Sexuality and Islam

Sexuality and Islam

2013-09-01 00:00:00

Sexuality is inextricably intertwined with religious rules in Islam. Sexual interests and motivations are presented in Muslim teachings as a natural and necessary part of human existence and acquiring knowledge in sexual matters has been valued. Apart from some Muslims who have adopted a more liberal interpretation of Islam, the dominant Islamic discourse of sexuality focuses on sexual duality. It emphasises the difference, complementarity and unity of the sexes and refers to sexual activity as both recreative and procreative.

In understanding issues concerning sexuality within Muslim communities, the concept of modesty is particularly important. Modesty has been considered to contribute to restrictions in public discourse on sexuality. As a result of cultural sexual taboos, strongly overlaid onto local understandings of Islam, talking about sexual issues is a difficult task for most Muslims. Emphasising on the positive attitude towards sexuality in Islamic teachings and encouraging constructive communication about sexual health issues, while acknowledging and respecting cultural and religious sensitivities, are important strategies in achieving better sexual health outcomes in Muslim communities.

Take home messages:
-Islam has a positive attitude towards sexuality, values sexual activity and believes sexual union gives a foretaste of the joys of paradise.
-There is a distinction between an ‘Islamic value’ and a ‘cultural value, practised by Muslims’. Barriers to promoting sexual health in Muslim communities are mostly cultural rather than religious.
-Facilitating a constructive dialogue on sexual issues, as encouraged and valued by Islam, is an important strategy to achieve better sexual health outcomes.

Conference: WAS Glasgow 2011
Areas of Interest / Categories: Cultural Issues, Psychosexual therapy, WAS 2011
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