Sexuality is a complex topic, largely taboo in Egyptian society. Never mind that it is behind 59 per cent of divorces: few people are comfortable addressing it, especially in public. Kalam Kebeir
(Serious Talk) -- presented by Heba Qotb, the first ever Arab sexologist and marriage counsellor -- took the nation by storm when it was launched a few weeks ago.
"This weekly programme," Qotb says, "is the first ever to discuss the issue of sexual education and culture in Egypt and the Arab world. It is not a talk show, but a scientific programme operating within the ethical and Sharia frameworks." It was shocking to some viewers, she concedes, but some of the viewers' phone calls were even more shocking. A diffident caller, pointing out that in Islam "the bedroom is as a grave" -- no information should come out of it -- took heart when Qotb told her that, in "righting a wrong" with good intentions, the programme was in fact heeding God's call. A 17-year-old called to ask whether, masturbating, she had lost her virginity. A third wanted help in dealing with the discovery that her nine-year-old son had been raped two years before...
In the latest episode of her show, Qotb pointed out that ignorance of matters sexual and misconceptions relating to them are statistically rife in Egypt, with some 68 per cent of the population suffering from them. "A person grows up to be a blank page," she says. "Any misleading information indelibly marks them. I aim to provide the right kind of database, to give people the basic skill to tell right from wrong in the ethical and religious realm. But it is less ignorance than misconception that worries me, because it is usually taken for granted. On marrying a man will often apply such misconceptions to his wife, and when they don't match her he blames it on her ignorance -- the very same ignorance that he initially saw as a blessing as it is a mark of correct morality."
But why is sex taboo? "Sex has always had bad connotations," according to Amal Abdel-Hadi, one of the founding members of the New Woman Research Centre, "because we live in such a hypocritical society which hails it as important while forbidding any discussion of it except in dirty jokes that promote misconceptions. Let's face it: most parents either do not have the knowledge or, believing that it is religiously wrong, do not share it. It's catastrophic: basic education could very well cut the rates of abuse and rape as well as harassments, because people would not have as much of a problem reporting such incidents when they happened. They would not have such shame regarding their bodies." Are tendencies changing among the young, though?
According to Nora Beheiri, 18, "around 50 per cent of my friends are sexually aware, the rest either have no clue or would come to me for answers. I had sex education classes in the States during high-school. I believe that it is quite essential and highly important to have this kind of awareness because knowledge is power, and it has nothing to do with being religious. I wear the veil but I know a lot about this topic." For her part Menna Hossam, 17, argues that, though most of her friends are sexually aware, such a TV programme can help break the taboo and rather than encouraging immoral behaviour, act to heighten awareness: "usually girls get their sex information from girlfriends, who will have got it from boyfriends who in turn get it from sex magazines and websites. I was very lucky because I was taught at high school. Ironically enough, it was a male teacher who discussed this topic in a very scientific way, unlike the lady school teacher who was too shy to discuss it."
A young man who prefers to be anonymous says sex education first comes from older peers on the school bus, while by the early teens a boy will have had access to books and porn, and older cousins are likely to start speaking with him. For my interlocutor, though he comes from a liberal background, he chose to rely on his peers; luckily they did not mislead him.
According to Riham Shebl, an independent researcher interested in female genital mutilation (FGM) and other forms of gendered violence, "there is sexual awareness among young Egyptians -- it may be false or inaccurate; sometimes it comes from suspect sources. But it exists." It is acquired, she says, through books and the Internet if not experience with foreigners. With the vast majority having only one language, they concentrate on pictures, missing such essential concepts as consent, pleasure, safety and responsibility. "Though Arab culture stresses sensuality, and though Islam discusses the details of sexual practices openly, sex is still frowned on in Arab society," Shebl goes on. "Some religious authorities have their own oppressive agendas -- they claim that sex is for reproduction, not pleasure. Yet in Arab history, Abu Nawwas was not stoned for his homosexuality nor was Imru' Al-Qays punished for describing nude bodies in his verses."
It is due to the rise of institutionalised religion -- and literalist readings -- that this is the case, Shebl believes -- crushing intellectual energy and limiting knowledge: "a decent girl in our society does not dress provocatively, and does not know much about sex. Suddenly before getting married, everybody is giving her sexual information and asking her to adopt exactly the model she's been avoiding all her life. An Arab man wants everything -- a mother (to him as well as his children), a housewife, an excellent sex partner combined with chastity and piety (hence sexual ignorance). When she learns to please him, she risks him discrediting her morally..."
FGM is a clear example of that: whether to ensure that a girl will feel no desire, hence avoiding the risk of a loss of virginity, or for fear of the genitals growing into a penis -- a surprisingly widespread grassroots belief -- it often has a negative effect on men as well as the victims, who find it more difficult to achieve sexual fulfilment. "Such ignorance leads to violence within marriages because both men and women are chained by middle-class conventions that limit sex to dogmatic practices," Shebl goes on. "Nowadays, lots of NGOs have sexual awareness programmes but they target very few, hardly touch the backdoor cult of biology teachers stapling the sex organs pages in text books and asking the students to read them at home."
Misconceptions extend to the notion of incompatibility -- according to Qotb, a common myth. "There is no such thing; rather there is a sexual print that varies according to personality, so everyone by default is different. Performance, rate, needs, frequency, duration, size -- all are elements of that print." Throughout her five years of practising as a sexologist, Qotb managed to broaden the social margin by giving sex education courses to adults, married couples and teens as well as professionals working in family health, psychologists and sociologists.
"I believe what is taught in schools is anatomy, it is not sexuality. I believe sex education in schools is a must. We are calling for a unified sex curriculum. It is like vaccine for your child -- the microbe itself, in the right amount to give immunity."
From:Amira El-Noshokaty gasps at the Egyptian TV's first sex education programme
People in more developed countries have better, more satisfying sex than in the poorer countries. This is mainly because in developed countries people are healthier and in better shape and there is also more sex related information available. But how about differences between developed countries?
A global study conducted by sociologist Edward Laumann, who is considered a top authority on the sociology of sex, and funded by the company producing Viagra, has shown that cultural differences also play an important part. Researchers surveyed 27,500
people between the ages of 40 and 80 in 29 countries by phone, in person or by mail, depending on local practices.
The survey has revealed that the people most satisfied with their sex lives are the Austrians, 71 percent of whom reported being satisfied with their sex lives, while the most dissatisfied are the Japanese, where only 25.7 percent reported satisfaction. People in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Canada also reported high rates of satisfaction. Chat with Hot Moroccan girls! Hot Moroccan girls
Among the Western countries the French reported significantly lower rates of satisfaction although they reported that sex plays an important part in their lives. Interestingly, compared to the other European, people in UK didn't consider sex to be very important. By far people who are least interested in sex are the people of Hong Kong.
The study also asked people how happy they felt. The happiest people in the world appear to be the Indians followed by Canadians and people in New Zealand. The least happy are the people in Muslim countries such as Algeria, Turkey and especially Egypt (but not Morocco), plus Japan and Hong Kong.
According to Laumann, these findings show that relationships based on equality lead to more satisfaction for both genders. “Male-centered cultures where sexual behavior is more oriented toward procreation tend to discount the importance of sexual pleasure for women,” Laumann said. “When mama's not happy, nobody's happy.”
Today, find a funny question in yahoo answers, one guy asked "How do you pick up/flirt with moroccan women in morocco?" , here is others' answer:
**Well, you can pick up prostitutes in bars if that's what you want. Otherwise, you won't probably get too far with Moroccan girls unless you are Muslim and want to marry.
**..Kind of a rediculous question. Unless you are a local, it's very difficult to fit in with the Arab people. I would suggest to talk to some men from Morocco and find out their customs. Having been to Morocco, the women there are extremely repressed...from a north american point of view. I tried this moroccan cheese and spit it on the ground...it was so grosse and a bunch of women were laughing at me! **Dating is haram in Islam and if you aren't a Muslim you shouldn't even bother!
don't pay any attention to am, I guess he never met any good muslim girls
d Kat many women who wear hijab wear makeup and many women don't wear hijab- this does not mean that they will be open to dating.
...I'm starting to wonder if "am" and "Hassan" are related..LOL
edit: Thekingofkings....are you a pimp????
Astaghfirullah, does anybody have any shame left?
Edit: D*Kat you are wrong on a ton of levels. You won't see as many girls wearing it in Turkey because they can't even go to school while wearing it because it is a secular state and banned it in public buildings. You can't even enter libraries wearing it. I went to uni (Indiana University) with the daughter of the p.m. of Turkey - she came to the US (partly) to be able to wear the hijab AND GO TO SCHOOL. Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia etc etc etc were FRENCH COLONIES and unfortunately because of that a lot of things that go on in those countries is messed up (not to mention the large percentage of non Muslims in Egypt). You can believe whatever you want to believe but I am sure I know more Moroccan women than you do and I have been to Morocco and knew Moroccans in France. Where I saw first hand the way the French view things and try to get their former colonies to view things. I also know what les Meghrebins over there thought of it all. Though perhaps 50% don't wear hijab MOST of those that do not wear it wish to wear it. Some wait for marriage (though there is no rule for that or anything) and others just are not ready yet or worry about finding a job etc. Some even will be frank and just say they don't like wearing it but it's still understood my most that it is required even if they don't follow it. It's the colonizers like the French who want to say it's political, cultural, or not required. They're pretty dumb too if you ask me. And three years, though it may be an accomplishment for you at age 21 is not a very long time to be with somebody, no offense. You're idea of liberal and orthodox Islam is untrue too though you may like to view it that way because it sits better with your personal world view. As a side note since you brought up education and thinking liberal families are the ones that educate their girls...It's funny people always bring up how many women are illiterate in the Muslim world and although it's true there are many and it's a problem none of these people that complain even know that the educated women in those same countries go to college at the same rate as males ( a lot of places it's 50/50) but they get higher degrees at a higher rate than males. These are the same hijab wearing women that get married and choose often times to stay home because they believe it is what's best for their children. ***Step one: give up, Move on. .Its not an acceptable form of socializing in that culture and religion. Step two: go to the mosque frequently. Learn about the above mentioned religion. Step 3:Convert/revert to Islam if desired and sincere. (If not go back to step one) Step 4: Meet families /Step 5:When ready and sincere about commitment and not for foolish goal propose marriage (If not go to country or location that practices courtship and or prostitution in the manner you are accustomed, accept whatever you get in quality and dont complain) ****1st you must wear the disco clothes, kipper tie and cuban heels, then you must walk down street singing Bee Jee's 'Staying Alive' then give big bribe to Police when them take you to prison! *****i m moroccan girl , if u wanna flirt with me the oly way is to marry , if u wanna flirt without marriage sooo there prostitutes , in all cases i see what kind of tourist u r , looking for sex , why u come to our country to make it dirty , go to ur country , women give flirt gratis , that make me sick , those kind ofquestion , as muslim girl , she will never accept a flirt , nor with a foreign or locan boy , so an advicetake the first plane and move on from here . ***The average Moroccan women, in the city or not, is not going to go for it. Of course there are hookers and what is commonly called a 'bit--' here (a girl who is willing to accept flirting behavior) and maybe you can get some attention out of them. I'd suggest just doing this in your own country. Going to university has nothing to do with how open a girl is lol. And wearing hijab or not doesn't give you a sign at all about how 'liberal' there family is or not. I think someone who has never been here saying these things is strange. Living here and being part of a Moroccan family that ALSO lives here I am 100% sure of what I am saying. There is nothing called orthodox Muslim or liberal Muslim. There are Muslims who practice the religion and then Muslims who don't fully practice or at all.....those who date, are having sex outside of marriage, don't pray, don't wear hijab are not practicing the religion and are sinning. But I wouldn't paint them all with the same brush. There is a HUGE difference between not wearing hijab and having sex outside of marriage. Flirt with the girls back home, ifyou can't get them you wouldn't be able to get a Moroccan girl anyhow, they are likely prettier than the girls where you come from.
D~I disagree with you big deal. Since college eh...so like what one or two years lol. The fact is that you are completely wrong to say that a girl going to college/university comes from a 'liberal family'. It is just as likely the girl comes from a practicing family as a non practicing. Since from your own words your boyfriend and his family have not lived here since he was 3 years old I'd say that there view is extremely skewed. Hijaab is also not optional for a Muslim though it is optional for a human being in general. It depends on how one lives ones life primarily...as a Muslim or non Muslim.
Again we disagree big deal. Your personal life is what your opinion is based on and bringing it up is relevant. Each of us based our opinions on personal life/opinions...again, big deal. I didn't say you said non practicing. Fact is that I said it. Islam and culture is intermingled both in right and wrong ways. Marrying a westerner is not part of what I was speaking of at all. Since you are not Muslim, no problem, you aren't going to understand that there is not liberal Muslims and orthodox Muslims. Your view is based on what you see in western media and westernized people, again not bad or evil just not Muslim or practicing or practicing properly Muslims. I won't argue with you about hijab. Religious fanatics in Morocco okay whatever you think from all your travels in Morocco is fine by me. I am far well educated enough in Islam to know hijab is obligatory in our religion, whether you agree or not is irrelevant. And yes a Muslim woman who wears hijab is a better Muslim in that regard than one who doesn't. What the influence is for wearing it is also irrelevant to its being compulsory in Islam. If I am gullible alhumdulilah. In all my travels and my years I am sure that I am completely unaware.