“Muslims Talking Sex” Series: The Joy of Muslim Sex by Ruwayda Z.

GOATMILK continues its original and exclusive month long series entitled “Muslims Talking Sex” featuring diverse Muslim  writers from around the world discussing a gamut of topics in their own unique, honest and eclectic voices.


The Joy of Muslim Sex

Why? Because we’re tired of reading about tilths and whatnot. The language Muslims use to talk about sex needs updating – even if we already know what the score is in private. This is a working document and relevant suggestions grounded in orthodoxy will be included.


– Sexual love is explicitly referred to as part of God’s grace and as a sign of God in itself (Qur’an 30:21). It’s a form of worship to fuck.

– Sex is not merely for procreation, but specifically also for pleasure (unlike many non-Muslim schools of thought, which note specific timings and restrictions upon sex.

– There are only two things off-limits between consenting adults: anal sex (unless one subscribes to select Shi’a schools of thought[1]) and sex whilst menstruating (for safety reasons). And this is rooted in completely logical, hygienic foundations. Everything else goes; this would mean that BDSM, role-play, sex outdoors and all other varieties of kinky sex, for instance, are not off-limits[2].

–  Foreplay is obligatory. This is widely known and de rigueur. There are reams of works devoted to the fact that men cannot approach women with solely their own needs in mind i.e. (the Kama Sutra has nothing on Ghazzali).[3] The Qu’ran commands men to put the sexual needs of the woman first[4] .

–  The best of you (men) is the best of you who treats his wives – canonical thought. I interpret this as those men who are best able to go down on and give pleasure to their wives. We know this is doable because of hadith suggesting the use of musk after cycles, indicating that oral sex was always on the menu.[5]

–  Sex in any position is acceptable – missionaries are not where the buck stops. The best positions for achieving the maximum amount of pleasure are preferred.

–  Any time is acceptable. I don’t think this means whilst the Adhan is going off however.

–  If a man fails to live up to his conjugal rights, this is grounds enough for divorce. Yes, you read that right – if he’s awful in the sack, let’s get it on with the Talaq.


–  There is no Original Sin in Islam. Eve (Hawa) never sexually tempted Adam and is therefore not responsible for the downfall of Man. There is thus no sense of repression or of guilt attached to sexual acts, which are instead viewed as beautiful and pleasurable.

–  Shyness: asking frank questions about religion is essential. This is explicitly the case with sex education which is an essential part of growth. Bees and Birds and staid euphemisms which adults use to refer to around children are somewhat irrelevant yet still culturally endemic. But in reality, taboos are strongly discouraged leading to sin and repression in and of themselves because of the rise of STDs, unwanted pregnancies etc[6].

–  Moreover, you actually get blessings for legal sex ergo- again, no shameful connotations attached (no, we don’t need to have sex through a sheet, nor are we inspected or have to endure Mikvah’s upon completion of cycles). Why? To counterbalance the fact that illicit sex (i.e. adulterous) accrue negative vibes[7]

–  Anglo-Saxon concepts of males/females/ wives/husbands do not have echoes in the bedroom – all such terms having traditionally derogatory etymologies which do not correspond with gender neutral terms in Islam

–  There’s no stigma to divorce. By that I mean the traditional Western connotations of divorcees as having been tainted, barren or problematic do not apply to Muslims. We are still whole, we have just been through a rough time essentially.

–  Hermits (celibates etc) are discouraged from the laity upwards on the grounds that it unnaturally represses human instincts


–  A Union is defined as Consenting adults in a contractual agreement between two partners – different from culturally prevalent ideas of marriage in that it can be performed by anyone, with very few addendums including a dowry and witnesses. This is not an endorsement of Mut’ah or Orfi (short-termism), this is to say lets go public about dating and treat long term relationships like marriage – the same way its done in the west with common law marriages. When we start dating seriously, we don’t intend to end it early, do we?

–  We do not have archaic notions of contraception, and are thus not theoretically constrained by outdated birth control or STD prevention ideas. This means we regard Rhythm methods as really bizarre etc

–  Cougars are perfectly acceptable if not de rigueur in traditional thought

–  There should be at least three months grace period between having sex with another (contractually obligated) partner – to avoid heartache, allow time for possible reconciliation or indeed, possible pregnancies. Interestingly it takes three months for an AIDS test nowadays… go figure

–  A man and woman (except family members) are not to be alone in the same room unless publicly having consented to be together.

–  Chasteness (not to be confused with virginity, which is completely irrelevant considering many people get abused in the Muslim world) is important -serial monogamy is fine where promiscuity is frowned upon.


I must admit, the idea of Muslim marriage as stipulated in Orthodox terms is extraordinarily different (i.e. more flexible/profound) to the desi/ayrab kitsched out normative cultural versions of its practice. A cursory glimpse at the dire marital questionnaires people are encouraged to fill out speak to extraordinarily limited understandings of what goes into marriage as well as a limited grasp of the philosophy behind these questions  and why they need to be asked.

What is a union after all? There are orthodox schools of thought which note that common law marriages are actually marriages (i.e. where the couple live together, have children but have had no ceremony in the traditional understanding of the sense). At the orthodox heart of the Muslim Union lies several elements which center on the social contract between the couple and society. How it’s made public is through the mechanism of a number of witnesses; an imam need not be there, yet any person who officiates should. A formal understanding of the dowry is all that’s required. And in our family, dowries are usually promises, gifts of qur’an or significant tokens.

Instead, Muslims have adopted Anglo-Saxon words such as husband or wife – terms with sexist etymologies to eschew the more dire/politically correct ‘partner’ terms – as the language simply is inadequate. In fact, the lexicon, the philosophy and the meanings behind all that we take as symbolic for marriage have begun to dissipate – what we’re left with are gaudy ceremonies resembling cattle markets awash with glitter, tinsel, tacky food traditions, bizarrely subordinate women having sweat-meats stuffed in mouths, parents agog at giving children away, mahr agreements reduced to gold-digging glee. It’s a mockery of the concept which ought to have been rooted in spiritual underpinnings from the off. And nowhere to be found is the most important criteria for choosing an equal – a sense of god consciousness or Taqwa. Instead, from the get-go the relationship is relegated to appeasing status, in-laws, material wealth in the form of ballrooms and numbers of guests. I fish for content in such notions and struggle to find love or simplicity. It’s the social contract distorted out of relevance and poignancy.

No wonder so many marriages now have lost what it is which makes them tick. I don’t get a sense of the divine in attending them these days at all. Then there’s the idea that it is somehow the complete opposite of dating in itself – but do we even know what to date means? Orthodox Muslim Unions are more logical and adaptable to reality than we’d think. Added to this the theoretical ease with which sex fully takes on the meanings it should, unions can once again become incredible.

[1] The Grand Ayatollah has decreed that anal intercourse is “not permissible without the wife’s consent” – indicating that if she consents, it’s all good.

[2] Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) had talked about ‘al-bikr wa liaabiha’ [the virgin and her saliva], which means they understood the importance of French kissing long before the French did.

[3] Surah Al Baqarah = 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

[4] “Verse 223 of Al-Baqara also mentions foreplay,” Qutb says, quoting: “‘Your wives are a tilth for you, so go into your tilth when you like, and do good beforehand for yourselves, and be careful [of your duty] to Allah, and know that you will meet Him, and give good news to the believers.’ “It says ‘wa qaddimo li anfosikom’ [and do good beforehand for yourselves]. The letter waw [and] means that the act and what happens before it have to go together. But then wait, it also says for yourselves, and science has proven that foreplay has a positive impact on the man, too. The excitation causes the pineal gland to secrete nitric oxide (NO3), a very precious and essential chemical that the brain secretes frugally but that helps channel the blood flow to the genitals, causing erection and arousal in both males and females,” she says.

[5] ‘A’isha reported: A woman asked the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) how he should wash herself after the menstrual period. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Take a cotton with musk and purity yourself, and the rest of the hadith was narrated like that of Sufyan.

[6] A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, made this clear: “Blessed are the women of the Ansar (the citizens of Madinah). Shyness did not stand in their way seeking knowledge about their religion.”

[7] Hadith:  The Prophet once remarked that a man is to be rewarded for sex with his wife, and when some of his surprised listeners wondered how could a person be rewarded for satisfying his own desire, the Noble Prophet said,  ‘ Do you not see that if he were to satisfy it in a prohibited manner he would be committing a sin? So if he satisfies it in a lawful manner he will be recompensed’

[8] ‘…an awesome covenant’  An-Nisaa:21


13 thoughts on ““Muslims Talking Sex” Series: The Joy of Muslim Sex by Ruwayda Z.

  1. Great article.
    you cannot believe the ridiculous notions muslims have abt marital intimacy (through a sheet, no nudity etc.)

    could u comment on the concept of a wive not refusing her husband sex. thats something missing from ur post.

    thanks again, enjoyed this frankness!

  2. Great topic & article. The language was a bit… colloquial, but I get it, it goes with the subject & breaking of barriers. I like it. 🙂

    In addition to the above commenter’s suggestion, you could also add commentary on masturbation — its permissibility before marriage, to avoid zina, and within marriage.

  3. this is a great article (although some slight inaccuracies and assumptions regarding oral sex), but ruwayda should also talk about the permissibility of sex with slave girls, permissibility of bigamy (without even telling the first wife), wife required to give her husband sex, and temporary marriage for sex practices (which many wahhabi arab sunnis also practice discretely through various fatwas and for the most part have grounding in orthodox law) which will make the same liberal chic crowd hooting about the openness of orthodox islamic sex cringe because it infringes on their sense of leftist humanism

    so before poo-pooing away all of the victorian-esque or persian adaptations muslims have brought into the original arab-recorded orthodox islam (which muslims assume is the “correct” way to practice islam, but which ironically is also filled with many biases and cultural quirks that developed over time due to linguistic evolution), consider that cultural variabilities are not all necessarily sexist or biased or bad, there are things offset through today’s preferred heuristic interpretations of islam due to ethnocentrism or cultural malaise that many western muslims would consider to be a positive influence in jurisprudence, whether orthodox or not

    i am a heterodox muslim and an ardent follower of shaikh abdul qadr gilani, may Allah SWT be pleased with him, hence being a member of the Qadri Brotherhood, something which most western muslims seem to know nothing about when they debate endlessly about orthodox versus unorthodox

    80% of the world’s muslims are like me – only 20% of the world debates orthodox vs. unorthodox issues anyways – we the sufis have occupied ourselves with more relevant things such as twirling around in circles, wandering into random caves and attempting to connect with God, maintaining shrines, and reciting naaths on 12th rabbiul awal where we decorate our homes with green lights in honor of the birth and raising of prophet Mohammad PBUH from the shackles of our confined and limited dimension

  4. also, author takes too many liberties assuming what is being implied by certain discourse

    there is a point to be made for metaphorical references, but taking huge liberties like “french kissing before the french” is a bit much and detracts from the potential value of the article

  5. I’m concerned that you voice lack of male technique as a grounds for divorce. That is very unprofessional. If technique or manner is lacking, there are alternative ways to address this. And a relationship should not be based on sex alone.

    Otherwise, a good article that is certainly needed to dispel strange notions that muslims have regarding sex.

  6. what do you mean by dating? I don’t really think it’s something to encourage though I do agree that we need to be honest about it. It’s a fact of life.

    and in regards to: ‘A man and woman (except family members) are not to be alone in the same room unless publicly having consented to be together.’

    what counts as consent?

    just wondering.

  7. rbc,

    Not so, in Islam extremes are discouraged, so immediate divorce is not out of the question to my knowledge but is discouraged.
    An Islamic marriage is based on a contract which can contain the grounds of divorce.
    Sabr (patience) is the key in a good Islamic marriage eventually.

    And Allah knows Best,

  8. There are many “grand ayatollahs” in twelver shi’a Islam, so there would be no THE grand ayatollah. They all agree that anal sex is permissible only with the wife’s permission.

  9. What is virginity? Sexual intercourse ONLY? If a guy kisses, bites and manipulates a girl’s breast or backside, if a girl touches a boy’s you know what, if a boy deep kisses a girl, is she still a virgin? I don’t think so. There can be NO TALK about female purity and chastity even if a girl doesn’t have sexual intercourse with a boy. So, I am sure to say that virginity means lack of sexual AND erotic intimacy. That’s the REAL virginity, not the hypocritical one. Do you agree with me?

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