Sex in Islamic culture
Dirty talk, toys, BDSM, pornography, anal and oral sex, everything is allowed and is usually practiced completely unabashedly in Western culture, but what does it actually look like in Arab countries? Can one be completely undressed during sexual intercourse, what about masturbation and which contraceptives can be used during the act of love? After my research I have heard many different opinions, all of which trace back to an outdated tradition and lead me to this statement: Islamic culture fails in the perception of its own sexuality! The fact that women there continue to be disadvantaged is not news, but that there are certain rules which, for example, prohibit sexual intercourse during menstruation, really makes me think. Of course there are also bans (Haram), which are obviously clear: Threesomes are off the table, watching porn is taboo and anal sex is considered impure, but why on earth is glorious femininity so frowned upon that even in marriages the bloody act is completely avoided? The idea that a woman is dirty or unclean during menstruation comes from old myths and finds no approach in reality. Thus it is clear that the author of the Koran had no idea that with the onset of menstruation there is also evidence of the fertility of the woman and that this process is also often called magical or even sacred. From a medical point of view, there is no reason not to have sex during the period, at a sensitive time when women are usually even more aroused than during the rest of the month.
By the way: The word »taboo« is derived from the Polynesian word »tapua«, which means both »sacred« and »menstrual flow«.
There are different opinions on the subject of being naked during sexual intercourse. According to a very strict legal opinion (Fatwa) the marriage loses its validity if the partners are naked during the act of love: Humans are not animals, have a sense of shame and should therefore always be dressed. But if married couples want to do it like animals, i.e. naked, they can do it too. A director of the fatwa department argued: According to Islamic law, married couples are allowed to completely undress in front of each other, but should not look directly at their partner’s genitals. The fact is that the Koran does not give any information about whether the genitals have to remain covered during sex. The headscarf of the woman is discarded in most cases of course, but even there are exceptions.
Here, too, there are deviations. Purists believe that masturbation is lewd, since man’s sexual drive is intended exclusively for reproduction. In turn, clergymen confirm that it is allowed (Halal), at least for unmarried men, as long as they lack the financial means for a marriage or if this could prevent rape. But it is basically better to spend his time honoring God and praying.
A new interpretation is the basis of modern Islamic doctrine, which says: If you want, you can also enjoy yourself. It is argued that everyone should take care of their physical well-being and masturbation is part of their normal physical needs. Because all over the world, instinct is stronger than religion.
Oral and anal sex
Also with the topic oral sex the opinions vary. For some, the contact between mouth and genitalia is considered »unclean«, for others it is ok as long as the sperm does not get into the mouth of the woman and is thus wasted. Considering that both the male ejaculate and the female vaginal secretion are categorized as »pure« in Islamic jurisprudence, one wonders what is going on. A dichotomy that obviously makes no sense whatsoever. The »Islamic Central Council of Switzerland« (ICCS), by the way, describes oral intercourse as unproblematic. It’s a common sexual practice in many regions and is not banned in any known source code.
The greatest sin of all is anal sex in Islamic culture. Everyone agrees and the ICCS underlines: Anal sex is taboo! The voice of the Prophet is often quoted in this context: »Cursed is the one who approaches a woman’s rectum.«
A more or less positive view can be seen with the use of contraception, which says that everyone is free to use or refrain from using contraception. Even the Prophet Mohammed is said to have had nothing against each couple deciding for themselves when and how many children they wanted to have. Therefore there is no ban on contraception in the Arab world, unless it affects health, destroys a fertilized egg and makes pregnancy impossible forever. This, however, rules out sterilization. Islamic teaching is based on a particularly affirmative attitude towards children.
My reading tips on this topic
The Muslimah Sex Manual: A Halal Guide to Mind Blowing Sex by Umm Muladhat: »I think the biggest misunderstanding people have towards Muslim women is that they are afraid of sex or are too modest to think about it«. Umm Muladhat is a Muslim himself and writes for a target group in which sex has rarely been publicly discussed. The book contains descriptions of different positions and techniques during sexual intercourse.
»Sex and the Citadel« by Shereen El Feki. In this book Shereen El Feki speaks of insights and discoveries into the unknown love life in Arab countries. Shereen El Feki reveals the complex relationships between sexuality, religion, tradition, politics and economics. In simple terms, the way people sleep together tells a lot about the state of society in which everyone lives.
In Islamic culture, too, a change in society in connection with a more open sexuality is in progress.