Egypt’s relationship with sex is strange to say the least. It is one of the greatest taboos, yet our culture is full of it. Whether it be sex jokes, sexual innuendos in pop culture, or sex itself, Egypt is overflowing with sex. And that is okay, as long as no one talks about it. This result in a distorted image of what sex is. Basically, everyone has sex, but they all have horrible sex lives. We try to explore this with Sex Therapist Dana Sarhan.
People have awful sex lives in Egypt, why do you think that is? And when people blame that for sexual harassment, what’s your response?
Harassment is based on feeling in control and has nothing to do with sex. Harassment and rape is one thing, and sex is another. As for sex in Egypt, there’s a lot of good sex, but maybe not the majority, because people don’t talk about it with each other. Communication is so important and we don’t find it here.
People here are so disconnected from their bodies. As much as there’s no personal space in this country, they don’t touch each other. I don’t see people hugging each other. That is because everything is so sexual here, they assume it’s sexual.
“I don’t see people hugging each other. That is because everything is so sexual here, they assume it’s sexual.”
There is also a communication problem between the couples themselves, they’d rather ask strangers on the Internet.
I work with women from all backgrounds, all religions and beliefs, and a big part of it comes down to how to talk to your partner about sex in a way that won’t make you feel vulnerable or risk ruining your reputation because some women really focus on that.
Some women in their 20s and 30s are married and don’t know what an orgasm is. Have you encountered that?
If I had a penny for every time a woman asked me that, I would have been rich. I’m talking about women in their 40s who don’t know that sex is a collaborative thing and that they can enjoy it; for them it’s duty.
How does that affect those women physically, emotionally and mentally?
You don’t feel like she’s a woman. She’s still a child. She doesn’t feel very beautiful, although she might be gorgeous.
For people who don’t have sex before marriage, does it affect their sex lives?
They can still have amazing sex after marriage as long as they know what they’re going in for, with time and practice.
Is it necessary to “try out” sex before marriage?
Professionally speaking I would tell you that you have to have sex before you get married. However, I will not impose my own beliefs. As long as you know what you are going in for and if you have had some sex education, you are more prepared to get into it. Some do have sex before marriage for years and till don’t know what’s going on.
“Some don’t know that they’ve been raped, because they don’t know the difference between sex and rape.”
How would you define the difference between premarital sex and sex between married couples? Does it get dull?
It can if you don’t work on it. Create a safe environment and private space between you two. Experiment and explore; don’t give up because it can easily become a routine.
Some consider noticing other attractive people to be cheating. How do you address that?
Affairs and infidelity are one thing and being attracted and appreciating beauty is another. Just because we find somebody else interesting, appealing or attractive doesn’t mean we’re going to cheat.
How do you advise women to talk about sex? And does it differ from one woman to the next?
The first thing we address is safety. If she’s safe enough to talk about these things, and some men in this region are very sensitive when you tell them what to do so it has to be very subtle and gentle.
“Experiment and explore; don’t give up because it can easily become a routine.”
Which one usually takes the other to sex therapy: men or women?
I’ve seen a lot of men come to therapy here, but the majority is women. Women are the ones who are feeling that something is missing.
And do you find that when women enjoy sex it reflects on the man as well?
I think the happier a woman is and the more pleased she is, the happier the man is.
Marital rape is apparently quite common. Have you faced cases like that?
I’ve had to deal with a lot of rape and abuse cases. The problem is that some don’t know that they’ve been raped, because they don’t know the difference between sex and rape.
What do you do for cases like these?
Legally speaking, there’s not much going on in the country for them. I have to educate her about the difference between sex and rape. And then we deal with the trauma of what happened.
“I’m talking about women in their 40s who don’t know that sex is a collaborative thing and that they can enjoy it; for them it’s duty.”
How would society change if everyone had better sex?
Oh my God! (she laughs) They’d be happier, more confident, have more self esteem, they’d be more creative, productive and healthier – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Tips for Every Couple to follow before Getting Married from Dana
Contraception and babies. Whether they want babies or not, and how many babies and what methods of contraception to use.
How to talk about sensitive points in their lives without seeming critical and insensitive.
Housekeeping and logistics.
Go to a:
Sex therapist for premarital counseling and discuss likes and dislikes, experimentation, patience and what to do when you’re not in the mood.
Tips for Married Couples to Keep their Sex Lives Interesting
Manage the distance between each other so you miss each other.
Give each other space.
Keep it playful, interesting and exciting.
Put effort into your sex life, because scientific studies have proven that sex gets better with time, not the opposite, but only if you work for it.