A new matchmaking cell phone service will see the light in Saudi Arabia next week, but critics charge that the service provides a perfect platform for those who want to engage in phone sex.
Houssam Dahbour, the business development manager of the service provider of 'Marriage of Happiness', told AlArabiya.net that marriage seekers send text messages with the qualities they want in a life partner. If the two parties are interested, the girl's guardian is contacted.
Sara Abdullah, 30, told AlArabiya.net that seven years ago she decided to use a matchmaking website. She posted her profile and got 10 requests. They all asked to talk to her on the phone before making up their mind. She later found out that marriage was just a façade.
"They tried to make me have phone sex with them. I now know how they go about that: with questions like 'what are you wearing now?' and 'what does your bedroom look like?' or by talking about the intimate details they want in a wife… etc."
"This is becoming a phenomenon," Sara added. "And some girls like that and respond to it."
Awatef, 27, said she was also disappointed with the outcome of using matchmaking websites, but decided to seek revenge: "I started blackmailing men who manipulate girls in this way."
Saleh, a 40-year old husband who says he does not get enough sexual satisfaction with his wife, told AlArabiya.net that he frequents these websites and finds it the only means to hook up with girls in such a conservative society: "It is not only men who want that; girls do too."
Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence and member of the Islamic Jurisprudence Academy Dr. Mohamed Al-Najimi ruled that men who seek phone sex via marriage websites are "committing a grave sin."
"Ears fornicate, too. And the girl becomes an accomplice in the sin if she knows his intentions and still responds, and I doubt she would be serious about marriage."
In principle, Najimi does not see a problem in looking for a spouse through the Internet: "As long as those websites are secure, and placed under strict supervision, so they do not turn into brothels."
Sociologist Hessa Al-Azzaz told AlArabiya.net that the Internet is the worst way for marriage seeking. She argues that girls resort to those websites because they have no other means of knowing their future husbands, while most men use them as a sexual outlet: "It's a way to manipulate traditions."
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)