World’sApart: Sexual Life for Woman and Man in Iraq, Attitude towards Sex
Thepatriarchal system and Arab tradition have had a profound impact onthe sex life and attitudes of Iraqi men and women. According toAl-Khayyat, true love in modern Iraq dispensation is impossible, andthis is because both men and women have different attitudes towardssex. In addition, religion makes sex life unbearable for most women.Women are supposed to fulfill their husbands’ sexual desires, thusare treated as sexual objects. Al Khayyat reveals that, there existsdisconnect in the Iraqi society as men have high expectations andwomen lack experience when it comes to sex.
Inthe article, the author interviewed several women and it was apparentthat, men only care about two things in life, food and sex. It is notdoubt that men have a strong appetite for sex in marriages howeverIraqi men are not socialized to be expressive. This is because on onehand, the man expects to have a good time and only thinks of his needto release. Men in the Arab culture are taught to command their wivesas opposed to loving them. Men are also taught not to show or expresstheir feelings towards women because the society does not allow it.Men are supposed to be feared and any slight expression of love andaffection can ruin their relationship.
Womenon the other hand are supposed to be submissive to their husbands.Most women in the interview agreed that sex was never a pleasurableactivity. Women only participate in sex as duty to their husbands andnot for the pleasure derived from it. In addition most womenexpressed their fear, sexual frustration and even depression as aresult of their husbands’ aggressive behavior during sex. Somewomen reported to having being raped by their husbands. Most Iraqiwomen complained that their men are not romantic and do not evenengage in foreplay with their women. This has caused most women tonot care about sex anymore. In fact, a majority of the women in thearticle reported that they were not interested in sex because therewas a lack of physical and emotional connection from their husbands.They feel that their husbands treat them as possessions and take themfor granted. Women expressed their dissatisfaction in marriage sincethe Arab traditional society does not view women as being equal inthe society. Women are constantly oppressed by men who seek to havesexual favors at any time of the day and threaten their wives withreligion is they fail to yield to their demands.
Thereseems to be some of double standards from the men and ignorance fromboth parties. The society seems to have different standards for thewomen and men in the society. For example, the society believes it anadvantage for men to have sexual experience before marriage but adishonor for the women. In addition, men are allowed to have sex withprostitutes while the same is not acceptable for women. In fact, thiscould lead to divorce or death if a woman is found out. Religion andArab tradition have inculcated ignorance as far as sex is concerned.Women believe that they can get pregnant through other means otherthan sex. The women are not also supposed to initiate sex becausethey would be viewed as being unfaithful to their husbands.
Inmy opinion, Al Khayyat hits the nail on the head. Most women in thearticle seem not to enjoy their marriage life or sexual experiences.They feel that they are sexually oppressed and isolated. Men on thehand are also not satisfied because they seem to be ignorant abouttheir women needs and body anatomy thus leading to sexualfrustrations from both ends of the spectrum.