Taking the taboo out of below-the-belt issues
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Indian men are sensitive about their manliness, and also that a sterile man is seen as less than virile. Therefore, it helps when a Bollywood actor like Ayushmann Khurrana stars in films that deal with male sexual health issues.
His recent film Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, in which his character has erectile dysfunction, appears to have encouraged men suffering from this problem to seek medical advice. Before that, his debut film Vicky Donor, in which he played a sperm donor, wiped out some of the stigma surrounding male sterility, as it showed sterile men becoming fathers with the help of donors’ sperms.
“No doubt, movies like Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan normalise sensitive topics,” says Dr Arvind Vaid, a fertility expert. “Our society [now] realises the importance of having a discussion regarding men’s sexual health. After Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, the number of people coming for erectile problems has increased.”
Dr Vipin Tyagi, another fertility expert, says, “The social stigma attached to erectile dysfunction is slowly fading away and this movie is accelerating that process.”
Delhi resident Sharad (name changed) says, “Just like our patriotism is defined by you getting up for the national anthem, masculinity is defined by our ability to get it up. You have to give credit to movies such as these for addressing taboo issues.”
Ayushmann Khurrana in Vicky Donor (left) and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (with Bhumi Pednekar)