American woman dating a turkish man
When my partner and I first arrived in Turkey, we stayed with a pair of uni students.
These two young guys would have big groups of their male buddies over most nights but I never saw a single woman.
One thing I have wanted to write about for a while in this column is the view of sex and dating in Turkey.
I have watched (mostly) foreign and (some) Turkish friends grapple with dating and all its highs and—more often—lows, and have become endlessly fascinated with the subject.
Some of the rules include showering after intercourse, no sex during menstruation, and that a man must have sex with his wife at least once every four months (this is considered to be a wife’s conjugal right).
With a religion that severely subjugates its women comes an unfair balance between the roles that men and women play in courtship, marriage, and sex: the woman is submissive to her husband, who can have multiple wives (although polygamy is illegal, it is still practiced in some parts of the country), and use her for sex whenever the mood strikes him.
Turkish Airlines has previously gotten into hot water for banning red cosmetics to be worn by stewardesses as this “impairs the visual integrity of the intended look” (read: is too sexy).
We then lived with another two guys, this time in their early 30s, one of whom was gay but had a ‘beard’ as being openly gay is still taboo in this country (but that is a topic for another time) and one who had no social skills around women whatsoever. The problem is that women and men are not encouraged—on a large scale—to live together as friends in a share house or even as partners before marriage.
Under President Erdoğan’s leadership (whose party AKP has held government for 12 years), the conservatives have become more powerful and visible than ever before, and use sexual politics as one of the most important tools to control society.
On September 15, Ismail Akkiraz, the vice chairman of the über-conservative Saadet Party, told a crowd during a speech that, “due to the AKP’s inadequate policies, our youth do not know how to practice ablution, and 60% go around [not showering after sex].” A few weeks later, on October 1, Selman Ada, the new manager of the Turkish State Opera and Ballet, said that employees (besides the ballet dancers) can no longer wear “athletic wear, tight cotton shorts, tights, stretch jeans, sandals, slippers, spiked high heels, formal evening gowns” to work.
The consequences of this conservative view of sex are dire—for both men and women.
Growing up, men believe that women are sacred prizes to firstly win, marry, bed, and then—as sexual freedom is not encouraged and many men and women from more conservative families will sleep with no one before they get married—cheat on.