“He must care about what people think. The most important thing is society,” says Egypt’s latest viral sex ed video, with a wink to its audience. Because, of course, that’s exactly the kind of hypocrisy Youssef Alimam’s short film, Libido, is trying to undercut. The film sets to both educate and satirize the society that has created a destructive taboo surrounding sex, particularly premarital sex, which is forbidden by Muslim customs.
Critics in Egypt immediately rose to slam the film’s “unethical” and “obscene” content, though an American viewer will watch and find the film rather tame. There’s vague masturbation talk, a crash course on Freud, and some statistical data presented about sexual assault and activity in Egypt. The film takes its largest risks by knocking Egypt for its lack of sexual education in schools and for parents being unwilling to broach the topic. How does one rid themselves of their libido in Egypt? “Not to be blunt, but one must get laid,” the film concludes.
The sexual repression that the film is poking fun at becomes evident in some of the featured interviews with Egyptian youth. “You will not die if you don’t have sex,” one young man claims, sure of himself. Cut to a young woman on her bed, claiming “all woman watch porn,” and nodding. If you think these are mixed messages, now would be a good time to remind you that Egypt comes in second for countries that Google the word “sex”.