Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Intimacy for Muslim Couples

Intimacy Matters with Haleh Banani, Umm Reem Saba Syed and Hena Zuberi: Introduction

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

For mature audience only:

Click here for the video recording//:

[youtube]https://youtu.be/jz1mtJ6n-mk[/youtube]

Intimacy between spouses is a beautiful act of worship. A divine experience that has been mired by anxieties fueled by hypersexualized media, Hollywood movies, many cultural beliefs from the East and misinformed 18th century notions rooted in the West.

It took a year of contemplation for us to publicly address this topic in a broadcast, but the need amongst Muslim couples was so great that we had to put aside our hesitations. The Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam and the sahaba and sahabiyaat were not shy to discuss these matters.

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Usually when sexual intimacy is discussed in public it is not from a female lens, hence we want to collaborate with our male shuyookh by providing the female perspective, so we can all contribute to healthy marriages.

If we look at intimacy as both a physical and spiritual act and climaxing as the epitome of pleasure that Allah has gifted us, it is easier to understand why it is meant to be a source of Divine Love for both men and women.

As you will hear today that intimacy has become a serious problem in many marriages—  there are many guilt and shame based misconceptions that cause problems between spouses often leading to divorce. Our main motive is to foster healthy marriages, Allah says he loves those who foster purity and marriage is the best way to guard our desires.

We don’t want to generalize because generalization can hurt a relationship and each relationship is as different as the people involved in it. Let’s not play the blame game after listening to this. We want couples to listen together in hopes of understanding and bettering their marriage.

Men Complain:

-“My wife doesn’t want to have intercourse”

-Frequency is mainly a concern amongst men

-“My wife doesn’t actively participate in intimacy, or never initiates”

Women Complain:

-Quality of intimacy

-Lack of foreplay

-Most common complaints: “He fails to give me a climax.”

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”http://muslimmatters.org/2010/10/25/psychology-from-islamic-perspective-how-to-score-big-with-women/”]How To Score BIG With Women: An Islamic and Psychological Approach for Men[/button]

Why is there a Difference between Men’s and Women’s Complaints about Intimacy?

Different needs but BOTH men and women are sensual beings and they BOTH need sensual fulfillment.

Top needs for men include:

-#1 Need: Mutual satisfaction (contrary to popular belief that men only want their own sexual satisfaction they, naturally, want to satisfy their wives too)

-Responsiveness of their spouse – men want their wives engaged during the act: mentally, emotionally and physically

-Men desire initiation by their wife —they long to feel wanted, desired and affirmed

-Men also want to be complimented

Generally, men see intimacy as an escape or release of tension.  They need the intimate act to open up emotionally.

Unfortunately, women continue to be restricted sexually by:

-Shame

-Guilt

-Social and society influence

-Religiously perceived notions

-Family taboos

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”http://muslimmatters.org/2013/05/03/vignettes-on-female-sexuality/”]Sex MashaAllah: Vignettes on Female Sexuality[/button]

Women have sexual needs:

Instead of being able to fully express their sensual nature, women are restricted to being “emotional” only and ripped apart from their “sexual” side.

A woman can be as sensual as she is spiritual, as erotic as she is intellectual and as climatic as she is emotional.

There is a common ground in the complaints—of both men and women— and it is “intimacy”, but:

-Men want intimacy and they want their wives’ participation, and more frequently

-Women have complaints about the quality of intimacy

Many men not only have a huge misunderstanding about women’s sexuality, shockingly many still wonder whether or not a woman is able to reach her climax. Yet, many confuse pleasing a woman in bed as equivalent to fondling only and not making her experience a climax.

Majority of married Muslim women complain about “satisfaction” during intimacy.

The word “satisfaction” is often confused with fondling or fore-playing only. The truth is that if and when explicitly asked, these women explicitly complain about not being able to reach their climax.

SO while men complain about lack of participation of frequency of intimacy, women lose interest because they don’t want to be intimate if they can’t reach their climax. It’s a cycle and unless men understand women’s need of sexuality, women will continue to lose interest that can lead to dangerous consequences.

Next video and outline can be watched here

 

 

 

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20 responses to “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Intimacy for Muslim Couples”

  1. nadia says:

    March 1st? Or April 1st…

    • Mia says:

      JazakAllah khair for this article. Patricularly the comment about women being emotional and men being sexual. Its getting so annoying hearing shuyookh discuss male and female sexuality and emphasize or make it seem like women are only emotional and men are so overly sexual that that is all they think about and it drives everything they do so much so that we women have to wear hijab for that very reason.

      News flash – women are very sexual too. Just like there are men with high sex drives or low sex drives, same goes for women. We are tired of hearing shuyookh essentially nullify our sex drive in their kind way and explain our lack of desiring sex because we are ultimately sexual but thats far from the truth.

      I could go on forever with this subject but I am just so relieved knowledgeable sisters like yourselves are taking this desperately needed initiative to speak for sisters unapologetically.
      JazakAllah khair again!!

  2. mo says:

    Thank you for this article, coming from a Pakistani family sex was always a taboo…. Until it came to my grandmother, when I hit puberty (as she did with all her granddaughters)…. Shortly before she passed away she told me that the secret to healthy marriage was lots of good sex. When the sex goes so does the marriage…. N you can always tell the state of someone’s marriage depending on their sex life. Over the last 20 odd years I found this to be one of the best advice that I was ever told.

  3. att says:

    I’m not married. I’m just a malaysian medical student in egypt. I find that this issue is not just something that has to be directed toward only the married crowd but also Teenagers. Alhamdulillah though I never got the sex talk from my parents I managed to understand it enough to know that it is not as television depicts it to be. Nor is it shameful (in marriages of course) but I find it mind numbingly frustrating that many of my friends dont even understand what it is. As in when I brought it up and tried to explain all I received were dumbfounded and horrified faces.

    I don’t think there is any shame in explaining what sex is. It’s mechanism, the rules, or the realities of it (unlike what the television tries to have you believe). I think the best way to create a healthy sexual intimacy in a marriage is to ensure a complete understanding of it before the marriage.

    however this is a problem for me. I have 4 younger sisters and I have no idea how to approach the issue with them. I’m especially worried concerning my immediate sister after me who is 16. Even worse is that schools don’t handle this issue. It’s taboo. In fact our whole society is rather tight lipped on the matter. You either end up with WAY to much knowledge on the matter or too little.most of the time it’s the girls who have to handle the consequences in worse case scenarios.

    • rachel schakel says:

      Why dont you just talk to your husbands and tell them what you like and what makes you feel good. Ask them why they dont want to touch you or what they like. Its called communication.

  4. KE says:

    Jazakum Allah khyran for addressing this subject. It is a very important topic for muslim couples. I have been married for 19 years and have been looking for an islamic discussion on this subject since I got married but could not find any. I hope I will be able to use your valuable knowledge to make our marriage more meaningful.

    KE

  5. […] Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Intimacy for Muslim Couples […]

  6. Teh peerane kaleesa wa haram Haaye waaye majboori
    Sila inn ki kado kaawish ka hai Yeh seenon ki benoori

    “Islamic feminism at its peak”

    No wonder why muslim marriages don’t last long now a days.

    Instead of teaching how to reach climax or demand climax from your spouse, it may be more prudent and useful to teach how to be content.

    No wonder why the alims and shuyookh will be the first to be questioned.

    Keep up with your halal sex talk. Great going

    • KK says:

      How ignorant. It is sentiments like yours that destroy marriages. It is part of the sunnah to ensure the wife’s desires are fully met in addition to the husband’s, even when he has finished but she has not. May Allah guide us all.

  7. Umm says:

    These articles in MM has bi idnillah greatly improved our sexlife.
    Some things that was essential for our change were
    1.proper knowledge about sexlife (pleasure spots for both)from clean sources.
    2.No blaming the husband while communicating the issue.
    3.expressing support,care and love for each other’s needs
    4.feeling confident and participating actively during foreplay and sex.

  8. RandMale says:

    I agree in general, but I have also noticed that there is sharp feelings in the bedroom regarding freedom and control whether it is consciously or only subconsciously. Men and women can become controlling of the act of intimacy and what they want to do/get out of it and what their conceptions are about the act itself. Sometimes the controlling factor can be about what NOT to do, or what is not being allowed, while sometimes it is about what one partner wants the other partner to do during intimacy. This can lead to conflict in the bedroom, which can also escalate away from the bedroom. Similarly confrontational behaviour outside of the bedroom can resurface during intimacy with negative outcomes, or no satisfying outcomes at all… these can also escalate ongoing problems in relationships. as regards to freedom, people knows that there are certain things which for both partners are taboo, then there are things only one partner might not be sure about or disapproves of, and the other partner might be willing to be persuasive or at least does not like the outright dismissiveness of such acts, eg through name-calling or put-downs which can make the acts feel less intimate and less desirable.

    Also, sleep, prayers, chores, work-life balance and other routines including eating/diet can overlap with sexual intimacy. Some things can have longer impact on an individual due to stress, tensions and mood.

    Lastly, excessive passion sometimes is a turn-on especially early in the relationship, but then later when passion cools, expressing feelings of love, desire and tenderness can become disparate and this might lead to divergences in the relationship as regards male/female views about what is “appropriate” or “suitable” or “proper” in terms of expressing desires, showing love and attitudes towards passion and tender intimacy. Often with women seeking comfort and security and men wanting excitement or physical action. This can be daunting at times and the bedroom can sometimes end up feeling like a battleground, which does not help matters. And to finish, previous sexual experiences/encounters can also have an influence on what each partner considers either as “normal” or “offensive” (“not normal”).

    Also, spiritual practice should not necessarily mean contentment with one’s partner during intimacy is somehow less spiritual.

  9. wanna learn says:

    Dear editors, does this article end on the first page?
    I kept searching for information on how to learn how make a woman reach her climax and what really is climax for her. I couldn’t find anything in this article.

  10. wanna learn says:

    I meant I couldn’t find anything in this article regarding things mentioned above.
    Otherwise the article has good necessary information. JazakAllah for making the effort to transform our lives.
    Please help.

  11. Haji Abdul Kareem Nandasena says:

    Request Your kind permission to translate these creative pieces into Sinhala language, and to circulate its copies among the invitees at a couple of awareness programmes. (Note:Sinhala is the language of the majority of Sri Lanka of which the majority are Buddhists while the rest are Catholics/Christians.)
    Wish You All More Wisdom, More Courage, More Health, and More Patience.
    Thanking You.
    Haji Abdul Kareem Nandasena.

  12. Anum says:

    Every woman think that how my future husband will be liked. Husband and wife are alike a wheels of a car. They can’t move onwards without support of each other. A husband should be pious and have Allah’s fear in heart because Islam has assigned complete duties to husband about his wife. The 3 top features of my future husband, a woman should see are as follows.
    • Responsible and Supportive Person
    • Wife Caring Person
    • Attentive Person

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

  13. Zizou says:

    About time some analysis was provided on this topic.

    I’ve been married for around ten years, keep myself fit and I would regard myself as attractive (without trying to sound arrogant). My wife never instigates anything nor feels like sharing a bed. She claims to be tired which I understand due to having kids. However there comes a point when a man begins to question this and over a period of time becomes fed up of being the one who initiates everything. Marriage is to provide protection from zinnah but in a lot of cases it is going the opposite.

  14. […] Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2  […]

  15. Luna says:

    Assalamu Alaikum , I am very happy to learn from these lectures about we women faces humiliation with our physical needs. I have similar issues that I never got the chance to talk to the right expert person . I cry to Allah Subahanatala for his help . It is been 22 years of my marriage and my husband never does satisfied me with my desires. I was actually never satisfied with his giving. Over the years leaving me pain and unsatisfactory with my husband that I don’t engaged with him any sexually for 6 years . I am leaving with like roommate and hollow emptiness in my life . I want to seek help but I don’t where and to whom I can discuss my problems. I want to get out from my marriage but I can’t cause I am not financially independent nor I know any man available for me . I am living dead .

    • Anonymous says:

      Salaam

      First off, could you write next time with better grammar so people can respond to you? It took me a while to fully understand your post with its grammar issues, so this will turn people off from wanting to help you.

      From what I could gather, you were married for 22 years, I assume divorced and living with a female roommate. You feel the need to marry to satisfy yourself. That is fine and acceptable, maybe perhaps try finding if there are other divorced men out there who are willing to marry you, also converts are not as cultural as other muslims and would be way more open to marry you, or you can ask someone else for better advice on this issue. However, what I can give you advice for is twofold.

      One, if you really have strong sexual desires, then bring this up as a talking point to your potential spouse before the marriage. Yes, this is possible, and since you are older I don’t think you need a wali anymore. But, you must have a fairly open and public discussion with your potential spouse about intimacy needs. A good person to have someone proctor your talk with the potential husband would be a muslim couple’s therapist, psychologist, etc. as they have professional knowledge of sexuality and can help you. Essentially, someone like the muslimah’s you have written this article. Also, you can even have like a skype or google hangouts session, phone call, etc. with your potential spouse and talk to them about your intimacy needs and have your chosen muslim therapist or psychologist, etc. be available in and be listening in during the conversation with your potential spouse. I know for a fact an Organization named “Noor Human Consulting” that you can google can help you out and is indeed available for online and offline help. Also, you can try your luck at “Purify your Gaze” however they are an organization that specializes in providing help both online and offline for those addicted or heavily dependent on pornography. However, I have heard them help out in cases relating to intimacy issues both online and offline. Of course, there are other muslim organizations that can help you with this and not just the two I mentioned, so feel free to explore.

      Second, I am pretty sure this will all come out when you talk to these professionals with your spouse-to-be, but one thing you have to understand is that your “needs” are as much your responsibility to fulfill as is his. That is, you need to make sure that when if in say the future you find a husband and he wants to be intimate with you, communicate with him and tell him what he needs to do to satisfy you. Don’t expect him to read your mind, and don’t expect to flop on the bed and expect him to do EVERYTHING and you just lie there and stare at him with blank eyes. Also, in my opinion men like to experiment and will find “alternate ways” to make their wives reach their climax. So don’t be taken aback when your husband proposes he do things like oral stimulation among other things with you that he due to his “body part” not being fit for the job after he climaxes. Be open to your husband and his experimentative yet halal ideas. However, whatever you do DON’T DEMEAN HIS EFFORTS AND SHOVE ALL THE BLAME ON HIM, assuming he is sincere in trying to please you. Chances are, most muslim women who complain of sexual dissatisfaction in a marriage may be contributing more to their own dissatisfaction than their husband is, by for example coming into the bedroom with mental baggage, denying him sex when you don’t want it and giving him less desire to please you as you don’t please him when the time comes but he has to stop everything to please you, not respecting him and his decisions (Of course there should be no respect when he does wants something haram or unethical or if he is abusing you emotionally, spiritually, or physically abusing you or being PURPOSELY sexually negligent towards you) as men REALLY value and have more of a desire to please their wives if they respect the husband and his decisions. It is not me saying this, but western universities that have done psychological studies on men and what they most desire from the opposite sex in the relationship, and respect for his decisions and loyalty are at the top for men.

      I wish you Allah’s blessings in your search for a spouse. Don’t give up, and expand your horizon and search criteria when looking for a partner. I don’t mean marry a fat guy as that guy should be told to lose weight before the marriage, but be open to those men, who of course must be diligent muslims, who you initially did not want to marry due to cultural biases. Also, if you come to a desperation point you could try to maybe seek out a spouse the HALAL way online via muslim matrimonial online services. Also, a word of caution make sure the guy who you find online is single or divorced, as sometimes muslim men who are married and “looking for a 2,3, or 4th wife”, without the 1st wife’s knowledge, as this could involve you in a very heated and tense situation.

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