Sexual health, Jordan, and a few words specifically on abstinence

Naseem recently published a great post about the AIDS awareness campaign in Jordan – and the debate has been interesting.

One issue that has come up several times is the idea that the promotion of abstinence is an integral part of Jordanian society. I believe that it is an integral part of Jordanian society on the surface. I think the reality is different.

I am writing an article on similar issues at present, but without giving too many details away, I want to say:

Guys, come on. I’m a blond, foreign woman in Jordan. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been propositioned. I’m not talking about street harassment, something that I focus on regularly on this blog – I am talking about specific situations wherein men, both single and married, have pursued me as part of common, daily interaction.

Abstinence is the farthest thing from their minds. Because I am a foreigner, and therefore assumed to be “easy,” I run into this on a regular basis.

When you dig deeper, you realize that it’s all around you. A friend of mine recently went through it with her (now former) landlord, a man old enough to be her grandfather. Another friend went through it with her (now former) boss.

Foreigners talk about it more, since we don’t have the pressure of upholding the family’s image – but have a few honest conversations with Jordanian women, on an anonymous basis, and the same exact issues pop up.

Just because it isn’t talked about, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

You might say, “surely, these men aren’t really getting laid. They’re just trying.” It’s true that the male capacity to exaggerate their so-called conquests is limitless. But the men I interact with are not blushing virgins – they’re old hands at this sort of thing. They act friendly and approachable and normal and then bam – they go in for the kill. If they’re not paying for the sex, they are coercing/raping/seducing or, in the best case scenario, they have clandestine relationships with women who *gasp* desire them back.

We can talk about whether or not blunt, clinical language in regards to AIDS awareness is helpful (I say yes, but that’s just me), we can talk about different approaches, be they religious or secular, but if saving lives is a priority, let’s admit that condoms are going to do a whole lot more than merely insisting people stay “pure” until marriage.

The entire social framework of Jordan insists just that – and it isn’t working.

P.S. Of course, you can lay the blame solely at the feet of the women. You can say – “Natalia, people like you tempt these good men with your very existence, so they veer off the straight path and wind up in the ditch of debauchery. If it wasn’t for evil women, walking around, all desirable n’ stuff,  the men would flutter through their lives like angels with not a single feather in their wings out of place.” And I will laugh and pinch your widdle cheeks.

9 thoughts on “Sexual health, Jordan, and a few words specifically on abstinence

  1. Hi. As a blond and foreigner who previously lived in Jordan, I want to support what you write. Many married men especially are interested in affairs and they think that if you are foreign you will be interested too. Jordan is very conservative on the outside but I did not find it to be so conservative when I saw what is underneath. However this is not limited to foreigners as many of my local female colleagues received treatment I can describe as comparable.

    This fake conservatism is indeed not working because it covers the problem. Maybe it even makes it worse because people are desperate and will take sex when they can get it and do not consider the consequences or learn about using protection.

    (I am sorry if my English is not very good)

  2. Soree…!! Every1 knows that Christian girls stopped gettin r-e-s-p-e-c-t a long time ago! If u had conviction u wld turn to the true religion and dress with class. Muslimahs got more r-e-s-p-e-c-t in their little pinkie fingers than u do in ur entire body. If I wuz lucky enuff 2 b livin in a Muslim land, i wld convert or GET OUT!!

    The make-up u wear on ur picture on the site shows u 4 who u r. No dignity and no shame. U enjoy messin wid minds of men, and shld b blamed. Many girls’ husbands wld not act liek dogs if u weren’t like a dog in heat out in da street. Do u like livin dis way? Goin astray? U cannot say.


  3. Ya LATEEF: “Many girls’ husbands wld not act liek dogs if u weren’t like a dog in heat”

    So much for respecting people of the book. Yup, if we are wearing a cross we are ready with a condom for any tall, dark and handsome Arab man who wants us.

    I’m for abstinence before marriage FOR BOTH GENDERS. Keeps the level of STDS down.

  4. OK… “Slam”, I am sure you are probably no more than twelve years old… But speaking as a Muslim and someone probably older and experienced with life in majority-Muslilm countries… I just have to say, stop disrespecting yourself. And stop disrespecting Islam.

    “DOG IN HEAT”? That’s how you speak to a woman? If you speak to a woman like that, you have no business speaking for Islam. Change your nickname until you have grown up a little bit.

    I don’t know if you’re a boy or girl but it doesn’t matter, there is no excuse.

  5. white flesh *slurp* blond hair *slurp* *slurp* blue eyes *sluuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp* “you ignite me”
    (and if you were modestly clothed then i will imagine how you will ignite me :P)
    honestly speaking it’s funny how people react like you cussed them out when you tell them that people in jordan have sex outside of marriage, and quite a bit of it … and thats not all the fun sex their having.

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