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Home » Country in Focus, Features, Sex Issue

Country in Focus the Sex Issue: Palestine, the West and a Little Thing Called Sex

Submitted by on December 14, 2012 – 4:31 pmNo Comment

A palestinian flag flies over Palestine.

Bahaa Milhem, a 3rd year journalism student at City University, talks about the difference in culture when it comes to sex in Palestine and here in the UK.

First sex in general and particularly for young people; sex outside marriage?

It’s not illegal but it is looked heavily down upon, especially for women. It is something that goes against the ideas of society. But again it depends on what country you are talking about; Lebanon for example is more Liberal and open minded than compared to Saudi-Arabia.

In the west, especially in big cities like London there is an obsession with sex. Young people going out every night looking for one-night stands. This almost never happens in the Middle East, though of course again depending where you are; the beaches in Beirut are very different from other parts of the country.

The legal age is 18 years, when you become an adult. Women though are still under the control of the family until they get married. So even if the woman was 24 years old she would still be under family supervision, essentially a child. When she then gets married she comes under the control of her husband. But again there are open-minded and liberal people and Muslims in the Middle East, it depends again on the society and the traditions. But overall sex outside marriage is not acceptable.

Arranged marriage is still a big thing in the Middle East and it can create both family and societal problems. People who have never met each other, not even for a few months or had a chance to go out a few times, getting married after just knowing each other for a few weeks, problems start to come out, creating quite a hassle.

Having been in London for two and a half years, Bahaa has noticed some differences in how sex is presented in daily life and the general sexual energy of young people.

Compared to the very sexed up normal day in the West the East is comparable though different. We see adverts with flirty women directed at men, but in a more conservative way, the woman wouldn’t be half-naked, instead wearing reasonable clothes.

And sex isn’t just something in the background; young people everywhere think and talk about sex, especially young men. But talking is very different from doing, a whole other story. Of course many still have sex, but it’s not on the surface, quite hidden, a secret.

A common joke is most Americans lose their virginity in a car, how would young people actually go about having sex in Palestine?

Many young people, especially if they study in a bigger city would have their own flats and of course some do go to nightclubs so it’s not impossible.

But I can see if a young person came here from the Middle East it might be a bit of a culture shock and take some time to digest. In the end sex is a human need, people need food, need water and need sex. There is shame attached to sex everywhere but it all comes down to the background and how open it is.

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