State business: gender, sex and marriage in Tajikistan

Colette Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


This article examines the relation of the state to masculinity and sexuality by way of an exploration of the sexual problems of a young man and his wife in Tajikistan at the end of the Soviet era. It suggests that the regime’s inattention to this kind of issue was bound up with the importance to the state of projecting appropriate versions of masculinity. It further posits the idea that the continued refusal of the independent Tajik state to offer appropriate treatments for sexual dysfunction is consistent with the image of modernity President Rahmon wishes to present to the world. The article shows that as masculinity discursively occupies the superior gender position, with men expected to dominate, the state is itself impotent to respond when they are, in fact, unable to do so in sexual practice. However, the myth of male dominance persists to the point that it may prevent women from seeing beyond their subordination and finding mutually beneficial solutions in their familial and sexual relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-111
Number of pages15
JournalCentral Asian Survey
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • the state
  • sexualities
  • masculinity
  • gender
  • marriage

Cite this