Let's Talk About Sex

الأربعاء 31 آذار 2010

Day 107 - Sex Sells by margolove

Written by Farida Farouk

Sex has been a “hot” subject of discussion in the Arab world lately. Well it’s about time! One must not forget how crucial sex is in our lives. In the first place, without sex, none of us would be in this world. Darwinian evolution would have stopped ages ago! In the Arab world today, young people’s lives are very different from previous generations. In the past, the transition from childhood to adulthood occurred abruptly through early marriage and early childbearing. In more recent days, both young men and women spend more years in school and marry later.

Young people may have sexual relations before marriage, putting them at risk for unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Without accurate information on reproductive health, young people who become sexually active, regardless of their marital status, are at risk of having unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, and acquiring sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.

Just about a year ago, Saudi Arabia closed all local operations of a Lebanese TV station that showed an interview with a Saudi man who spoke openly about sex. Mazen Abdul-Jawad, 32 and a divorced father of four, took Lebanon’s LBC into his bedroom, showed his sex toys and shared how he had lost his virginity at the age of 14 to a neighbor. However, this is ultra conservative Saudi Arabia, where the morality police can detain a man and a woman who are found out in public together unless the two can prove they’re related. More so, Mr Abdul-Jawad’s “sex confessions” are only a series of details that the Arab world already knows: “deny it all you like and threaten to punish it, but unmarried men and women as everywhere else in the world are having sex.”

So who is talking about sex openly in the Arab world? Women! And the reasoning behind this is that it is women who suffer the most from double standards around sexuality in the region.

As Arab economies weaken along with the global recession, the age at which people can afford to marry is getting higher. Religion might teach chastity, but reality is different, and unless we talk more about sex in the Arab world, the pitiful sex education on offer in most countries will continue to fail young people, especially women who pay the highest price for silence.

The Arab world cannot afford not to talk about sex openly and should provide mandatory sex education in schools. The need for sex education in the region is necessary primarily for health purposes. Arabs are just as exposed to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV-AIDS and we owe it to ourselves to move sex talk beyond sensationalism and conservatism. Denial is deadly. Sex education is most effective through programs that focus on protecting young people’s health through education, skill building, health services, and supportive social networks.

We live in a hypocritical culture which stresses that sex is important yet forbids any discussions related to sex except for dirty jokes that only bring about misconceptions. Let us be honest: most parents either do not have the knowledge or, think that it is religiously wrong to discuss such issues with their children. It is actually disastrous; basic sex education could very well cut the rates of abuse and rape as well as sexual harassment.

When sex education at home and at school is introduced, people would not have as much of a problem reporting such incidents when they happened. They would not have such shame regarding their bodies. Though Arab culture stresses sensuality, and though Islam discusses the details of sexual practices openly, sex is still very much a taboo in Arab society. Some Islamists have their own oppressive agendas; they claim that sex is for reproduction, not pleasure.

There are many issues that are rarely talked about in the Arab world, including homosexuality. Yet in Arab history, we know of people such as Abu Nawwas who was known to be a homosexual was not stoned for his homosexuality. Several blogs and message boards discuss homosexuality and gay rights within the Arab and Muslim world. The internet is providing these groups with a prominent and necessary voice, as they seem to be irrelevant in the region.

Indeed, homosexuals do exist in the Arab world. The Internet has made it possible for them to declare their existence. Some Arab homosexuals have created websites to express themselves, their ideas and their burdens, and to increase society’s knowledge about them. Of course, in places like Saudi Arabia, being open about one’s homosexuality doesn’t go by without punishment. Just a few weeks ago, an unidentified 27 year old Saudi gay man posted a video on the internet and was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, a year in jail, and a fine of $1,330. The man who filmed the clip was also arrested, but his punishment has not been revealed.

The conversation about Muslim women too often revolves around what’s on their heads and what’s between their legs. When in fact there are issues that are by far more important such as protecting women from clerics who say Islam gives a husband the right to beat his wife and fighting forced marriages. In other words, it is actually getting Islam back from the men who use it against women.

In Saudi Arabia girls and women have no choice but to cover up or suffer the cruelty of the morality police who in 2002 barred girls from fleeing their burning school building because they weren’t wearing the hijab. Fifteen girls burned to death.

Education is surely the most basic right for girls and women everywhere, but again in some countries, it’s complicated. For instance, in Saudi Arabia which is recognized as one of the worst violators of women’s’ rights; women outnumber men on university campuses and yet are treated like minors who need a male guardian’s permission to do the most basic things.

On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud, an American scholar of Islam, became the first woman on record to lead a public, mixed-gender Friday prayer. A prayer where men and women performed together, side by side, not behind the men, and not in another room, with a woman leading the prayer. Another Muslim woman scholar comes from Malaysia, Zainah Anwar who educates women about their God given rights in Islam as a way to empower them to stand up to judges, husbands and any other men who try to use Islam against them.
When European women were mere chattel, Muslim women gained the right to inherit and own property. But now the descendants of those women who envied Muslim women in the 7th century have moved far ahead. Where is that spirit of the early days of Islam?

I know the Qur’an preaches chastity for men and women, but the conservative obsession with women means only females are expected to abide by the prohibition on extramarital sex. This obsession with virginity is shallow at best and deadly at worst.

One topic that has been a huge taboo is masturbation. We know that all living creatures that reproduce do indeed masturbate. It is a fast, simple and safe way of sexual satisfaction that has been practiced ever since God created all living things. Any doctor or sex therapist would tell us that masturbation is in fact a harmless practice that would even benefit us when we are under stress!

How about females and masturbation? A study was conducted by Shere Hite on this matter. The research concluded that a majority of females who were interviewed in a study reported that they practice masturbation on a regular basis. This leads to the fact that those women who say that they have never masturbated are most likely lying. Knowing that women can orgasm whenever they want shows beyond a doubt that women know how to enjoy their bodies. Thus, it is not the female sexuality that has a problem but the culture itself that has a problem in its understanding of sex and the subordinate role that is given to women.

Being upfront about our sexuality by telling how we masturbate is a step toward bringing our sexuality out into the world and toward redefining sex and physical relations. Providing such information by a professional on sexuality only indicates the scientific findings about masturbation, which applies to both men and women sexuality.

Sexual satisfaction is the largest drive of all living things. I would say it is as important as food, where individuals actually go to great measures to satisfy their sexual appetite. I will pose a statement that will have many people up in arms, in the Quran; there is no mention of the word “masturbation”. I therefore, claim that masturbation is not haram (prohibited). However, many Muslim scholars use verse 23:5-7 to include masturbation amongst other behaviors that are considered to be sexual sins. This claim is not valid!

  • bambambi

    Well Fariba I think by reading this we would learn that you have been a naughty naughty naughty girl Farida.
    The masturbation part is prohibited also on the grounds of that thinking sexually about somebody else's body is considered sinful hence why it would be prohibited and sinful. but really this is nothing new at all, it just part of the duplicity that the arabic culture encourages people to adopt. where as long as no body knows about the bad things we can just ignore them …

  • faridafarouk

    Learning about reproductive health is part of the larger developmental process as children become adults. Developing self-esteem, a sense of hope and goals for the future, and respect for others are also part of the process. Successful sex education programs have common elements that can be adapted to various cultural situations. These common elements include certain features in curriculum and adequate teacher training.

    One exercise that I came across while I was doing some research about sex education was a program in Senegal called “a condom fashion show”. The kids, teachers and parents open the condoms and make them into belts, bracelets and earrings. In return, this excercise desensitizes them to this subject, and they can then talk more honestly and openly.

  • bambambi

    ok you kinda missed my point …. although i'll admit it was subtle
    what i was trying to say is that if even the realm of thought is considered sinful and should be regulated how are you supposed to do anything to change the status quo … ?!
    So the whole point about “doing” things ends up being pointless if the majority considers that thinking about sex as sinful.

  • I think the biggest problem we have here is Islam. People will disagree to avoid being confrontational or not to eliminate the conservative Muslim majority in our socities. But the truth is, Islam is biggest opstical on this matter.

    I wrote little something way back about the hypocracy in our society regarding sex:

  • ree7

    Farida, well done. Someone should've spoked about this subject long time ago (10 years at least). But i have to agree about the contradiction of masturbation that was mentioned by the gentleman above; it doesn't make any sense to be a good muslim and meanwhile at home your thinking about the women you met at that day or even watching porno.

    But even though, that should not stop people in providing sex education – especially about safe sex – to teenagers in schools.

  • faridafarouk

    thank you for providing the link Ghassan, I will check it out 🙂

  • faridafarouk

    Thank you for the comment and for sharing the link Ghassan, I will check it out very shortly

  • faridafarouk

    Well the thing is we need to start some where…perhaps through facilitating sessions on sex education for teachers, parents and youth. That way they will be have more self-esteem, decision-making skills, and the fact that they have options and can control things.

    For kids to learn skills about negotiating safe sex, teachers have to be comfortable with the content of the curriculum and make it interesting for youth. It is crucial to train teachers and desensitize them.

    I have mentioned desensitizing in an earlier comment because this method is extremely important in approaching sex education in general and masturbation in particular. The training has to desensitize the discomfort the teachers feel in talking about subjects that are taboo. Once they start talking about sexual health with youth, they have to listen to them, deal with their questions, and often, that is not comfortable for teachers.

  • Well, at least I can tell am not the only pervert out there!

    Yesterday, me and my friend were talking about the abolition of marriage in the USSR, he told me that sex was one of the things that you should be provided with just like food, while I was talking about Stalins stance from the family constitution, and that he assassinated all of those who thought that marriage was against communism!

    In a book called mismatch the writers discussed briefly the issue that good health and good nutrition for the newborns in the west had restored the sexual maturation age to 10-12, where mental maturation or social maturation needs some more 10 years, and they were discussing that there should be a quick solution for this problem, cuz this means that the kids will not be allowed to have sex before 18, which is 7-8 years of an urge to have sex, but where laws are against it, if these two were in this part of world, they would have been killed or announced apostate!

    I am against prostitution, but definitely against the antediluvian constitution of marriage, or at least the protocols that precedes it!

  • This was for sure an interesting piece to read. However, these comments if I may are my take on it:

    – Sex education IS a crucial element indeed in the learning process of nowadays, it needs to be carefully approached regarding our cultural norms, and it needs more elements than 1 to fully emerge in it (time being a fundamental element)
    – The issue of masturbation was inaccurately handled –in my opinion-, it is not suffice to articulate that because of a study's findings it means it's ok to “practice” masturbation, even if (big if here!) it relaxes the body & mind from tension. What about the downsides of it; psychologically (low self-esteem, regret, stress, etc…) and physiologically (ED, fatigue, vision fussiness, etc…) . Furthermore, just because the issue wasn't addressed directly in the holy Qur`an doesn't automatically make it ok to do.
    – The examples of Saudi Arabia, though correct and to the point, they represent a bias as I see it.
    – Although practiced widely, homosexuality is against human-nature. Debatable I agree, but to me it is not by any means under the (rights list) of any kind, it's just plain wrong, period.
    – Just a final thing, regarding the pic used; it's one thing to grab attention, a totally another thing to ignore the possibility of offending others.
    Hope you take it in a good spirit. (I`m positive you will )

  • 1. “low self-esteem, regret, stress” Are we talking about the same masturbation? That's because of the religiously conservative culture people have been brought in, because they brought up to feel it's a wrong thing.
    2. What is “human-nature”? And who to define it? If it's enjoyable to some and not directly hurting you, why stop it?

  • ma7moodjo

    with all do respect …. if masturbation gives you those feelings you have some intimacy problems dude !!!
    second of all i thought ino ” al a9el fee il islam al iba7aa ” meaning basically everything is ok to do unless said explicitly other wise !

  • I am not a muslim nor are my views of religion in general favorable to begin with, but I will say that I disagree with the general clean cut assertion that religion is undisputably an obstacle.

  • Then I would suggest you know Islam more

  • Masturbation, homosexuality, etc. might (or might not) be against the Qur'an or the human nature as defined by religion, but that is besides the point. You can argue that it is wrong for a Muslim to masturbate while still being a good Muslim (that will be for another debate), but saying its wrong for anyone in society to masturbate because one religion entails it for all others is very, very wrong in my opinion. Similarly, you can say that homosexuality is against Islam, but generalizing your own views and beliefs and imposing them on society, again, would be wrong.

    And I'm not sure if the picture changed, but if the one you commented on is the same one I see, then I am at loss at what can possible by found offensive in that picture.

  • Who decide that I have intimacy problems, you? A total stranger who knows completely nothing about me.

    What are we talking about here regarding Islam, homosexuality? If it's masturbation, then here is some links:

  • basma

    First of all thank you for the article despite the fact that it does not represent any thing new except “stereotypes”, the fact that leads me to invite you to read more and know more as you are inviting us in your article to have “knowledge and education” .
    And for Gassan, Islam does not stand as an obstacle in the way of you having education even if it was sexual. But if this knowledge is for nothing and just for having fun then the problem appears!

  • I don't think the article was only about sexual education. There for, I wasn't talking about only sexual education, rather than sexual-related freedoms in general.

  • Yasmine

    As I value your input here, I got to say:” I totally disagree”. First, because I do not think faith can be an obstacle as much it can be a healthy director to free discussions on such matters.

    Second, because we are mostly hypocritical people when it comes to open-minds, we want to talk about everything but if we encounter someone talking about sex than we assume he is ill-mannered, if someone discusses religion and the way its misunderstood we assume he is questioning everything about it, if we see someone criticizing the monarch then he might be a traitor.

    Moreover, we have to come up with our own way in discussing sex; I'd rather see a group of people discussing it in a civilized manner, instead of them having to learn about it throughout the wrong portals such as porn…etc…

    In addition, the role of open-dialogue starts within the family itself but even at that same small level, girls and guys won't ask their parents, in school and university no sex teaching goes on…

    Do people acquire the maturity, the knowledge (through religion too there is sexual teaching), and the right attitude to discuss it with people in the appropriate manner? I hope we develop that so we can talk about anything…

    But for now, let's not talk, blame religion and society, and let the misunderstanding ruin our country socially…

  • Islam is a set of rules, not just faith.

    I agree with you on the second paragraph, so I'm not sure how you “totally disagree”, unless it makes you happier to think so.

    And I wasn't only talking about sexual education (as I previously cleared on a previous comment), but on sexual-related freedoms in general.

  • Yasmine

    Set of a rules? sounds dull, but the rules are not to deprive us the right to be who we want to be, free people; ones who can talk things through rationally without having to take everything personal.]

    It does not make me happier at all to disagree but I do when it comes to limiting faith into rules that people only abide by when faith and rules are set in the first place to set people free.

    I was not talking about sexual education only, sex and all that is related to it is mostly looked upon as “sin, something bad, taboo” when it obviously is not. But without the directing education that enables people to be free in acquiring knowledge, there will always be incapablity in dealing with freedom.

    Have a nice day and thanks again.

  • Dull? What kind of argument is that!

    Actually, that's exactly what those rules are meant to be for in Islam.

    I give you the same advice that I give everybody who defend Islam or try to make it prettier than it already is, know Islam more.

    “I was not talking about sexual education only”
    I was talking about paragraphs 3/4/5 of your first comment, you ere talking exclusively about sexual education.

  • ma7moodjo

    dear my Yonis … first of all i do agree that the article has more to do with religion than just what meets the eyes ! but for me and alot of the youth nowadays we like to think that we broke out of the grip of the extreme imams and stupid clerks if i wanna masturbate then its my choice and i will not accept nor even consider that fact that its wrong !!! which bring me to the point that i was discussing yesterday with a female friend of mine while we were reading the article, you just went out of your way to make the whole thing sounds like islam is against sexual education which i think is completely untrue … quiet the contrary i think we have a very good corner stone in islam regarding sexual education starting from il” fa9el fee il madaje3 ” ending with marriage for all who can afford to !!!
    anyway dude i do appreciate your thoughts that might help making our society better !!!

  • ma7moodjo

    dude i that wasn't meant for you!!!! chill am sure you are in good term with your sexuality !

  • Yasmine

    I am not trying to lure you into believing a fairytale, the matter here is pretty simple; you choose to believe whatever you want in terms of what the rules are meant for and I after thankfully being aware of Islam and several religions choose to believe that diversity in opinions can actually attribute to the topic.

    Meanwhile, what I am trying to highlight here; is that sex as a crucial topic is dismissed from education or discussion, which is actually just part of the problem.

    Looking at the bigger picture here, I think (my sole humbe and probably only Yasminist opinion) that some important issues in our lives such as religion (which I'm happily discussing a mere aspect of it with you here), and sex are poorly taled about in the society and are hid like talking about them, or having the guts to call for more freedom and disclosure and that happens in name of religion and conservation.

  • “with all do respect …. if masturbation gives YOU those feelings you have some intimacy problems dude !!!”

    I'm chilling, “dude”. but seems you have either a problem writing or remembering what you wrote earlier.

  • Again, the article was talking more than just sexual education. It mentioned many things like homosexuality, masturbation, and sex outside marriage. That, what I was referring to when I stated my comment about Islam. Hope it's clearer this time

  • My whole point is: Islam is the problem because it does not allow sexual freedom. Not only for it's followers who choses to, but for everybody. That's what the problem is. I have no problem with people believing in what ever they want, nor conservative people and their values, as longest they don't try to force their values on the rest of the community. Which is exactly what Islam is doing the whole time.

  • ma7moodjo

    well this is were you are wrong .. we are not discussing islam !!! i have went through your blog and i found some interesting ideas but you are missing the point here !
    1- HOMO is a big NO NO in islam its as simple as that !
    2- masturbation is A small NO
    do what ever you want its between you and god ” thats my opinion ofcourse “
    3- sex outside marriage is NO NO
    and man those things will never change maybe the masturbation will cause it wasnt mentioned in the Quran ! but the other 2 are solid for eternity !

  • 1. The article mentioned Islam more than once, hence my first comment.
    2. I know the points you just mentioned (the three no no's)
    3. Masturbation was mentioned in the 'Hadith', which is the second source of legislation in Islam.
    4. I'm not asking for Islam to change neither do I care. I'm asking it to stop trying to force it's values on the rest of the community.

  • Ola

    Nothing in this article is new, people have been fussing about sex and talking about sex for years, but guess what? We do talk about sex. I mean, please! It's on TV, it's on the net, the whole media is about sexual appeal not because they want people to “learn” bt because sex sells. Let's face it, everyone knows everything, and those who want to talk about sex openly are apparently those who think about sex 24/7 and want to live a lifestyle where it's okay to have relationships out of wedlock and dream of a world where one-night-stands are par for the course…

    About masturbation, I don't see why anyone would rant about it and why anyone would be open about it? Nobody will sue you and if you believe it's okay then go knock yourself out who's keeping you from that? I don't see what you're trying to achive here, it's not like you're going to hold gathering for mass-masturbation

    I think many people want to follow in the steps of Western societies where there's no restirction on sexual liberties and the most they can do is preaching about safe sex. But look at them now, rates of STD and teen pregnancy are sky rocketing, I know we have these problems in the Arab world but they pale in comparison to that. Not to mention that it seems like everything in those societies isa bout sex, everything revolves around it, you can't even have a comedy show without explicit or implicit sexual innuendos. And, no matterhow much you tr to educate people about safe sex, in the end you can't expect that from 16 and 17 year-old kids who will enevitably want to jump on the wagon

    Bottom line, talking about sex will not change anything. Boys/guys/men will still be thinking of sex all the time, women will still be seen as sex objects and TV shows/internet websites will still be oozing with sexual content. As for those who really want to be educated about sex, like newly married couples for example, there's a million way to do it without having to boast and brag about your sexuality in front of the whole world to see

  • 1. I disagree with some of the points on your comment, but I actually love it 😀
    2. About STD's and teen pregnancy; there is dangers to almost everything in life, but here comes the awareness and “eduction” part. It's like telling people to cross the streets from the pedestrian bridge, but some will still choose to ignore that. Stop traffic?

  • ma7moodjo

    ola please come on ” guys will be thinking about sex all the time….. woman will be seen as sex objects”
    isn't this like the biggest stereotype ever , dont get me wrong guys will think about sex all the time .. i mean the part where woman are victimized ! since its a Thursday go for a ride and look and the younger generation and you tell me what you think about those sex objects you will see freaking 14year old wearing mini-skirts and tight jeans and they mean business !
    thats why we need sexual education and thats why it should be mass oriented education through the media through schools and teen initiative .. because a mother telling her daughter not to have sex just because its HARAM won't work anymore !

  • Yasmine

    Well then, Jordan claims the its religion in constitution is Islam but I don't think that it is a Muslim country. Islam is not applied, and often used as an excuse to restrain freedoms by politicians and people who claim to be religious to stirr people's emotions into acceptance.

    On the other hand, in UK for instance, some Muslims choose to abide by religion and still tolerate and embrace other's sexual freedom.

    The bottom line is, it's a social epedemic in name of the so called “conservation” when our country praises open minds and diversity outside on every platform it lacks application within and for some it is excellent that a lot of people are so clueless and numb in terms of sexual, intellectual and other forms of liberty.


  • SamarSar

    I think the conversation on here is interesting. So, I thought I would join.

    I don't think sex is taboo in religion, I think society makes it taboo. Just because in western society it is believed that sex is everywhere that means everyone is doing it. I know that isn't true and it's a huge stereotype.

    Masturbation is something personal. It goes back to what your intentions are. Some scholars say it's wrong and some say if it's the lesser evil then go for it. Again, sex is a personal choice, like religion is. If I choose to practice it's between God and I not the whole world.

    Education is important and the more we know the better decisions we make. I think the rates of STD's, rapes and teen pregnancy in the arab world is hushed up…We don't want to admit that it happens. So, we stay silent. For example, when freud had clients who were woman and they talked about incest in their families but he refused to publish it for fear of not being famous or whatever. I think we are still in that stage in the arab world.

    It all goes back to societal change…If we don't change from within, one by one then we will never change.

  • ” ma7moodjo 22 hours ago in reply to Haitham Al-Sheeshany”

    It wasn't directed at you 😉

  • ma7moodjo

    i think am gonna give you a star for that 😛

  • Kman

    Meh. Yawn. Grow up. Find something more useful to talk about. I mean, really…

  • In this case, I apologies. I'm kind of used to the @person rather than this threaded style commenting.

    But my comment remain the same, avoid personalizing, you don't know the person. People feel about things differently. Some enjoy one night stand over and over, some prefer relationships. Doesn't mean that the first is a jerk with intimacy issues and the second is more mature. Hope I made my point, and sorry for the confusion with the commenting thing. 🙂

  • faith00

    Good Lord !!!!!!!!! Feminists and their Feminism!!!!!! I agree to the violations that occur against women in the arab world! But , look at it this way, FEMINISM, is a western act in itself as Islam has given women all their rights and showed equality. I can tell from your article that, by the least, you're either an atheist, an agnostic, or someone who doesn't know much about islam!

    Now, im all okay with that really, but…. PLEASEEEEEE! do not bring western sicknesses into our lives and ask for its discussion and acceptance!! The reason why the western world is so free of sex, is simply because they've gotten enough of it :S its helarious.

    with all due respect Farida, I strongly disagree with 75% of the contents of your article.

    Instead of taking the western point of view and trying to apply it on your own people, why not read, understand, and , at least discuss the muzlim one, I am no sheikh, not by far, 😀 but, please do know more before writing on such dilicate topics.

    thank you

  • faith00

    I agree as in i know of their presence, not that I agree to them occuring and such 😀 just to be clear to my mistake in my earlier comment ! lol

  • yourworstnightmare

    Farida, kudos to you for writing this. I wouldn't call it perfect, but it's great to see people speaking out.

    @ faith, Feminism is not an 'act'. It's more or less a system of belief and it's no one's creation so you can't quite call it Western. True, the concept was popularized and put into action in foreign countries first, but the idea itself is universal.

    “I can tell from your article that, by the least, you're either an atheist, an agnostic, or someone who doesn't know much about islam!”


    And as for the rest of your comments, Husam, I can't say much else except that you seem to be one hell of a xenophobe.

  • faith00

    “I can tell from your article that, by the least, you're either an atheist, an agnostic, or someone who doesn't know much about islam!”

    last time I checked the majority of the jordanian population was muzlim, much changed ?

    and, about being an xenophobe, maybe so. but its really not as much as of having the fear, as much as it is of being extremly protective of that which we have, and that which we have seems like is dispersing and leaving away , in other words, being replaced by western culture. so, yes, call me an xenophobe because i hold on tight to my arab identity!

    thanks for clearing that about feminism, but i still think the discussion does not include OUR side of the issue, what would our grandparents have said about this ?

  • ma7moodjo

    typical …. dude this thing that you consider unworthy to discuss is the main survival instinct to our species !!! and the idea of you underestimating this is just horrific !!! and its just sad that your society have entirely screwed this instinct in you ! ! you enjoy being all grown up and let us kids have an unintellectual debate abt this matter !

  • ma7moodjo

    like realllyyyyyy …. you wanna use what your grandparents would have said !!! i would and am sure everyone else in here sure love to hear your side of it i mean thats the whole points of blogs and articles we can have an intellectual debate about it .

    ofcourse what FARIDA wrote is not perfect its just her point of view and i totally agree with a big part of what she said !!! and i agree with GHASSAN in some points he said .. meaning it doesnt matter who say it if its a religious person like FARIDA or an atheist like ghassan ! a good point is agood point no matter where is comes from !

  • ma7moodjo

    its aight man, i wasnt bothered by this .. and yes you made some really good point but still you are letting your “i dont give a damn skeptical atheist attitude” take the best of you ! ;p

  • faith00


    I'll be as thorough as possible in this reply in order to be clearer than I was before. Hoping that you would be a lil bit lenient with me 😀 Felt like I was being pinned down haha.

    I really do accept any point of view, weather it was that of an atheist, or that of a sheikh or whatever. So please do not think that im being extrem in my responses. However, I am and most clearly admit, my enmity against the disolving of arabic culture in any form of western culture. Admiting, starting with the language I'm using right now, how that is already happening. So again, my protest on that above, was not against the person itself, as much as how Farida most esteemed, tried to open the topic of Sex and protesting that arab societies should be more open towards that, plainly speaking, to be more aware of it and to be more ready, now, I agree, and understand that! But realistically? that would be an open excuse to use SEX!! to sell, im not sure where, but someone had already said that earlier.

    A greater openness on sex, or, realistically speaking, less conservatism and acceptance of all that would result from OPENNESS to this subject, would only lead to a more liberal and free society. Now, again, all that is good, but, where have I heard that before? What does that resemble ? O yes… Western media!! Now, to those unaware of what Western media does, look and scrutinize their way of lives.

    Religion Wise : Only 7 to 13 % of Americans, attend churches ( Plainly speaking – No religion attenders ) Again, lets try and put religion aside.

    Media in the west : nearly ALL!! Advertisements , T.V and EVEN RADIO stations, use SEX as a method, to sell products through the selling of human flesh really!

    Result : Let us put aside the Religion vs. Sceince discussion, but, we'rent we given brains to control our lusts ? the result really is, a control of human beings, through the control of their lusts, and any constitution weather Religious, Liberal, Communist, or any! that would stand in the way, would automatically be against them! Against the selling of their products and henceforth, against the production of more money….

    No my dear friend, im no xenophobe. Neither am i being an extremist! But I stand fully, with all that i know, against the usage of human beings simply for those behind the curtains to earn more money!

    Now, to prevent phrases like ( okay, tle3t men il mawdo3, what are you trying to say ? etc. ) ill be more direct!

    Religion regardless how people perceive it, stands against commercializing sex! and, the reason i stand fully against anything so western, because anything that is slightly so, comes attached with a cost! Costs like our freedom, our honours, dignities… Please, regardless of anything, do not tell me that freedom, honours and dignities have long been forgotten ? or Lost or whatever… because they are what we stand for as human beings before being Arab.

    History, Mr. Ma7mod, is what i meant by refering to grandparents. Going back and reading histroy, our own, and learning why the topic of Sex, has been in check since forever in our arab world… before really, taking a western approach and tackling it and its issue.

    I appologize for my harsh and aggressive mannor of discussion earlier if taken as such. However long may it stretch. I would be most glad to answer and reply my opinion point by point. For now, this is what i think and this is my point.

    Our freedom, lies by finding answers from our own books and cultures as arabs. I speak as an arab, not as an internationalist.

    with all respect


  • yourworstnightmare

    This may seem a tad irrelevant but I'm trying to make a point here and I think it's important.

    Faith, since you seem very happy typing up your lovely comments and watching them pop up onto your screen you need to remember where all of this has come from. The only reason you CAN have these debates on the internet is because of globalization, if not Westernization. It's a beautiful thing.

    Now, I'm no Western evangelist but this sort of globalization needs you to be a tad bit more open. It might seem like a huge price for you. No one's asking you to let go of your Arab identity, but some things might need revision every once in a while. Just because something is Arab and from your culture doesn't mean it's perfect. In the same way, no one should assume any set of beliefs is ideal because it's Western.

    Like, take honor killings. Look at any statistics and you'll see Arab countries are pretty high up on the list of countries with most honor crimes. It's an Arab custom, I guess, killing in the name of honor. But just because I'm Arab, does it mean I think honor crimes are a good idea? No way.

    And because I know you're going to call me a Westernized zombie, the same goes for any other culture. There are things that deserve preserving, and things that NEED to disappear.

  • yourworstnightmare

    Ola, it's interesting you mentioned other societies and how sex education affects teen pregnancy and STDs. However, in case you've looked in particular at the US, I definitely have something to say to that.

    Most schools there teach Abstinence-Only sex education. That's nonsense, I think. Because, like you said kids will want to have sex. So do we tell them that the only way to avoid STDs and teen pregnancy is to not have sex? Or do we propose another option, teach them about the preventative measures they can take, i.e., safe sex?

  • yourworstnightmare

    Right. You're making blatant contradictions. You just said how our minds help us control our lusts. And then you implied people are helpless to media and advertisements??

  • faith00

    Haahaha, why do I feel an atmosphere of aggrisiveness, we're just debating, I may be wrong, you can be wrong! gee 😛

    anyways.first of all,
    to your reply – I dont see the contradiction, ? what i meant to say, is that lack of awarness and knowledge, leads to an ease in our control. how hard is it to grasp ?

    And if by revision of our culture, of which i do most openly accept in suggestion, you mean to scrutinize and fix the mistakes then I'd start with my own way of life.

    but, let's be real… you totally neglected the media part and attacked the arabic culture as if full with mistakes and illnesses. im not saying its free of those, oh it has many! but what im saying is, let us attack the main cause of all this ( LACK OF AWARENESS )

    When people don't know YWN – they fall easily into tribalhood ( 3sha2eryyeh ) which is backwarded, and lead towards honor killings. When people are unaware, they are easily controled by the sight of a woman seducing them into doing whatever she wants them to do.

    every negativity has a reason. and all our negativities spring from our lack of awarness.
    lack of awarness as the new generation in our own history and the good in it.
    I wont call you a westernized zombie i promise 😀 and about me typing, I write a lot so that doesnt make an issue or whatever.

    awaiting your replys i guess.

  • ma7moodjo

    well with all do respect and i say this with outmost sincerity i must say that i don't get it ! i thought we are discussing the fact of sex ed. and talking about it … but now you are just talking about sex sells and stuff which would be true if we are discussing that nobody explicitly said we need to throw away all our culture and religious beliefs ok maybe GHASSAN .

    why can't we be open about sex and sex-ed and still be in an oriental , religious society that we are proud of ! And there is no shame in trying to be like the west if that helps our societies and culture to advance!

    if your point about sex is valid then it only proves my point and that is sex was made to sell flesh sells thats how god, budha , allah , or the aliens created us human to act toward it ! now as a person who usually ends in shit holes all the time you will be shocked by the double life our society is living , sex literally is what 90% of the population thinks about and has direct effect on their actions its driving people mad seriously. people are oppressed in so many aspects of their life and sex should be one of the few things they should enjoy its free , available and shit it makes you feel better about your pointless miserable life ! so
    1- if marriage unavailable for most of the youth because of financial issues, and the other chunk are not willing to get married at 21 because they wanna see whats life is made of first
    2- and this just came in people in here just told me that mustarbation is 7aram
    3- and you are not even allowed the chance to talk about sex or actually learn about
    4- add all the other ingredients of social , financial , and mental retardation of our society
    5- now go on a drive or for a walk in a mall or something
    now can you tell me that you still think about this and honestly believe we should look through our own history for the answer .. i beg the difference MR faith the change is done now we must cut our loses and focus on the new generation lets teach them some stuff that are based on knowledge and science , coz for the a.past 70 years what good did over protecting bring us !

    i kind of drifted of the subject but i hope you'll get what am trying to say

  • RHS

    “I think many people want to follow in the steps of Western societies where there's no restirction on sexual liberties”

    Right. We Westerners consistently marry our siblings and parents and cousins, bonk goats and kittens, and fail to produce anything of benefit to the world because we are so busy mating with each other all the time. I find these stereotypes deeply offensive.

    Part of any educational effort certainly must include educating yourselves about the larger world and letting go of misconceptions about it. And where is the talk about the emotional and psychological aspects and repercussions of sex? There is more to it than just the physical.

  • ali

    Reading the comments here inspired me to give my opinion…

    Through out my life i have learned to be open to every subject that could be discussed and amongst those subjects which is honestly a favorite for me,SEX, When i see a chance i directly take it and talk about it widely.

    And i just love it when a girl is open to such sensitive subjects, I would like to think that this makes her fearless of anything, She isn't afraid to be judged and she doesn't actually care about that, And i strongly think that this doesn't make her a SLUT! it's just that she is open minded!

    But i hate it that our society makes this whole SEX issue a Taboo, Either we like it or not people will still talk about sex, Either publicly or behind closed doors.

    About masturbation, Everyone does it and it's not a bad thing, I honestly would rather masturbate then having sex with some girl for money, I want to have sex with a girl that means the world to me and what happens between me and her means something not for money!! and talking about masturbation isn't bad as well, You know like methods and stuff.

    We have to be open to everything, We are the new generation after all.

  • Firstly, I would like to thank Yasmin & ree7 for their comments, to the point and, well…wise I must say!
    Secondly, I`m not in the norm of views/comments retaliating thingy, however I feel obliged to answer on a point-by-point bases (although it would derail me from the main focus of this post).
    @ Eyas: “I disagree with the general clean cut assertion that religion is undisputably an obstacle” you are correct in my book, it is NOT an obstacle. + “Similarly, you can say that homosexuality is against Islam, but generalizing your own views and beliefs and imposing them on society would be wrong” <—- agreed! Still if I`m not commited to a higher purpose in my life and adhere profoundly to it, then what`s the use of my being on this Earth. -but may be that`s just me-
    @Ghassan Yonis: yep! that IS the same masturbation we`re talking about. (need some links that proves it or may be just may be addresses of people who know the facts of such practice, i.e. Doctors?) + the inclination that a certain view bwt sexual education and its relatedness to Islam is because of the religiously conservative culture is not accurate.
    @ ma7moodjo: thax for your timely diagnosis; I needed someone to wake/enlighten me up on my intimacy issues. + homosexuality is a sin (قوم لوط) and Allah called it (فاحشة). If you meant Halal for
    masturbation; then again you are mistaken to view it so bkz it wasn`t overtly stated in Al-Qura`n (you yr self mentioned it is a “small” no!)
    @Eyas & Ghassan Yonis: Islam has banned certain practices, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the real question is not to go-into if this is imposing or not, but why such a ban is forced in the first place. In the case of the matter in hand, it goes against the principle upon which Allah ,our creator, made us to be homosexuals and/or to masturbate (now some wise guy would jump-in: like you have never done it!), it IS against the nature of human beings (enjoying it is not a good-enough-reason to execute it G. Younis). That is what I blv in, nad that is what I will stand for.
    I don`t mean to be harsh on any1, but saying something like:”I respect your thought but …” then ramble bwt the comment is not me! I do not respect the ideas/views of certain ppl regarding this issue and it is a duty to explain way. I would try my best to reach a common-ground with u but if the fundmntal keys for us to communicate are varying in nature I would not go: “u have it ur way and so will I”. Islam teaches us to enlighten ppl so they know 4 a certain the real value/reason of their existance: to worship Allah, the most merciful, who sets guidance for us to follow and explaining why in the process. Hard to accept for many these days, so be it :). It is the true path to a meaningful life.
    As feared, I derailed a lot, but that is it for now.

  • You don't have to say “I respect your thought but …”, I hate that. Be practical and objective and it's fine (by me at least).

    1. If religion is not an obstacle, then why did you say “Islam has banned certain practices, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike”?

    2. Regarding masturbation (that became a bigger topic than homosexuality in this discussion for some reason): Sure, what links from what sources from what year? Here's some links that proves my point:

    3. Islam and sexual education:
    3.1. I wasn't talking exclusively about sex-ed, but about sexual behavior and expression in general.
    3.2. There are yet some sex-ed related issues that cannot be discussed in Islam, or at least, discussed from Islam point of view, not from scientific point of view (like the previous topics of masturbation and homosexuality for example).

    4. I agree that masturbation is not allowed ('haram') in Islam, and provided links to prove it.

    5. “the real question is not to go-into if this is imposing or not” This is actually a question that concern a lot, because not everybody is Muslim or practicing Muslim in this society. So the idea of imposing Islamic values on other who don't believe in them or just simply don't want to obey by them is a matter of concern for many.

    6. “it goes against the principle upon which Allah ,our creator” Again, not everybody believe or care for what the 'Allah' of Islam say. That's why to should be a matter of choice for only who believe or want to follow what 'Allah' said.

    7. “enjoying it is not a good-enough-reason to execute it G. Younis” I think it is. If you're not directly hurting anybody else; we do most things in life out of enjoyment, including spiritual enjoyment.

  • bambambi

    You can believe whatever you want to believe but you cross the line whenever you want to impose what you believe in on others and that's where things must STOP!
    What gives you the right to impose you view on others who don't believe in the same thing that you do?Islam doesn't give you the right to impose anything on anyone….

  • What say u if we address the “why” is it banned b4 goin` to “imposing”? :). It is not hurting any1 directly so automatically it becomes ok? I tend to disagree
    May I refere u to what I wrote: “Islam teaches us to enlighten ppl so they know 4 a certain the real value/reason of their existance: to worship Allah, the most merciful, who sets guidance for us to follow and explaining why in the process”, u say that many do not blv in God to start with, hence is my line: to try to explain what I blv, from my stand as a Muslim to u. “soft” imposing if u like :).
    I do think that writing in such matters goes misunderstood bkz of the sensitivity of it + mismatching expectations/meanings from/to written words/read words.
    Hope this is clearER now.

  • Liberali

    form your comments ,and i did also check your link and blog, you seem to mix between Islam as a religion and what Muslims do . I actually know Islam very well, maybe even more than you do, actually more than you do since you are not able to distinguish between religion and followers behavior that is attributed to religion whilst it is not. As a liberal , you should not be dogmatic so how do you reconcile your dogmatic view and half baked knowledge about religion with being liberal … or has liberalism became anti religion?
    so my advice to you is that you do not know Islam properly , so learn more about it first

    Hazem , FTF member

  • Hazem habebe, You didn't make one logical argument. Instead, you started making personal assumptions with no evidence. If you bothered to read my comments on this blog post, you would have seen that I attached proves for everything I said. ya hala

    Instead of giving me advices, make a logical argument, and if you want to say something about my logic, bring evidence. Talk is cheap, mr. ftf

  • 1. I've mentioned many points replying to your argument, but you failed to answer most of them (including masturbation and health, and Islam and sex-ed/sexual behaviors). At least, state that you were wrong.

    2. Regarding your last comment, didn't get the point that you are trying to make. It's either:
    A) Islam forces its values on others.
    B) Islam does not forces its values on others, but just give a friendly advice for those who want to take it.
    And from there, we can continue the discussion.

  • Bees2024

    Guys you are complicating stuff here by interfering Islam. Everybody is free to be Muslim or not to be Muslim, and everybody is free to practice certain Islamic acts or not, you can be a Muslim while not even practicing prayer! At the end of the day it’s something between you and God. In Islam, it’s so clear that it doesn’t impose anything, it just claims if you do x you will see the result of that in the afterlife. Islam in my opinion is the most liberal and free belief you can ever find! It’s completely based on personal acceptance on all of it’s details!!!

    Come on guys 🙂

  • I was waiting (hoping rather) for the author to revisit the comments, may be the author did but did not see a point in responding firther and quiet honestly I can not blame the author.

    The discussion went from A to B to Z! For the topic is simply (multi). Nevertheless, -and after some rereading- I want to state some “additional” points if I may:

    – We are -as 1 commentator pointed out- talking about sex every day, may be not so “verbally” and a non-directional path but it is there. If I got it right, the author is emphasizing on that in specific – the indirect approach to handle the issue of sex.
    The author suggests to enhance some educational programmes (@ homes & schools primarily) that focuses on protecting the youngsters – I agree on it and hope some elaboration takes place on these programmes. What I do not agree on is the inclination that bcoz sex is so dominant; trends -in lack of a better word- like homosexuality must be explained and taught/recognized instead of explained and banned just bcoz they do exist. (I hope that was not what the author suggested). To borrow the authors words “The Internet has made it possible for them to declare their existence. Some Arab homosexuals have created websites to express themselves, their ideas and their burdens, and to increase society’s knowledge about them” is this statement valid as to the conclusion that it should be permitted bcoz it`s under the tag of “rights”?, is judging such a behaviour as “wrong” so wrong? I see it in the light of pointing wrongness in its eye, it is -to me- not in congruence and/or conformity with human nature.

    I blv the author is smart enough to know that chances for the readers to agree on such a topic -any topic actually :)- are slim; but how about stating what the author wanted from such a topic, what were the objectives, and what about a follow up post that focises on (some) solutions/remedies?

    * just a point worth-mentioning: providing 4-5 examples from KSA seems to be a bit biased -for some readers-, it kinda` arrests the concept/issue, even though KSA is a country with strict policies regarding the issue on/at hand here. Many other examples from almost everywhere would`ve made the argument more solid.

    Thank you kindly,

  • I went to one of the most conservative private schools in Jordan, the Islamic Scientific College. Our religion subject teacher in 10th grade talked about sex all the time. At one point, students called the class, the “sex class.” Of course, we as teenage boys tried to get the teacher to say some of the craziest things, but he was always able to talk about it in a very “clean” way.

    I think there is definitely room for sex education in the Muslim world, but the key is to remember that it is the Muslim world, not Europe, and not the US. Saying you want to educate young people about sex because you want to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies among those who still choose to have premarital sex is not going to fly with a Muslim society. From a Muslim society's point of view, you'll be enabling more people to behave outside socially acceptable norms. It's only natural for society to resist those calls.

    So, I think you should revise your message, starting with your goals. Is the goal just to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs? If so, then we can say that unwanted pregnancies still occur during marriage, so the reason cited for educating teenagers about this doesn't have to be related to engaging in premarital sex (which was used in your article). Some will argue the same about STDs. Some STDs can be transmitted without sex, like herpes, or HIV. This can be a reason to educate teenagers about these diseases without having to explicitly say that it is about sex, let alone premarital sex. The topic of masturbation is not necessary to raise in my opinion, as most people find out about masturbation on their own, and since it's not harmful, there's no need to mention it, either to say it's ok, or to say it's prohibited.

  • Bees2024

    I also went to ISC, and I think I know the teacher you are referring to 😉

    I agree with you about focusing on our goals, and I want to emphasize that our Islamic societies don't really suffer form STDs and unwanted pregnancies, we have other serious issues that affect the whole society, like poverty and corruption. What applies to US doesn't necessarily apply to Jordan. I lived in Jordan for like 20 years and never met someone having a problem related to STDs.

    On the other hand, most articles criticizing sex education in Arabic societies always try to show these societies as completely ignorant or “stupid” is sex knowledge; this way of handling this subject in addition to searching for answers from other societies as a full big package that solves everything is completely out of scope.

  • Many thax to Hamzeh N, couldn`t agree more :).

  • Hatem

    I agree with you 5asshan

  • AyubSays

    No way, an intelligent response?


    Well, I was going to point out something similar to you, thanks for the finger-rest.

    I just want to add that this:

    “When sex education at home and at school is introduced, people would not have as much of a problem reporting such incidents when they happened.”

    Is pretty much baseless IMO because the west still has some of the highest levels of rape, molestation, and incest, yet they are the “example” of sex education that the writer wants to apply here.

    I am not saying sex education is inherently a bad idea, I honestly don't know if it will actually help anything though.

    The fact is, rape and molestation is a disease of the mind. So, only in the mind of the criminal will you be able to confront it.


  • AyubSays

    We don't need sex education as much as we need a concept of moral obligation.

    It is the lack of moral obligation that leads to essentially all the vices that the Arab and even Greater World at large suffer from.

    I realize this isn't focused at the hodge podge rant you wrote above, and I do not mean to be disrespectful but you didn't really make a point in your article. Your article struck me as a frustrated tirade about the lack of sexual freedom in this society.

    You brought some valid points, but you mixed them with enough hearsay to cloud the entire point, if there was a point.

    My point is that moral obligation is what is lacking, not sexual education. I don't harass, objectify, disrespect, or otherwise hurt women and I sat out of sex-education back in school in the U.S.

    The fact of the matter is that men here have a deep seated misogynist mindset and women here are good at playing the victim because they are trained to do so from a young age.

    If you want sexual freedom for the unmarried masses, say so. If you think the cost of Marriage in society is too high, say so.

    Whatever you want to say, please say it. I just don't know what you want to say right now. Thanks.

    Asalam alaikum wa rahmatullah.

  • @ AyubSays : I can`t thank you enough, well-put. I hope the author revisits the comments and responds!


  • Walid

    Just a little aside for everyone, there is no prohibition on discussing sex in Islam, and Islam has no problem with sex, it is extramarital sex and Adultery Islam has a problem with! That and Homosexuality. According to some scholars it is actually of the husbands best interest to satisfy the woman/women (polygamy).
    The hypocrisy of the clerics are well known and that is never going to change…

  • Walid

    All I have to say is to repeat the saying prevalent in the 80's:
    “Silence = Death” The more you stay quiet about something the more complacent you get, and that makes you just as guilty as if you had commited the crime yourself.

    People have to learn about STD's and the problem this I know for a fact is that a lot of people Straight or otherwise are having unprotected sex, and not getting themselves tested.

    Here's one of the problems you can go and get tested anonymously but if you have HIV+ then you have to be reported! (what part of anonymity didn't they get!)…

    When you start making everything a taboo then that's where the society gets sick (case in point the Victorian era).

    There's nothing you can do when faced with a wall of ignorance and stupidity, which can be applies to most fanatics and bigot.

  • Walid

    Just a little aside for everyone, there is no prohibition on discussing sex in Islam, and Islam has no problem with sex, it is extramarital sex and Adultery Islam has a problem with! That and Homosexuality. According to some scholars it is actually of the husbands best interest to satisfy the woman/women (polygamy).
    The hypocrisy of the clerics are well known and that is never going to change…

  • Walid

    All I have to say is to repeat the saying prevalent in the 80's:
    “Silence = Death” The more you stay quiet about something the more complacent you get, and that makes you just as guilty as if you had commited the crime yourself.

    People have to learn about STD's and the problem this I know for a fact is that a lot of people Straight or otherwise are having unprotected sex, and not getting themselves tested.

    Here's one of the problems you can go and get tested anonymously but if you have HIV+ then you have to be reported! (what part of anonymity didn't they get!)…

    When you start making everything a taboo then that's where the society gets sick (case in point the Victorian era).

    There's nothing you can do when faced with a wall of ignorance and stupidity, which can be applies to most fanatics and bigot.

  • Cindy

    yes, respect vs. neglect..

  • Jhnk

    I would love to have sex with you farida 😉

  • Rashtoka

    finally someone talked about sex