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Breaking taboos: Arab podcasts talk sex.

Porn, masturbation and anal sex: taboo-breaking podcasts for Arab audiences are shattering the silence which has stymied sex education at home and in the classroom.

“There’s a growing appetite for relatable content,” said Hebah Fisher of the UAE-based podcast company Kerning Cultures.

Kerning Cultures produces the podcast “Jasadi” or “My body” — launched in 2019 “to tell stories that weren’t being told”, Fisher said.

The podcast, which deals with mental and physical health including topics relating to sex and the body, is only one of a growing number of Arabic audio shows addressing issues long deemed taboo.

Jasadi is Kerning Culture’s third most popular show and the number of listeners, more than 70 percent of them female, has grown six-fold since its debut.

Apple named it one of the best Middle East and North Africa podcasts for 2020 and it is especially popular in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“Content created for us, by us is in high demand,” Fisher said.

Adding, this is “necessary content that we’ve all been craving, to better understand ourselves, this world, and our place in it.”

One of Jasadi’s top three episodes — titled “The first time” — features two women, one from Jordan, the other from Sudan, who anonymously discuss the first time they heard about sex and their first experience having it.

“I don’t know why we have less acceptance for Arabic terms for genitals compared to English,” said one speaker who suffers from vaginal spasms — a condition known as vaginismus.

She said she especially has a problem with the formal Arabic term for vagina — “mahbal” — because of its proximity to the word “ahbal”, which translates as stupid.

The phonetic link has allowed for the term to be used as an insult or a joke.#s63

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