Sunday, April 27, 2008

If you are shy, well... Read this post anyway!!!

I am writing this because I was inspired by this post on Miss Muslimah's blog. I think it is an interesting topic, and one I would encourage all women to sit down and talk about with their husbands. Now I am not a scholar, or an "expert" of any kind... I am just a woman who has been married almost 10 years now to a man who is pretty upfront about these things and I hope women whose husbands are a little more reserved might benefit from this discussion. It is my opinion that sex can either be the glue holding your marriage together or the slow tide wearing it down day after day.

In Islam men have the right to demand sex whenever they want it. I think it is fairly well known. And I know many Muslimahs have shook their heads at it. But remember that sex for a married couple is an act of worship. A way to protect themselves from the evils outside. So think about this:God's Messenger(s) said: "In the sexual act of each of you there is a sadaqa." The Companions replied: "0 Messenger of God! When one of us fulfils his sexual desire, will he be given a reward for that?" And he said, "Do you not think that were he to act upon it unlawfully, he would be sinning? Likewise, if he acts upon it lawfully he will be rewarded." (Muslim)
And also I want to talk about some consideration for the wife because in the Quran Allah says:

"Women shall have rights similar to the rights upon them; according to what is equitable and just; and men have a degree of advantage over them." (Quran, 2:216)

I want to point out that I feel the major reason that women see sex as an imposition rather than a relaxation/enjoyment they can share with their spouse is the failure to achieve orgasm on a regular basis, and/or the failure of the husband to spend adequate time on foreplay. Now stop blushing!!! I am serious here!!! There are numerous occasions where this is considered in the prophetic tradition... And I would encourage you to read about it further, there is some great Q&A on SunniPath. It bears mentioning that women are also guilty of letting this problem go unspoken. How can you expect a spouse to alter his/her behavior if you stay silent on the matter?

This brings me to another point. I think it is important to experiment sexually with your spouse. You should try different things, you should talk about your likes and dislikes, and you should share your fantasies with each other. Who will you have these conversations with if not your spouse? Who will you fulfill your desires with if not your spouse? Go to bed before you are exhausted when you can and spend time together. Lock the door and just enjoy each others company. And don't tell me haram!!! There is only one thing that is haram. Anal sex. Anything else might be frowned on by some jurists or whatever... But only one thing carries the big H word.

Half of physical intimacy (if not more) is actually mental. If either spouse feels ignored, undesirable, put-upon, whatever... You will not have a mutually satisfying sexual experience. So keep this in mind when you are having troubles in this department. Ask yourself "How must my spouse be feeling in this situation?"

Let me give you an example... Ahmed comes home from work every day tired and all he wants to do is eat dinner and watch Al-Jazeerah until he winds down and is ready to go to sleep. The couple puts the kids to bed, hangs out until isha... Prays and goes to bed. Then, Ahmed approaches Khadija (it seems to her) from out of nowhere wanting to be intimate. Night after night she agrees and the feeling of sex being one more thing on her to do list builds. Soon, she is never approaching him with interest... Because there is nothing in the whole process for her. Ahmed begins to suspect that Khadija has simply lost interest in sex after being married for some time and having children. Khadija starts to think that if Ahmed still found her attractive he would certainly spend more time on pleasing her as he did when they were first married. Pretty soon sex is a source of tension rather than a relief from it. Do you see where I am going with this???

There is nothing in Islam that suggests married people shouldn't enjoy intimacy. Quite the opposite actually. Sex with your spouse is not only a halal enjoyment... It is a good deed. So I think it is our duty to pursue happiness and fulfilment in this area. And to have open and honest discussions about what brings us pleasure with our spouses. A good sex life builds a bond that nothing else can.

As wives, we are in a unique position to do this. I'm sure that if you go to your husband tonight all cleaned up and looking good saying that you want to talk about what you would like to try and what desires he has he will not turn you away!LOL You might even end the evening on a very good note;) Now on the other hand, he might feel that if he goes to you he is pressuring you or embarrassing you... So I think wives should take this one.

Another thing I want to address is timing. Now timing can be seen on two levels. Timing of the entire act and timing of the things you do within the act. So for general timing... I think you need to have time when you can be left alone. That might be different for each couple. Maybe after fajr for you... Maybe during DH's lunch break when the kids are at school... Maybe at night after the kids are in bed... You see what I'm saying? Now timing within the act. OK, I can't think of a nice way to say this... So I will just say it. Once men achieve orgasm they are DONE (generally, men don't get all mad at that idea). So, the woman needs to achieve orgasm first in most cases. Now I know all husbands are stallions and all (right ladies?) but most women will not achieve orgasm through intercourse alone. Sorry guys, it has nothing to do with you... So ladies, you will have to talk to your guy about getting you there however you like. And men, please have patience and don't skip this part of the process!!!

I say all this because I think enjoying sex is important for your marriage. I think lots of couples are frustrated for the simple reason that they are not thinking of the other person when they are in the bedroom. I assure you if women achieve orgasm the majority of the time, and husbands actually enjoy sex rather than just having it (there is a difference) the entire marriage will benefit.

I want everyone reading this to consider something pretty profound. If you and your spouse are leading Islamic lives, you are one another's only source of sexual fulfillment. Let me say that again. You are your spouses only source for sexual fulfillment. And that is a big thing.

Part of protecting your spouse from adultery is making sure that you fulfill his/her desires. Women, don't let your men go looking at work!!! Men, don't let your women turn into an episode of Desperate Housewives!!! If you really want to be a garment for your spouse as the Quran says... You have to know what that implies. You are a protection from the outside world. Now I know that there are more aspects to this than sex, but I am talking about sex for now.

So don't freak out at this idea. Consider it seriously. If the conversation stalls or you get nothing from it you and your spouse go through a book about sex (not porn guys, sheesh!!! a real informative book for couples!!!) and talk about the things you read. Be proactive. Wives, you will not have a satisfying sex life if you just lie there waiting for him to do something that excites you. Husbands, your wife will not magically get you vibes about your secret fantasies and desires until you talk to her about them. Please kids... Islam has given you the license to enjoy sex and get rewards for it. Your marriage will benefit from truly enjoying this God given right. And you shouldn't just disregard this gift Allah(swt) has given us.


Miss Muslimah said...

You get a standing O for this one!(and I mean ovation!lol)
Beautifully written,not too raunchy but not too discreet,it was just right!

Queen O'Danile said...

Masha Allah...I love your blog and dont get here often enough...I have to add you to my blogroll. BTW, I am a "WOE" as well...shhhhhhh. Secret--haha. And I would be so honored if you would join us here...Hope you don't mind the plug! If you do, feel free to delete.

Hijabi Apprentice said...

Bravo! Great post.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good remedy and reminder, jazakallahkhair. :)

But what would you recommend for any wife who has no desire? No drive? What then?

UmmLayla said...

Thanks ladies!!! I have been wanting to write a post like this and hoping it would be well received.

I guess there is a basic question of what can WHO do? Are we talking from the husband's view or the wife's?

I think that basically the advice is the same in either case, but I think that the woman has more power in this situation. Only she can search the depths of her feelings and see what is wrong really.

Some meds can cause low sex drive... And some women have some discomfort during intercourse after delivering a child vaginally due to a not so perfect repair of the perineum. If there is an organic cause, you only need to find it and deal with that.

In general for returning to intercourse after birth, (no nice way to say this one) I say proceed gently with enough lubrication. Think of it as coaxing the tissue back to its normal elasticity. And lower sex drive and some dryness is part of postpartum. More play can help with that though, the body will respond to excitement by creating a more "receptive" environment.

If there is nothing like that, I would encourage the couple to sit down and talk about the problem with the rule that no one will be offended or angry. The "problem" isn't a reflection on the other spouse... It's a hurdle you have to jump as a couple. Think about my hypothetical story of the husband and wife... See how one thing leads to another? All intimacy issues are like that for normal couples.

Now, of course there might be a real psychological issue inhibiting intimacy (childhood molestation or something) that the woman will need a professional to help her with... But for most couples I think there just needs to be openness about the problem, and they need to try different things. Overall I think women owe it to the marriage to find out why they are feeling this way so they can work on it. How would she feel if her spouse was always turning her down?

I don't think there is anyone who doesn't like having orgasms (excuse my candor). There are only people who aren't comfortable with some aspect of their sex life and are avoiding it. Just my 2 piasters.

Anonymous said...

What about woman who have stonger sex drive then men? Asking for it all the time (not all the time really just normally but he's tired from work and blah blah blah so it seems like always) sucks. I ask him about it but he's just sayin he's tired and above excuses. I'm sick of waiting for my O! I deal with kids all day and want to relax!

UmmLayla said...

Anon, I have thought about it a little... It seems like a talk with your DH might be in line. I wonder, does he KNOW that you are interested? Is there some pressure with time for him? Does he maybe have concerns about his performance because he is tired?

I would say that a little digging into what excites him is in order. If you can meet him halfway by doing something new and exciting for him, I'm sure he will meet you halfway with something that excites you. Maybe it's just gotten to be low on his list and he is assuming that you are the stereotypical woman ans it doesn't mean that much to you.

I would say talk to him and be clear that you are still interested, very interested and you miss this time as a couple. Then talk to him about trying some new things, tell him you know he's busy with work and you would like to "treat" him to something fun and new for you as a couple.

Overall, I am not in favor of like a "date" for sex in situations like this because I feel it puts too much pressure on the husband... If it was the woman I would say set aside time and all that, but I would be afraid that might be too contrived for a man to respond well too. Try talking to him, and in a no pressure way tell him that you have been thinking about trying new things, blah blah... Don't accuse, suggest. Don't frame it like he's slacking off in that department... Maybe even be a little self-defacing and say something about hoping there is something you can do for him... See where I am going with this?

Anywhoo, I'm sure it's fixable and I wish you the best;)

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