Saudi Men and the Pressure to Perform

Picture an 86-year old bedridden man. He has recently married a 16-year old girl, his third wife. He feels the need for a little “boost” to his manhood to fully enjoy the newlywed marital life and satisfy his new bride. Viagra no longer works for him. What can he do? 

The man is fortunate to be a Saudi. He can easily get help with a penile prosthesis, inserted free of charge at the government hospital. If one hospital rejects his request, he will just keep looking until he finds a physician willing to operate on him. Lucky for him it does not matter that he is nearing 90, cannot walk and that his new wife could be considered a child by some. Saudi medical ethics are exceptional in his case. The man is entitled to have some fun after all. At least one limb should be working!

At the hospital the surgeons will pat the mans back and congratulate him on the new wife. Of course the old man needs to be able to perform! Surgery will be planned and an implant inserted to enable a constant “state of readiness” for him. After the operation the room fills with curious male relatives congratulating the man on his new upgrade popping up from under the blanket. He will leave the hospital with a new cane but this one is not meant to assist in walking.

The sensitive issue of erectile dysfunctions are relatively common in Saudi-Arabia. Contributing factors are often social like multiple wives, arranged marriages, consanguinity and lack of sexual education before marriage.

Many of the cases are young newly married men presenting with “honeymoon impotence”. Sometimes those men were not able to consummate their marriages simply because the social pressure was too heavy on them. The problem can be so severe it leads to divorce. Unconsummated marriage is not seen as a valid marriage and impotence is a just cause for the woman to file for divorce.

Then there are the 70+ men that seek for a cure for erectile dysfunction. They too feel the social pressure of being a virile and active husband.
Elderly patients with this problem are not a Saudi specific occurrence of course. What makes it different in the Kingdom is the fact that many of the old patients will end up having surgery despite the risks.

Elsewhere and in the western world performing such invasive surgery would be seen as unethical and down right dangerous due to old age and higher complication risks. Penile prosthesis surgery is usually performed on young men with certain medical conditions and older men will be treated with medicine such as sildenafil (Viagra). But in Saudi the lack of medical ethics as we know them and the “gentleman’s club” attitude enable these old babas to have it their way.

The culture in Saudi-Arabia does not frown upon very old men wanting to enjoy marital life. It’s seen as their right. Same does not apply for older women though, after the women reaches menopause she is not seen as a sexual being anymore.
The elderly man of the above story was an extreme case but nevertheless such cases do sometimes occur. And they are viewed as perfectly normal. A new young wife is seen as an acceptable indication for surgery!

Elderly men, regardless of their underlying medical conditions or even their mobility in the most extreme cases, will be granted the implant if they so wish. These old Saudi men will happily continue their marital relations and keep their social status with their eternal erections. Only in Saudi-Arabia!

Some interesting research from the Middle-East region on the matter:

A urologist I used to work with concluded in his study conducted in Saudi-Arabia that patients with penile prosthesis had a 92% satisfaction rate.

The link between low sexual desire and consanguinity: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15672966

Study from Iran about the pressures of the wedding night: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19090943

Researchers found that in “240 cases, unconsummated marriage was due to being under social pressure to have a quick intercourse while relatives waited behind the door to confirm and celebrate coitus by checking a handkerchief that was placed beneath the bride to become bloody by hymen perforation.”

Research from Turkey concluded that 67% of honeymoon impotence cases were of psychogenic origin.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11306399

Alarmingly high rate of honeymoon impotence among Saudis due to severe performance anxiety: http://www.partal.com/mares/sexologies/angles/arxius/47/sommaire2.html

American Bedu discusses the popularity of use of Viagra among Saudi men:
http://americanbedu.com/2011/09/10/saudi-arabia-popularity-and-use-of-viagra/

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  • AnonymousSeptember 11, 2011 - 9:14 pm

    OMG I am picturing a dirty old man with a tent pole in his thobe!!So Viagra and implants is the secret of the arabs stamina huh?
    LinaReplyCancel

  • LaylahSeptember 12, 2011 - 5:44 am

    LOL!Hmm, I don’t know the answer to your question though!
    But Viagra is sold over the counter in Saudi.ReplyCancel

  • Om Lujain©September 12, 2011 - 9:56 am

    LOL.. Lina.. I was picturing the same… ewww! Reminds me of the ‘tent’ poles i used to see in Q8 all the time! For some odd (but great) reason, I never see it here in Saudi.. lolReplyCancel

  • Chick Flick JournalSeptember 12, 2011 - 11:03 am

    Thats really sad, disturbing and disgusting. I mean it’s okay if he wants to get married but not to a 16 year old. another thing I’m sad that the Muslims image is ruined by such storiesReplyCancel

  • LaylahSeptember 13, 2011 - 4:32 am

    Om Lujain-haha what were those tents!
    CFJ-I don’t think it necessarily gives Muslims a bad image, after all it’s only a small minority doing this and they are not doing so because they are Muslim. I think it just gives men in general a bad name! for marrying younger women, for that gentlemens club attitude and irresponsible actions.ReplyCancel

    • JamalMarch 22, 2012 - 4:33 pm

      Religion may not be the reason that these old men marry young girls, but it’s equally true that they wouldn’t be able to get away with it in a modern, secular society. If you don’t think the fact that such things happen in Muslim countries gives Islam a bad image you are kidding yourself.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 13, 2011 - 8:28 am

    Its as if saudi men are the only men in the whole entire world that enjoy sex. Cummon lets be realistic. How many western men fly around the world to find younger brides espeically to Thailand, Phillipines, Russia, Eastern Europe, all over the world. What about Hugh Hephner in america dating countless women and almost always 3 girlfriends at one time and he’s seen as an icon..there are countless examples. Give the poor old saudi men a break, whats wrong with enjoying their martital relations into their old age? Lol
    _La VitaReplyCancel

    • JamalMarch 22, 2012 - 4:37 pm

      Two important differences between Hugh Hefner and the old man in the story: Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends are over 18 and they weren’t forced into an arranged marriage.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahSeptember 13, 2011 - 2:09 pm

    La Vita-sure saudi men are not alone..but also worth mentioning is how many Saudi men go to Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Bahrain, UAE, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia etc etc just to cheat on their wives with prostitutes or to have misyar marriages that last two weeks.

    the point of my post was more to highlight the irresponsible attitudes related to surgery in Saudi and how really old men marrying young wives is socially acceptable (at least among men).ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 13, 2011 - 2:44 pm

    Hey laylah, you got a point..maybe docs shud put into practise a cut off age for that procedure anyway im sure there would be risks going under the knife at that old age.

    Just one question..i would love to know ure experiences with saudi girls young and old..they seem at times stuck up and u cud say unapproachable..but im sure they are not like that. As a foreign woman married to a saudi man i can imagine there would be some tensions at times..I am also in a similar situation and when on a holiday to malaysia (didnt wear niqab)..had looks that could kill given to me..so i didn’t have the best first impression of them at all..lol
    But maybe for another post..sorry to change topic..thanks again
    _La VitaReplyCancel

  • LaylahSeptember 15, 2011 - 1:41 pm

    La Vita-thanks for commenting. Yes there are great risks and many complications arise after surgery..
    Re your question,I wouldn’t say Saudi women are all stuck up, but there are those few that give a bad name to the rest.
    I didnt understand what happened, you mena you were in Malaysia on holiday and saw saudi women there, that gave you really bad or long looks?
    Hmm, well that I can see happening, they do sometimes STARE. Did you read my post on how Saudi women stare at my husband and follow him in shopping malls? Its weird, annoying but also quite sad..ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 16, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    As a dr who briefly practised in saudi let me just say that medical ethics in ksa is special !!!
    They are a world apart from anywhere else nt he world. and if a dr says no to old man for a risky surgery, then the old man will simply go elsewhere and also let his friends – other old men know this :-) as for performance issues, 50% + are int heir heads , most of them have no feelings for their spouse, kinda hard to perform i understand.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahSeptember 16, 2011 - 4:51 pm

    Yes the medical ethics is very different from what we are use to elsewhere.
    Like you said, if the old guy gets rejected fro one place, he will just move to the next one. Other option is he has WASTA to over rule any decisions drs make that are not to their liking.Imagine how this works with VIP patients!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 25, 2011 - 11:31 am

    as long as both are happy let them enjoy lolReplyCancel

  • AnonymousDecember 26, 2011 - 10:07 am

    you have very much information about saudi society but you know they are few saudi like 10 percent and you are blaming the whole saudi men.
    do you know about the west society where no limit and no restriction of any relation.
    you can make your couple a dog nobody point out you.but if muslim sociey a single man do a wrong job you highlight like a crime in daylight.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 4, 2012 - 7:43 am

    Let me first state that my reply is to the limited English that I have understood from this post hence if I have misunderstood, feel free to correct me. The author has lived in KSA for many years and if you read all of her posts you’ll see that she does give a fair representation of KSA and Finland. She doesn’t mean to mock you or insult you.

    Cheers.
    MaiaReplyCancel

  • rossJune 26, 2013 - 8:34 pm

    LOL. I once worked in urology and most of our patients ask for viagra. and twice came a baba who asks for a surgery too. well i worked in small govt hosp so the hosp can’t perform that surgery there. i had a fun time in uro.ReplyCancel

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