What’s Sex Got to do with global cultures?

We live in a very urbanized society, meaning America specifically. However, the world isn’t all so modernized and mainstream. Different cultures and factions around the world have different views on sexual practices based on religion, ethnic traditions, etc. In America, sex is everywhere: billboards, magazine ads, music, and even in our artwork. As kids, we realize early on that sex is all around us. From the pretty girls (half naked) in the GUESS denim billboard on the way to your elementary school to the hot half-naked guy on the Abercrombie bags in the mall, sex sells and it’s something that we as a culture have embraced.

In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, sex is still part of their society, although it’s hidden to a certain extent. There are reported ‘hour long marriages’ in some ethnic groups in the Middle East. Also involved in Middle Eastern sexual culture are the Jihad Virgins and prostitution girls, which may be sold for religious practices or other beliefs. Sex practices do exist, like in any other culture; however, in the Middle East these (sex) practices have to be more concealed due to a very oppressive government. In the attached article, “What We Don’t Know about Sex in the Middle East”, a vast majority of the myths and other misnomers are uncovered regarding how we Americans view Middle Eastern sex versus what it actually is.

“… the Middle East is sexually barren, horribly repressive, and anti-sex in a way that contrasts with the… libertarian West.” 


What other unrealistic evaluations or preconceptions do we as Americans make regarding foreign sexual culture? How are we as a society only open to view what we see as normal? How does this play into other topics we’ve discussed before Fall Break?

2 thoughts on “What’s Sex Got to do with global cultures?

  1. What’s quite interesting about the Middle East is what we do know, and that is about the common favoritism of Eurocentric norms. Women of a lighter shade and stereotypically “White” features are favored to others. Of course, understanding their specific sexual politics is limited, but even with the limitations, when we look to Middle Eastern celebrities, movie stars, models, or representatives in Miss Universe pageant, we can see commonalities (many of these women look like our Westernized women in American culture). So in this way, our standards of beauty and sexual politics are normalized by other countries and cultures, in a way that is exclusionary and often degrading to those who do not fit in the “normal,” sexualized body.


  2. This topic was really illuminated when we discussed the perceptions of the Filipina woman. As stated in class, the Filipina woman have a reputation for being hypersexual and promiscuous and this in turn leads to them gaining job opportunities in countries. In America, I feel as if we don’t see this discourse in a sexual sense but we do see it in other senses. For example, we seek to always recruit Mexican workers because they appear to be effective workers for cheap prices. This may not be true but it’s idea that is definitely thrown around.


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