When a country’s doctors-to-be believe masturbating will destroy your eyesight or cause sterility, what hope is there for the rest of the population?
Let’s talk about sex, baby. Because when sex is treated as a topic too taboo for words, you get med students blaming thick glasses on choking the chicken one time too many, high school girls wondering how exactly sperm makes it into their ovaries, and men believing that they’ll use up the store of semen God pre-filled them up with — oh yes, “this is not an exaggeration,” an opinion piece in Egypt’s Bikya Masr assures us.
Baher Ibrahim writes that young women, expected by the conservative Egyptian society to be white virginal emblems of chastity, often wouldn’t know a penis from a bratwurst (I’m talking the literal food here). Meanwhile, many of the guys get their sexual knowledge from watching porn, which doesn’t do women any favors, no matter what country you’re in.
Bad or non-existent sex ed also fails to teach people to protect themselves against STDs. One student interviewed recalls a professor pinning the failure rate of condom usage in protecting against HIV/AIDS at 15-20% (it’s actually close to zero). Unsurprisingly, women are at particular risk for the disease, which spreads primarily through unprotected heterosexual sex, due to a severe lack of information on the subject. And, oh abstinence-until-marriage-will-solve-this proponents, 90% of HIV-positive women were infected by their spouses.
Another article that appeared today in Bikya Masr chronicles the history of sexually harassment in Egypt, which is described as one of the country’s “most enduring social pandemics. Until recently, it fell under the heading of “too taboo to talk about,” alongside anything else that includes the word “sex.” Oddly enough, the whole silence and covering up the issue tactic hasn’t improved the situation.
So sing it again: Let’s talk about sex, Egypt baby. You clearly need the conversation about the birds and the bees and respecting women.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.