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Sex MashaAllah-Muslim Vignettes on Female Sexuality

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Sex MashaAllah

Muslim Vignettes on Female Sexuality

 

Disclaimer: this post is meant for a mature audience only as it contains sexually explicit material.

 

 

Sex MashaAllah | Muslim Vignettes on Female SexualityMany men and women in our communities live under the illusion that only men feel desire or have an interest in being sexual, and that women should not or cannot feel attraction, do not experience sexual pleasure, and can live healthy intimate lives without sexual satisfaction for lengthy periods of time.  This leads to misunderstandings and disappointments about wanting sex, initiating intimacy, and/or feeling excitement when sexual stimulation occurs.

 

This series of articles contains the perspectives of several Muslim women at different stages of life who have grown up and lived in different parts of the world, East and West, and want to share some insights with Muslim men – both married and unmarried – who don't want sexually repressed, bitter spouses and failing marriages.  This is a look behind the scenes to aid understanding of a universal social issue. For the sake of privacy, each writer is identified only by her marital status. May Allāh bless all of us with loving, passionate, and fulfilling intimate lives.

 

Married 20 Years, On Learning and Teaching Female Sexuality

 

With all due respect to my beloved and respected Shuyūkh, to whom I owe much of the knowledge I have gained about my religion, and for inspiring me to higher spiritual goals in my life, I firmly believe teaching female sexuality should be primarily handled by females – especially those who counsel on marital issues, psychologically or spiritually, and are familiar with the extended intimacy problems amongst women.

 

We already have issues with Muslim women not being sexually satisfied in their marriages, and these issues are exacerbated when women hesitate before approaching a male scholar to discuss their sexual challenges. It is time for us to acknowledge a serious problem we are facing in our Ummah: the issue of female sexuality.

 

Married 17 years, From the View of a Therapy Couch

 

Female sexuality is a source of confusion and frustration for many men due to misinformation. As a therapist, I have come across a number of issues faced by couples. Some men believe that women are not interested in sex because they are somehow disgusted by it.  Others think that women are not capable of being fulfilled sexually. Due to a lack of knowledge, experience and know-how, a multitude of men are not fulfilling their wives. As a result, many women experience painful sex without climax.  The majority of the clients I have done therapy with have expressed that sex is either painful or uneventful.

 

The reason that women are experiencing this level of disappointment is NOT because they are incapable of having fulfilling sexual experiences, rather it is because some men are detached emotionally from their wives and not fulfilling their needs outside the bedroom which prevents women from opening up in the bedroom.  Other men have corrupted themselves through over exposure to pornography and seductive pictures of surgically enhanced, air brushed women which as a result causes them to be overly critical of their wives who in turn feel inadequate and unattractive. When women don't feel attractive or confident they will not allow themselves to be vulnerable and perform sexually. When men take the time to bond with their wives, nurture their relationship and familiarize themselves with sexual needs of their wives, they can be successful in fulfilling them on a regular basis.

 

There are Muslim women that report having fulfilling sexual experiences with their husbands. It is evident that individuals who have these experiences usually have a very strong friendship with their spouse. There is mutual love and respect with open communication.  The men have taken the time and effort to learn the techniques (not from porn, but from proper educational sources) while investing in the relationship and making their wives feel like a valuable gem.  This form of consistent affirmation allows the wives to feel nurtured and to open up sexually to their husbands.

 

In this vicious cycle of confusion and frustration with female sexuality there is hope! In order to improve the sexual experience for both husbands and wives, there needs to be a great effort put forth towards improving the marital relationship. When a couple has good communication, conflict resolution and commitment to excellence on a personal and marital level, then the environment is created which is conducive to romance, fulfillment and joy. Our Muslim brothers and sisters need to focus on increasing their knowledge, skills & emotional know-how in having the best marriage in order to increase their chances of a mutually enjoyable sexual experience.

 

Married 15 Years, On the Importance of Arousal

 

 ”On the authority of Jaabir bin Abdullah ra and Jaabir bin Umar, both reported that the Prophet pbuh said:“All things in which there is no mention of Allāh are frivolity, absent-mindedness and idle play, except for four things: a man being playful with his wife, training his horse, walking between two purposeful goals and teaching another man to swim.” [An-Nisa'ee in al-Ishrah and at-Tabaree] [1]

 

As someone who has been married for several years and has counseled women about intimacy, I see some core issues that frequently come up amongst those seeking counseling that I would like to share with both, husbands and husbands-to-be.

 

Arousal 101

 

love marriage sex muslimA lot of people (even women) don't realize that when men and women become sexually aroused, their genitals become prepared for sex. In women this normally results in an enlargement of the clitoris and surrounding tissues (comparable to a male erection) and secretion of vaginal lubrication (i.e. she becomes wet).

 

 

Why is foreplay so important?

 

Imām Ibn Qudama [ra] the Hanbali Jurist narrates a hadith that the Messenger of Allāh said, “Do not begin intercourse until she has experienced desire, like the desire you experience, lest you fulfill your desires before she does.” (AlMughni 8:136)

 

I cannot stress the importance of foreplay enough. Men who cuddle and kiss their wives and know how to enjoy sensitive foreplay will often find that their spouses will not only enjoy sexual intercourse more, but will also reach orgasm  easier. The method varies from person to person – flirting outside the bedroom, talking, kissing, massage, touching, hugging, fondling, undressing, French kissing (which is from the sunnah [1]), petting – anything to get in the mood and more importantly to reach full arousal and enrich the sexual experience. Most women need prolonged stimulation in order to reach a state of complete arousal, and foreplay will provide them with the required stimulation (some don't, and only a loving open relationship will let you know what your spouse needs and wants) and she will love you more for it.

 

Using lubricant is amazing as an aid but cannot be a substitute for natural arousal.

 

Dear brothers, giving pleasure to one's spouse is an act of virtue with immense rewards. Ask her what makes her feel good and tell her what gives you pleasure. Listen to her voice, look into her eyes, watch her body –  they all give clues even if she is too shy to say anything. Lest someone thinks that these are all novel, 21st century ideas, many ahadith, classical Islamic books and our pious predecessors[2] paid a lot of attention to the needs of women.

 

Narrated by Sayyidna Anas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allāh said  “Not one of you should fall upon his wife like an animal; but let there first be a messenger between you.” “And what is that messenger?” they asked, and he replied: “Kisses and words.” (Musnad Al Firdaus- imām Daylami)

“If you would have pleasant coition, which ought to give an equal share of happiness to the two combatants and be satisfactory to both, you must first of all toy with the woman, excite her with kisses, by nibbling and sucking her lips, by caressing her neck and cheeks….Then when you observe the lips of a woman to tremble and get red, and her eyes to become languishing, and her sighs to become quicker, know that she is ready.”Shaykh Muḥammad Umar Nefwazi in The Perfumed Garden

 

Don't be selfish; it will harm your lovemaking in the long run. Investing in foreplay makes the whole lovemaking experience much more enjoyable. Most women want to please their man. Seeing him reach his climax is very satisfying and gives her a boost, but it is not enough. “Many women need a transition period between dealing with the stress of everyday life and feeling sexual,” Dr. Ian Kerner, Ph.D and certified sex therapist says, “a few minutes of foreplay usually isn't enough.”

 

Inadequate or ineffective foreplay (as well as depression, poor self-esteem, sexual abuse, feelings of shame or guilt about sex, stress, fatigue and illness) can impede arousal. Your wife may desire sex but if her genital area fails to respond normally, it makes sex painful and sometimes impossible.

 

In a healthy relationship, sex is only 10 percent of a marriage, meaning the focus of the marriage doesn't revolve around the quantity or issues, but when something is wrong, sex becomes 90 percent of the marriage.  Couples start arguing about it and  it causes fractures in  marriage.

 

Married 20 Years, The Woman Behind The Big O

 

As a community doyen who often hears women's complaints, is familiar with their struggles with regards to sexuality, feels their sexual dissatisfaction, and listens to their sexual fantasies, let me be very clear: if a woman is not having an orgasm for 1-2 years, she should seek counseling with her husband.

[1] Sayyida A'isha ra narrates that the Messenger of Allāh pbuh would kiss her whilst he was fasting (m, refer to the fiqh of kissing during fast) and he would suck her tongue.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 2378) [2] One day while” Umar ra May Allāh be pleased with him) was walking in Madīnah during the night, he heard a woman saying: “What a long night! I do not have a lover with whom I can play. By Allāh! Unless Allāh watches me, there will be someone to make love with me. Accordingly, 'Umar asked about that woman. He was told that her husband was away from her for fighting in the cause of Allāh. Then, he ordered that they must gather together. He sent for the husband to return. He entered upon Hafsa and asked, O daughter! How long can a woman stay away from her husband? She said, Five or six months. Therefore, he issued a command that warriors in the cause of Allāh should not be taken away from their wives more than six months. [3] In another version: Every thing that does not pertain to the remembrance of Allāh is amusement except the following four things: 1- Caressing one's wife,  taming one's horse, shooting arrows, learning how to swim. [Reported by Al-Nisa'i] [Tuhfatul Aroos]

Women have orgasms

 

Sex without orgasm is frustrating for women, and this frustration and fatigue causes a delay in her orgasm. It is a vicious cycle. The solution is not to believe that a woman needs to de-stress in order to reach her orgasm, the solution is to give her an orgasm so that she can de-stress!

 

Dissatisfaction is a reason for intimate disconnection.

 

If a man cannot make his wife climax, she may not want to jump into bed with him. If a man wants his wife to connect with him in bed, and to take initiatives to spice up their relationship, then he needs to make sure she reaches her orgasm every time. Women are perfectly capable of having an orgasm every time[4] with adequate foreplay.

 

Some men believe that a woman does not necessarily have to have to climax during every intercourse, and the mere fondling can “satisfy” her.  Quite the contrary, a woman, once instigated and fondled, is in dire need of reaching her orgasm. Our psychologist confirmed that to fondle a woman, get her excited and then leave her without an orgasm will only make her frustrated, moody and unhappy until she experiences her next orgasm! “Like their male counterparts, women can experience pelvic heaviness and aching if they do not reach orgasm,” says Ian Kerner, Ph.D.

 

In fact, according to our psychologist, a woman not reaching orgasm is worse than leaving an aroused man without ejaculating. While men may get aroused several times in the day, women do not. So to get her excited and bring her to a point where she's being fondled and then to not have her experience an orgasm is worse for her than it is for men. And if a newly-married man has the belief that their wives may not reach orgasm for up to 1-2 years due to misinformation, he will not put in much effort to help his wife climax.

 

Not being fulfilled decreases libido and is often the reason women stop wanting to have sex or think it's a chore. This does not mean that her body does not desire sex. In fact, it turns into a cycle where she wants to enjoy sex but because of the above mentioned reasons she cannot climax, which adds to her frustration, making it even harder for her to reach that orgasm. Instead of complaining about his wife's stress and fatigue and blaming that for her not reaching an orgasm, the husband should realize that because she cannot reach her climax, she is more fatigued.

 

Connect with your wives, and orgasm can only be a finger touch away.

 

Married 10 Years, On Role Playing & Vulnerability

 

Your wives are as a tilth unto you so approach your tilth when or how you will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allāh, and that you are to meet Him [Al-Baqara: 223] [5]

 

Being open about sexual fantasies, role-playing, exploring styles, positions, etc. is directly connected with a willingness to be vulnerable with one's spouse. Being vulnerable means admitting or sharing something with your spouse when you fear the possibility of rejection. Will he think I'm too kinky?  Strange? Disgusting?  Yet this vulnerability is what keeps a couple's sex life burning strong over the years, it keeps sex from getting boring and from having to “space out” in one's head to become aroused fully. Hearing what your partner has to say is also a way of affirming your love and desire to know them, which reinforces the intimacy needed for amazing sex. Sharing a fantasy or making an admission about something in the bedroom is something many women shy away from, at the fear of rejection and believing that their husband's needs are highest priority.  They don't want to “shake things up.”  Yet if a woman continues to repress what she really dreams of and wants, it can lead to her looking elsewhere for it, or perhaps just becoming complacent.

 

Either way, not feeling safe to share your true desires with your husband is a passion killer.  Couples need to make a commitment to hearing each other and consider trying new things, as long as it doesn't make someone highly uncomfortable.  Also, when it comes to sex, because marriage is the only means of halal pleasure, couples should try to be as limitless as possible within the bounds of shariah. [6]

[4]results of sexual studies conducted by American researchers Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, Shere Hite and others. In addition, the last 20 years have seen a number of sexual surveys conducted with large samples of people through newspapers and magazines. The Medical Information Service – has designed many of these. [5]On the authority of Ibn 'Abbas ra who said: ”The Ansar, who had been polytheists, lived with the Jews, who were people of the book.” The former viewed the latter as being superior to them in knowledge, and used to follow their example in many things. The people of the book would only make love to their wives from the side, this being the most modest way for the woman, and the Ansar had followed their example in that. These people from the Quraish, on the other hand, used to expose their women in an uncomely manner. They took pleasure in them from the front, from the back, or laid out flat. When the Makkans came to al-Madīnah at the time of the Hijrah, one of them married a woman from among the Ansar, and began doing that with her. She disapproved of it and told him: “We used only to be approached from the side, so do that. This dispute became very serious until it reached the ears of the Prophet pbuh. So Allāh, the High Exalted revealed, {Your wives are as a tilth unto you so approach your tilth when or how you will} [Reported by Ahmad] [6] Here is a link Mufti Ibn Kawthari's Book on Intimacy

 

Common Myths & Misconceptions,

Tropes & Notions about Female Sexuality

 

Married 15 Years, On Sex as a Tradeoff for Love, Protection & Provision

 

This notion that sex is a trade-off for women in exchange of provision, protection and emotional love in a marriage doesn't make sense to me and to most women I know. It objectifies the man as a cash register and denies his needs for emotional love. The idea of this trade-off may motivate some women who do not have any sexual desires (a VERY low percentage of women, and this cannot be used to make a general ruling for all women).

 

A sister who was taught this in an intimacy class mentions, “extending the “contract or legal” aspect of marriage into daily life hinders meeting the needs of one another in terms of a relationship. For example, we don't have a contract defining our relationship with our parents. Most of it is based on God-consciousness (taqwa), goodness (ihsan), and using common sense to meet their social, emotional, and physical needs. Why not extend that to the spouse?

 

In his book, Zad al-Ma'ad, imām Ibn Qayyim says, “Approaching a woman from her anus is unlawful. This is because the woman has also the right of sexual satisfaction. She cannot get any kind of sexual pleasure by such position. The only natural and proper way to have sex with a woman is through her vagina.” Not completing each other sexually is an injustice, and men are digging themselves into a hole for which they will have to face Allāh. It is not enough to think they are okay just because some of our Shuyūkh are telling the wife to be patient.

 

Married 15 Years, On Sex and Virtue

 

“The  Prophet pbuh declared Salman and Abu Darda' brothers.  One day,  Salman visited Abu  Darda'. He found his wife wearing shabby clothes.  He asked  her,  ”What  is  the matter with you Umm Darda'?” She said, “Your brother, Abu Darda' stands in prayer all the night and fasts all the day. He no longer wants anything from this worldly life. Then Abu Darda' came back greeted him and had some food prepared for him. Salman said, “You have to eat with me” Abu Darda' said, “I am fasting.” But Salman swore an oath that he must eat with him.” Accordingly, they ate together. At night, Abu Darda' wanted to spend the night in prayer but Salman asked him not to do (in that night). Then, he said, “Your body has a right over you and your wife has a right over you. Observe the fast sometimes and also leave it (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also approach your wife at another night. Thus you have to give everything its right. In the morning Abu Darda' told the Prophet pbuh what Salman had done with him. The Prophet pbuh, repeating Salman's statement, said, “Abu Darda'! Your body has a right over you…” [Reported by Bukhāri and Tirmidhi]

 

Another devastating misconception that often comes up is that a woman cannot be a virtuous and a sexual being at the same time, that virtue and desire are not mutually exclusive.  Feeling desire does not mean that a woman is promiscuous. Many women are reticent to express their desire because their husbands may think less of them. Others are taught that sex is dirty or shameful or that only prostitutes climax.  If your wife is under this misconception, for Allāh's sake, please talk to her.

 

Some Islamic classes and teachers addressing sexuality teach that women who feel desire will not attain the pleasures of Paradise. This teaching can really hurt a marriage, particularly of those women who are becoming more 'practicing'. Others teach sex as charity (sadaqah) based on the hadith from Bukhāri, but limit women when they stress that charity (sadaqah) is seeking reward only from Allāh. Women then start treating sex as an obligation, with a 'holier-than-thou' attitude, not expecting any sensual pleasure. But sadaqah also means truth and giving the best that we have.  Sadly, many times this is not emphasized.

 

Married 10 Years, On the Sex Drive Myth

 

We've all heard that men think about sex almost as much as they breathe. The command to lower the gaze, though directed toward both genders in the Qur'an, is more strictly enforced on men. Men and women are created differently, yet the Prophet pbuh mentioned in a hadith that, to paraphrase, women like what men like, such as good looks for the sake of arousal and pleasure. Sexual chemistry is a must for both husband and wife to have a healthy intimate life.

 

However, everyone knows that the hadith about fulfilling sexual needs is often directed toward women: a woman should get down from her camel or let her bread burn if her husband wants to have sex with her. She should also fear Allāh if she refuses, knowing that if she neglects her husband without valid reason, the angels will curse her.

 

Yet there are women who go about their married lives sexually unsatisfied and wondering if their husbands are held to the same obligation. If marriage is supposed to protect both partners from zina (unlawful intercourse), is a husband punishable for not coming to his wife when she asks for sex? Should he drop what he's doing to fulfill her needs?

 

The implication here is that women are more likely to refuse the call of their partner for sex, generally speaking, which indicates that generally, many men have a stronger libido than women, or that women are more prone to sexual highs and lows than men, whether circumstantial or hormonal.

 

Yet we cannot escape the fact that women do have a libido, and one that is strong enough to tempt an unsatisfied woman to have an affair or watch pornography, for example.

 

Other women are born with stronger sex-drives.  Scientists theorize it may have some connection to do with male hormones (androgens) that the female fetus was exposed to in-utero. Men are either very excited to be married to them or very confused, some even intimidated.  Such women may have what comes off as a voracious appetite for sex, and will leave some men wondering why she isn't a little more demure.  A woman can even be made to feel ashamed or too “masculine” for having a high sex-drive.  Yet whose yard-stick are we using to measure what is or isn't normal?

 

A woman can have as strong a libido as a man, or even stronger.  Since a woman's libido vacillates with circumstance, and actually rises with age, a woman's sexuality is fluid. She can be aroused more easily and more often at thirty-five than as a teenager or newly-wed.

 

Married 5 Years, On Sex During Pregnancy

 

Sex during pregnancy is different for each couple. Depending on the condition, libido and sex drive fluctuates, sometimes from week to week. During the 2nd trimester especially, “normal” pregnant women have an increased sex drive and are easily aroused, especially by stimulation of the G-spot, so take advantage of those days. Keep in mind the idea of “unselfish care of your partner,”  and try some different positions. 

 

Married 10 Years, On Sex After Kids

 

sex after kids pregnancyOne devastating trope about women is that after they have children, their libido goes down. Yet scientific research suggests it goes up. Does a woman actually have a lower libido or has she come to expect less satisfaction over time, often presenting a false image that she is less interested in sex?

 

Marriages change after children and motherhood is extremely taxing.  Women can almost seem to go into a “dormant” state, yet the reality isn't that her libido is gone.  The reality is that her sex-drive is directly connected with a general sense of well-being.

 

If more men were in tune with their wives emotionally, wanted to uphold a lasting friendship, or were proactive as husband and fathers, they might find the dramatic change that they were hoping for in their marriage.  With a better sense of emotional well-being outside of the bedroom, a woman's libido will sky-rocket inside it.  She may even be more open to trying new things or engaging in different styles or fantasies she was too reluctant to explore in her younger years.

 

[7] Research suggests that cognitive factors like sexual motivation, perceived gender role expectations, and sexual attitudes play important roles in women's self-reported levels of sexual arousal. Rupp, H. A., & Wallen, K. “Sex differences in response to visual sexual stimuli: A review”, “Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37(2), 206-218”, 2008

 

Married 15 Years, On Spirituality in the Bedroom

 

"The languishing eye

 

Puts in connection soul with soul,

 

And the tender kiss

 

Takes the message from member to vulva."

 

-16th century Muslim poet

 

Something that is often missing from these discussions is the spiritual component. I like to think of it in this way: everything that we do – love, bear children, have sex, feel good  - has to take us higher spiritually and closer to Allāh. The correct intention is what make these acts of worship. If I do something solely to pleasure myself or my husband, it is going to get tired quickly. But if I keep my focus on pleasing Allāh then anything I do in my intimate life, whether it's the flirting, having an orgasm, or sharing our bodies, becomes something that feeds my soul. If sex is sadaqah, it should be given with your whole heart.

 

If after good sex I am not grateful to Allāh for the experience and neither is my husband, then there is an essential element missing.  Spirituality is very emotionally and sexually empowering. If we look at sex as a spiritual not just a physical exercise and climaxing as the epitome of pleasure that Allāh has gifted us, it is easier to understand why it is meant to be a source of Divine Love for both man and woman; perhaps a taste of Heaven on Earth.

 

The post has been reviewed by Shaykh Abdullah Hasan and clinical psychologist Haleh Banani.

 

Editor's Note: We think that women should also own their sexuality and MuslimMatters will have future posts on this topic. Here is a preview aimed at women. The next posts will be by newly married and unmarried women. We will also have an article geared towards women highlighting tips to spice up their sex life.

 

-It is essential to overcoming shyness to communicate with the husband about your sexual expectations, and for coping with other psychological issues like performance anxiety.

 

-Every time a husband initiates sex he is opening himself up for rejection. Think what constant rejection can do to a person. Refusing sex for no reason is, plain and simple, a sin.

 

-If a woman is in a healthy relationship with her husband she will naturally want to flirt with him. Charming your husband only works if it is genuine, men aren't dumb and know when they are being manipulated. Thinking that men are easily manipulated creatures is disrespectful and belittling to both husband and wife. In an Islamic marriage the emphasis is on respect.

 

Recommended Reading:

28 Tips You Need To Be A Successful (Muslim) Spouse!

Your Spouse and Faith: Help or Hindrance?

The Prophet's Reasons for His Various Marriages

Mut’a and Forced Marriages

 

 

Source:  Muslim Matters

 

 

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