From disciplined self to ‘Viagra-self’ is a transition that men experience in the ‘age of Viagra’. My field work looks at how chemically enhanced sexual performance has been normalized in a specific way that signifies the deliberate control over human’s sexual performance. How the sexual relationship - in a specific socio-cultural context - becomes the most available path to seek happiness ‘inbesat’, in low priced form. The ‘Viagra-self’ learns how to invest in parts of the body in order to perform, to experience how the chemically enhanced body can proclaims control and time (sexual) performance. The Viagra-self, in the era of performance, learns that it has to perform although it has an exhausted body that has to work restless in order to live. The age of oral ‘sexual enhancing pills’ is built around a whole pharmaceutical industry that include Viagra; generic Egyptian pills such as Virecta, Eric, Dur Joy, other Chinese pills such as Dragon and Tiger King, in addition to Tramadol - since it is used by Egyptian men as sexual enhancing pill. In that respect, it is becoming increasingly evident how global pharmaceutical industry finds a new site for exercising its power and authority over the human body. The industry of ‘sexual enhancers‘ extends the possible spaces of subsumption that it include human sexual experience, at night after the ‘official‘ end of the work day, at home, and in the beds. I attempt to show how imaginations, rationalities, dreams, fears, and desires are being shaped and reshaped in the age of Viagra. Hence, I chose to conduct my research among public servants ‘muwazzafin’ in Cairo, irrespective if they are ‘diagnosed’ as patients of ‘sexual dysfunction’ or not, and regardless if they use ‘enhancing pills’ or not. I look at the ways through which ‘enhancing pills’ live with those public servants’ daily experiences at streets, in their children’s songs, their coffee talks, and in transportations. I also move to assist a pharmacist in a local pharmacy in Imbaba neighborhood –where one of my interlocutor’s family lives. ‘Sexual enhancers’ are part of a larger market of growing global pharmacological industry that exercises increasing control over human bodies. A local pharmacy is a place in which people negotiate their pain, disappointments, dreams, hopes and above all their coping mechanisms. I also explore how pharmacological companies find their mediators in Imbaba through a local pharmacy. I then move with another interlocutor to his work place in one of Cairo’s governmental agencies to study how Viagra and Tramadol are being circulated as gifts and how a whole ‘net-work’ is being operated by the ‘light-gift’ of the sexual enhancing pills. I consider this ‘sexual gift’ net-work a ‘desiring-up’ site the sense that it constitutes social recognition of a specific sexual performance.

Degree Name

MA in Sociology-Anthropology

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2015

First Advisor

Hanan, Sebea

Committee Member 1

Malak, Rouchdy

Committee Member 2

Martina, Rieker


81 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Masculinity in popular culture -- Egypt.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Sex (Psychology) -- Egypt.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item