Saudi Arabia has a super-conservative society that is not only restrictive but rigid in law and religion in many respects. The women are at the finer edge of the social constraints of non-kin relationships with the other sex. Following marriage, after demanding a man’s guardian she also favors the woman not because the husband will divorce her one-sidedly but that the woman doesn’t have the same right. Majority of the parents in Saudi Arabia have a challenge giving satisfactory answers to children on matters of sexuality and relationships. The culture is ultraconservative with sex matters primarily residing in the religious domain in a summarized form under marriage, adultery, divorce, and homosexuality. School curricular teaches only anatomical and physiological illustration of limited expression and detail. Different sexes discuss matters of sex and relationships among themselves. Girls are at a better advantage having discussions with their mothers (Alquaiz). There has been evidence that house help are a source of information on sexuality while teachers are averted to the finer details such as about venereal diseases.
As expected in Saudi culture, families are at the center of marriages, and mate selection depends on a lot of their approval. Most marriages are therefore arranged to a large extent. Choosing a mate on individual discretion is scandalous in the eyes of the culture, and there are many customs and rule to navigate with spouse choices such as tribal relations. With an edgy social dating atmosphere, Saudi youth are open to any technology that enables them to connect and up their flirting game. For women, it is an opportunity for discrete interaction with a member of opposite sex that cannot be monitored by family (Holmes). Most of the users of the technology make use of various interaction with community and platform to conduct psychometric profiling they can use to evaluate compatibility with various mates.
According to various studies, the average age of first marriage in Saudi is 26 as of 2013 (mapsofworld.com). Other studies have had testimonies of women who got married as early as 17 while the general expectation is for a young man to get married in her 20s. The average age of first marriage for men can go up to 29 with the expectation to marry diminishing at 46 years. According to recent studies, many men approve of premarital sex while women disapprove my a significant margin. It however consequential that most men would also at the same instance prefer to marry virgins (Dupont). Premarital sex is, however, a serious crime, and the different sexes are separated in most activities for the reason of inhibiting temptations and opportunities (Murphy).
Same-sex marriage in Saudi Arabia is a contentious issue and a capital offense. There are very harsh punishments for homosexuality, and if it exists, it in tight closets sees that execution is common even for first-time offenders. There is a public attitude to display unity against the practice perpetuated by punishments such as death by stoning. It is illegal to get involved in any gay activity, marriage or attempt to change gender. Same sex relationships are further deterred by the denial of the right to adopt children. It is within legally tolerable discretion to discriminate homosexuals in employment with no protections whatsoever (Whitaker). The entire culture at every level is allowed to discriminate and not tolerate homosexual for instance in housing, military conscription making same-sex marriages or relationships impossible in public domain.
Divorce is not uncommon in Saudi, and there have been concerns that it could be the highest among many nations in the world. About 80% of married couples divorce before the first anniversary. While it is apparently discouraged in the culture among the sins divinely prohibited for good men and women, the men have albeit too easy way out of a marriage that makes divorces rampant. While it is wrong to stay unmarried or without a male guardian, no one looks down on divorced women who go back to their mother’s houses and rarely remarry. The men can initiate divorce and send a woman back to her family by just declaring her divorced three times, notwithstanding the triviality of what makes up his mind on the matter (Antonelli). Women have a difficult time getting divorces and attempt only make their lives harder. Divorce is therefore primarily a man’s institution with unilateral discretion on the matter.
The average rate of population growth in Saudi from a 2014 estimate was at 1.49% that made it to 100 lists in the globe. On a 2016 estimate, it was reported that there were around 18 births for every 1000 people in the population. Having children in Saudi Arabia is encouraged, and it is noteworthy that the early marriages ensure that the entry level of fertility and age structure favor childbearing (IndexMundi). Use of birth control is limited and it only recently that there have been concerns that the population growth could be a problem and Saudi royalty has been considering the introduction of the birth control policy.
The members of the public in Saudi understand the consequences of being caught in the act of “Zina” or adultery to be ultimate deterrent to such acts. The cultural disposition on adultery is guided by the Islamic religions that declares it against the divine, and there is a task force of police recruited to enforce morality in the Saudi Arabia Kingdom. The punishment for adultery is capital and brutal for a married person as per Sharia because they get stoned to death (Faizer). An unmarried person in a similar situation get 100 lashes that are likely to kill them before they are over.
There have been high rates of domestic violence in Saudi Arabia with previously non-existent laws and policies to make it easy for women to report such cases. The cultural attitude tolerates most domestic violence with the notion that women provoke incidences of disagreement to escalate to violence. About 41% of women affected have been found to be accepting, and a high relationship observed between the prevalence of domestic violence and acceptance of perpetration (Ahmed).
Saudi Arabia and the United States have the same general aspect of the need for sex and relationships education. Although America has made efforts in the direction, there is much to be done regarding what is age appropriate there being too many sources of such information. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, should develop an inchoate mass sensitization of sex and relationship matters. The two countries, however, differ greatly on the level of intrusion by state and society on private sex and relationship matters.
It is surprising that an entire country can be engulfed by an ultraconservative culture, The Saudi population practices a significantly controlled sexual expression with little personal discretion in sex and relationship matters. When so many other freedoms are available to Saudi Arabians, the institution of sex is most eroded, and capital punishments through Sharia make advocacy a very slow process that may be more appreciated outside the country than within because of the limited freedom of expression and action on matters of sexuality.
Alquaiz, Almuneef, Minhas. “Knowledge, attitudes, and resources of sex education among female adolescents in public and private schools in Central Saudi Arabia.” Saudi Medical Journal (2012): 1001-1009.
Antonelli, Alessandra. Saudi Arabia: divorces treble, among highest rates worldwide. 27 April 2010. 23 October 2017.
Dupont, P. “In the Arab Bedroom: The Sex Life of Arabs.” Facts Views Visions in Obgyn (2016): 237–242.
Faizer, Shaheid. Saudi Arabia: Will she be stoned to death? – Sri Lankan woman found “guilty of fornication.” 27 November 2015. 23 October 2017.
Holmes, Tao Tao. How Do Dating Apps Work in Places Where Dating is Less Than Legal? 1 March 2016. Web. 23 October 2017.
IndexMundi. Saudi Arabia Birth rate. 9 July 2017. 23 October 2017.
mapsofworld.com. Average Age of Marriage. 11 December 2013. Web. 23 October 2017.
Murphy, Caryle. Saudi jailed for ‘bragging’ about sex. 7 October 2009. 23 October 2017.
Noura Ahmed, Lamees AlMuzaini, Sara AlSiddiqi, Maha AlRajhi, Basmah AlDeghaither and Shaik Shaffi Ahamed. “PREVALENCE AND ATTITUDE LEVELS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AMONG FEMALE KSU MEDICAL STUDENTS AND WOMEN IN KKUH OUTPATIENT CLINIC, RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA.” International Conference on General Practice & Hospital Management. Ed. Journal of General Practice. Dubai: Journal of General Practice, 2016. Online.
Whitaker, Brian. Everything you need to know about being gay in Muslim countries. 21 June 2016. Web. 23 October 2017.