You know that we have begun at the peak and that it’s all downhill when a scientific paper starts with a sentence like this:
La sexualité occupe une place très importante dans la vie de l’être humain.
Every caution, flag, and signal should be waving on high; each bell, alarm, and klaxon should be blaring in your ears. A sign with letters three feet high reading Theory Ahead should flash before your mind’s eye. Only an academic, or a middle schooler writing his first essay, could put those words onto paper and think they were worth reading.
The paper is “La Sexualite des Hommes Tunisiens” by Fakhreddine Haffani, the Chef de service de psychiatrie adulte à l’hopital Razi à la Manouba.
We can forgive Haffani, at least a little, knowing that academics are forced to write badly and on subjects which are not of the least interest to anybody because if they do not, out the door they go, cast into the outer darkness, there to live the life of a peripatetic, sans paycheck. Why, if they did not publish bad papers all that would be left to them is blogging.
Thus we cringe only slightly when we read of Haffani’s excuse: “En Tunisie, le comportement sexuel masculin est un continent non encore exploré.” Very well, let’s exploré. Haffani performed his science by asking 300 men, aged 20 to 69, a bunch of questions on their sexuality.
The statistics come hard and fast. Like this one: “L’âge moyen de notre population est de 38,26 ans.” Now that’s 38.26 and not 38.25 years, an important distinction; yes, to the tune of about three-and-a-half days difference. Science is nothing if not precise.
There came the curious heading “Le but de l’activité sexuelle” (The purpose of sexual activity; all translations performed by yours truly as in a high-wire act without a net). Apparently, “16% pensent accomplir une obligation” (think it’s a duty), a number which seems high given the age of the sample. But then we haven’t seen many Tunisian women. Or perhaps the answer comes in noticing that 26.4% (and not 26.3%) of married men find their relations an obligation. This result awaits a theory.
Perhaps this one: “L’amour n’est pas nécessaire pour avoir des rapports sexuels, mais les rapports sexuels sont nécessaires dans une relation amoureuse” (you don’t need love for sex, but it still takes two to tango). A full 73.3% (and not just 73.2%) of Tunisian men agree with this theory. One wonders what the other 26.7% were doing at the time the question was asked.
What about homosexuality? Well, “Un seul homme (0,33%) de notre population était exclusivement homosexuel” (just one guy). Eighty to 90% of the other fellows think activities d’homme ` homme are a non-non. This troubles le bon docteur, who said “Ceci prouve que la mutation sociale a peu ou pas d’influence sur notre conception de l’homosexualité, puisque l’homophobie, qui tend à disparaître dans l’Occident, reste bien ancrée dans la mentalité des jeunes de notre société” (Why, oh why!, can’t we be like other enlightened societies?).
It isn’t all bad news.
La grande majorité des hommes (90 %) se dit satisfaite de la taille de leur pénis et ce sont généralement les plus âgés (moyenne d’âge de 39 ans), alors qu’une minorité ne le l’est pas (10 %) et ce sont les plus jeunes (moyenne d’âge de 30,8 ans)
I leave this untranslated, except to note that nine out of ten Tunisians walk about with a satisfied smile.
Lastly, we come to what can only be described as the oddest statistic. Under the heading “La durée du coït” the reader is pleased to discover “Cette durée moyenne est proportionnelle au niveau d’instruction” (education has benefits).
En effet, elle est de 1 min et 5 sec pour les analphabétes, 1 min et 9 sec pour le niveau primaire, 1 min et 15 sec pour le niveau secondaire et 1 min et 40 sec pour le niveau supérieur.
Which is to say, a full 1 minute and 5 seconds for the illiterate, which is less time than it takes to make toast, all the way to an astonishing extra 35 seconds for those men in the possession of a college degree. (How these numbers were arrived at, we do not ask.)
Le bon docteur did not mention that this is more than sufficient time, for it is to be noted that the population of Tunis has more than doubled since 1960, and is now nearly 11 million.
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Merci beaucoup to Claude Boisson who alerted us to this topic.