Saudi Arabia: A Snafu by Snafi on Saudi Arabian Television?

In Saudi Arabia one can many times expected the unexpected, especially in regards to the conservative culture.  Therefore, when I learned that a commercial was recently aired on Saudi Arabian Television’s Arabic channel one, I was certain that I had misheard or misunderstood.  Yet, this link further substantiates what I had verbally heard.

When I was in Saudi Arabia, I worked as a media consultant to Saudi Arabian television.  I worked for channel two as that was the English language channel.  However, both channels 1 and 2 are state-owned and controlled through the Ministry of Information.  The channels are known for their conservative family and religious oriented programs.  Channel 1, being the Arabic language channel, was perceived as even more conservative than Channel 2.

Therefore, to hear, read and see a suggestive commercial aired in Arabic on Channel 1 which focuses on intimate relations in the bedroom between a Saudi man and his wife, was quite a shock to me.  Apparently it was also quite a shock to many of the Arabic speaking viewers too because the station was flooded with protests by such suggestive footage.

In places like the United States such commercials have become routine.  However in conservative Saudi Arabia where segregation is enforced and many marriages are still arranged between families, bedroom intimacy is a subject that is literally kept behind the closed doors.

Sounds like a real Snafu was created by the debut of Snafi!


21 Responses

  1. Does anyone remember the Viagra commercials a few years ago that were aired on Orbit Satellite channels?

  2. Can’t say that I do.

  3. I, for one, disagree with this. I have never ever in my life been surrounded by so many women so eager to talk about their sex lives as when in Bahrain. Or should I say, lack of sex lives. The overwhelming concensus seems to be…that Arab men are more interested in their own fullfillment *ahem* then their wives. If there is a product out there that will change that for the women…then why not. Who the hell would be calling protesting an ad like that when they are witness to beheadings and lashings after Friday prayers anyhow?

    Sex bad…beheadings good?

  4. My group of friends doesn’t talk about their sex lives with each other- but it is my understanding the topic is far from taboo. It may be a suprise to see it on television but they talk all the time. They are even pretty blunt in their discussions with the lingerie salesmen. Getting suggestions on which type of thong is more sexy- etc!

    My kids once pointed out that they were puzzled by how uptight everyone gets about what is an appropriate movie -TV show for kids. Even the mildest “sexiness” in a show and it was not allowed. Violence? No problem. No limits. My kids think that extreme violence is worse for kids to watch that other things. They also pointed out that supposedly violence of the kind on TV is also not religiously allowed.

  5. HAHAHA I can’t stop laughing. It’s a good ad though, catchy music… and what a look the guy gives the camera… LOL.

  6. @ Coolred–so true:)
    Bahrain can be quite raunchy. I live here and I am in state of shock of my surroundings. Conversations can be quite explicit. I have been all over the mideast and also never seen anything like it. What a difference there is just over the causway.

  7. 36 hours?
    3 6 hours?????
    Let me see, that’s 12 hours, 24… that’s around the clock, that’s 12 hours more….
    That’s one and a half day!
    Wouldn’t that be a bit uncomfortable? I mean around the office, or strolling along the mall…. What with those thin cotton sunni pants and thobes I have been hearing about?
    Sometimes it is embarrassing being an artist and always getting images into your head…

    And 36 hours????

  8. Aafke – you’ve got to make us a Snafi cartoon!!! What an image your words paint in the mind!!

  9. 😳 😳 😳
    I don’t think I can do that…
    😳 😳 😳

  10. Oh dear, and now i am gettin images of one very naughty cartoon after the other into my head!!!!!
    😳 😳 😳

    And thank you very much bedu!

  11. Cartoons can only lead to trouble! I’m just sayin…

  12. I think it was one of the best ads I’ve ever seen and in good taste. Why can’t a woman ask/demand her sexual right from her husband. Saudis marry many wives…but do they ‘service’ their wives? THAT should be the question.

  13. Hahaha this ad is soo funny 😀 It’s the second time I’ve seen it though, with the first time being a few weeks ago when there was an ad for cialis (drug for ED) on tv (I’m in NY) and I wondered out loud what would happen if such an ad were to air on Saudi tv, and my Saudi husband replied, oh it has. I would not believe it and immediately thought it must be on the privately owned channels but he told me that this ad was aired on a more conservative Saudi channel but I just would not believe him until I saw it! Hahaha! He also mentioned another ad which was even more suggestive but he couldn’t find it online.. it involved a straw! LOL
    Oh my… I wondered how people reacted to it and I’m sure most weren’t too happy given that their culture is conservative and although such topics are fine to be discussed privately, in a public forum it is just another matter altogether!
    I for one am against the advertisements of medication on tv, here in the US it’s just part of the whole package of selling more pharmaceuticals, ask your doctor about this and ask your doctor about that. If I went to the doctor and they figured I suffer from something I’m sure they would recommend the right medication but for tv to be inundated with ad after ad for headaches and stomach aches, high cholesterol, erectile dysnfunction and circulation problems, it is just too much! Even our health and lack of it is something for companies to abuse and capitalize on.

    But I’m sort of happy this ED ad has made it there because it is about time people realize that yes people have sex and yes there could be problems and that yes it is okay to talk about it because that is a way for people to progress. If we just shut up about our problems they will not go away.
    It’s still too funny though, haha, thanks for posting!

  14. Oh and about the 36 hour ‘stiffness’ thing, that I’m sure was a typo or a mistake on part of the article as any erection lasting more than 4 hours is priapism, a dangerous condition that needs treatment otherwise it could lead to permanent erectile dysfunction. So the point of these medications is to give the ability of an erection if stimulated. So the penis doesn’t stay erect for 36 hours, but can be erected within 36 hours of taking the drug if desired!

  15. that’s quite a funny ad. people mostly turn mad at this kind of ads bcuz they revolt against the vortuous and modest stndards set by our society. funny thing most sattellite channels are full of nudity and other stuff that saudi houses have welcomed to be watched in their homes, but when such ads are aired on saudi tv you see people make a big fuss! makes me wonder, what really matters for the audience, the content of the ad or the channel that aires it!

  16. I like what Saudi woman says in that it seems Saudi channel 1 has an expected reputation which does not include any ads contradicting modesty or other aspects of Islam. Having an ad which infers to what goes on behind closed doors in the bedroom while children are awake is creating a gut outrage by many as being too public and in the face.

  17. So its quite all right to watch beheadings and lashings and women being harassed in the streets and children being married off to old men and and and…but God forbid someone suggest sex takes place between a man and his wife…or that the wife actually wants it.

    What is the world coming too. 😉

  18. Coolred, I agree. It’s not like they are on the floor doing it while their children are watching. She just jokingly tells her husband that she wants ‘something’ that only HE can give her in the privacy of their own bedroom. I don’t understand why that is so taboo. I think most husbands and wives probably have ‘code words’ for when they want to be romanced by one another. And, if they don’t, they should. They just need to make sure that there is a lock on the door. 🙂

  19. Intimacy between husbands and wives is not contradictory to Islam, talking about it is also not contradictory, and discussing a medication that helps those with a condition preventing them from having said relations is also not contradictory to Islam. Contradictory to a conservative culture that has decided to turn these issues into taboo? Perhaps, but not to Islam.

  20. Very unusual. No wonder the tv station got flooded with calls. On a more serious note. Given all the international sattelite channels that are out there, could you advise on what would be good, english language ones that we as reverts to islam should go for? I do mean both informative (i.e.documentaries and news) and islamically; and also the more conservative ones – such as the ones you stated in this blog, if only to keep up to date with the currant level of conservative thinging and values – in case we should be travelling to any islamic countries (for whatever reason)

  21. Amelia,

    I’m not sure where you are located or what kind of services are available in your area. However if you are simply wishing to learn more about Islam and view programs which either discuss or teach Islam, most cable/satellite services will offer such a variety that these programs are easy to find and identify. I have seen that with bundled packages, the channels earmarked for religious programming typically have a selection of Islamic programs too.

    (I hope that I have understood your question appropriately)

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