Home Education What about Sex Education in the Arab World?

What about Sex Education in the Arab World?

Sex Education
Sex Education

By Rachid Acim

Beni Mellal – Several months ago, I had the chance to watch a TV
program about the introduction of sex education in Arab schools.

Apart from some hints given to how we can protect ourselves against HIV, how not to
fear early signs of puberty, and how to talk about human genitals, our natural science
teachers hardly could delve into speaking about sex, deemed a taboo in our cultural
context.

When girls at school were offered the approximate dioramas showing men’s genitals they
would usually erupt into laughter. The same thing goes for boys, who would examine
woman’s genitals and see how they operates discreetly in small groups. But few students
could follow the teacher’s superficial explanations on matters of sex. He never dared talk
in details about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse and
other sensitive issues relative to human sexual behavior. That was a red line he could
not go beyond.

Things were worse when female teachers taught this subject. They were unable to fully
address the issue. All that we could study was pregnancies, birthing and breeding but
among animals. In some countries like Thailand and India, sex education has been
introduced and consists of issues touching on the reproductive system and personal
hygiene, other issues we need to explore in our schools not individually or privately.
Many times, the curriculum of sex education has been revised to cope with problems of
adolescents at schools. Parents of conservative families are reluctant to let their siblings
attend courses about sex education. Their excuse is that such education is more likely to
lead their children astray, take up bad habits and, accordingly, indulge in future sexual
pleasures. But why such panic?

Human beings are sexual par excellence. They are afraid to talk about sex, but they love
it fondly. They cannot do without it in their social and private lives. If there is an objection
to this, it would be but a sheer exception. Some children are keen on watching sex movies wherein the hero has 10 women in bed with him at night, a video game wherein the player toys with their sexual organs, or porn showing decadency and moral bankruptcy.

Adults are not separate from this. They blush out of shame if one ever speaks of sex
openly. The latter is perceived as being immoral, disrespectful, and even deviant. The
result is that parents themselves turn sexually oppressed and incapable of imparting this
education to their children.

There are many anecdotes in Arab folk culture showing strong sarcasm of sexual
ineptness and deficiency. Maybe this is one reason why they are portrayed as lascivious,
lustful, and sexually-oriented in the movies they eagerly consume and watch daily, with
actors performing sexual scenes with different forms and positions and actresses giving
up to their partners’ sexual desires. We have watched ‘Tajriba Denmarkiya’, ‘Annamir wal
Ounta’, ‘Hob Fi Zinzana,’ and other movies that portray how Arabs are mad about sex.

It is, indeed, pitiful to see one’s children consuming sexual programs, purchasing
magazines of porn stars, and just watching instead of reading and learning more about
sex. Sex has conquered our homes. In TV sets, thousands of movies are corrupting the
youth. Some women are seen as much better for being more seductive, more tempting,
and more sexual than others. Always certain criteria ought to be fulfilled for a woman to
act out a sexual scene in a movie. She must be beautiful enough, appealing to all, having
a good shape, elegant, with special alluring eyes, upholding sweet talks, knowing how to
seduce different men.

Scarcely we would see an ugly woman the subject of allurement. But beauty and sex
never go together. Personally, I’d side with those girls dressed indecently, declaring their
outward properties publicly, then with those girls who are disguised under headscarves
preaching ethics such as respect and esteem, but they are inwardly corrupt. They are
hung in an in-between space, with many faces, presenting good virtues, moral and
religious beliefs.

Streets abound with them. Their dressing styles suggest conservatism and also
liberalism. They are torn apart between two schizophrenic personalities not faithfully
clinging to one. But we will never scold boys if they hanker after them or flirt with them.

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