Last week, I watched people look perplexed when they heard Ethiopia was ranked second on a list of countries searching the word “sex” on the internet.
The rankings were published by Google Trends, which monitors how often a search-term is entered and ranks it by the total number of search terms in a particular region.
In many languages, “sex” is one of the most frequently searched-for terms online.
Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, India and Bangladesh are among the few countries whose citizens throw the word in the Google search engine since 2004 upto the present, according to a Google Trends report in 2013.
Ethiopia stood fourth in 2013 alone, according to the report. Sri Lanka continues to lead the world in this regard.
Some people say that Bethlehem Abera’s sex scene on Big Brother Africa (BBA) has contributed towards the burgeoning interest and rise in the rankings.
Whether that is the case or not, the fact remains that many Ethiopians are fascinated by sex online.
Is there anything wrong with that? Well, that might very much depend upon our individual outlooks, which are shaped by various factors like upbringing, tradition and so on.
To be rather frank, I am not comfortable with my beloved country being somewhere on top of the world in searching for that particular word while we should have used the time and money we spent on it to assist the country’s growing economy.
I am sure that, with the cost of using the internet being what it is here, Ethiopians should have invested more wisely.
However, I also believe people should become familiar about sex and its related issues, because it is quite normal to be curious.
Using any channel at one’s disposal is the right thing to do if people really want to know about whatever seems to interest them at a particular time.
I believe that our extremely conservative culture is to blame for preventing open discussions on issues like this. Are we good at discourse and discussion anyway? We are not! We have a long way to travel in this regard.
Let’s say you are in a taxi and want to talk about the cold weather of the Ethiopian kiremt season.
What do you think would happen if you tried to talk to the person right next to you these days? They might change seats if possible fearing you might be a thief; or they might give you a blank stare and pretend they haven’t heard your comments by turning away from you.
Children in most families are not usually allowed to have a discourse with family members about many issues, let alone sex. People tend to discuss such issues with others they consider their peers, but even then, not quite as openly as you might think.
I can see the danger if people are sitting around and watching porn-videos over and over again to the exclusion of everything else, especially to teenagers who are easily influenced.
However, I will bet there is no harm in trying to know about sex and related issues. I would rather say that this is a sign of wanting to know or enthusiasm, which really should be appreciated.
It’s all about balance, I think; one needs to know but shouldn’t become overexposed to the extent it affects one’s habits. If people had the opportunity to learn and know about sex at home or formally at school, they would hardly go to the internet in the first place and a pay lot for the privilege.
We generally don’t strive to change our attitudes or our culture for discourse for the better. We only complain and raise hell when what we do in an allegedly illicit manner is publicized or done in public. I say this is hypocrisy. It really is.
Therefore, in my opinion, the reason for the country attaining the aforementioned rank is a result of lack of discourse, improper utilization of technology [which actually might result from the first one], and so on.
Families should learn how to communicate or discuss issues, especially those which are said to be taboos, especially in remote areas. Schools must teach students how to openly discuss issues of that sort. They culture of discourse and communication should be improved, whether in formal or informal education.