Teenage sex education and exploration

In our part of the world where sex has been a taboo for ages, teenagers have to get their sex education from their peers instead of getting the right information from the right person of a parent, teacher or a mature adult.

Our parents claim that no one has taught them anything and yet they knew their way on their wedding and so most of them leave their kids to explore this part of their life alone without giving them any single guideness just because they feel it is not appropriate to talk about such an issue or because they don’t really know how to approach it and at what age they should do that.

Unfortunately my own parents, and while considered to be educated and open minded ones, have acted like many other parents, and left it to me to discover what sex means.

Having the conversation with many others of my peers now about the way they discovered what sex really is makes me feel a bit of a naive. While my friend learnt about it through another friend of his, I remember my younger sister telling me how it goes while I was 10 years old.

Ironically, and I can’t remember clearly, but at some point the idea of penetration crossed my mind before anyone told me about it. I didn’t really know that this is what happens when a man and woman have sex, but the idea itself occurred to me before getting to know that this is really what happens.

My aunt tells a funny story about what happened when she asked my grandparents of how kids are born. They told her that when a man and woman lie next to each other in bed, the woman gets pregnant. A week later, and while playing with her cousin, she laid on bed, and he laid next to her, so she started shouting on him not to do so or else she would get pregnant. They were both 8 years old at that time.

My friend had a same funny incident when he was a kid and went to visit his aunt in the US. She took him to the cinema to watch Forrest Gump. After the movie he was wondering how the woman got pregnant without marrying the man, and so he asked his aunt how this happened. His aunt answered that here in the US a man and a woman meets each other one day, next day the woman gets pregnant! He was like “Wow. That is cool!”

I also remember the first time (in my 4th grade) that I saw another kid at school showing his middle finger to another one. I realized how bad that sign meant from another kids without knowing what really it meant. I actually missed the exact finger and for a year or two I thought it was the other finger to the right of the middle one that means bad. Later on, and through a movie, I figured out that we even show it in a different way than the Americans. They pull their middle finger out straight, while we pull it to the front! A couple of years later, my friend, who studied in the UK, taught me that the British used their second and third fingers to indicated the same sign.

One thing that kept on boggling me for years in my teenage is the *secret habit* (masturbation). While most of my peers started their own secret habit at an early age of 10, it took me a while, and I feel shy to admit it sometimes in front of other guys, till I got 18 in order to start practicing it.

I have always heard about the secret habit, but never understand what it really means. I remember at 8th grade in a religion class where a guy from school asked the teacher if it is wrong or right to practice it from a religion point of you. I remember the teacher advising the guy to try to make it less and concentrate on other things in his life instead. I, at that time, didn’t know what they were talking about.

I also remember reading the sexual problem section in a small Arabic magazine called “Tabibak” (your doctor), and reading a lot about the secret habit, without really figuring out.

Society imposes a double standard on us. At one side and in public, people talk and talk about virginity and the risks of having sex, and how much it should be avoided before marriage for a religious reasons. While at the other side, people do encourage males to explore their sexuality where those who don’t can be looked at as naive rather than men with high morals which they talk about in public.

The delimma of doing the right thing imposed itself to many young men who try to balance between their religion and their parents expectidness from one side, and their biological needs and their social role among their peer on the other side.

At our time, porn movies were popular among guys at schools. A friend of mine used to steal cigarette packets from his father in order to trade them with porn movies. Some guys used to make money out of it. I am not sure how much this is still applicable at this time where porn movies can be transmitted on cell phones. I am sure that the current generation of teenagers does carry much of porn in their pockets behind their parents backs.

Sex education is a necessaty at our current time more than ever. Our kids are exposed to many media where information is very easily transmitted. Parents should learn that it is better for them to give the right information for their kids instead of letting them struggling to figure things out. A lot of problems can be avoided with just some better communication between the parents and their kids.


  1. Good blog! Question for you Observer. How do you plan on teaching your kids sex education when you have kids and at what age do you think it is good to start teaching?I myself learned through friends, but i also had a good sex ed teacher in High School, who gave his personal opinion about the secret habit. i’m glad that he gave information about it cause it was very helpful when temptation came my way LOL! I still practice the secret habit till this day LOL!!


  2. LooL at Marie 😀Now really I think yeah it’s very important, I think you would be surprised to know that most of the kids have gone through the same vague phase with sexual life the same as you did.Yes I remember mom telling me when I asked her about how kids are born, she told me the same exact thing, about when a man and a woman lay together and that’s it.Then came a friend of mine telling me about the whole thing when we were 8, she was a girl kaman 😀Anyways yes I do think we have to have a proper sexual education for our kids and our society as well.. again you would be surprised to know that 98% of males in our society practice the secret habit-masturbation-without having a clue about what is it, or it’s advantages and disadvantages.One more thing, in a world with the media we have, I don’t think it will take long with the kids these days before they know about sex life more than we do :s


  3. u r right observer, a right communication between parents and child would avoid the kid from being frustrated, and make him express his sexual thoughts with questions that only comprehensive parents can have the answers on them. i remember how i started my secret habit as well, and how i tired to avoid talking with my parents about my sexual thoughts and needs, not because they can’t understand, but simply bcz i raised a bit shy(polite-according to them), thinking that it’s smtg shame(3eib) to do. 😉


  4. Yii, Observer, you should have flagged this with an R rating! I wasn’t expecting the personal bit!! BUT, in terms of sex ed, I am a firm believer in parents talking to kids early and often about their sexuality with age-appropriate details. There is quite a movement going on in the schools here now on how to teach parents to teach their kids.I just had a meeting with a school administrator as I will be teaching on the topic “Love and Sex’ next week!


  5. Excellent blog observer,this really relates to other previous posts on sexual harasments sexual frustrations and womens rights ..etc. yes u r absolutely right in sex ed coz its very important for parents to understand that its not a shame (3aib)to teach their kids about sex and respecting the other gender ..etc and they have to understand that its a way of protecting them.


  6. hmmi learnt about it in school! but then again i didn’t take tawjihi but studied for my GCE and learnt all about that in my human biology o-level.sure the normal text books do not provide kinky info that my friends provided but when you read about it you pretty much can tell what’s fact and what’s ficition no matter how much your friend is convinced with her glorious new discovery about sex hehehe.the solution is in education because when you’re in highschool and you have all that huge amount of inaccurate and wrong info thrown at you, you need to revert to basic facts or else you’re lost. books are good 🙂


  7. Argh! I <>love<> this post! It was such an interesting read, and sooo funny. 😀YOU KNOW WHAT’S SCARY THOUGH?<>Ironically, and I can’t remember clearly, but at some point the idea of penetration crossed my mind before anyone told me about it. I didn’t really know that this is what happens when a man and woman have sex, but the idea itself occurred to me before getting to know that this is really what happens.<>I felt the exact same way!!! Even when I didn’t know what it was. I knew penetration was involved. That’s freaky. Also, this part:<>He was like “Wow. That is cool!”<>hahahahahahahahah


  8. Marie, I am not sure how would I teach my kids. I guess I would try not to lie on the and give them the truth as much as possible. Maybe I should have to consult a professional then. LOl. Sure the secret habit is helpful at times. I guess not many women in the Arab world would admit practicing it 🙂Jasim, Welcome to my blog. I agree with what you said. Our kids are much more expose to sex than us when we were at their age. Sex education is a necessity these days.a-mok, you were shy? lol 😉Kinzi, thanks for the info. This is a good news. Schools should be teaching parents as much as kids in terms of communication. Good luck in your teaching. Sorrry I forget to put a rating warning, but I guess the title can give a good clue about the content 🙂Abed Hamdan, there is no need for CDs kaman! They share their porn files on their ipods these days!! Nas, thanks, you are right, it is all connected. Faten, well said. The solution is education. It is much needed these days.Saad, hehehe, I am glad that you loved the post. I guess that yes it is scary! Now that you as well thought about it before learning it!!!!! Is this something that is programmed in us? Comes with the package! lol


  9. Observer, I hadn’t even heard the term ‘secret habit’ until recently. 🙂 We just use the ‘m’ word.In the course I teach for women, I started including it’s mention for discussion. It gives them a platform to discuss a taboo topic. It is almost fun to watch their shock, then amazement, as they discover most of the others have the ‘not so secret habit’ too. Talking about it helps them not feel alone or weird. Maybe I’ll have to gather courage and post about it. 🙂


  10. Haha. My parents never had the “sex talk” with me either. BUT, unlike you. I’m glad they didn’t. I would have preferred to have an anal examination…Ok, NOT REALLY 😀So I had to find out everything on my own ;)…and did I find out! haha…Take care.


  11. i learned about it in school and through dr ruth on the radio….i think i would have died if my parents talked to me about sex…especially my dad..yikes!!my son figured out where babies come from last year at the tender age of 4…when i showed him a picture of a baby inside his mommy’s tummy..he looked at me and asked if i ate him too..so now he thinks there is a baby seed store somewhere..and when people are ready to have baby they go out buy a seed eat it and it grows in the mom’s tummy untill the baby the doctor opens mommy’s tummy and gets the baby out…and there is a warrenty on those seeds aparently…if his brother is being bad he usually suggests i take him back to the baby seed store. I will wait untill school starts sex ed for him to elborate on what he is being taugh. so far they are learning about their body parts, private and public parts:) so it wont be long before he learns that his seed theory is a bit off..:)


  12. Since this is a touchy subject, I decided to volunteer to coach any young ladies in need of a lesson or two. For a minimal charge of course to cover the expenses!Must be 18 or older to apply, age limit STRICTLY enforced 🙂 LOL


  13. strange to discover the same prohibitions and instances of perplexity in culture. It is one of the achievements of victorian morality. the child-adolescent wants to know and understand: so he/she gathers all possible observations and comments, filling the unspoken parts with imagination. i believe that nowadays more is available through the visual “paradise”. films, porn files. but let us be careful: porn does not usually teach sex- it shows normally an extremity, but lacking other sources of info, the adolescent might think of it as the rule.By the way, what kind of a comment is this that qwaider, this prudent mr. right, has posted? Is it sexism, moronity or something else?


  14. Mohannad, by sex education, I mean everything related to sex. Body parts information, biology and psychology aspects, what really happens in sex, …etcKinzi, I am happy to hear what you are doing for those women. People do get surprise about how common things between us are when they open up. I guess you shouldn’t shy from writing about it. Go ahead 🙂Saad, I do prefer if they just at least gave me a hint. I was so naive compared to other kids of my age, and I used to avoid even trying to get more information because I used to feel that it is something prohibited and not right 😦Rebellious Arab girl, biology books can be a good source, unfortunatly I remember our sex education came at late age at school, and teachers do shy explain it so they just rush over it, or keep for the students as a personal read.Sam, I hope that your kid didn’t fear you eating him after he learnt what you showed him! Hope things would be clearer to him soon. Good luck 🙂Qwaider, I guess the ladies wont be happy with your joke! :SVas, you always amaze me of your input and knoweldge. Thanks for the info. I guess that Qwaider was just jokeing. I don’t think that he meant it to be as bad as it sounded 🙂


  15. My parents didn’t spare me the facts. They always explain things without “hiding” things. I remember they even didn’t hesitate to tell me about non-straight sexuality. They didn’t even hide things like homosexuality or transexualism. Personally, I am glad they did, because I don’t like to be lied to. Parents should understand that honesty and straight-forwardness is crucial to parent-child relationships. Being irresponsive to sex-related issues (I think) account for a big part of why there are mistrust issues between parents and their children. The internet is also a good source for information. Things that maybe even you parents don’t know about. There are several sites with sex-ed.For me, I started masturbating as sleep-inducing technique at an early age, about 10 or 11 I guess. I never had any problem discussing the details with friends or anyone. I am generally consider too straightforward in sexual issues, never hesitating to share even the most intimate details.By the way, maturbation for women is really important. Unlike most men who can be sexually gratified with any technique, women’s sexual demans are usually more specific, and therefore the woman needs to be more knowledgable about her body in order to achieve equivalent satisfaction during the sex act.It is shocking to learn that some women don’t experience orgasm EVER!! This is because some women don’t spend time with themselves to figure out what ticks their pleasure.


  16. Devil’s mind, I guess that I know realize where your passion for knowledge came from. It seems that you have a wonderful parents. It explains your blunt comments and straight to the point arguemnts.As Saad said, your comment is very interesting indeed. I guess that many women in our society havent really explored their sexuality. Sad, but ture.


  17. ::not listening::😛Alright, if you notice this is a natural defence mechanism that I have. When I just couldn’t cope with the masturbation topic… I withdrew to … yes .. yes …the safety of jokes!Sorry!


  18. yeah just like faten said… thank god the human biology… still remember our teacher asking us “we can now disucss either the reproductive system or the respiratory system what do you want?” and we all said, in one voice, “the reproductive system” 🙂


  19. I agree that parents do more harm than good by not being open and honest with their children. I actually find that children can handle a lot more than we give them credit for! When parents lie to their children, they teach their children to lie. Children will also learn to not trust their parents, so they won’t go to their parents for advice. I also think that many parents are not open and honest with each other. Parents hide things from their children; they hide things from each other. When you learn at a young age that there are certain things that are not spoken about, that there are certain ‘taboos’ than this carries into adulthood. How many couples talk about their desires/their needs? About masturbation? About orgasm? So many people go through the motions without really being intimate! Without communication, how can either person be happy?


  20. You are right Sara. It isn’t healthy to lie and cover things up from our children. As I grew up, I discovered many things of life that were taught to me wrong. I knew different world than what I know today. It left me without much trust the truth people claim to tell. If we just can get rid of our fears and speak up our minds, things would be much easier aroudn us.Welcome to my blog 🙂


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