapse affected my body just as it had on my job and my home.”

“In the explosion, we blew up. When it comes to food, we are not eating meat. When it comes to gasoline, electricity, and water, we’ve been completely humiliated... But damn this state, it won't even let us be in our beds!”

There are the day-to-day details of how to secure food and drink, and there is also the people’s inability to travel by public transportation, which costs about 20,000 Lebanese pounds a day. There is women’s inability to buy sanitary pads, and there is also the need to have sex and the resulting positive aspects of it, as studies show. However, in light of the comprehensive economic collapse, sex has become one of the main causes of concern for those who do not receive their salaries in dollars.

Show the comments
Website by WhiteBeard