Sex Education in the Arab World

Sex Education

Hey I have a question: What age do you think is a suitable age to start teaching sex education? And where do you think sex education should begin, at the home or at school? I started being taught sex education at the age of 11 and I was taught it at school having previously never been taught it. As any normal female and particularly an Arab one I think a lot about what I want my future kid/s to learn (if I have any children off course).

I've kept a lot of my old mathematical, science and other textbooks and some of my old exercise books so that I can rejuvenate my mind when duty calls for me to be a teaching mother because we begin to teach kids maths at a young age and art and languages...

The one thing we stumble on is sex education; however sex education is probably the number one issue growing children and become curious about. I think it's an international concern now especially as parents are wary that if kids don't learn at home, they will eventually get the information, and the wrong sort of information at that too from their peers and friends and from a ruthless and sex exploitive media.

On top of all that sex is highly inflammatory and controversial in the Arab world and only flares up certain erotic images. The only thing we have in the Arab world are the hordes of semi naked semi plastic female singers who have huge influences and yet deny that they do things for reasons of sexuality, therefore giving out the wrong messages. Just to clarify though, when I talk about Sex education...I am talking about the scientific course of sex and the effect it plays on human development, puberty, breeding, respecting ones sexuality and respecting others including respect of the opposite sex.

I'm at a stage where I am trying to encourage myself to teach the subject myself, I'm well aware that it'd easy to back out too. But with the future looking too risky to let kids learn something so crucial outside of the home I'm still well aware that my backing down might lead to kids experimenting on their own terms.

I’m curious to know what age people started to learn about it and where and if they would have preferred to be taught elsewhere…

Any thoughts anyone?

By guest writer Sam

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  1. Adam = <3
    Adam = <3

    Well, here in the US, they started teaching us about our own bodies at the 4th grade..5th grade went to more detail about us and getting pregnant and suchness, and in the 6th grade they taught us about the guys. And my eyes are still bleeding from that.

    I personally think that we are still too young to learn all that crap. Young girls are getting pregnant so much now because they are teaching us about it when were still immature. If people didnt KNOW about it, how would they want to do it?

    Itd probably be less embarrassing when they are taught in school, though, because once my mother tried to talk to me about it and i pretty much just left.. The point is, the world is teaching us things are little minds shouldnt know about us now, but that pressures us to teach it earlier so (like u said) they dont get something stupid from their friends. Its really, a lose-lose situation, and since theyve already corrupted the age of teaching it, we cant make it later on now..

    Much lluff
    ~Adam = <33

  1. -:-Alisar-:-

    well...i'm almost 15 rite now
    and i grew up in america
    but they started teaching it to us in 4th grade so we were like 9
    it wasn't 'SEX'-like details
    but they taught us that girls and boys go throught puberty and this is what happens to their body and this is what you use and stuff like that
    but starting in middle school (6th grade-11 years old) they taught us how a couple creates off spring and reproduces

  1. nouza

    its a very good idea that sex must be taught in the Arab world,but they have to teach it in a good way that based on religious and scientific bases,i heard in some programs in Egypt that they r going to teach it in the 3rd grade,while i think its too young,but if so,so they just start with a very little informations,as people should get married first coz God give us this permession...ect and gradually they start to teach it with more details each year untill the student graduated from the school and he is completley know everything about sex but with right informations based on his religion and science,not what is written on those ugly books who r sold on the streets and full of completley wrong information about sex and also avoiding the student to watch this porn films who reflect a dirty thinking and completley wrong image about the right sex that our traditions and beleifs in the Arab world accept it.

  1. S.M.S.

    The earlier the better. I think by the age of ten, kids should be familiar with these issues. It is quite important regarding the stranger danger issue and being taught not to be used.
    Excellent article by the way.
    I remember having lived in Lebanon while young, Our grown up friends informed us about the facts of life, and it was quite a shock for someone very young to learn such crude details while not being informed properly by a proper source. We were quite shocked but excited, and I remember telling every friend I know, did you know what mummies and daddies do:). One of them replied"ewww my parents do not do that" yeah right!!!. I might send her an email reminding her of that response.
    I have to go now but I will be back.
    Do not back down Sam.

  1. Sex Ed
    Sex Ed

    There are some great teaching resources available for schools, teenagers, teachers and parents, like "Sexual Health for Life" now being used in thousands of schools throughout the world.

    Young people need full and comprehensive sex education BEFORE the onset/average age of sexual activity and then proper access to a full range of contraception.

  1. Adam = <3
    Adam = <3

    But its wrong for little minds to be put into that!! im 13 and everything around me is sexual. BUT! if i didnt know about sex, i wouldnt think anything about it, now would i?? I mean, some kids are telling their 7 year old little siblings about sex because they know about it. Its just all Haram. All the jokes kids laugh about now are sex related. Nothing has its innocence anymore. Everythings really dirty. and more so for arabs, cuz were not gross like that, were raised and disciplined better. And technically, there shouldnt BE any 'sexual activity' until your married. And either by law (in the US) or by the certain age some religions think kids should be married at, that starts at about...15-ish. And yet their starting us off at 4th grade. At 15 ur a freakkin freshman in high school. THATS A BIG DIFFERENCE. i just think the whole thing is wrong and no one under 15 should know, want to know, or care about any of it..
    Anyways, my opinion is from the point of veiw from a 13 year old thats currently living throguh it. And im not liking it either =/

    Much luff
    ~Adam = <333

  1. ahmed

    It is not good to know sex at young age , 10 through 15. they need to be at 22 or wait until they get married. Cause is silly to see what’s in their, the kids will get scared and they will have a nightmare.
    So in my thought that all children need to know sex when they are much older, if not, they will be idiot in the future. just a thought/

  1. -:-Alisar-:-

    well...i see where Ahmed's coming from but 22?
    nah..i think thats too old.
    i mean, you should have SOME idea, but not all the glory details!

  1. ahmed

    well not at 22 it could be 20 is better than 10,

    20 is a great idea for that age. if you can't see that, that's too bad and i feel sorry who know at 10. They already have a bad temper and stress.

  1. some1

    i learned in LEBANON in 6th grade...
    we were learning about like how males n females have eggs n sperms combined 2 get sperm..n blabla
    i remember everytime the teacher said SEX CELLS..every1 including her LAUGHED..hahaha

    so basically every1 knew about even be4 6th

    its BETTER 2 LEARN FROM would run away, be4 even starting!! hahaha


  1. Adam = <3
    Adam = <3

    at least someone agrees with me-
    at 20 you should start dating and looking for a husband (or wife).they should be looking for someone they can live with for the rest of their life, not someone that theyd like to screw and leave. Plus, the whole point of God making sex is to reproduce and make children, people are using it as a pleasurable thing...its grotesque.

  1. Blake

    Adam=<13..i quite admire the way you think at the young age of 13 and oh im 15 and i think its great there are more people who think like me in this world.

  1. foofoo

    I think it should be taught at home. It's too embarassing at school especially in a mixed class. The age should be 15 I guess. But in the US, we all know that girls get themselves pregnant at age 12 and have to deal with their babies alone. We don't have that in our societies (or at least at a very minimal level) so 15 is a good age to let a person know. Some families don't tell and let the person know by themselves... ;)

  1. cupcake


    If the purpose of sex is just to reproduce then we are NO longer human .. we are just real animals like the rest of animals on this earth!!

    Read about sex, not how to have sex! sex has lots of benefits .. its a cure .. its a base for any new couples life ... that doesnt mean to have sex 24h/24h !!! i didnt say that ...

    besides its good and healthy to learn about sex in an early age ... learning doesnt mean that you have to go and have sex and get pregnant!!!

  1. ahmed

    adam which country usa you from ?.

    to the person said we are just real animals like the rest of animals on this earth!! that is wrong and craziness. we are a human being, if you dont notice. allah give us a brain and different opposite men and women. animals dont have a brain or can't think. for example, a donkey can't go to work or take care his or her children. we human have a great things to have or do. in case you don't know that too. human and animal are different, get it.


  1. Adam = <3
    Adam = <3

    Oh, thank you Blake :) even at my young age ive been through a lot, so im very life experienced..and i tend not to get along with people my own age because of their immaturity~

    Anyways, back to the story thing, how in the hell does sex have BENEFITS?! if you think screwing everyother person and getting HIV/AIDS or other STD's is a benefit, than your reading the wrong books =/ Nothing good comes out of knowing it young either.. its embarrassing and everythings perverse. I dont like chilling w/ my friends and the only jokes ther cracking up at is something about sex. WTF happened to knock-knock jokes or something?!

    Foofoo, they dont teach it in mixed classes until 7th grade, but they dont really talk much about sex at that grade, just about STD's and how u get screwed over by getting one, using condoms, birth control ect. So, they figure it isnt bad to keep the classes mixed. Other wise from 4th to 6th grade they split the girls and boys into 2 different classes so we dont faint of embarrassment ;)

    Much luff
    ~Adam = <33

    PS. Ahmed, the country i live in IS the USA..:D

  1. sam

    I think parent’s need 2 teach it early though and perhaps b4 school teaches it because as much as we may want the ideal of never knowing about it up until marriage, media will never allow it. And kids will always ask 'where do babies come from?' and girls will be curious about why their body has changed suddenly as will guys...On top of that friends will never let the subject mater go.
    I remember when I was about 4 I told one of my friends 'babies come out of your bum' and she was horrified. It's still quite innocent, my friend reminds me of it constantly but it just goes to show that children are more aware then we think...and more eager 2 learn. During my teens my cousin at 3 years old (and she was a very clever child) whispered something in my ear which paralysed my face, I still find it hard 2 believe that such a young child could know info like what she had said but I would hazard a guess that she walked in on her parents whilst they were in action we ya satir ya rab @ the thought. But this is why professionals say if u show too much affection (hubby + wife masalan) in front of a child they will pick things up @ the speed of light. And when they begin to ask questions that we avoid I think for sure they will look elsewhere for answers…friends, TV. or the internet for instance. And relying on school is no good…at an age where I thought school should be discouraging sexual activity, they brought in a nurse to discuss the benefits of contraceptives as well as the history of it (the entire range from crocodile dung to needles), the different flavours and even supplied us with dildo’s to practice the art of condom placement. I was in a group with 2 other Muslim females and no one wanted to touch the thing and we couldn’t stop giggling. Later I thought it was a big disgrace on the schools part but away from the protective sight of parents…children are pretty much under the spell of school & with an obligation 2 do all that is asked. And parents put all their faith and throw a huge responsibility on schooling. I think parents are at fault too for not taking more interest in what activities their children r being taught at school.

    Adam I was gonna say I think u r a very mature young lady 2 masha’allah. I assumed u’d be in your late teens or 20’s. Very refreshing 2 know that sane teens still exist!
    By the way about the Fares thing...check out her last picture in…they r small triangles (not a bad thing- women come in all shapes and sizes & that’s their beauty). I don’t think surgery is all 2 do with changing size…nowadays celebrities use plastic surgery as a method to change the shape & not just sizes…like making them more rounded or higher up to defy gravity…not necessarily bigger.

  1. sam

    I agree with that...girls and boys should be seperated 4 those sensitive matters even if they attend a mixed school.

  1. Brigitte

    I hate to break it to some of you but this is the real world. The sooner children learn about sex the better. At a young age, children are constantly curious about all sorts of things including sex. I say to not tell them everything so young but tell them gradually as they get older.I don't think it's wrong for schools to inform kids about sex education. I think that it should be taught at home and at school to enforce the ideas behind it. Like it or not, there are going to be some teens that are going to have premarital sex, some may even be having it right now. That is why schools are stressing safe sex and contreception seeing as they can't stop them. In the ideal world, everyone would wait until they are married but this is reality and it may ot may not even happen. If having sex early is their choice then I think we should inform them as much as we can about protecting themselves against STDS and HIV. Like Cupcake said, sex is beneficial and a wonderful and beautiful thing that two people share. I don't know what you heard about sex,adam, but it isn't all about promiscuity and diseases. But I'm going to stop here because you have some more growing up to do.....

  1. natalie

    i found out when i was about 9 from a book i was reading that turned out to be a little to grown up for me. i was to embarrased to ask my parents, so i had some pretty wierd ideas for awhile. i think its important that u learn bot this kinda thing from a responsible adult, not like me. its not a specific age, some children r more mature than others, but 10 is a good place 2 start. to avoid teen pregnancies and other problems, bad things like aids should be emphasized, and in arab countries the religious aspect should be taught also. this way we avoid problems.

  1. S.M.S.

    Obviously leaving it too late will do more harm than good. As others pointed out, kids should know about their changing bodies and the feelings they are experiencing as they grow older. Unfortunately the need to shy away from such issues only leads the child to surpress their sexuality not knowing right from wrong. Trying to pretend that sexual curiosity does not exist in children is not the answer and only telling them that it is wrong to talk about it leads to fear and wanting to know about the forbidden, there should an explanation and a proper and frank one.
    Our sexuality should not be an area we should be taught to be ashamed of, but there is a need to explain to the kids what is wrong and right especially in the confines of our Arab culture.
    I was reading this article about how British teenagers are the most sexually active in Europe. Britain had the highest rate of teenage births. The advice was that the edaucation system should teach kids about the importance of contraception when they are 10 or 11 years old. I was surprised because i thought that the teaching of the importance of abstinence until you are married or in the case of the western world until they are adults.
    Kids should be taught about the risks involved in sex before considering sex.
    The stranger danger issue is important, because paedophiles are everywhere and they are present in our Arab countries, children should be taught to say no and to tell a trusted adult about any danger that they may be exposed to. It is not easily done I know because fear will always exist among kids but it does help.
    There are other issues regarding sex and kids, but this is not the place for it and some sensibilities are easily offended here.

  1. S.M.S.

    I have to add though belatedly that it is quite naive to expect teenagers to refrain from sexual activity because they are advised to wait.

  1. Masrya

    loool watch how every1 gets excited wen the topic of 'sex' comes up....
    hmm dunt u fnk dat the world is obsessssed wid sex...cum on..everything is bout sex...neway yes sex education should b givin 2 children earli n bla bla..bah dus it actually help? i got taught it from year 5..and so did many ova kidz..and still young boys n girls r havin it..n getin diseases n pregnant n stuff...i dunt actually fnk being taught it by ur teachers and parents actually helps(especially by arab parents...its jus weird!)..kidz r still gna do alcohol..every1 knows wot can happen if u gt drunk n woteva..bah ppl still do it..same wid smoking and i fnk teachin children about sex from an early age isnt gna make em not do it..its gna make em more aware of it..
    :D like others have said...every1 knows about sex b4 sex ed neway i dunt fnk i learnt nefnk extra from sex ed...the tv teaches us most of what we know..i dunt think that teachin children it any earlier will make a difference..but the way that it is taught should b changed..
    oh and LOOOOOOOOL @ babies come out of ur bum JKAAA!

  1. S.M.S.

    Well as long they do not learn it from the Disney video where goofy and Minnie are simulating sex:). Minnie is a naughty little mouse.

  1. S.M.S.

    *As long as.

  1. ahmed

    Okay I cannot find IS I just saw said ID and IL you got me confuse adam. There is no IS.??

    Yes, I agree that young people use internet a lot to see sex. It is dangerous to watch all porn and nasty stuff on the net. America is worst than arab they have everything to talk about it music, video clip, etc. when I heard the music in my car 99.1 sunny the little script said “lets talk about sex”. I just turn it off and I turn to hear the quran better.
    Wuhu I didn’t know that Disney show Minnie is naughty. Even Brutus from Popeye, he keep flirting Popeye’s girlfriend when he seem them together and beat him up. It might be sex simulating.

  1. mina

    well i live in england and we were taught it in year 6 (age 12.) i think its very wrong to teach kids at that age, theyr wayyyy too young to even care or understand. it would have been much better if it were tought at around the age of 17/18, that way people are more mature and have a more sensible approach to it.

  1. Adam = <3
    Adam = <3

    Aw, gawsh, you guys are funny :D 20's? Yeesh i sound that old huh? I guess thats good in some cases.. But thanx :)

    But anyways, Brigitte, you really should check how your manner sounds before you post. "i see you still need some growing up to do" huh? Thats jacked. This is asking "whats the right age to teach sex ed", and your getting the opinion through younger eyes whcih has gone through it young and obviously doesnt like it..Isnt that a better and more informative point of veiw than from a person +18?? my God.
    Anyyywaaaaayyyssss, Yea ill check those piccies sam, i really havent heard of people changing shape. But i guess people are weird like that, they just arent happy with what God gave them =/ But yea, ive really nothing more to say because people arent getting my point on this topic. Yea.

    Much Luff
    ~Adam = <3

    Ps (again) Habibi i live in the USA as in the United States of America. Im sorry for confusing you :D what i said was "PS. Ahmed, the country i live in IS the USA..:D" but i capotalized the word 'is'. Sorry for confusing you ;)

  1. Briggite

    Adam, with all due respect, I think it is you who needs to check yourself. You were the one who immaturely attacked cupcake just because she said sex is beneficial. You put words in her mouth and basically flew off the handle over nothing. Your comment was laced with someone who still has some growing up to do. That's why I said that. Welcome to the real world....It is about time you arrived. :)

  1. Adam = <3
    Adam = <3

    Believe me, I've been in it longer than you think, and sooner than i wanted to.

  1. Adam = <3
    Adam = <3

    Believe me, I've been in it longer than you think, and sooner than i wanted to.

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