Sunday, February 28, 2010

On Contemplating an Arranged Marriage

Or, I Became a Spinster at Age 20

In my work as a sex toy educator, I do a lot of networking and meet dozens of new people each week. 

This week, I met a man who was a Muslim and had emigrated to America from the Middle East.  I assumed that, based on his religious faith, he would be uncomfortable talking to me, so I didn't make an effort to socialize with him.  However, we ended up leaving the event together, and we struck up a very meaningful conversation in which we covered The Rules of Muslim Sex (my caps) as well as how to target sex education for Muslim youth. 

It was an extremely enlightening and interesting discussion, and I've revisited the memory all week.  When I get some time, I'd like to find some reading materials to fill in the blanks for me.

However, one of the things that really jumped out at me is that there is an assumption (an assumption that is shared by many major religions) that youth are saving themselves sexually for marriage and practicing abstinence because they expect to be married in a timely fashion.  To me, timely means around age 18-24 for women, and perhaps a little older than that for men.

Now, what happens if you go to graduate school or you're a late-bloomer or you simply don't find your mate in the marriage game during those years and somehow end up single in your mid-30s (like me!)?  Is a lifetime of sexual frustration and loneliness your reward for abstinence?  As an added bonus, you will probably also get to spend the prime of your life caring for your aging parents because you're the family spinster/bachelor. 

Arranged marriages are the safety net in this equation, I think.  Surprisingly, I'm not against arranged marriages - I've read the research that shows that they can last longer and be "more sucessful" than love matches.  When I was 18, I would've gone kicking and screaming bloody murder to the altar, but now?  Sign me up.  I have a bunch of home repairs that need doing, and I could really use a second income around here. 

Back to the thought that's really been entertaining me today:

Who would my parents have arranged for me to marry back when they were still in control of my fate?  Who would they pick now?

Think about it - if your parents would have arranged your marriage when you were 18, who would they have chosen?  How do you think that marriage would have been?  Could you have made it work or would you have been sleeping in separate bedrooms within the first year?

I'd love to hear your stories!

Sharon, Sex Toy Educator
Owner, Primrose Path

1 comment:

  1. Arranged marriages last because the culture does not condone divorce. While most people don't like the thought, but marriage, historically, is a contract between two families: property/goods (i.e. the bride, dowry etc.) get exchanged, hence no need for love. Affection, however, is desirable in order to ensure some stability. Passionate love can be found outside of marriage in mistresses or gigolos.
    Whether it is myself of my parents that pick my partner, it would not work since I was too young in my twenties to know who I am or what I want...however, I think my mother, in spite of our differences, would have picked well: handsome with money (imagine that), humorous, kind and affectionate. Not sure she could have found that guy, but she would have tried.