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Does Saudi-Arabia Need Sex Education?

A while ago I wrote about Saudi men and the cultural pressure society brings on them to perform in the bedroom. Check it out here: http://blueabaya.blogspot.com/2011/09/saudi-men-and-pressure-to-perform.html

In the article you can read how some young Saudi men are not able to consummate their marriages due to performance anxiety. A study of newly married Saudi couples found the prevalence of so called “Honeymoon impotence” to be as high as 17%. The same study concluded that 63% of marriages were not consummated because of the severe anxiety of the woman leading to a condition called vaginismus. Other reasons were erectile dysfunction, not knowing coital technique and low sexual desire.
One of the underlying factors to the problem is lack of sex education for young girls and boys.
Most of these cases of unconsummated marriages could have been prevented if they had been educated and aware of their bodies and its functions.

There is an alarmingly high rate of divorces among newlyweds in the Kingdom. Most divorces occur within the first year of marriage. Unconsummated marriage is one of the top reasons for young couples to seek divorce. Proper sex education could significantly help to lower the divorce rate.

Because of the lack of sex education in Saudi-Arabia the young are left to find out for themselves. This can naturally result in some horribly wrong ideas and lead to unrealistic expectations and create extreme anxiety and fears. Girls and boys won’t learn from their parents either since everything sexual is viewed as “a’eib” (forbidden and shameful). The best sources for the girls are other peers at school and the maids! Now how much do the uneducated maids really know and how much are superstitions coming from their cultures?

Why is there no sex ed in Saudi? Does Islam forbid talking about sex?
No. But like many things in Saudi, true Islamic teachings and what is actually happening around here are two completely different things. Islam does not frown upon talking about sex and educating young people. Sexual relations between married couples are seen as normal part of life and nothing to be ashamed about. However the strong influence some sheikhs have on public opinion is one reason why Saudis cringe at the idea of their kids having sex education. All talk about sex is a taboo.

The message sent by some religious fanatics is that sex ed is bad and causes harm. These people think young men and especially women might get some perverted ideas in their heads if they are taught about sex. If you teach them about anatomy of the opposite sex and show how it’s “done” they will become sex crazed and go and have premarital relations. Some even say showing pics of male and female sexual organs is a form of western conspiracy. Or that talking about sex will make women promiscuous. Sometimes I wonder what sort of dirty minds come up with this anyways?

You would think that in this day and age the internet would provide at least some sort of info on the subject. The problem of self educating about marital relations is that many of the sites remain censored from Saudi and there is just all sorts of wrong information available. Also internet time for the youth (especially the girls!) will be restricted or they are not allowed to use the internet at all. This leads to young couples getting married without having a clue of basic anatomy of the other half and no knowledge of how babies are made.

So I will conclude by telling you a real life example of how badly sex education is needed here.
A newly married couple came to the infertility clinic for check up. They had been trying for over a year to conceive without any luck. The doctors ran some tests and everything came back normal. The couple was sent back home to keep trying and praying for a child.
Another year went by and the couple started to get very frustrated and came back to the clinic. As the doctor discussed their options he thought of asking a few questions of their “technique” to rule out any issues there.

The man explained how they had marital relations always in the same position and how it was usually very painful for the wife. The doctor started to suspect there really was something wrong with their technique and showed them a picture of the anatomy of female sexual organs asking the husband to show which area they used during intercourse. He very shyly pointed to the “back door”.

Problem solved. The couple conceived shortly after the quick sex ed by the doctor.

So if this Saudi man was not able to locate the correct passage for two years then I can’t imagine what else is out there?

So what do you think? Would Saudi-Arabia benefit from sex ed?

  
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  • FarooqFebruary 28, 2012 - 5:46 pm

    Ahh I see you have posted the leopard print pic again haha.

    Very amused by your story of the young couple. Reminded me of something similar happen to a friend of mine. He was working in some remote corner of Papua New Guinea. The young guy doing housekeeping chores for him was very glum. So he asked the guy what the matter was. The young guy said that he had been married for 2 years and his wife wasn’t pregnant yet. My friend asked him where his wife was. The guy said that she was back in his village and he hadn’t gone back home for 2 years.

    Needless to say, my friend was shocked and had to give him a whole story about the birds and the bees. After which the guy took time off to go back home to get the job done and never came back !!!ReplyCancel

    • NoorFebruary 28, 2012 - 5:47 pm

      Hmmm now that’s just stupidityReplyCancel

    • LaylahFebruary 28, 2012 - 9:26 pm

      Farooq-Faroof-lol that’s so funny, but it really does happen especially int third world countries!
      That reminds me of what I experienced when working in Swaziland. The good thing was that sex ed was given especially because of the high rates of HIV in the country (reaching up to 38% at the time). The focus of the education was to get the men to use condoms. What the educators did out of modesty was use a broom stick to display how the condom was to be used correctly. So what happened is the men had thought she meant put a condom on a broomstick when you’re having sex to protect from the disease LOL! They actually kept condoms on the brooms.ReplyCancel

    • NoorFebruary 28, 2012 - 9:54 pm

      Oh my god lol. Maybe American tv taught us what we needed to know :pReplyCancel

  • NoorFebruary 28, 2012 - 5:46 pm

    I never had sex ed growing up. I am from a small town and the parents did not like the idea of children learning about it. I found out the way I think we all do through everything else.

    I think it would be embarrassing for kids to talk about around other kids and a teacher as well. So I doubt they would really listen.

    I personally do not think sex ed would have anything to do with divorces and the such. Its all natural things we just know.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahFebruary 28, 2012 - 9:34 pm

      Noor-I think sex education is nothing to be embarrassed about and if people have these attitudes towards sex then problems start occurring.

      But it’s proven fact that educating people about sexual relations and a satisfying sex life are essential in the marriage success. If that part doesn’t work, the whole equation usually doesn’t. That’s why a large part of the newlyweds seeking divorce state as a reason unconsummated marriage or problems in bedroom..
      So how else to solve that problem? If people simply don’t know what to do!
      Just recently a scholar in Saudi suggested sex ed to be started in schools to battle a multitude of problems, including divorces and also for children to recognize abuse.

      I remember having sex ed in 7th grade and it was awkward and we all laughed but we DID listen of course! We had just a few classes in biology class and after that you could ask the school nurse in private if you had problems, I thought this was really good approach.ReplyCancel

    • mrsbawazirFebruary 29, 2012 - 7:36 am

      Laylah, I agree. Sex ed is nothing to be embarrassed about, it is a vital part of marriage anyway. Done in the correct way and time, it could solve multitudes of prevailing problems we have now. In my country, we actually have to attend a pre marriage class (for Muslims) before tying the knot. I think this is important and good for future married couples. I rememeber asking my mum about it and she did answer me in an Islamic way (if you know what that means hehehe) and she threw in some jokes (maybe bcoz she saw I was blushing.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 12:15 am

      mrsbawazir-I heard about these classes, what an excellent idea! All Saudi couples should have mandatory sex ed and marriage classes before being allowed to gt married. I’m 100% sure this would decrease divorce rates significantly. The problem is also that young men and women enter into marriage here with totally unrealistic expectations of what marriage actually is.ReplyCancel

  • NoorFebruary 28, 2012 - 9:57 pm

    I guess I just think its the parents job to teach those values. You know things like no one should ever touch you or that you wait until your married. I doubt anyone is going to learn how to please their spouse in sex ed which does not cover all that.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 12:18 am

      Noor-Parents should of course teach stuff like don’t let anyone tough you wrong way, but I’m talking about anatomy and physiology. To me, that clearly belongs in biology class taught by an experienced educator. PArents can chip in, but I think it’s unrealistic to place the responsibility solely on them, since most parents view sexual organs as forbidden to talk about or look at, and would never bring up any such things with their kids..That’s why school is better I think.ReplyCancel

    • NoorMarch 4, 2012 - 8:37 am

      I agree about the pre-marriage classes but sex ed is usually taught to children not grown adults. I personally think it should be taught maybe to people about to wed I would not like my young child taking classes like that though.ReplyCancel

  • HeatherFebruary 28, 2012 - 10:21 pm

    I believe you could create a good sex ed curriculum that explains the basics while viewing through a moral and Islamic lens. There are many Christian sex ed books and curriculums. When you treat something as a taboo, you only draw intense focus to it.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 12:19 am

      Heather-Yes they could make it more suitable for the country, not the same as what they teach in the west..ReplyCancel

  • AlejandraFebruary 29, 2012 - 3:19 am

    Maybe they should create workshops about “how to teach your kids about the birds and the bees the islamic way”, give parents the tools to talk to their children. i’m sure most parents around the world struggle with that conversation lol, and maybe it would be constructive to teach the parents how to talk to their children, before implementing an in-school program. those poor kids, most of them are probably my age or younger! i can only imagine how much anxiety all that has caused.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 12:21 am

      Alejandra-I doubt many Saudi parents or mothers would attend this workshop, unfortunately. People are just too embarrassed of talking with their children about sex. Parents in the more open west have difficulties, so you can imagine how awkward it feels for them here..
      Children tend to listen to teachers better on this issue, if a parent starts this discussion some won’t even WANT to listen! So in school there would be no other choice :) ReplyCancel

    • AlejandraMarch 1, 2012 - 5:50 pm

      i get the feeling this is only going to get worst, as the youth start getting their information from the few sources available to them, like on the internet or their friends. in the west the effects of pornography on society are starting to be increasingly felt, and i think the ME is going to start being affected by something similar. if only parent’s took the initiative in teaching their kids, about religion AND sex. inshallahReplyCancel

  • FeliciaFebruary 29, 2012 - 4:19 am

    We had sex-ed class starting from grade 5 in a mixed setting. Everyone giggled at the pictures but we got the idea. Grade 6-9 gym and sex-ed were separated according to gender and we learned everything from anatomy to diseases and birth control and everything in between . I think it’s great for anyone to know about the human body. Parents usually talk about sex once you get your period, but they certainly do not go into the details, and when I was younger I would prefer talking about that stuff with someone other than my Mom.

    I guess some people think you should just know and it would come about naturally, but as Laylah mentioned, that is certainly not the case.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 12:26 am

      Felicia-Sounds similar to what they do in Finland..I think in Saudi there’s no need to educate grade 6 to 9 about birth control or diseases though, since premarital relations are rare here at least at that age..
      I’ve found teenage Saudis to be much more immature than their western counterparts. 16 year olds might behave like 9 yr olds..So in order to get the message across here it would be better to start later than in the west in my opinion..

      I also didn’t feel comfortable talking about those things with mom, always felt awkward and preferred the school nurse :) ReplyCancel

  • ربة منزلFebruary 29, 2012 - 4:36 am

    Salam Layla. I have been following your blog for a while now and it is really interesting seeing KSA from your point of view.

    I am a Saudi girl living in the US for the past 4 years and I do not agree with sex education in KSA, or any place else. Sex education did not help anyone here in the US except by encouraging teens to have protected sex and use condoms and make sure they did not catch disease. I have no idea how or when these studies about sex for Saudi couples took place, because neither I nor any one of my friends or family has ever took part in one. I keep seeing statistics popping on the internet and studies written about us Saudis but I have no idea where they come from.
    However, I do strongly encourage workshops for soon-to-be married couples. It will help them communicate and understand each other more. I also hope that part of the education in high-school would prepare teens for some of family and real life responsibilities, like how to be a better brother or sister/ Son or daughter. Having good family communication builds confidence that will help later in life and marriage.

    As for the guy who criticized the new Jeddah airport, he is not a cleric even though he might seem like one. I do not think any one herd about him until that claim he made. People are not that simple to believe any thing told, especially since today any one can say anything and spread it through the internet. The media LOVES to publicize these things because it attracts attention.ReplyCancel

    • HudaFebruary 29, 2012 - 4:57 am

      I agree with you sister, I think that soon to be married couples should have access to ready made and available information about the important stuff, but as children they don’t really need to know the details other than the basics.

      I agree also that too much open talk about sex leads to like you said, more teen sex etc. Living in Australia I’ve seen it in high school (our sex ed classes consist of putting condoms on bananas and cucumbers… umm?) It makes it all simplified and too easy and kids are no longer afraid of it, they’re amazed & curious instead.

      By the same token, I do think some honesty and openness should be utilized by parents when their children ask, they shouldn’t be hushed or made to feel bad. There IS a way to explain the truth about where “baby” is and how “baby” was made without lying or making up some ridiculous story, and at the same time without being too graphic or immodest.ReplyCancel

    • HudaFebruary 29, 2012 - 5:13 am

      On second thoughts, if the sex education is taught in segregated classrooms, I think that would prevent the problem of teen sex etc. in the first place, so in Saudi that shouldn’t be a problem. And if it affects marriages so much then it should be taught because marriage is not a light matter and its so sad that these young innocent people don’t know what to do and are left in the dark. But the curriculum should be in accordance with Islamic principle and modesty.ReplyCancel

    • mrsbawazirFebruary 29, 2012 - 7:55 am

      @ربة منزل

      Yes sister, I don’t think the UnIslmaic sex ed that is being taught in schools to young kids are going to help solve the problems we have now. That is more on the moral education. In my opinion, sex ed should be taught to future husbands and wives so that they are ready to step into marriage. In Malaysia, Muslim couples would attend marriage classes and the topics covered are really important. The only problem is the classes were conducted only in Malaysian Language but still they insist foreigners who wanted to marry with Malays to attend the classes. My husband attended the class with me and because he didn’t understand a word, he slept the entire time or played the Hangman word game with me :)The only time he did listen was when a few of the moderators realize he was Arab and they talked to him in Arabic a little bit..it was really a funny moment.

      @Huda

      I have a 7 year old brother and once while I was playing with my young baby, he asked me how are babies conceived and where do they come from. I didn’t know what to answer him so I told him when people get married, they have kids. I know it is only partially true, but does anyone know how to tell a kid about where “baby” is and how “baby” was made? I couldn’t tell him that a baby is a product of sex, could I!?!ReplyCancel

      • AmberOctober 25, 2013 - 10:07 pm

        Asalamualaikum,

        l absolutely agree and love the idea of whats happening in Malaysia with classes being given to couples to be or existing couples ! I also agree with someone else’s comment on how this is important from an Islamic view considering divorces because of it. Such a course would include rights, responsibilities etc.

        Ultimately, sex ed should be introduced but under conditions and within appropriate Islamic settings.ReplyCancel

    • HudaFebruary 29, 2012 - 9:35 am

      I guess this post isn’t about what to tell younger children although my comment steered in that direction. Its more how to discuss sex education in general within the society and for it not to be such a taboo subject. Either way, I don’t think small kids are cause for concern; just because a kid asks a question doesn’t always mean they need the answer. It won’t harm your child if you just say “Allah gives us babies when He decides to” or something to that effect, or saying “Allah gave mummy the baby and put it in her tummy”. It’s up to the individual how best to address a question like that from their own child.

      But as for adults and people who have already reached puberty, they have the right to know and not be kept in the dark, and answers such as that WILL harm them, as is discussed in this post people are getting divorced over it.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 1:15 am

      salaam, ربة منزل thanks for following :) I’m not sure what sort of sex education you are referring to here. I you mean teaching young kids how to put on condoms and teach about diseases and birth control, then that’s not what I meant. I think children should be taught how their bodies work. What are all their body parts for. They should be taught those parts are not shameful and “a’ib”. God creates us like this, what is there to be ashamed of? Especially girls need to know BEFORE they start menstruating, about basic female anatomy and physiology. Pretty simple to teach in girls only biology classes don’t you think? Workshops for soon to be married couples are a great idea! Do you agree they should be mandatory for all? They could also go through the responsibilities and duties of both husband and wife, and what to do if problems arise. Also a great idea for classes on family and communication skills :) He is referred to as a cleric in the news articles so that’s why I thought he was!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 1:18 am

      Huda-I agree there should be a middle ground..But many parents will refuse to talk about anything sex related to their kids, whatever age..If asked they will give very negative response resulting in the child thinking it’s such a horrible thing!

      young children are curious to know and telling them some ridiculous lies will just harm them..When they get older they can be told more details, but lies are always a bad idea. But you know how people lie a lot here!!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 1:23 am

      Huda- I would have to agree that showing the cucumber and condom thingy is maybe the best idea for young children..BUT because having sex is already common in the west, I think at some point they have to teach the kids about safe sex and birth control. Other would be irresponsible because disease like HIV would spread and more teen pregnancies would occur.
      In the process however I think they should emphasize that sex is for later when they’re married, or to strongly discourage young girls and boys from experimenting. It’s unfortunate how common sex among teenagers is nowadays. But I wouldn’t blame schools sex ed for it.ReplyCancel

    • ربة منزلMarch 1, 2012 - 1:44 am

      Wa Alaikum Alsalam Layla..
      I do wish couples workshops were mandatory, just like in Malaysia. There are a few programs that are held about marriage through out the year but they are very short and most attendants, if not all, are women. They seem to have more interest in these things than men. Sadly, these programs are only available in the big cities.
      My mother took me to one soon after I got engaged. There were many girls ( 18 – 27 ) who recently got married or just got engaged like me.
      Most of the stuff the lecturer talked about was already known to most of us from highschool( the human productive parts and how they function ) and new things such as how couples can “satisfy” each other needs, but the way it was presented was in a very respectful and professional atmosphere and to people who WILL be using it very soon in their life.

      I do agree with you that the word “a’ib” is over used in Saudi. Sometimes I ask why is this or that a’ib, and the answer is mostly: we do not know but it feels so.. I think what we need along with couples workshops is some kind of parents workshops or clubs. Children learn a lot from their parents and if their parents are ignorant then they will teach that to their kids no matter what the school curriculum teaches.

      I also want to comment about what you wrote (Blaming everything on the west because all evil comes from the west.)
      I cannot agree more. I saw many people living IN the west and still keep their beliefs and traditions sacred like the Ultra-orthodox Jews, Amish and Mennonite and many Muslims. They are active and live normal daily lives and take good care of their children and make sure that the environment their kids grow up in suits them.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 10:45 am

      Huda-OMG I just noticed what I wrote LMAO!!! I meant young children should NOT be taught the cucumber condom thingy!!! I guess it’s better I reply to comments during the daytime lolReplyCancel

    • HudaMarch 1, 2012 - 2:58 pm

      LOL I knew what you meant tho :) ReplyCancel

    • NoorMarch 4, 2012 - 8:40 am

      This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousFebruary 29, 2012 - 9:54 am

    How the hell does a mensturating woman not know her vagina from her ass?
    PLEASE EXPLAIN, I really don’t care what country you come from? It seems really strange to me. Even if u don’t have sex ed classes as a woman you know there are 2 holes down there i mean isn’t that just common FACT? am i too “westernised” to know that?
    Its sickening to hear of a muslim couple having haram relations for those years because of such a problem…thats disturbing.
    CocoChanelReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 12:39 am

      CocoChanel-LOL! It’s pretty simple. The woman most likely was taught since she was a baby not to EVER look or touch herself down there (or you will go to hell). She maybe never had access to internet, never thought about it, heard that sex is painful and thought its normal. If she never touched herself “there” she’s not going to know the difference.
      When she menstruates she just puts a pad (God forbid she would even think about using tampons!) and that’s about it.
      As for the man he surely was even more clueless and just used the only hole he saw from behind.
      I know it’s pretty disturbing.ReplyCancel

    • JHENNIEMarch 1, 2012 - 4:33 am

      This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

    • JHENNIEMarch 1, 2012 - 4:34 am

      Hi, according to your answer I’m just wondering how do they perform their shower? one has to interact with one’s body at least when you are taking a shower.
      I’m shocked about the couple story!!!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 2, 2012 - 1:32 am

      JHENNIE_ I never saw a Saudi girl/woman showering before so I wouldn’t know lol! I think this is becoming too much information to think about now :) ReplyCancel

    • JHENNIEMarch 2, 2012 - 3:09 am

      Yah for sure it’s just that sometimes we take for granted some things and we don’t realise everything is possible in this world.ReplyCancel

  • AsmaFebruary 29, 2012 - 10:01 am

    I think it is very important for young people to be educated about sex as well its social, medical and psychological implications. Sex education will simply explain things properly to them and will inform them. I know many people say it is indecent to speak of such things etc but in my opinion it is perfectly fine to educate someone about these issues in a good environment. Of course, parents should be respected by their children but they should still have friendship and understanding with them also in order to talk about these things comfortably. The Qura’an and Ahadith talk about a lot of things such as embryology and relationships between husband and wife in order to teach us so it doesn’t make sense when some people say sex education is un-Islamic.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 12:41 am

      Asma-Than you for the excellent comment I could not agree more :) ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 1, 2012 - 12:24 am

    I noticed that you have cats. My husband also took 3 kittens, about 6 months old ones. One of them had fungal skin disease and after some time all three had that rash. Is it “märkärupi”? or ringworm or what do you think? My husband tried to do research from the internet but the vet could not tell as excatly what it is. It can be transmitted easily to other pets and humans. They say that it it going to take for long to treat these cats. All these cats had long hair. My husband was away for 1 week and the cats stayed in the pet shop and they gave them special shampoo wash and antifungal cream treatment. Unfortunately the youngest pretty boy cat had passed away. They say it is very common there in Saudi-Arabia because of the weather.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 1, 2012 - 12:54 am

      It’s RINGWORM for sure! The cat we saved from a petshop was absolutely infested with it! They look like black spots, and they get bigger, the hair falls out around it. Starts usually from face and eras. EXTREMELY hard to treat. Cream or washing will not help believe me. The ringworm spread to all our cats and I washed them every other day with antifungal shampoo and put cream, it only got worse. The only thing that will help you is oral medication. You need to get it from a real vet clinic, petshop clinics are not real vets!!. keep in mind that ringworm spreads to humans(my husband got it) and it lives in all your bedding and everything the cats touched, if you dont wash it all with extremely hot water, the cats will keep reinfecting themselves. Go to Advanced Pet Clinic: http://www.adpetclinic.com/
      For petsitter when you’re on holiday contact: riyadhpetsitter@ yahoo.com

      Please, never, ever take your cats to a petshop when on holidays!!!They killed your cat??How the hell did they manage to kill a cat with shampooing and cream? See these people are uneducated and don’t really care shit about your pets!! I hear how they kill cats all the time because they have no freaking clue what to do! The “vets” there have no real qualifications! PLEASE don’t take them anymore.

      What is the petshop you got the cats from? Joon and Life and Nature petshops are notorious for having an ongoing epidemic of ringworm. Cats go there for grooming and boarding and they dont sterilize the cages and equipment, so the disease just spreads.

      Ringworm is common because of how the petshops function and the cats they have there are not treated (high cost) and unsanitary conditions. The dry climate makes the issue worse though.

      Please let me know how it goes!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 1, 2012 - 5:57 am

    @Layalah…but don’t these girls wipe themselves after going to the toilet???? This is getting gross but i am really perplexed as to how one doesn’t know they have 2 holes?
    Aww god, its almost neglect the way these parents are not teaching their daughter/sons about their own body and what happens on their wedding night..why not save them all the suffering and pain and embarrassment of the couple that were doing it from the back door for 2 years.
    _Cocochanelle.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 2, 2012 - 1:34 am

      Coco-I would assume they do lol seriously only thing I can think of is they don’t touch that specific area much, but enough said now I’m done talking about tidbits!!ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousMarch 23, 2012 - 7:55 am

      You dont want to talk about tidbits? The parents are just as embarrassed to talk about tidbits. There is nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. Comeon Laylah be brave, when presented with the opportunity you should help these people see through their ignorance. You are doing a good job. Keep up the good workReplyCancel

  • FarooqMarch 1, 2012 - 9:41 am

    It looks like it dosnt matter what you post Laylah, it will cause a big discussion among readers. lol

    Personally speaking, I believe in marriage education rather than sex education for couples that are getting married. Marriage education would naturally include sex education as well.

    When we got married in Singapore, we had to attend a week long training session with professionals appointed by the religious authority there. The topics covered there included things like what are the rights of a husband and wife, the example left to us by the Prophet, profiling of couples to understand where each has to adjust and adapt to the other. In my opinion, it really helped us a lot. Opened up our vision to understand each other more. An unbiased opinion about oneself is usually taken much more easily compared to something coming from someone you know.

    Only after a to be married couple attends this training seminar, would the qadi register their marriage officially in the system.

    Saying sex education is bad because it has come from the west(Since all evil comes from the west) is just plain stupid and extremely bigoted.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 2, 2012 - 1:36 am

      Farooq-what they have in Singapore sounds like an amazing idea, they should have something like this in ALL countries not just Muslim ones!

      any idea on divorce rates for singapore, especially for newlyweds?
      One source is saying in Saudi it’s over 60% at the moment which is very worrisome.ReplyCancel

    • FarooqMarch 3, 2012 - 4:44 am

      From what I understand (and I may be wrong) but the Malay community there marries at a much younger age compared to the other muslim communities. As a result of which they were having a problem coping with the responsibilities of a marriage. Hence this initiative came up.

      The good thing about the this whole “education” process is that not only can you get classroom sessions with other couples but if you want personal advice, you can approach them personally as well. The religious scholars and other professionals there are very friendly and open minded regarding questions.

      They also have marriage counseling sessions in case things are going really bad in a marriage and even further courses to be taken as a couple.

      I am not aware of them but does Saudi also have marriage counselors? I would think their presence would surely help in resolving many issues.ReplyCancel

  • UmmIbraheemMarch 1, 2012 - 11:02 pm

    I am surprised to hear that there is so much ignorance around this topic in Saudia. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I thought pornography in the kingdom was a major issue especially amongst the youth (males). I was under the impression that the youth there were actually suffering from sex overload via internet and such. I also heard that homosexuality was a problem too, both among guys and girls. Although these routes are totally un-Islamic and not the best ways to learn about human sexuality, they were still exposed to it. I don’t know…maybe what I’ve heard is not true. Am I mistaken in my thinking?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 2, 2012 - 1:43 am

      UmmIbraheem-Keep in mind porn is censored from Saudi so it’s more difficult to obtain. They say Saudi has the most hits for google searches for porn, but you know what my theory is to the reason behind this?
      Men have to search and search and search to ever find a website that’s not blocked. Of ocurse there are millions of more searches generated from Saudi.
      Also, what about those people that search for the sites to block? Their JOB is to google sex and porn sites lol!
      So what I would conclude is there are men searching for porn like all over the world, but it’s just more difficult for them to find it. The amount of men searching might even be lower, but they must search harder.

      Ok so to your other question,yes homosexuality is more common among both genders here than in other countries bcz of the extreme gendr segregation..ReplyCancel

      • AmberOctober 26, 2013 - 12:58 am

        Asalamualaikum, Why do you say homosexuality is due to the extreme gender segregation? What is your evidence for this? There’s no gender segregation in my city in Scotland and every 3rd person is homo.ReplyCancel

        • LaylaOctober 26, 2013 - 10:38 pm

          wa aleikum salaam, i meant that homosexual acts (not homosexuality per se) become more common when the gender are segregated too strictly. prime example is Saudi Arabia. If you haven’t been here and seen and heard all what goes on behind the scenes, in schools, in private homes..well i guess it’s hard to believe.ReplyCancel

          • AmberOctober 27, 2013 - 12:46 pm

            I guess you have a point.

            Is anything being done about this? any local initiatives etc?

          • LaylaOctober 31, 2013 - 1:21 pm

            As far as I know..nothing. :(

    • Om Lujain©March 2, 2012 - 4:38 pm

      Satellite internet isn’t censored @ all.. everything is open. And there are programs that allow people to get into any website they want.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 3, 2012 - 12:41 am

      OmLujain-true satellite is available but do they have actual porn channels? I wasn’t aware, how could that fly with the ladies of the house anyway..hmmm..But not everyone has satellite, or acess to the programs that unblock the pages..ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 2, 2012 - 3:37 am

    Laylah,
    Such an important post. I used to be a teacher in Hong Kong and I saw how dangerous a lack of sex education is. One of my students confided in me that she got pregnant and had an abortion at age 13. She wasn’t aware that she and her boyfriend had had sex until her doctor explained how pregnancy occurs. Even worse – there were two older students who were dating, a boy and girl, who jumped from a bridge, killing themselves because they thought the girl was pregnant. She wasn’t. They were too embarrassed to even buy a home pregnancy test. Sex education for teenagers is awkward for everyone, but without it kids make horrible mistakes out of ignorance and shame.

    JennaReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 4, 2012 - 9:04 am

      Jenna-that is very sad to hear! That is prime example why sex ed is needed also for teenagers.ReplyCancel

  • JeanMarch 2, 2012 - 4:03 am

    Sad and awful about the lack of education in this area, at the very least it must occur as soon as young people’s bodies change to become adults.ReplyCancel

  • Om Lujain©March 2, 2012 - 7:33 am

    I took it in school.. and YES they do need to have sex ed class! I would rather my child learn FACTS instead of crap from friends :) ReplyCancel

  • DeejMarch 3, 2012 - 4:54 am

    For those who are getting married, they should be taking a sex ed classes end of story… lolReplyCancel

  • Faraz OmarMarch 3, 2012 - 7:41 am

    Salaam alaikum,

    Just to make a quick point. It’s not true that “most religious scholars frown upon sex education” or anything of that sort, nor is the “interpretation” such. Agreed that the culture is such that people are shy about it.

    As for religious education, anyone who learns the fiqh of marriage, a very basic Islamic course that is taught almost everywhere here, will get a lot of information on this. It is every Muslim’s duty to learn it before getting married.

    What MEMRI translates and publishes are the most atrocious of opinions to give a very twisted image of the Kingdom. They do not reflect the mainstream opinions of scholars in Saudi. Those who are acquainted with the Arabic language will tell.

    Radio and satellite programs have plenty of discussions on marriage. There are so many counseling centers coming up. Moreover the example cited is a rare case.

    But, aside from the sweeping generalizations/accusations in the article, I must agree that there is need for a lot of counseling and training men and women on marriage and family life to cut down those alarming divorce rates.

    May Allah help us do justice. ameen.

    Regards,ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 4, 2012 - 9:45 am

      Faraz-wa aleikum salaam. the link to Memri was the only available one with english translation so after quick google search I used it, didn’t think the source is relevant at all and also I hadn’t looked into their site to have an insight to their opinions or views on Saudi.
      I did not claim this person represents the mainstream Saudi scholars.

      But he does represent what in the worst case scenario this country produces.

      Rich families might have access to satellite, but what about the poor or the extremely religious west haters who reject it?

      Radio does not discuss human anatomy and sex!! Would be instantly banned and persons involved fired.

      It might be every Muslims duty to learn the course you mention, but how many in reality do? I never heard of Saudis attending such, not saying there aren’t any out there but it’s very rare. It’s also every Muslims duty to be respectful of others but how often does that happen in KSA??

      Lets be realistic here and not try to sugar coat things.ReplyCancel

    • Faraz OmarMarch 5, 2012 - 8:11 am

      :)

      I’m being very realistic from what I know of about them and their religious learning. It’s okay if you don’t agree.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 5, 2012 - 8:24 am

      Faraz- Ok :) But we do agree such courses should put into place in Saudi to help reduce divorce rates.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 4, 2012 - 12:17 am

    Will let you know re: cats tomorrow. My husband is planning to visit the clinic you recommended tomorrow. Long story about the cats. Maybe I will post it to you in private. Thank you a lot of your answer. BR MMReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 4, 2012 - 4:55 am

    Totally agree with farad omar mashallah great response especially about MEMRI..which serves no purpose other then for 2 israeli’s; Yigal Carmon and Meyrav Wurmser to spread corruption and slander amongst the muslims surprise surprise. Google it ppl if u don’t believe.
    If you asked any saudi about the “Sheikh” who was claiming that the new jeddah airport plans resembled female and male private organs….they would all be unanimous in saying that he is the laughing stock of saudi and no one in their rite mind agrees with him. I find it a little offensive that you are giving more credit to this deranged person by spreading his video around and making saudi men/saudi people seem sex crazed which I’m sure you know is untrue considering you are married to one.
    #SimpleMuslimReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 4, 2012 - 9:03 am

      SimpleMuslim-Where did I say I’m giving any credit to that lunatic?
      You have completely misunderstood the point.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 4, 2012 - 9:08 am

      but hey point exactly, people will say he is crazy but sick persons with ideas like this can only be a product of a country such as Saudi-Arabia.
      People like him exist here, that’s the sad truth. And THEY are the ones giving Islam and Saudis a bad “sex crazed” name, not me :) ReplyCancel

  • NoorMarch 4, 2012 - 8:45 am

    ربة منزل I agree with what you said 100% and that was my concerns. I think teaching children about these things leads to them doing things that they should not even know about. As far as the birds and bees go that is the parents part to speak to them to let them know that this is something that only married people do and such. As far as how to do those things that is something that should be natural or a pre-marriage class a couple could take later on in life.ReplyCancel

  • DentographerMarch 6, 2012 - 4:18 pm

    just a quick note,Saudi arabia among the highest in google statistics results in searching for pornographic material,not that porn is helpful in terms of sexual education,however,the society is not completely oblivious in terms of sexual-inappropriate-education.
    i was a teenager once in saudi,ive seen all the shady business. the least i can say that all the weird stuff that happens are usually from ULTRA conservative families,,either that,or i was raised in a really dirty neighbourhood in makkah :) ReplyCancel

  • NicoleMarch 13, 2012 - 10:04 pm

    I haven’t been to Saudi Arabia yet, but based on my interactions with some Saudis, I think that sex ed is desperately needed–if not to lower the divorce rate, then definitely for the safety of the citizens. I’ve met female Saudis who, I discovered in the course of conversation, lack basic knowledge of how STDs are transmitted–and don’t know that such diseases can be transmitted through means other than standard sexual intercourse. To me, not knowing these things–even if one is not married or preparing to marry–is dangerous, not only for the person engaging in sexual acts that they believe are perfectly harmless, but for whomever that person ends up marrying.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 22, 2012 - 9:27 pm

    Did you read the book: “Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia”, writer Jean Sasson? Here you can read that the princes of Saudi fly in new prostitutes from Europe every week. There’s some sex education for you.

    Anyway; Why did God give us sex and sex-drive, if we are supposed to feel ashamed of it??? Doesnt make sense. Would you give a great present to your children, and then forbid them to play with it?

    The best way to enjoy sex is when you use it to show your love. That is a great gift from God.ReplyCancel

  • KhaleelMay 25, 2012 - 9:40 pm

    Salams Layla,

    I think sex ed is something that shouldn’t just be taught to Saudis but to young adult muslims everywhere(when they reach puberty).

    As I have not received a proper study of this topic, I now deal with several issues in my life like stress, depression, and avoidance issues. I think that if I given an accurate and appropriate understanding of how this works, I’d be much better off.
    So, to spare other muslim teens and adults of these troubles, I say it’d would be wiser to sit them down, talk about it professionally, and have an open mind to them feeling certain ways but keeping them in check accordingly.ReplyCancel

  • MirzaAugust 12, 2012 - 11:04 pm

    Salam

    The MEMRI website is run by the Israelis (you can google it). They often post stuff to make fun of Islam, so don’t trust them.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 23, 2012 - 5:39 am

    I just wonder, how you being a westerner, would tolerate living in such ultra-conservative place…ReplyCancel

    • Umm GamarOctober 24, 2012 - 12:32 am

      From Laylah’s writing, she shows that not all westerners are narrow minded and have a feeling of superiority towards other culture, so I guess that helps. I lived in the west and the east. There are close minded people on both sides and these kind of people can’t live anywhere really.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 19, 2012 - 7:47 pm

    i’m a teacher in Canada; a Muslim too; i think couples really need a LOT of education going into marriage. young men and women should get puberty-ed, not “sex” ed – more like “gender-ed” – ie. now you are a woman/man and your body has different needs and acts differently than before. here’s how to survive the hormones, be healthy, etc.
    And then when it’s time for marriage, the couple needs a lot of advice – both about sex and about communication, tolerance, building a family unit, patience, etc. and i think that they should have constant access to the nurse counsellor who gave them the original training so that they can go back to her – even if it is for the wife to write her an email bemoaning how hard it is to be a patient and caring partner and how she feels her husband is so insensitive (men are from mars…women are from venus); etc. so that no one has to complain to parents and cause hard feelings between families.
    i wonder if you would be this kind of mentor, Laylah? you would be amazing. PS i got sex ed when i was only in grade 1 (my parents had no idea) and it was pretty traumatizing and confusing and did put all kinds of thoughts in my head that had never been there.
    at the same time, me and many of my friends have struggles in marraige that are not to do with teh biology of it all, but to do with just surviving as a couple in a very stresful world, in a modern age in which it is all about the invidual (by the way, that can lead to selfishness in sex too!) and many of my friends have divorced. that is super sad. if they had had someone to lean on, get advice from, and just tell them to hold on tight – things will be better – they would have been ok. i had someone like that…and thank God, we are okay….
    marriage takes sacrifice and growth. one has to be willing to move a little and let oneself grow.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 21, 2012 - 9:32 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment,I don’t see myself as a se ex councellor to young Saudis, but you never know! Maybe if it pays well I could take on a job that challenging ;) ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 23, 2012 - 5:24 pm

    Laylah, it pays sooo well.you’d be saving marriages…the pay for that is beyond any amount. i see you more as a mentor in all areas, rather than sex in particular. marriage mentor.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 27, 2013 - 7:12 am

    I can appreciate these articles, as I think they give a very westernized view of living in Saudi Arabia.
    However, I must admit that many of them are opinion based and in many ways fuel negative stereotypes western people have about Saudi.
    For example the 90 year old man who married his third wife who happens to be 16. That sounds like something the media conjured up rather than real and it’s sad because people back home actually think that kind of stuff happens when it just plain doesn’t.
    People here know about sex. They do. As much as people think that the internet is highly regulated here, it isn’t.
    People here may not talk openly about things, but these people built a country that competes with the super powers of the world in about 40 years. Don’t underestimate these people, their culture or what they’re capable of. They certainly deserve more respect that regurgitated stereotypes coupled with a western critique.

    ReplyCancel

  • LaylaMarch 27, 2013 - 10:59 pm

    hate to tell you that incident was real, and nobody seemed to openly criticize the man.ReplyCancel

  • getchauffeuredJune 25, 2013 - 11:55 am

    The good thing about the this whole “education” process is that not only can you get classroom sessions with other couples but if you want personal advice, you can approach them personally as well. The religious scholars and other professionals there are very friendly and open minded regarding questions.
    pmi-acp exam
    ReplyCancel

  • anoxxxJuly 16, 2013 - 3:16 pm

    I do think marriage education is needed and especially for girls in KSA. Many of them do not know what to expect their wedding night, and they may get scared to a level of shock.

    However, for guys I can’t imagine anybody reaching the age of marriage, and actually getting married, that innocent. I don’t believe the couple story can be true, and if it was, it is very uncommon.ReplyCancel

  • PERVIZ MASEEHJune 28, 2014 - 11:27 am

    LOVE IS LIFEReplyCancel

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