CairoScene's Conor Sheils, unearths the Cairo 'sex clinic' where Dr. Heba Kotb carries out a bizarre programme designed to 'cure' homosexuality...
Meet the self-proclaimed sex guru who believes she can 'cure' Egypt's gay population. Dr. Heba Kotb, is Egypt's first government licenced sexologist, and is more than happy to have a frank discussion about everything from multiple orgasms to erectile dysfunction - unless, of course, you happen to be gay. Dr Kotb even boasts that she can "cure" homosexuality in as few as four to five sessions, in a scheme which pockets money from people desperate to come to terms with their sexual preferences. Dr. Kotb goes on to boast that receives "more than one" person at her central Cairo clinic every week.
Homosexuality is no longer considered a disease or disorder by any of the world's leading mental health experts and was declassified by the American Psychiatric Association as far back as 1973.
However Kotb continues to attmept to justify her warped views.
One may begin to wonder how many so-called 'patients' are there via their own free will rather than as a result of guilt and self-loathing enforced by closed-minded family members. Speaking about her bizarre therapy, Dr. Kotb is unafraid to outline the methodology behind the homophobic 'curing' practice. "I look at the cases individually, and asses the root cause of the problem, I find what is causing them to behave in this way and we we work from there. I've had people who have been cured in four or five session while others have taken up to 20 visits."
Dr. Kotb refused to tell our reporter the cost of an individual session, although similar warped programmes put patients in thousands of pounds of debt elsewhere. The scheme echoes similar 'schools' set up by right wing Christian fundementalists in the USA which have been slammed by gay rights groups, moderate Christians and even former pupils. However, Dr. Kotb denies that her views are based on religious bigotry or closed-mindedness. On the contrary, she even claims to treat Atheists. "It is not a religious thing, I treat people regardless of their religious whether they are Muslim, Christian or Atheist." Dr. Kotb even targets patients who are unsure of their sexual orientation. "I look into their psychological issues, the reason they've been doing this and how long they've been practicing. In a lot of cases they haven't even practiced homosexuality, they just want to be cured of their homosexual thoughts and tendencies."
Dr. Kotb began practicing sexology here in 2001 after studying the subject in the USA. She now presents a weekly advice show on conservative TV channel Mehwar TV during which she advises married couples on how to tackle their relationship difficulties. When asked if she would be willing to help homosexual couples resolve their relationship problems, she flatly replied: "no." Despite her blinkered attitude towards Egypt's gay community, Dr. Kotb herself has been lucky to receive a helping hand in her own controversial life choices. "Initially people were shocked by who I was, what I was saying and I couldn't have done it without my family and friends - they have supported me through everything. I come from a wealthy family and my parents and my friends were more than happy to support my ambitions."
The self-styled sex guru even has the audacity to claim that Egypt has reached the peak of sexual openmindedness. "When I started my practice in 2001, people were coming to me for basic information regarding sex but as time has gone on they have become more and more educated on the matter.The couples that I see now are far more aware of how to please each other than they were before - they are now interested in multiple orgasms and foreplay techniques. Egypt has come so far in terms of sexual knowledge and open mindedness."
However, it seems that Dr. Kotb herself has quite a long way to come.