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An Online Sex Advice Column By Muslims, For Whomever

on Wednesday, Jan. 9th

Muslims and sex are an intriguing combination, but not only for Muslims themselves. That’s one way to view the lofty success of last year’s intriguing anthologyLove, InshAllah, and the subsequent love and sex advice column that its editors launched today.

Love, InshAllah featured an array of Muslim women from across the world discussing their experiences of love and relationships within the context of their Muslim identities. The book (disclosure, the editors are friends of mine) shot to the top of Amazon’s women’s studies list, was featured throughout global media, and has reached its 5th reprinting.

And some of that hoopla was attributed not only to the book’s thoughtful stories, but to the fact that it existed at all. Mainstream media outlets like The Huffington Post described the book as “shattering stereotypes of Muslim women as oppressed chattel whose sexual lives are decided by men,” and for Muslims themselves, the book seemed to fill a vacuum of frank discussion of matters of love and sex within their communities.

Hence, the online advice column being launched on the LI blog, which itself has already become fertile ground to encourage the conversations that began with the book’s publication. Columnists “Ms. Sunshine” and “Shy Desi Boy” will appear bimonthly to address questions mailed in to the blog. Shy Desi Boy says they’ll try to cut through:

…the paralysis/awkwardness/hilarity of talking about sex among Muslims. If we cannot even say the word semen or clitoris without feeling embarrassed or feeling that we need to make two rakats salah in forgiveness, how can we move towards a sex positive discussion?

Hence this column. I have seen so many married and non-married couples struggle with sex. Some of my friends went to a religious scholar for guidance but they often came back feeling even more distraught. When your husband just does not want to have sex anymore and you catch him watching porn, how should a woman feel any better to know that their mawlana is making dua for them?

But given the widespread interest that the Love, InshAllah book has already drawn from non-Muslims, it’s likely the column will be a place for those outside the religion to learn a little something too; and without professing specific intent around dispelling stereotypes, we have a hunch the column will continue the record of the book in that regard.

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