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Sex Before Marriage Law in UAE

UAE Sex before marriage

UAE Law about Sex Before Marriage (Rules for Unmarried Couples)

Can I have sex in Dubai without marriage?

Talking about sex in the Arab world is nothing less than taboo. Islamic culture is yet to accept the open concept of sexuality, which most of the world has already embraced. However, in 2020 UAE announced a revolutionary reform by decriminalizing pre-marital sex. When you look at an Arab country like UAE, where Islamic principles guide the constitution, it’s indeed ground-breaking legal reform. While women are no longer jailed for pre-marital sex, there are still uncertainties regarding certain legal matters of Dubai Sex Law.

Following are the laws that deal with different aspects of sexual relationships in Dubai.

UAE Law about Premarital Sex

In November 2020, the UAE government announced multiple reforms. Among them, decriminalization of sex out of wedlock stood out. According to this, sex outside marriage is no longer an offense. Unmarried couples can cohabitate without fearing the law. The law truly reflects UAE’s current society and where the country is headed in terms of tolerance and embracing different cultures.

Not everyone who visits or works in Dubai is Muslim or Emirati, so this austere law was a threat for unmarried couples staying in Dubai or any other part of UAE. However, authorities in Dubai have hardly targeted or prosecuted anyone for pre-marital sex in the past few years. But the reform has surely lifted the fear from the mind of unmarried couples.

UAE Law about Pregnancy Before Marriage

Even after the decriminalization of pre-marital sex in the UAE, no legal changes are reflected in how pregnancies and children born outside the marriage are treated. Any new birth in Dubai requires a parent’s marriage certificate in UAE to issue a birth certificate. Unmarried mother also struggles with hospital expenses as health insurers do not offer pregnancy cover to unmarried women. So, the mother needs to bear all the maternity costs.

The current legal procedure for obtaining a birth certificate for children born to an unmarried woman is cumbersome. For example, according to a newspaper report, when a new mother failed to provide a marriage certificate, hospitals called the police. Police then referred the case to the Personal Status Court, where a judge issued a decision and methods to register the birth.

Last we checked on the UAE government information website, about the list of documents required for getting a birth certificate in UAE.

  • Attested Arabic marriage certificate
  • Copy of husband and wife’s passports
  • Birth notification from the hospital
  • Discharge summary from the hospital

This clearly states that men and women need to be legally married to get their children recognized in Dubai. The lack of a birth certificate may also create further issues such as getting admission to school, health insurance, etc.

The Dubai Health Authority policy says that “unmarried females at the time of enrollment and females without childbearing capacity must not be offered maternity cover.”

The law firms in Dubai say that reforms were an important step in the right direction, but the lack of supportive laws is needed to create a forward-looking society.

Dubai night sex

UAE Law about Homosexuality

Homosexuality is a crime in Dubai and not acceptable at all. Article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai states that anyone who engages in consensual sodomy will be charged under criminal law. Not just the law, but Emiratis are also not welcoming to gay couples in the country. Most locals still associate LGBT people with sex crimes and rapes. In June 2021, USA and UK embassies in Dubai faced a strong backlash from locals for raising rainbow-colored flags along with their national flag to celebrate pride month.

Crossdressing is also a criminal offense in Dubai. If a male even wears female apparel, he can face a jail term of up to 1 year and a fine of up to AED 10,000. Despite these restrictions, several LGBT people and couples travel to Dubai every year. All LGBT couples traveling to Dubai just need to know some tips to stay and travel safely in Dubai.

  • Avoid all types of PDA.
  • Book rooms in LGBTQ friendly hotels.
  • Book a room with two single beds.
  • Be cautious about what you post online.
  • Do not argue with a local.

UAE Law about Prostitution

Sex engaged in for commercial reasons, aka prostitution, is a serious criminal offense in Dubai. Punishments for engaging in prostitution include imprisonment and hefty fines. Foreign prostitutes are deported from the UAE. Despite all the harsh punishments, prostitution can be seen in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Various nightclubs and bars in Dubai are frequented by prostitutes and escorts.

UAE Law about Sex Trafficking

UAE Federal Law No. 51 prohibits all forms of human trafficking. The penalties under this law are grave and stringent, ranging from a year to life imprisonment. Dubai began noticeable efforts for the rehabilitation of victims of trafficking. The government conducts regular training for law enforcement officials on handling victims sensitively. Dubai still lacks a comprehensive and proactive procedure to identify trafficking victims and help them.

Sex trafficking still remains a problem in Dubai. Most women trafficked to the city are from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Iran, and African countries.

Sex Tourism in Dubai

Several men travel to Dubai for sex tourism. According to Wikipedia, the city attracts many foreign businessmen from post-Soviet states, South America, Eastern Europe, East Asia, etc., who are seeking no-strings-attached enjoyment in the city. Most women involved in the sex trade are trafficked to UAE with the pretext of lucrative job offers.

Can I have public Sex in Dubai?

You can’t have physical intimacy with your partner publicly in Dubai. Sex in open spaces like beaches or vehicles is prohibited. No direct law mentions anything about sex in public, but Article 358 states that whoever publicly or openly commits a lewd or disgraceful act can be punished with jail terms and deportation (for foreigners only).

Bottom Line

Dubai (UAE) has strict laws against illegal sex activities mentioned above. The city seeks to become a secular and more socially liberal state to attract more investment. To be with the rest of the world in the race, the laws get updated whenever required.

Most of the Dubai sex laws are about what tourists and residents are expected to do. Even before the decriminalization of sex between unmarried couples, no one searched for unmarried couples making love and prosecuting them. However, the reform has definitely improved the tourism climate in Dubai.

Having sex in Dubai was never a crime, but where and with whom were certainly a matter of legal concern. If you are planning to move to Dubai these sex laws might come in handy. The only advice here is to stay safe, stay guided and avoid illegal activities mentioned in UAE sex law.