Religion & Beliefs

If I Had A Muslim Woman Soulmate It Would Be Dr. Heba Kotb

Sometimes I like to close my eyes and try to imagine what I’d be like if I were a kooky feminist observant Muslim instead of a rockin’ feminist observant Jew. I would definitely subscribe to Muslim Girl instead of Lilith. … Read More

By / June 13, 2007

Sometimes I like to close my eyes and try to imagine what I’d be like if I were a kooky feminist observant Muslim instead of a rockin’ feminist observant Jew. I would definitely subscribe to Muslim Girl instead of Lilith. I would cover my hair with neon purple hijabs instead of dying it purple the way I do now. I would probably kiss fewer boys (fewer, but not none). And where would I go for reliable sex education? Who would be the Muslim Dr. Ruth? The last problem is now solved. Thanks to an awesome Salon.com article called Sex and the Married Muslim in which they interview Egyptian sexologist Dr. Heba Kotb. She has a popular TV show called “The Big Talk” during which she answers questions about sex and relationships for a huge Muslim audience. Here’s a little excerpt from the interview:

You've said you believe that by having more sex, married couples will please Allah. Why? Whenever you have sex you get rewarded because you're avoiding the woman being prone to have sex outside of the marriage and vice versa. It's a way to please each other in our world and to please Allah. Is the Quran concerned with female pleasure? Yes, it is. The biggest chapter of the Quran is called "The Cow." There is a verse talking about the woman's rising pleasure. It's an order to the man to give the woman the right to have pleasure — it orders the man to give the woman foreplay and also to get the wife to have sex repeatedly and to not wait for the woman to ask because sometimes she's too shy to ask. You've blamed Egypt's high divorce rate on "bad sex." But why is the country stricken with "bad sex"? I think that probably more than 80 percent of divorces in Egypt are from a lack of sex education. Sex is a taboo; it's not to be discussed or complained about. A lot of people didn't know that they could complain about sex. Why is sex such a controversial topic in the Muslim world? It's culture — it's not Islam, whatsoever. Islam is a very liberal and progressive religion. It invites people to have sex, of course within the marital frame. Prophet Mohammed never showed any offense to anyone asking about sexuality. On the contrary, he responded to every single question. The thing is, the culture overwhelms this. What do you think about the in-your-face American approach to sex and sexuality? I'm totally against this. It's harmful — sex loses its luster and its preciousness. God orders that sex remains precious, like a pearl — it's not just for everyone. A balance has to be built: This is allowed, this is not allowed; this is halal, this is haram. Sex is one of the things that is forbidden before marriage and outside of marriage; on the other hand, it's allowed within marriage with a lot, a lot of freedom. This creates a balance. In the American approach everything is allowed — you can have sex at any age, on any occasion. Who do you think is having better sex — Americans or Egyptians? Well, I'm not a witness. [Laughs.] Believe it or not, I've been to several countries for various conferences and it's quite the same everywhere — there are the same problems. I don't think one group is having better sex than the other, but there is great individual variation. Those who are open, clear with each other and confront the problems they are having are far ahead. You have encouraged women to explore their bodies — does that include masturbation? The woman, by means of instinct, does not need masturbation. She's not like the man whatsoever. It's not a call of nature for her. So that's why I'm not very sympathetic with young women and girls choosing to masturbate. They're ruining their sexual future — a woman has to remain blank until she gets married and by masturbating she's forming her sexuality. I wish there was an Orthodox Jewish woman doing something like this. I’d do it except I bet I’d have to get married and wear a snood. No dice. I’ll watch, though.