Myanmar gets steamed up by sex education magazine
By Shwe Yinn Mar Oo,AFPYANGON -- With its glossy pages of pouting models and racy romance tips, Myanmar's first sex education magazine has got the usually demure nation hot under the collar as it cashes in on new-found cultural freedom.
January 8, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
“Hyno” has sparked fevered debate since hitting Myanmar's bookstores in November, where it has become a must-read among the young and curious, just a few months after the end of direct censorship in the former junta-ruled nation.
Perhaps tame by western standards, Hyno's photo spreads of semiclad women and columns espousing “bedroom secrets” and “the benefits of cuddling” — to the more cryptic “modern lies before marriage” — have raised eyebrows in conservative Myanmar, earning it an adult-rating.
But its editor brushes off accusations that the monthly publication is too risque for the country, or in any way as salacious as “Playboy” magazine as critics have claimed on Facebook.
“This magazine is a combination of sex education and entertainment,” Ko Oo Swe told AFP, saying the red label on the front page warning it is for over 18s has stirred the unfavorable comparisons.
“Issues about sex remain hidden in Myanmar. Our society is becoming more open but I think sex education is still weak,” he added.
Hyno — which translates as “enchant” or “hypnotize” — is the first magazine of its kind and is proving very popular despite the relatively-expensive US$3 cover price at bookstores and street stalls.
Its debut follows the abolition in August of Myanmar's stringent prepublication censorship.
But since censorship was scrapped, fashion and lifestyle magazines have started to push the boundaries with their content — so far without sanction.
Hyno has raised the stakes, so much so that some bookshops refuse to stock the magazine, saying its aim is to titillate rather than educate.