CAIRO – Although talking about sexual health remains taboo in many Arab countries, including Egypt, Egyptian activist Nour Emam is working to educate women in Egypt and the Arab world through an online platform called “Mother Being ”.
The platform aims to educate women and men on sexual and reproductive health. At the start of this year, Emam started providing work support for women, but she quickly launched an online educational platform that covers topics related to sex education. Most recently, in September, the platform launched an educational course on sexual awareness focused on pleasure.
On her Facebook page, Emam posts topics related to fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum support. It also teaches future parents how to prepare, trust, support and listen to the reproductive journey.
The platform also offers a range of women-only educational sessions that deal with menstruation, childbirth and pleasure-driven sexual awareness.
Emam works in a hospital as a doula to help women before and during childbirth. She had joined a five-month online doula training program from Canada and then another postpartum depression management training program from a UK university.
She told Al-Monitor that she decided to start the initiative to help herself and other women after her postpartum depression nearly caused her to kill herself.
After starting her doula work, Emam decided to expand her platform and training to also include sex education in general, and not just the period of pregnancy and childbirth.
The Egyptian activist stressed that she double-checked everything posted in her videos on social media for fear of being prosecuted for spreading false information.
Emam believes that many people cannot find reliable information on sexual and reproductive health. She added that even parents do not talk to their children about such matters.
So far, Emam said, “People’s reaction to my content was above and beyond.” She stressed the importance of sensitizing men and women to sexuality, since men represent half of society.
Jamal Farwez, consultant psychiatrist at the Cairo Military Academy of Medicine, supports awareness initiatives and emphasizes that sex education reduces sexual disorders and harassment.
Farwez believes awareness initiatives are raising awareness of bullying attempts, so girls can protect themselves. He stressed that sex education should be taught in school curricula from childhood, so that children can learn more about their bodies and the changes that occur as they grow older.
There is controversy in Egypt and in Arab and Islamic countries around sex education, as many people view sex as an innate and instinctive matter that does not require study or education. Farwez rejected the idea that sexual culture is innate and stressed the need to teach it.
Sweden-based Jordanian Islamic preacher Fikri al-Miskawi said in 2018 that “Sexual matters and relationships are innate and known to people, but what needs to be covered is the ethics of such relationships. Islamic Sharia has dealt with them in the context of teachings related to family jurisprudence.