What Americans call dating, Muslims increasingly permit as “pleasure marriage,” Bloomberg reports. Twenty-somethings who want sex but can’t afford marriage—a problem in the Middle East, where pay is low and unemployment high—get guilt-free dating clearance with a short-term contract. Men often keep it and “tear it up at the first sign of trouble,” said an Egyptian lawmaker who wants to control the practice.
Because of pleasure marriage, Muslims are marrying later—men after 30, women in their mid-20s—and unwanted pregnancy is becoming a public issue. But one Beirut man said the practice gives people a chance to enjoy life wisely. "I believe in sex, but also in boundaries,'' he said. "Pleasure marriage is a boundary.''