Accepted Paper:

Democratising erections in Indonesia: trading and marketing Viagra and its alternatives  


Traci Sudana (University of the Sunshine Coast)

Paper short abstract:

Moral hurdles present to prevent attendance at the highly regulated,moral and social space of the clinic.Based on ethnographic research in Jakarta,the paper discusses alternative spaces where ED medication is marketed and traded,and how this may contribute to goodness and disease in post- Reformasi Indonesia.

Paper long abstract:

Definitions of good, right and ethically sound erections are dependent on the moral horizons of the land in which they occur. In Indonesia, extra marital sex is often relegated as a dangerous and immoral pursuit of youth, or sex workers, which diverts attention from arguably more common extra marital sexual practices. An erection in marriage sustains a strong relationship between husband and wife, thereby reinforcing social order. On the flip side, extra marital erections that result in infidelity arguably compromise social order and local values. Where erectile dysfunction occurs, a visit to the family doctor or local hospital is one option to remedy marital relations, which will in turn reinforce existing social and moral structures. In this situation, a regulated medicine such as Viagra may be prescribed. Where men aim to prolong an extra marital erection, even when they can afford to visit a clinic, regulation and fear of being found out and/ or judged may act as hurdles to attend these highly regulated, moral and social spaces. In this case, like extra marital pregnancy, extra marital sex, and abortions, the business of prolonging an erection is pushed into a marginal space, which demonstrates as much circumnavigation of structure as it does present risk. Based on ethnographic research in Jakarta, Indonesia, this paper discusses alternative spaces where erectile dysfunction medication is marketed and traded, and how the understandings of erections that underpin the practices of both purveyors and purchasers, contribute to goodness and disease in post- Reformasi Indonesia.

Panel Med05
Disease and goodness