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Tales From a Forgotten Corner

Splash Dabbler Columnist

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

 October 10, 2006


Would you be worried if your boyfriend though sperm came from bone marrow?

Mine does. Of course I laughed, so hard that cola came out of my nose. But then, it made me think.


There is NO sex education in North Cyprus. The kids don’t get taught about their own bodies; let alone what they can do with other peoples. When a girl first gets her period, many times she doesn’t know what it is, and thinks she has some terrible disease. When she musters up the courage to tell her mother, she gets a slap round her face for her troubles (a Cypriot tradition, said to keep the cheeks rosy). Imagine how terrifying this is.


The teenage generation here are having sex left, right and centre. But everyone is pretending is doesn’t happen, as ‘clean family girls’ do not do this. So they choose to close their eyes, keep these children in the dark about contraceptive options and effectively condemn them to living in ignorance.


The teen pregnancy rate in this country is horrific, and yet brilliantly covered up. And let me tell you something else – 87% of these pregnancies end in abortion. It’s terrible, isn’t it? To think of the sheer amount of these underage girls who truly believe that you can’t get pregnant on your first time, or standing up, or if you jump up and down afterwards!


Their sole source of education on this subject is old wives tales and scare stories. There is a saying in Cyprus; if you’ve had a good orgasm you’re said to have “cum right down to your bone marrow”. Obviously this is why my poor boyfriend thinks this is where sperm comes from.


Aside from teenage pregnancy and strange beliefs, there is another frightening side effect of not having sex education – an astounding lack of knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases. Over 80% of sexually active Turkish Cypriot boys and men DO NOT USE CONDOMS. These are people that think you can catch diseases from toilet seats, and yet do not protect themselves in the most intimate act of all.


It’s amazing that AIDS is not rampant in Cyprus, but I can tell you the stage is set for it. Possibly the only reason it isn’t a widespread danger is the fact that prostitution is legal here, and the brothels health codes are strictly regulated. It is not uncommon here for men to visit brothels, even if they are married or in a serious relationship.


That isn’t to say it’s accepted, but it happens and everyone knows. It’s almost part of the culture here, but surprisingly enough, this isn’t to blame for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases because the use of condoms is required by law in all brothels.

Disease is spread through promiscuous young men and uneducated young women. If sex education were to be taught at school, just once a year, imagine how much pain this would save.


Turkish Cypriots, however, prefer to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that their children are not sexually active. It is only when they are faced with the stark reality of abortion, disease and infertility that they may wish they had educated their children.



Name: Anne-Cathrine/Shesolovely
Comment: Very well written about avery important subject.

Name: Cat
Comment: Another booker prize worthy entry sweetie.

Name: Lara
Comment: Well said darling! Maybe you should get someone to start a revolution!

Name: Archer
Comment: I couldn't agree more with you Cem, but I would gently ask you to
reference any statements postulated as facts, for instance '87% end in
abortions?' I wouldn't know what the figure is, but it both strengthens an
argument and helps the reader read further if all facts are quoted or
referenced. But overall, I enjoyed this, and the use of a personal experience to
highlight your argument was masterful. Any recommendations as to what the people
of Cyprus should do to get sex education happening?

Name: Shazar
Comment: Great topic Cem! I had to laugh at the bone marrow bit; it is amusing
how euphemisms can become the basis of truth. There are a host of issues that
revolve around sexuality, most stemming from the ideology of it being private.
Though the rate of exposure in current society debunks that myth. A book I was
recently reading spelled out one issue: that woman are expected to be virgins
(with the knowledge to match) until their wedding night; and then POOF! instant
woman, completely capable in all sexual aspects. The transition period between
two extremes is absurd! From my own studies, there is also the "Virgin-Mother"
dilemna, where men want to have sex with anyone, except their wife, because such
an act makes her unclean and unworthy. So they expel their sexual energies on
every other woman imaginable, while believing that their wife alone is the
symbol of maternal purity. The legalized prostitution serves an important role. What is not being taught in
adolescence is being enforced in adulthood. So while talking to teens about sex
maybe taboo, at least the government is proactive with the adult population.
Eh, I'm rambling on on too many topics. Great column Cem. I hope there is part
2! I'd like to have your take on sexuality. :) Be well.

Name: Lianna Marie Binks
Comment: Where the shitting hell is the note I left on this entry???
Love you sis. Fabulous entry as ever sister of mine.
Lee Mee xXx

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