Emirati (that’s someone from the United Arab Emirates) love guru Widad Lootah is not your typical marriage counsellor, says AFP:
On the eve of Valentine’s day, Lootah is calling on Muslim and Arab women everywhere to “embrace love and love making.”
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“Don’t shy away from it, don’t feel ashamed by it. Enjoy it, you’re supposed to,” she said in an interview with AFP, adding that she is trying to break common misconceptions that sex in Islam is only about conceiving children.
Lootah says the fact that public, and often private, discussions about sex are still taboo among conservative Muslims, contradicts Islam’s approach to the subject.
According to her Islam has just two rules governing sex: 1) you must be married, and 2) and anal sex is strictly forbidden.
Heba Gotb, a medical doctor in Egypt, agrees. A conservative Muslim, Kotb has a weekly TV talkshow, “Big Talk,” in which she frankly and in great detail discusses sex.
Kotb, 39 and married with three daughters, studied sexology with Maimonides University, a private school in Florida, and combined it with her own knowledge of her religion to produce a dissertation titled “Sexuality in Islam.” She opened a sexology clinic in Cairo in 2002, wrote sex advice columns in newspapers, appeared on talk shows and answered questions on an Arabic Web site.
AFP notes that Lootah, known as ‘Mama Widad‘ is “probably the UAE’s most prominent marriage counselor.
In 2009, she published a controversial Muslim sex guide “Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples.”
It’s publication — along with her comments in interviews — triggered insults, condemnation and even death threats.
At the time, The New York Times wrote that she “does not look like a sexual activist:”
[S]he wears a full-length black niqab — with only her brown eyes showing through narrow slits — and sprinkles her conversation with quotes from the Koran.
Yet she is also the author of what for the Middle East is an amazingly frank new book of erotic advice in which she celebrates the female orgasm, confronts taboo topics like homosexuality and urges Arabs to transcend the backward traditions that limit their sexual happiness. […]
Ms. Lootah, a strong-willed and talkative 45-year-old, is one of a small but growing number of Arabs pushing for more openness and education about sex. Unlike earlier generations of women who often couched their criticism in a Western language of female emancipation, Ms. Lootah and her peers are hard to dismiss as outsiders because they tend to be religious Muslims who root their message in the Koran.
Ms. Lootah, for instance, studied Islamic jurisprudence in college, not Western psychology, and her book is studded with religious references. She submitted the text to the Mufti of Dubai before publishing it, and he gave his approval (though he warned her that Arab audiences might not be ready for such a book, especially by a woman). […]
She is not a liberal by Western standards. One of the themes of her book is the danger of anal sex and homosexuality generally, not because of AIDS but because they are banned by the Koran. But her openness about the issue was itself a shock to many here.
In about a month, Lootah plans to submit her second book, “Top Secret Volume Two,” to the government censors, and in traditional Lootah style, its pages will contain a lot of sex talk.
But this time, the topic of discussion is forbidden sex under Islam.
“It’s about homosexual and lesbian relations and their effect on the institution of marriage,” said Lootah, adding that she had to tread carefully given the sensitivity of the subject and intense emotions it stirs in the Muslim world.
When asked why she has taken on the cause of love and sex in Islam, Lootah argued that it was an issue of “women’s rights.”