Saudi Arabia: How Often is $ E X on the Mind?



In Saudi Arabia so much is done to enforce conformity.  When in public, most of the men and women look very much alike.  The women are a sea of black in their abayas and hijjabs.  Many of the Saudi men choose to wear the traditional long white thobe and a smaugh atop their heads.

Segregation continues to be enforced both publicly and in many Saudi homes.  Restaurants, banks, hospitals and other businesses have separate sections for men and women.  Within some Saudi homes a brother-in-law or sister-in-law will never meet let alone see one another.  She may get to see him but in all likelihood she’ll be fully covered at the time.

Saudi schools are segregated.  Even in most businesses which employ both sexes, there will be separate areas for the men and the women in which to work.

Given that there are few natural opportunities for interaction, it is not unusual for the single Saudi male or female to have an innate curiosity about the other.  Yes; young women will enjoy having discussions about Saudi men they have seen or heard about.  Young men may also discuss with their friends their desire to meet or get to know a certain woman.

However, the culture and traditions of Saudi Arabia are such that a young man and young woman are not to be in contact with one another unless they are engaged.  Then they may be allowed to speak on the phone or maybe text one another.  There is generally no personal face-to-face interaction until after marriage.

As a result, a young adult Saudi may be naïve about intimacy and relationships.  Sure, they are curious but who do they ask or who can they talk to when those subjects are viewed as taboo?  It’s not unusual for a young Saudi man or young Saudi woman to no little on what to expect exactly on a wedding night.  It’s just not something that is discussed; it’s too personal.

Therefore, it was with great surprise that I learned of a new blog on the blogosphere that is written in the English language by a Saudi male.  It’s called “Sex and Beyond:  Saudi Arabia.”  This Saudi blogger is taking sensitive issues head on and writing in a direct yet unoffensive manner on the subject of sex and within the context of the traditions and culture of Saudi Arabia.


24 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing the information. Oppressors can run, but they cannot hide forever, even in Saudi Arabia.

  2. Now I know why the Gulf Arabs get so crazy when they meet a foreign woman in a public place in their countries. Sad.

  3. I just wanted to comment to make sure that you know this isn’t true everywhere in Saudi Arabia. These traditions maybe true with certain Saudis and places and not others. I think that you can’t generalize what you have written above to all Saudis. I am a Saudi girl and I have guy friends, and my family work in places where both sexes work together and we are fine with that. So this might be common but it is not all of Saudi Arabia. Just a clarification!

  4. Thank YOU Maram for speaking out. American Bedu readers (and many others) need to hear more from you and others in Saudi about what your day-to-day life experiences are like.

    On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 4:49 PM, American Bedu

  5. And I am ready to supply and provide you with any information needed

  6. Maram,

    That’s great! Would you be willing to be interviewed? If so, please email me directly at

    Best Regards, Carol

    On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 5:10 PM, American Bedu

  7. Many of the Saudi boys I teach have secret (and some not so secret) Saudi girlfriends back home with whom they talk on the phone, text, and skype…yes, with webcamS on. Many also find ways to meet with their girlfriends when they go home for a visit. Many are not as repressed as you might think.

  8. I think gender segregation does more damage to society than good. It alienates the opposite gender, and makes any innocent cross gender interaction become cloaked with guilt and ill intent.I believe such state of affairs that Saudi society calls “norm” is an abomination that created an emotionally disturbed generation that objectifies women and swarms with fetishes. Nice entry as always, Carol.

  9. I tend to think more of them sneak around than stay segregated until marriage these days.

  10. I’m willing to wager more may sneak around than in the past 5 years!

    On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 8:01 PM, American Bedu

  11. I’m glad that there has been a blog started on the subject of sex and relationships. It’s a good thing!

  12. Good topic AB, however I agree with other comments about generalization. Some Saudi men and women do ‘get around’ before marriage. It’s not uncommon, despite the strict segregation rules. It might not be conventional sexual relations, and it might not even be relations with the opposite sex …but they do relieve their ‘tension’ if you will.

    Also, ….that special trip to Bahrain for most Saudi men, was a ‘special’ trip often for meeting and sleeping with women.

  13. @escortdairy. Bahrain sustains its economy thanks to the Russian women there lol
    That tension relief is necessary, I say that without a doubt. Because as marriage requirements become ridiculously hard to fulfill for middle class Saudis, some venting out is needed to prevent the society from imploding.

  14. To clarify it is the Arab prostitutes from Iraq, Syria and Morocco that demand the highest rate in Bahrain, as they are less in numbers yet highly preferred by khaleeji men. It’s quite tragic Bahrain how is so desirable to some Saudi men for all the wrong reasons. It’s very accessible too and what’s worse is most participants just turn a blinds eye to the harsh realities. Please don’t believe they are all heavily excluded from sex. 

  15. Why is it tragic? And what makes those reasons “wrong”? I don’t see how Bahrain in that sense is different from De Wallen in the Netherlands. Only the latter is celebrated, legalized, and considered a worldwide sex touring destination. In my opinion, such options have to be available in order to avert tragic events such as rape or violence. After all, marriage in Saudi Arabia has become very costly, and casual sex can offer a respite to those who require it.

  16. Sorry, I have to strongly disagree. Prostitution (legal or not) does not avert rape or violence. You neglect to ask what conditions a person to become violent or have the intention to rape women in the first place. If anything, legalizing prostitution conditions people to believe that it is acceptable to essentially neglect/objectify/commoditize people (women) in exchange for money.

    Yes, prostitution is wrong given that almost all sex workers do not enjoy what they do, but due to circumstances they found it was their best option for survival. Will it stop, no. But should we just legalize it and embrace it, no. It’s a very complex issue.

    Anyway, this rant is rather off topic.

  17. escortdiary, from reading your comments on the other posts, I noticed that you’re a highly intellectual and educated person. So, it’s not fair to look at things only from one perspective. I know prostitution is shunned in most of our societies today and is criminalized. Whether in a society of guilt or shame, people will seldom get over the fear of being stigmatized. For me as a Saudi who was raised in an extremely conservative household, and revolted in my late teen years, went to the US, and completely re-invented myself. I had the chance to know some actual prostitutes. I knew them beyond the glitter and glamour they wrap themselves in to market their bodies. Yes, some of them are forced into it for financial reasons or sex trafficking. But don’t you think some also look at it as means to find self-gratification? Many women like attention; something they may not get in their personal lives, they like to be told they are beautiful, they like to see how bad they are wanted, and the money offered (especially at high rates) is evidence on that high demand. The girls I knew were college mates trying to pay their way into college. Other than being extremely beautiful, fit, outgoing, happy and smart students, I never knew they also were sex worker. They had no lacking potential to occupy the most respected jobs out there.If you look at these girls’ peers, you would find many of them working as baristas, waitresses, or any other jobs that are less socially looked down upon. The only difference is that they spend more hours working, and don’t make as much money, not even close. So, while your argument is very valid and applies to a large portion, I think some of them are in the sex industry simply because sex sells. It’s the easiest way, not the only way.
    I know this is off-topic, but nevertheless very interesting.
    Thank you for your comment 🙂

  18. FYI, growing up in Saudi, while sex is a taboo topic. It is almost all that was on our minds as teenagers. It is simply because it’s a pleasure that is so hard to obtain in regular settings that made it more desirable, more exciting, adventurous. It’s the thrill of knowing you’re infiltrating all these layers of social and religious barriers that makes it euphoric. Almost too good to be true. Going to Bahrain, UAE or Lebanon is a fantasy in the minds of many Saudis who are a long way from making enough money to get married, or simply are looking for the aforementioned thrill that results from risk of seeking sex by illegal means. For me, the first weeks I arrived in the US, you cannot imagine the culture shock I endured. I recall I once needed to ask for directions and I couldn’t look the lady at the information desk in the eyes. I was blushing and stuttering, shivering and trembling, simply because in the back of my mind I knew I was crossing my own social barrier; talking to a non-relative woman. It’s almost like an Amish or a Haredi teen finding himself in Vegas lol.

  19. Not all women and men are forced into prostitution. Some actually choose it. By legalizing prostitution it would make a safer world for both the prostitute (male or female) and the customer. It would also go a long way in eliminating the prostitution gangs.
    Yasser, do you believe that visiting a prostitute should also be available for women?

  20. Of course I do. Both men and women experience adverse effects from sexual tension and should have the option to channel them however they deem appropriate.
    I know I am too liberal in my views, but gosh, sex is damn good lol

  21. Indeed there are grey areas. Indeed women thrive for attention in *some* parts of the world (this is increasing, because selling sex is the trend of Modernism). What is also increasing is the neglect of men in this process, as men face more difficulties getting married or attracting women (due to social, economic changes and demands — but also, as you mentioned, mehr in Saudi Arabia is getting ridiculous, thus forcing men to resort to sex workers in some instances).

    But I question the conditions that create women to feel the need to objectify themselves. Why are some women more prone to this work than others? What sets these conditions? I question the notion of men having to pay for sex, while women have been afforded the luxury of being more selective. These are not a biological attributes of men and women, but rather the outcome of social and cultural attitudes on how each gender should behave.

    Anyway, I appreciate your comments. You seem to well-versed in intellectual thought 🙂

    I did case studies on girls who work in the Arab Gulf States, and their circumstances are indeed not the same as a escort in the West. A lot of the women in the Gulf were often ‘tricked’ into the profession with hopes of having a regular job.

  22. Escortdiary … I’m just saying that there are women who choose to be well paid call girls. If that’s their choice so be it. Perhaps they just really like men and sex. Women are no different than men. They have needs and desires also. It is men who objectify women. Why is that do you think? Also, that is an unusual name you have chosen. How did you come by it?

  23. Yes, you definitely have a point. Although sex is a natural biological activity that is essential for psychological as well as physiological well-being. Ancient archeological evidence such as the brothels in Pompeii show that it really has been “the oldest profession”, Marketting their foods by encouraging traders to come from far distances following penis shaped road signs to enjoy a premium sexual adventure. I believe that prostitution dates back to barter societies. But symbiosis takes form in other species as well. For example, chimps and other primates trade food sex. Lionesses teade sex for shelter. It probably resulted from females realizing the power of sex and how it could be utilized to increase their chances of survival early on in the evolutionary process.

  24. foods* = goods

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