Getting a little privacy is almost impossible in rural areas, and very difficult even in major cities.Tea shops are among the few places where lovers can look into each other’s eyes, and maybe hold hands.“Their parents give them a roof over their heads and three meals a day, and they get oil money from the government. (She doesn’t want to name her thesis supervisor, as it might harm her reputation.) While studying a peripheral subject, prostitution, Aguis became interested in the sex lives of young people: “Young Algerians face three obstacles to a normal sex life: religion, customs and the penal code, which all say the same thing.
The difference is that the Islamist movements have a lot of money, so they always win.”Another heavy burden on youth is custom and social control.“I pray at the mosque five times a day, because you get 27 times more points than for praying at home.” Rabah has had three girlfriends. “With these girls, it’s just for sex.” By “sex” he means finding a quiet spot where they can kiss, pet and perhaps, if she agrees, go as far as anal intercourse, but never vaginal penetration. And anyway, I want to keep myself clean for Sarah on our wedding night.”‘You have to lie to everyone’Amira, 30, is a native of Algiers.She is veiled and lives alone in a small flat in the city centre, far from her parents’ house.Among Algeria’s 1.5 million students — whose numbers are growing exponentially — it is even higher.At 35, Algerians are still considered young (two thirds of the population is under that age), and women who are still virgins at 40 are not rare.