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21 juin 2009 7 21 /06 /juin /2009 21:31

SOME SEXUAL ISSUES AND PROBLEMS

IN MOROCCO[1] (II)

 

                                                                                                    Prof. Dr. Abdessamad Dialmy

                                                                                                     University Mohamed V Rabat 

 

3- Sex-economy 

 

The development of sexuality has an economic impact no less important. As an implication of the social and the economical crisis (provoked by the structural Adjustment Plan since 1983), sex becomes a means to earn money and to live up to the increasing mode of consumption. The impoverishment of families forces numerous girls and boys, young women and men to sell their bodies in a market more and more organized within non-formal networks. Sexual work is a non-formal answer to unemployment and to poverty[2]. It concerns women, men and children. Moroccan economy so much functioning through sex that one is able to speak of a "prostitution economy". With the absence of a sustainable development policy, sexual work represents a solution or a relief from problems of unemployment. It is creating a kind of dynamic consumption in certain regions and sectors (tourism), it serves to attract some foreign investors, to seduce… Tolerance for prostitution is the only option left for a realistic economic policy.  

 

3-1 Sexual work of adults   

 

Sex marketing is correlated to the poverty of women and the impoverishment of families[3]. Very often, prostitution is the consequence of a necessity to survive and to fund other's survival (a family). It remains the most accessible means to face unemployment and precariousness. Barons of prostitution constitute unorganized networks[4].  

 Sex is growing into a business, a market, and an economically profitable activity that allows several social categories to survive. Girls (from 14 years), repudiated women, students, graduate unemployed persons, homosexuals, female workers in factories are the concerned social categories by this phenomenon. Even victims of a STD, family's mother continues to work, covering up her infection to the customer not to lose him. Other mothers prostitute occasionally, at the time of the school return to be able to buy supplies for their children or at the time of the Big Feast to buy the ritual sheep[5]. 

The masculine prostitution[6] is both heterosexual and homosexual. Henceforth, women pay men, a phenomenon that has started to be socially visible. Women who resort to the sexual services of men are not solely foreigners[7]. As for homosexuals, everybody recognizes that their number is increasing. Lawyers represent homosexual’s decrees in front of both the police and the court.  

Sometimes, sexual work also responds to a need of luxury and consumption. Basically, the girl goes with men because she needs to satisfy some elementary needs like a lipstick, a perfume, a birthday gift... Every partner offers her a gift of this kind. Later, this develops into professionalism. For girls coming from the middle classes, prostitution is not a means to make money, but a means to be able to consume more and better, to have apparently a luxurious life[8]. Some women already financially independent use sex to enjoy more financial comfort. To curl the end of month and get better dressed, secretaries, whose salaries are lower than the SMIG, submit themselves easily to several men without identifying themselves as of prostitutes

The correlation sex/money received a very strong thrust thanks to the male Arab Gulf tourism[9]. In other cases, sex serves to attract the foreign investors, to seduce them. As a "whorehouse " Morocco attracts customers thanks to the sexual offer. More than this, prostitutes are being exported to other countries[10].  

 

3-2 Sexual work of children  

 

According to Najat Mjid, the president of the Bayti association, 60% of children of the street of Casablanca recognize having been victims of sexual violence done by older children, evening guards and drunkards. Yet, it is difficult here to set a rigorous limit between rape and prostitution in the sense that wherever the child of street offers himself sexually he is able to spend the night in a garage, to get a cigarette, drugs or a piece of bread. 

In Marrakech[11], Peter Kandela says that visitors and tourists are offered sexual services of around 9 years children. The national price varies between 1 and 35 $US while for tourists (European or Arabian of the Gulf), it can reach until 170 $US. The visitor-tourist chooses the child, takes him to the hotel, prepares him (cleans him), feeds him, enjoys sex with him and then abandons him. Children having got used to this money refuse to come back to their families (according to Bayti association). Since homosexuality is illegal, this prostitution is rather clandestine. Kandela affirms that 48% of Moroccan children of the streets are exploited sexually next to food or a shelter-place.  

Children are completely unconscious of the HIV risk. According to Kandela, the judicial instruction files concerning the minor prostitutes do no mention the use of the condom.  

 

3-3 Values destruction and political guaranty 

 

The transformation of sex in economic activity is more and more done with a social consent, that is to say with the approval of the community and the family. With the absence of adequate development policies, some poor families leave their children to tourists' prostitution. Sometimes, children (including the males) are even encouraged overtly by their families[12]. Male honor, then, stays quiet. Thus, in certain regions, villages people even demonstrated against the police raids aiming prostitutes, putting forward that "it makes people live" and it is an engine of the local trade[13].  

Everybody agrees that the administrative authorities are conscious of the  economic role of prostitution in certain disinherited regions. The disappearance of prostitution in these regions would produce a real crisis there, and the political decision-maker has to compose and be tolerant[14]. With respect to security, prostitution would be a factor that delays a potential social explosion. There is complaisance and complicity on behalf of the public authorities to the extent that prostitution is becoming an aspect of the tolerated sexual liberalization. This policy of tolerance that consists of pretending not to see (prostitution) is interrupted by campaigns that serve several ends at the same time : to put pressure on actors of the field, to remind that authorities can outrage, to prove to the fundamentalists that the state does fight against the debauchery. In fact, neither sexual work nor sexual liberalization are fundamentally accepted, they both constitute an improvised, an unconscious and an informal choice to face poverty and fundamentalism: "prostitution rather than poverty" and " prostitution rather than the veil " would be the tacit slogans of the administration[15].  

The state is accused by the Moroccan elite (politicians, intellectuals, technocrats) of being responsible in the sense that it doesn't provide the minimum supplies for the repudiated woman to survive and to raise her children.  The State is said to be responsible when it allows girls without any qualification to emigrate (this implies exporting prostitutes, reducing unemployment rate and making money). It is finally accused of granting easiness to pimps and lobbies working in sex business[16]. 

             

4- Infertility

 

Infertility is statistically a minor phenomena in Moroccan society and is essentially treated in the private sector, which might be considered as a "luxury" reserved to a small minority, to an elite. The rare centers of fertility at Casablanca and Rabat recognize effectively that their services, techniques of medically assisted procreation in particular, are accessible to a very small and rich minority while Moroccan demographic studies reveal that infertility is more connected with a low socioeconomic status[17]. The infertile individuals are in their majority rural, less educated and socially more excluded by infertility itself[18]. However, definitive infertility (sterility) rate is in general very weak[19], 2,8% on 1987 and 2,1% on 1995.

 

5- Erectile dysfunction 

 

According to Pfizer, one million of people in Morocco would endure erection’s troubles. But Pfizer doesn't say how it managed to have this number, especially as "consultations for erectile dysfunction motive remain rare and difficult. Facing a physician, the impotent Moroccan man doesn't manage to say his impotence, he waits for the physician who either guesses or discovers it"[20]. Moroccan Society of Andrology and Sexology doesn't give any quantitative estimation. Studies on the question are very rare. In 1999, an epidemiological survey entitled "Prevalence of the erection dysfunction in Morocco"[21] has been achieved by the following physicians: Qadri, Berrada, Tahiri and Nejjari of the statistical department in Casablanca. The composed sample of 655 men over 25 years was selected only in Casablanca. According to this survey, 53,6 % of men endure erection trouble. And more age is older, the more the erection dysfunction includes a larger number of people:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              Figure 3: Age and erectile dysfunction 

 

Age category

% of men with erection dysfunction

 

25-34 years

34,6

35-40

48,5

41-50

58,9

51-60

80,6

61-70

92,5

 

Otherwise, the survey establishes strong interrelationships between the erection dysfunction and some pathology:  

 

- Diabetes: 94,1%, p = 0,02,  

- Cardiovascular pathology: 90,0%, p = 0,01%  

- Arterial hypertension: 82,0%, p = 0,05  

- Depression: 76,5%, p=0,0002,  

- Prostate’s surgery: 75,0%, p = 0,0002. 

 

The survey recommends the consideration of erectile dysfunction a problem of public health in the sense that this unrest is in clear increase and has an important impact on the stability of the families (conjugal life). What are the foundations of this survey 's assertions? Let's recall that Viagra rate of sale in Morocco since May 1998 doesn't create "crazies" as in Egypt. Maybe such a claim is a way to make Viagra benefit form a medico-social cover. The recommendation to consider erectile dysfunction like a public health problem is likely to be an act that aims at legitimizing taking in charge of Viagra by social security. This hypothesis is heuristic especially as the erectile dysfunction is still a question mainly treated by the private health sector. This sector guarantees further confidentiality and anonymity, which is essential within a under-developed society where sexological consultation still be a "social risk"[22]. Indeed, impotent men[23] are not really taken in charge by the public sector of health especially because of socio-cultural reasons (lack of privacy first) but also because of lack of andrologists and sexologists in this sector[24]. There is no public hospital specialized in sexual problems like the one in Cairo. The majority of men with impotence problem consult andrologists or sex therapists after having their addresses in the yellow pages of the directory or after having read articles in the press[25]. This means, on the other hand, that these consultants are educated and belong to solvent social classes.

The existence of some sociological reasons to erectile dysfunction may also explain the recommendation to consider it as a public health problem. Among these reasons, the overcrowding of lodgings, the cohabitation of adults and the absence of bedrooms. Moreover, sexual dissatisfaction is due to bad conditions of lodging, which could be one of the psycho-sociological factors that constitute the fundamentalist personality[26].

 

6- Sexual-spatial dysfunction 

 

When thinking of sexuality in terms of pleasure and well-being, it means exercising it in positive spatial conditions that enable a complete satisfaction. Shared lodging with neighbors or with parents is susceptible to become an erectile dysfunction factor, and consequently of a marital pathology[27]. Indeed, the conjugal couple sometimes doesn't find an adequate place necessary for an intimate sexual relationship since the domestic lodging is overcrowded. On the other hand, the non-recognition of sexuality outside marriage as a human right also leads to the transformation of space into an obstacle to the satisfaction of the " illegal" sexuality. 

 

6-1 Places of the premarital sexuality 

 

The illegal sexuality of youngsters endures a major problem. One of these problems is the place. In fact, very few boys can invite their girl friends to the parents' house, which is considered as a sacred place. As a way of tinkering[28]: one makes love in a car, in toilets, in the stairwell, on the terrace, in the forest... These places are not safe and youngsters constantly run the risk to be surprised in the act of fornication by the police or by hooligans, or simply by people. The spatial-sexual tinkering means a fast and an unsatisfactory sexual act in an inconvenient place. 

 

6-2 Conjugal sexuality and domestic lodging 

 

In contrast, conjugal sexuality seems to benefit from the conjugal domicile in general, although the bedroom is not systematically present. For example, in Fez 25% of the households don't have a bedroom[29]. In Casablanca, among people arrested by the police in hotels while having 'illegal' sex are married couples who do not have adequate space for making love.  

Indeed, the number of people living in household[30] developed from 4,79 in 1960 to 5,81 in 1994. Small households (1 to 3 people) represent 20,1%, middle households (4 to 6 people) 40,8%, large households (7 to 10 people) 27,4% and  very large households (10 and more) 11,7%. This evolution is paradoxical in the sense that it contradicts with the logic of urbanization. It implies to specify the Durkheim’s law of contraction of the family, and to distinguish between nuclear family and small size family. Suburban families, while being nuclear in the sense that they are constituted of only one conjugal core, are not small size families. Not only the total rate of fertility didn't decrease to the same rhythm as in the other districts of the city, but one attends the cohabitation of adults more and more that increase the households size. The rural exodus, the crisis of the lodging and of the employment, the decrease of the spending power drive to a forced return to the cohabitation of adults, that is to say to the overcrowding of the already tiny lodgings. Indeed, "between 1982 and 1998, the level of urban households promiscuity became more articulated, the average number of people living in the same room shifted from 2,1 to 2,6"[31]. More seriously, "the 20% of the most underprivileged population live in average lodgings of an occupied room by 3,4 people"[32]. These rates of the room occupation represent a critical doorstep. A lot of households don't arrange an autonomous, distinct and freestanding bedroom.  

The examination of rooms evening dwelling enables to distinguish between 5 modes of sleeping[33]:  

 

- Individual mode (a person by room/or a conjugal couple in a room); 

- Territorial mode (parents in a room, boys in a room and girls in a third

room); 

- Bipolar raw mode: parents and a child at a low age in a room and all others in the second room; 

- Bipolar clear mode: parents in a room and all others in the other room; 

- Collective mode: everybody in a unique room.  

 

Therefore, the fact of living in only one room makes the child share the intimacy of parents, which predispose the child to aggression and delinquency, to incest, to precocious sexual relations, to prostitution, to doubt and to lack of confidence in him/herself. In some cases, to avoid the small lodgings, promiscuity and the irritation that follow, children prefer to remain in the street, and the parents are happy not to see their child coming back in the evening. These children are exposed to develop into children of streets[34].

 

Conclusion

Feminine premarital sexuality is due to the elevation of the middle age at the first marriage. The social statute of this premarital feminine sexuality is problematic and oscillated between acceptance and dismissal. It leads to distinguish between two meanings of virginity, Koranic and consensual. Sometimes, the consensual one makes physicians repair hymen to "prove" no defloration. This surgical operation reinforces the patriarchal system. In some cases premarital feminine sexuality is the origin of the phenomena of single mother who are and her child non-recognized at all and not benefits any right.

The opening of sexuality would also have an economic function no less important. Facing the social and economical crisis (provoked by the structural Adjustment Plan since 1983), the sex becomes a tool to earn money to live and to increase consumption. The impoverishment of families obliges numerous individuals from the two sexes to sell themselves on a market more and more organized in non-formal networks. The sexual work is a non-formal answer to unemployment and to poverty. It both concerns women, men and children. Morocco would use the sex intensively to the point that one is able to speak of a "prostitution economy".

 

 



[1] Extracted from my paper entitled « Sexuality and Sexual Health in Morocco », in "Challenges in Sexual and Reproductive Health: Technical Consultation on Sexual Health, OMS, Genève 2002.

[2] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 37.

[3] Ibid. p. 37.

[4] Ibid. p. 33.

[5] According to many interviews with some mothers in the newspaper Al Ahdath al Maghribiya.

[6] L. Imane: “La prostitution masculine au Maroc", Kalima, n° 24, March 1989.

[7] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 33.

[8] Ibid. p. 35.

[9] Ibid. p. 36.

[10] See some articles in the newspaper Al Ahdath al Maghribiya on this topic.

[11] Peter Kandela : “The prostitution of children in Marrakech and the spread of Aids ”, The Lancet,  Volume 356, n° 9264, 9 December 2000.

[12] A. Dialmy: Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 37.

[13] Ibid. p. 37.

[14] Ibid. p. 38.

[15] Ibid. p. 39.

[16] Ibid. p. 39.

[17] "Niveaux, variations et déterminants de l'infécondité au Maroc", in Santé de reproduction au Maroc: facteurs démographiques et socioculturels", Rabat, CERED, pp. 184-187.

[18] J. Join : “Invocations pour l'enfantement”, Hespéris, 1953; P. Lalu : “Le mythe de l'enfant endormi, occasion d'examen gynécologique”, Maroc Médical; J. Mathieu et R. Manneville : Les accoucheuses musulmanes traditionnelles de Casablanca, Paris, Imprimerie Administrative Centrale, 1952; P. Pascon : “Population et développement”, BESM, n° 104-105, 1967; R. Bourquia: Femmes et fécondité au Maroc, Casablanca, Afrique-Orient, 1996.

[19] "Niveaux, variations et déterminants de l'infécondité au Maroc", op. cit. p. 192.

[20] According to an endocrinologist at Fez interviewed by A. Dialmy in Sexualité et Politique au Maroc, op. cit. p. 50.

[21] No published.

[22] A. Harakat: Troubles érectiles et consultation sexologique, in Espérance médicale, March 2001, T. 8, n° 70, p. 118.

[23] According to Pfizer, a million of people in Morocco would endure erection’s troubles. This evaluation is extracted from an unpublished study titled "Prevalence of the erection dysfunction in Morocco", Casablanca.

[24] A. Harakat : "Troubles érectiles et consultation sexologique", op. cit. p. 119.

[25] Ibid. p. 118.

[26] A. Dialmy: Logement, sexualité et Islam, Casablanca, Eddif, 1995.

[27] A. Harakat: "Troubles érectiles et consultation sexologique", op. cit. p. 119.

[28] A. Dialmy: Jeunesse, Sida et Islam au Maroc, op. cit. p. 103-104.

[29] A. Dialmy: Logement, Sexualite et Islam, op. cit., p. 140. 

[30] RGPH 1960, RGPH 1971, Caractéristiques socio-économiques de la population (Direction of Statistics 1982), Les caractéristiques socio-économiques et démographiques de la population (DS, 1994), Enquête Nationale sur la Famille, DS, 1995.

[31] Enquête nationale sur les niveaux de vie des ménages 1998 /1999, Rabat, CERED, p. 16.

[32] Ibid. p. 16.

[33] A. Dialmy: Logement, sexualité et Islam, op. cit, p. 144-145.

[34] Analyse de la situation des enfants au Maroc, op. cit. p. 170. 

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