Sex is taboo subject for most Muslims. However, a growing number of young Muslim women are talking about what they really want when in the bedroom. Shelina Janmohamed, author of Love in a Headscarf, explains how women are leading the way in her faith when it comes to understanding sexuality.
The author mentions examples such as Abdelaziz Aouragh who runs an online sex shop for Muslims, as well as how Muslim women are leading their male counterparts in the discussion about sexuality and intimacy. According to Islamic law, sex is limited to between those who are married. But when it comes to exactly what you can do, and how sex is generally discussed, Islam itself is quite open. Sex is of course for procreation, but it’s also for pleasure. This openness has been lost over time, and discussions about sex have become taboo. However, things are slowly changing.
The author recalls a story about a woman came to see Mohammed on her wedding night, to complain her husband was too busy praying and hadn’t come near her. The Prophet went to see the husband, admonished him for being too engrossed in religious prayer and instructed him to pay more attention to his bride.
Wedad Lootah is a UAE marriage counsellor who published an Arabic sex guide, Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples, on how to achieve sexual intimacy with your partner. Her book was blessed by the mufti of the UAE. But she received intense criticism.
There are accounts regarding pre-marital seminars, included sex education. The aim is that the young women receive this education, and criticism is kept at bay because “The girls don’t know what should be happening in their intimate lives and the men tell them to do X or Y and they don’t know any better.”
There are descriptions of books that Muslim women themselves are using to try to open a discussion about sexuality, its role in their identity, and their fears and aspirations. For those Muslims who want to live a chaste life, the pressures are immense especially as their surroundings are increasingly sexualised. Virginity is seen as abnormal. And rejection of ‘sexual liberation’ is seen as backward.
The article points out that if contextually appropriate teachings are not available – whether at home, in the mosque or in other social settings – then the taboos about sexuality become entrenched, lead to diminished knowledge, and pleasure or even negativity about sex.