Saudi Arabia has long been a code name for social conservatism and sexual abstinence but today, Conor Sheils meets the man lifting the lid on the Kingdom's passion for lust and fuelling the country's secret sexual revolution.
Dr. Abdul Al-Lily, who splits his time between Al-Hassa in the KSA and Oxford, UK, created the Sex and Beyond: Saudi Arabia blog with the view of exposing the Kingdom's sexy secrets to the outside world and boosting Saudi performance in bed. “I set up the blog to enhance cultural exchange between Saudi Arabia and the outside world and to help those foreigners who are (or want to be) in a relationship with Saudis,” he explained. The racy site, which covers off-limits topics including masturbation and homosexuality, has got Qu’raan weilding authorities so hot under the collar that they banned the site inside of the KSA. But that hasn't stopped residents in the kingdom using sophisticated software in order to take part in the raunchy escapades.
The response from sex loving Saudis and curious foreigners has been orgasmic but Dr. Al-Lily claims the site’s taboo breaking topics have been too hot to handle for some within the Kingdom. “Non-Saudi visitors have shown excitement and cooperation. Saudi visitors, however, thought that I wanted to gain fame through the blog, or that I was just wasting my time or that I was going public about my sin.” Nevertheless, Al-Lily told us that he has visitors from over 170 countries worldwide, adding that “many Saudis do not recognise the value of the blog idea.” However, the Saudi sex maverick chooses to ignore the powers that be in order to spur on the Saudi sexual revolution: “I choose to say nothing to my detractors,” he tells us, with a touch of sass.
However, there isn't much else that Dr. Al-Lily has stayed silent on, from anal sex to incest, his site has shocked and horrified, leaving many furious across the Kingdom. Despite worldwide praise, the leading sex expert remains humble about the site's success. “I do not see myself as a reformer who intentionally seeks changes - I am simply a social researcher who wants to illuminate social issues.”
Meanwhile, the doctor claims that, despite the best efforts of the overzealous religious police, horny Saudis are filthier than ever before, though still forced to keep their exploits under wraps. “Sex is an exceptionally private issue in Saudi Arabia. One is not to talk about her/his experiences with sexuality, including her/his experiences with her/his partners. That said, many Saudis are known for making jokes related to sex.”
When asked if the average Saudi couple were kinky, Dr Al-Lily claimed many of the Kingdom's sex-crazy residents liked nothing better than engaging in haram phone sex sessions. “The following example illustrates the point [of the blog]: many Saudis find merely the female voice to be sexually provocative.”
However, despite years of experience, the Kingdom's own Doctor Love is still undecided about what the Saudi sexual revolution will change in the country. “One might argue that sexuality is a complicated matter, to the extent that it is difficult to, for example, figure out which is best: the western approach to sexuality or the Saudi approach. When I told my mother about the western approach to sexuality, she said: 'I'm glad I'm not a westerner.' Likewise, when I told my French friend about the Saudi approach to sexuality, she said: 'I'm glad I'm not a Saudi.’”
One thing he is sure about is the continued growth of the site and Dr Al-Lily expects the success to continue as more and more Saudis cast off conservatism and wake up to a bright, new, sexy future. “The future for the blog looks positive as it keeps growing from strength,” he says.