IndexMiddle East Oman



Marriage at age 13 was common in Oman (Wikan, 1982:p60-1)[1], following segregation from age two and a virginity test (1984:p639)[2]. Sexual jokes were told in front of children (p137). Wikan (1982:p85) stated that Omans “[...] observe no shyness for children, not even for a son in his teens. For this reason, children presumably grow up with a “natural”, matter-of-fact attitude to these aspects of life”. Children may play “house and family”, but no statements are made on erotic elements. More strictness and distance are observed from school age. Men seem to assume that boys “start being curious and [explore] sexual matters” at puberty (p176). Early teen homosexuality is severely punished (p178). Traditionally, “[a]round the age of three, girls start observing sexual modesty. They cover all parts of the body other than hands, feet and face. The face comes next, around the age of 13, when black masks (burqa) are assumed which screen forehead, cheeks, nose and upper lips” (Wikan, 1977:p307)[3].







Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Dec 2004




[1] Wikan, U. (1982) Behind the Veil in Arabia. Baltimore: JohnsHopkinsUniversity Press

[2] Wikan, U. (1984) Shame and Honour: A Contestable Pair, Man, New Series 19,4:635-52

[3] Wikan, U. (1977) Man Becomes Woman: Transsexualism in Oman as a Key to Gender Roles, Man, New Series 12,2:304-19