Written from the 25th of April until the 16 h of May 2014
When the harems were existing, or when men could have a few wives (they still can today in some countries), they were responsible for their wives who were not making money, so they paid for the house, for the food, and contraception was usually forbidden so they had to take care of a lot of kids as well.
At that time, religion was very powerful, so oral sex and any kind of sexual fantasies were forbidden not only in the Muslim world but in the Christian world too.
The purpose of sex was procreation. The women quite often forced into marriage without the power to choose their husband or to take time to know him before, were helped by the religions to avoid any kind of sexual performances, too demanding for a girl not really in love, having to marry at a very young age, sometimes a very old man.
In exchange for this responsibility to take care of a woman and her children entirely, men were asking their wife for faithfulness, to not have to raise other men’s children mainly. There were no DNA tests.
In a time where contraception, medical tests for sexual diseases and antibiotics were not existing, women were asked to be virgin before the marriage and sometimes in some religions (christianity) men as well were asked to be virgin and still are today in some part of the world (some orthodox Christians in Egypt for example, where a lot of men stay virgin until 30 years old even today, until they find a wife or some Muslims too).
To avoid sexual diseases, for a good health inside the couple, and children’s safety, it was the best option, the virginity for both men and women, and faithfulness between husband and wife.
I have to say that my grand parents who were protestant, living in Switzerland, married being both virgin a little less than one hundred years ago, stayed faithful to each others all their lives, and were the happiest couple I have met.
It was at that time the normality in the Western world. For both of them as well, masturbation was a sin and they would forbid their children to practise it, checking the smell on their hands at night in bed. It was called, the bad habit. Not a long time before, if some women were masturbating, it was considered as a hysterical behavior and the clitoris could be cut off. Orgasm was considered as a weird kind of epileptic convulsion and was badly perceived in Europe.
In some African countries not even 50 years ago and maybe less, it was a shame for a woman to show any kind of sexual pleasure during the sexual act with her husband. She had to stay straight and silent and her clitoris would often have been cut off to help in the process.
However some women seem to be able to feel some pleasure without a clitoris and some women with a clitoris can have difficulties enjoying the moment. Nevertheless, the goal for cutting off the clitoris is to keep the girl virgin and calm before and after the marriage.
Nowadays, contraception, medical treatments, tests, have brought with them, more freedom for women, more freedom for men as well. More freedom in the couple. Sexual majority had been voted in a lot of countries giving the right to young people to date even with adults without the parents having the right to forbid them anything related to their intimacy and allowing sexual exploration for teenagers.
In 1968 in France, starting in Amsterdam, young people took the power in society, refusing to be ruled by the elder, asking for freedom and in the same time for more laicity (kind of secularism).
Rock and roll, the hippy movement, the creation of airlines companies and reasonable flight tickets, made them exploring the world and other religions with a special attraction for vegetarianism, yoga, tantra, shamanism, some new drugs like LSD (cocaine and morphine were allowed in the 19th centuries, example Sherlock Holmes so it was in fact nothing new), buddhism, new ways of thinking, etc.
In the same time through the developement of psychology, an innovative path for understanding ourselves and others emerged. The biggest step was made in the sexual field. When the religions were forbidding masturbation, psychology and psychiatrists, on the contrary, sometimes encouraged it, or at least stop forbidding it. Sexuality became about exploration, understanding, and pushing the boundaries. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaUGinDPjug (Jung and Freud, my favor movie 2011)
Homosexuality became better accepted but it was the case 2000 years ago when most of the Roman emperors were married with a man and a woman. And for example in North America, the native Indians, not such a long time ago, were asking young boys to choose their sexual identity at 6 years old. The tribe would not make any fuss, if he would choose to be a little girl, a winkte; a two-souls person. The winktes were in a certain way married to some hetero men of the tribe, who could marry women and winktes.
Anthropology, sociology helped on their side for this global exploration plus all the medias; libraries, movies, documentaries, television, and internet at the end of the last century.
One hundred years ago, in Europe, if a woman wished to not get married, she was taking risks. To become an artist, she was taking risks. Camille Claudel, a very famous French woman sculptor was sent to the mental health asylum by her very famous brother writer, We still have the letters she wrote during those endless years, and we can see how clever and well-balanced she was. A woman who was not willing to obey to the society in France, was sent to the convent or to the mental asylum. Camille Claudel died on 19 October 1943, after having lived 30 years in the asylum.
However as weird as it can seem, during my first trip in Saudi Arabia in 2010, I was astonished by my mixed feelings. Women could be stoned, could be lashed. Last November 2013, a teacher was lashed at the University, 80 times, in front of her students, to not have accepted her husband’s second wife and to have started a light fight with her. The husband reacted strangely by taking back his first wife and breaking up with the future second spouse after his first wife had been lashed in public.
But even with all the terrible difficulties that Saudi women have to face, I was surprised to see myself nostalgic and thinking about what the Western women had lost.
Saudi women are more protected than Western women in a lot of aspects of their lives, they are considered as fragile little creatures, in need of their father or brothers’ protections, they are considered as sacred, their children too, and could count on the strong support of their mother, grand mothers, huge family to help them being respected in the society.
A nostalgia came over me, a weird one, observing those Saudi women, being in a certain way my ancestors, and the last trace of a certain way to be a woman. A way that seemed to have been lost for ever for a lot of women in the world.
Suddenly I started to think about my women friends in Europe, United States, Canada, and instead of thinking of them, as lucky, I started to think of them, as girls having to cope with a huge amount of stress in their life, for a lot of different reasons.
I was raised in France, and there the sexual majority (age of consent) had been decided at 15 years old like in all Europe nearly. 13 in Spain. 14 in Germany and Canada. 16 in UK and Switzerland.
I was sexually mature around eleven years and half. Was in love with a 20 years old I was meeting sometimes, I do not see the difference between me at that time and me today except I was much more passionate and sexual than I am today.
So for me those 3 years waiting for the sexual majority seemed endless.
This young man never kissed me, but the fact he did not have the right to do it, did not help in the process of course.
Even today sometimes, I think that if I could have married him at 11 years old, I might have been the happiest girl in town and completely mature enough for it.
To be married to someone you find repulsive or to be raped, forced, is awful at any age, even at 80 years old. Even if it can be more damaging at 11 years old.
I know a lot of women, for example in Europe who are living alone. For myself I love living alone, to live as a couple, I did it, and was faithful, 5 years here, two years there, etc. has always been difficult for me. I like the silence, my loneliness, and inside a couple you lose very fast this wonderful eroticism that you can share so well when you meet from time to time.
When you do not see each other too much, the routine does not affect your erotic bond. But as soon as you share life on a daily basis, the quality time is affected by the mediocrity of our existence.
I am not frustrated because the men I lived with always wanted to commit more, but I know so many women, who had long-term relations with a man, being in love, faithful, waiting for him to be ready to get married, to have kids, and who are just at over 40 years old too old for this, or too fragile, taking sleeping pills, Prozac, and suffering a lot from loneliness. No parents, no brothers, no sisters to protect them. They are supposed to be strong, to make money, and to live by themselves, they are supposed to find a man who wants to marry them by themselves. But where? In nightclubs? By dressing up sexy? Is it really the best way to find a husband? On internet? On dating site? Where most of the men search for casual sex and have sometimes so many mistresses they can’t even count them.
The worse is this duty to perform on a sexual level, to be judged all the time. It is tough for women but for men as well. Not all men have a big dick and even if they have a big dick, do they really want to be loved for their big dick? When soon or later, they might lose their erection anyway.
Not everyone is good in bed. Not everyone feels Ok being judged on a sexual level; He is a good shot, she is hot, she is not hot, he has a small one. It can be exhausting.
3 years ago, for the first time in my life, I asked my brother to host me, it was one month there, two months here. For myself, I know that to have my brother staying in my house, would be one of the best present life could give me, and he could stay one year without me noticing, I helped him enough on my side to feel comfortable asking for a little help in return and I was really feeling happy about this opportunity to spend more time with him as I was living abroad. But to stay in my brother’s house even if he is single was not an option at all. It was not a big deal, but if I would be a conservative Muslim woman so my family would be there for me until I die. In the Western world, brothers and sisters for most of them barely know each others, meet once a year and sometimes less than this and even for most of them, do not appreciate each others, being like strangers.
Same if I would be a mother, I could certainly go and live with my kids in a Muslim country. Something that is completely nearly impossible in the Western World when most of the mothers, grand mothers, are rarely visited, put in retirement houses, have no power in the family, even if they had been devoted mothers, grand mothers.
There is no respect for the elders right now in the Western world.
When on the other hand in Saudi, I was amazed to see how the grand mothers and mothers could have a huge power inside the families. All being highly respected. Those women have no right or very little rights on the paper but in real life, they do have sometimes more rights than a Western woman.
Of course some Saudi women are struggling, are heavily unhappy, but I could not say it is the majority far from it. The unhappy women I met in Saudi were the ladies maids from abroad but it is another topic. And not for all of them either. Some are lucky, some are not.
I am the first generation of women, since women exist on earth to be able to travel by myself, to work by myself, to marry or not, to commit or not, to have lovers or not, to have kids or not.
Of course it is not that simple, as there is a destiny. Sometimes, the person you would like to share your life with, is not on the same vibration, or not at the same time as you. So the fact to be single or not single, is not all the time 100% a personal decision.
But however, a lot of women are single, do not have kids, not only in the Western world, sometimes in the Arabic world too. As long as it is their personal choice, it is fine.
For my part, I feel lucky with my life. Even if sometimes, I have the feeling, we do not control our lives, what we can control a little is the way we accept or not the events in our life. The way we decide to keep the joy and our ability to love and be loved, to just honor life and what has been given to us. To just accept our existence.
So 1969, erotic year, yes. In France. But nearly 50 years after, things are still not that simple.
The sexual liberation, the art of taming freedom, is sometimes a difficulty, a challenge and women can be left very lonely, facing depression as emotional, sensitive human beings, in need of protection, something the sexual freedom often does not offer.
In Canada for example, you can get an abortion without scheduling it, very easily for 300 dollars. I met a girl who lived for 3 years with her boyfriend. They were both looking like models in their early twenties. This girl was against the pills, he was against condoms. So they went in the natural way, means she opted for an abortion a year. To be aborted from the child of a man you are deeply in love can be incredibly violent.
In some Muslim countries and elsewhere as well, to have sex with her, he would have had first to get married and could not have refused the child.
What I found violent was that the abortion was completely perceived as not a big deal, when I could see how this girl and even this man, were mentally destroyed by this freedom that had been given to them, to act as they wanted, without the parents or grand parents in their life to put any kind of boundaries.
For myself at a young age, I was living in a couple already, and did not wish to have kids or to get married, and was taking contraception, happy to have it. But my partner seemed traumatized when I left him, telling me he planned to get married with me. Which surprised me as I did not plan it at all on my side. Happy to have my freedom back and to explore the world. I was faithful to him and he was not as much as me, so I did not feel guilty to leave the situation. But still even now, he tells me that he suffered so much from the separation, that it was hell for him to recover, he married shortly after this and is still married today for a long time now.
So yes, we do live our freedom, but the heart is there, and the heart is the heart, and the soul is the soul, and we are at the end all very fragile.
Sometimes this new freedom, we just do not know how to handle it.
And the loneliness that can come along as well, we do not know so well how to handle it. As we do not know how to handle a life without the traditional conservative religions, that had been created to protect us, to give us some boundaries.
Before antibiotics were discovered, sexual diseases were perceived as Satan as it was giving so much sufferings in exchange of a little pleasure, it was not curable, and is still not in a lot of countries.
One hundred years ago, the cause of death for one woman on 2 in Europe was linked to pregnancy.
It could explain why in the classic literature, sex and death is so often linked, why the characters are so serious and taking love so seriously. At that time love was a serious matter.
And why it seems lighter today. Even if at the end, thousands of years of life experience, cannot be erased from our DNA so fast and for this reason, love will be an important and sacred topic and sexuality too for a long time, even if very soon to have kids will no more be linked to sexuality. But it is another new adventure of the human beings that I will not write about now.