SEX: What MUSLIM WOMEN REALLY WANT … IN THE BEDROOM
What Muslim women really want in the bedroom
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.
ByÂ Shelina Janmohamed
7:00AM BST 02 May 2013
Abdelaziz Aouragh runs an online sex shop for Muslims. âWe donât sell products that simply enhance the love life between man and woman,â he explains. âAll of our products provide a deeper meaning to sexuality, sensuality and even spirituality.â
His company El Asira, based in the Netherlands, offers products like âsensual siliconeâ and âglamour lotion.â All of his products are Halal.
âThe majority of our customers are women,â he tells me. âWith men there is too much bravado.â
I see this pattern often repeated of Muslim women 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 itâs also for pleasure.
There are stories about how Prophet Muhammad would be approached in the mosque by women and men asking open questions about sexuality. In one famous tale, a woman came to see him 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, erm, pay more attention to his bride.
This openness has been lost over time, and discussions about sex have become taboo. However, things are slowly changing.
Wedad Lootah is a UAE marriage counsellor who published an Arabic sex guide,Â Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples, on how to achieve sexual intimacy with your partner, stating couples needed the advice. Her book was blessed by the mufti of the UAE. But she received intense criticism.
Wedad Lootah’s controversial book
Whilst engaged, my now husband and I attended a âpre-marriageâ seminar, one of the first of its kind in the UK. The one day training included an hour about sex. It wasnât very good, but nonetheless, I was pleased that the subject was raised and the taboo broken.
Jenny is an Irish Muslim organising a similar two part seminar for young women only, the first on marriage, the second on intimacy. âThe girls donât know what should be happening in their intimate lives,â she explains. âThe men tell them to do X or Y, and they donât know any better.â Jenny understands that her seminar is unusual, but her primary concern is that the young women receive this education, and criticism is kept at bay. For this reason, she asks I donât quote her real name: âIâm sticking my neck out here.â
Itâs not a sex instruction class that sheâll be hosting. âWeâre not telling them what goes where!â laughs Jenny. âBut these girls need to know their rights in the bedroom.â
In the USA, controversial Muslim activist Asra Nomani has written an âIslamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Bedroom.â to âuphold womenâs right to pleasureâ. Nomani says she received negative feedback about the bill. But when I read about it I remember thinking, this is not in the least controversial or new for Islam. If anything it shows how little Muslims – even vocal ones – have knowledge about Islam’s un-guilty approach to sex, or understand that Islam has always been extremely open about sexual pleasure, and in particular womenâs pleasure.
Yet, itâs undeniable that to talk about sexuality, especially as a woman, is difficult, and as a consequence Iâm genuinely apprehensive about publishing this piece. But push on I will.
Itâs a subject that needs to be openly addressed, precisely so that these contradictions can be unravelled.