Monday, September 17, 2007

Pleasure of Sex Education in Iran

In your sex education classes in schools in the USA, did you ever hear anything about techniques of pleasure, e.g., "men needed to be patient, because women need more time to become aroused"?
The instructor held up an unfurled green condom as she lectured a dozen brides-to-be on details of family planning. But birth control was only one aspect of the class, provided by the government and mandatory for all couples before marriage. The other was about sex, and the message from the state was that women should enjoy themselves as much as men and that men needed to be patient, because women need more time to become aroused.

This is not the picture of Iran that filters out across the world, amid images of women draped in the forbidding black chador, or of clerics in turbans. But it is just as much a part of the complex social and political mix of Iranian society -- and of the state’s continuing struggle, now three decades old, to shape the identity of its people.

. . . Sex education here is not new, but the message has been updated recently to help young people enjoy each other and, the Islamic state hopes, strengthen their marriages in a time when everyday life in Iran is stressful enough. (Michael Slackman, "Molding the Ideal Islamic Citizen," New York Times, 9 September 2007)
ایران جالبترین کشور است!

The secular liberal democratic government of the United States, which governs a rich industrial country in the global North, fails to provide such essential services as free contraceptives and scientific sex education, let alone a sex education that promotes sexual pleasure, which the Islamic Republic of Iran makes available.

Secular leftists tend to believe that secular liberal democracy is always better than religious government at least on the gender and sexuality front in all respects. But that is not true. It really depends on the content of each government's programs, not on whether the government is secular or religious.


redwood said...

This is not at all new in the Islamic tradition, in Iran, or amongst Muslims - the books on Islamic jurisprudence (i.e. fatwas - and i'm not talking "sufi" either - i mean the orthodox Islamic scholars) have always addressed this in their sections on marital relationship.

It maybe "new" or appear "updated" to the NYT reporter, in the same way that Columbus "discovered" what is now called America. And it has nothing to do with relieving "stressful lives" of Iranians - that is all projection of the reporter based on his own cultural background.

example Ayat. Fadlallah of Lebanon (granted he is not the most orthodox - and is considered somewhat out there on some issues -- -but in this case, I don't think you'll find that much of a divergence amongst most Islamic scholars.)

"Also, Imam Ali(a.s) was quoted, “If one of you wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, he must not be in hurry, for women have their own needs”

"Thus, in these religious instructions about sex, we can find out that Islam considers woman’s lust (better translated as passion, i think ) and the need to satiate it among the vital moral issues in her relation with man, so men must not be selfish through fulfilling their desires and leaving their wives sexually unsatisfied."

Yoshie said...

Thanks for the correction! I've received a similar feedback from my Persian teacher. I eventually want to survey Islamic legal opinions on sexual matters, but I have not been able to make time for that yet. If you know of a good volume that conveniently collects a range of opinions on this subject from various schools of Islamic jurisprudence, please let me know.

BTW, I read your criticism of some disturbing liberal-left responses to Muslims, ranging from an Islamophobic response to hijab to (unconscious) lack of respect for self determination of Muslim communities. I am trying to encourage leftists to approach Islam and Muslims in better ways, based upon mutual respect and in the spirit of solidarity. I have not gotten very far in my endeavor, but I will continue to make efforts.