Channel: Haleh Banani
Series: Haleh Banani - Intimacy Matters
Let's first talk about women's specifically. Why do women not want to engage intimately with their husbands? For example, I recently met a married woman who could not believe that her Muslim husband would want to endulge indulgence something. So dirty quote unquote.
There are many reasons for this which Southern holiday will address. The most common concerns are erroneous cultural beliefs on satisfactory intimate experiences, specifically, the lack of climax and women due to the misunderstanding on the husband's part, that his wife is not supposed to reach climax for years, women's complained about lack of foreplay, and media books, creating an unrealistic portrayal of intimacy and raising expectations from natural to meet up. So Subbu Would you like to start off by addressing how culture affects how women think?
Yes, thank you, you know,
as Islam expanded to other lands, Muslims were introduced to different cultural and different cultures and different cultural beliefs. Unfortunately, over the time, we adopted many incorrect concepts and these fallacious concepts tained almost every aspect of Islam, so much so that it didn't leave, it didn't even leave our leader alone. So in that case, try to understand that when almost every aspect of Islam was being tainted with cultural beliefs, how can intimacy be left unstained
and regrettably, many faulty beliefs were adopted about female sexuality as well.
To better understand, let's divide up this erroneous cultural beliefs into parts. Okay, so we have cultural beliefs from places from from that say, Eastern places like South Asia and Middle East, and then we have cultural beliefs from the European content.
Let's discuss the eastern cultural beliefs first. People coming from these regions don't even talk about physical intimacy. It's a big taboo. It's a hush hush nobody wants to do or indulge in this discussion. But if occasionally there is any mention, the girls always get to hear statements like sex is bad, sex is dirty. Good girls don't even have sexual thoughts before marriage. So much so that parents or elders of the family won't hesitate from scaring off the young girls from intimacy.
Why do you think families do this?
Oh, in order to discourage daughters from getting sexually aroused or falling into a premarital premarital relationship with boys, mothers and the elderly woman in the family raised daughters with wrong concepts, compromising young girls sensuality, making them feel dirty about it, putting the egg down, so much so that girls become disgusted of intimacy, and even scaring them off from physical intimacy without realizing the serious repercussions of such statements. And this is usually done because in those cultures, not in an Islamic culture, but in those cultures, family honor depends on how a woman of the family behave. And this is primarily adopted, I believe, by
Hindus and from the non Muslim. Arab believes or, you know, to some extent, it's even traces back to the pre Islamic beliefs.
Now, what happens is that at that tender age, when ideas and concepts are being developed in young minds, these statements from a mother, and especially from a mother can have everlasting damaging effects on a girl, which we see in a lot of Muslim marriages.
Well, definitely, Holly, we hear of lots of young brides being traumatized because of their lack of knowledge about their own bodies and sexuality. How have you seen the damaging effects of these beliefs in your practice? And specifically, I would really like you to touch a touch on how are these teachings wrong psychologically. I have come across so many women who have had marital problems related to this physical intimacy, their their self esteem is negatively affected, and some women are filled with either guilt and shame, or they're feeling fearful and inhibited. I actually had a couple come in for for therapy for the husband's infidelity. When I sat the off course the
woman was very devastated. She wanted to get to the bottom of this and when I spoke to the husband
He shared with me that his wife after having physical intimacy would cry out of shame. She was so traumatized, but what her parents had told her that she would cry out of shame. And he just simply couldn't understand this. And this actually drove him away from her and into the arms of another woman. So many women
had to have parents that scared them about being attacked about being physical. And now they're incapable, or they're not able to enjoy this beautiful act with their spouse. And there are some, there are some who have a very negative association to being physically intimate, they feel stressed, they feel anxiety. So the only way that they know how to cope is to purposely think about other things during the act. So one woman I worked with actually discussed random topics during the act as a way to distract herself. So she's feeling this guilt, anxiety, she's feeling so shameful that she's purposely thinking about other things. And they don't want to feel the shame. So they are
not mentally present, and they are unresponsive. And I really feel for these sisters, they it's really hard when you have been this misinformed about physical intimacy.
So we really need to get to the bottom of this, what can women do practically, to change and reframe themselves, if they are raised with these beliefs? Well, first of all, we have to realize that all these negative associations create an irrational and limiting belief system, which is physical intimacy is bad and dirty. So your belief, which means this act is bad, affects your self talk, self talk. And a lot of people when I'm doing therapy with them, they're not even aware of this internal dialogue that they're having with themselves, which is actually 600 more words, a minute. So you have a belief, which is, this act is bad, which affects your self talk and the self talk, you could
be like, Oh, my God, I dread this Oh, no, not again. And it's all these negative talks. And it creates your feeling. And so the feeling that it creates is anxiety, guilt, shame, and then it is manifested in your actions. So either withdrawing, avoiding, or simply being unresponsive. So if you want to change your behavior, you need to first change your limiting beliefs. And by creating a new positive, empowering belief, so we need to look at it as an actual paradigm shift in the way that you view physical intimacy. So instead of seeing it as, as it being bad, see it as either the spiritual emotional connection with your spouse, I have actually known many sisters who were exposed
to this kind of negative perception of intimacy, and they overcame their limiting beliefs. And I'm going to tell you how, because it is possible not many of us have been privileged to have parents who are open up open enough to share with us a very positive outlook. So we have to overcome this and it is possible. So the first thing that you need to do is reprogram realize that your mind is like a computer and you have to program it, whatever you say to yourself, whatever you foresee, it's like a self fulfilling prophecy. And you can also use the tool of visualization. visualization is really powerful. I mean, you see the people in the Olympics, those who are extremely successful,
they use the power of visualization, to achieve their goal. So you have to close your eyes, picture yourself, being calm, being relaxed, enjoying the act, and being aware also of your self talk, you have to say to yourself that this is I'm going to I'm going to be relaxed and realize that it is an act that is rewarded by a lot. It is not dirty, how can it How can something dirty be helot Allah has permitted this for us. And so it is rewarded and it can definitely be enjoyable. It also helps as just kind of a side note what I have seen work with a lot of sisters who have tension, whether it's at the beginning of their marriage or sometimes way into their marriage is about using
relaxation techniques. It is about tensing up your muscles starting from your tippy toes and moving all the way up. And tensing, relaxing tensing, relaxing.
This actually helps your whole body to relax. And in order to get your mind to relax and you start doing breathing exercises where you take deep breaths and then you release not this is a it's a beautiful way to fight off any sort of anxiety and then following it up with the self talk calming words to yourself that I am calm, I am present and I can enjoy this
example Okay, for that. Several, you have studied these issues closely. We have examples of our Sahaba and how this was not a taboo topic during the time of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. So, can you touch up on how these
cultural beliefs are wrong? islamically?
Absolutely, you know, you, you said it, this topic was not taboo at all during the time of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, in fact, in Islam,
to discuss sexuality with truth and honesty is has never been considered bad or a taboo. Islam teaches us to be truthful, after all. kalama Anna said that, you know, the best of the speech is, is the truth. So saying something otherwise, will never bring any height or any good in our lives. And the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he said in the Cypriot Leland bill, the truthfulness that leads to piety. Now, on the other hand, these control statements are all false. And falseness can never lead to anything good or blissful. And we can see how much damage these beliefs have caused, and they continue to cause. Now, as for the sexual act in Islam, intimacy is not bad. And it is not
dirty. I mean, think about it, how can it be dirty when Islam has made the act of intimacy or solidify in marriage?
So I want to touch upon that. So some Islamic classes and teachers teach that women who feel desire will not attain the pleasure of paradise. And I find that this teaching can really hurt a marriage. I've talked to and spoken and counseled many women who have felt this way and have heard this throughout their lives. And especially women who become more practicing, so maybe they did not have these opinions before but suddenly they're coming back to Islam or they're learning about the deen and they're learning from teachers and suddenly they get to hear this a lot.
Others teach sex as charity. So the far right, based from the Hadith from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, but limit women when they stretch that charity, South Africa is seeking reward only from Allah, women then start treating intimacy such as, like an obligation with a holier than thou attitude, not expecting any sensual pleasure. But sadaqa doesn't also mean treat and giving the best that we have. So can you please elaborate on the set? Hadees of Sadako?
Yeah, sure. The Hadith basically, let me quote the Hadith, it's a long Hadith so I'm not going to quote the whole Hadees but basically, it is in Sahih, Muslim, we are Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was listing, you know, a number of acts of sadaqa, that
such and such as sadaqa and smiling as a source of iron. And then he mentioned that in the sexual act of each of you, there is a sort of so the Sahaba they were surprised and they asked, you're also allowing one of us fulfills his sexual desires, will he be given out award for that? And so he sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, Do you not think that were he to act upon it unlawfully, he will, he will be sitting. Likewise, if he acts upon it lawfully, he will be rewarded. And as I said it, this can be found inside a Muslim.
Now, this first, first of all, we need to understand that this is both for men and women. It's not only that the women are giving sadaqa to their husbands, it's a mutual thing. And the reason it's you have to understand that it is upheld by the Arabic linguistic rules, that when both men and women are addressed, then male pronoun is used. So even if it's just one men and everybody else is a woman, it would still take the male male pronoun, and it has nothing to do. It's just this is how the Arabic language is. But when something is only for women, then the female pronoun is used. So now this saga is the sisters have to realize it's not like they're giving sadaqa to you know,
charity to their husbands because they are in need. The woman are also in need. It's a mutual so that our men are giving sadaqa to their wives and wives are giving sadaqa to their, to their husbands. There's no such thing as holier than thou. It's a it's a mutual thing.
You know, beautiful mutual act for earning other together and satisfying their needs together to also, as you mentioned in the Quran as well.
several times in the Quran I'll, I'll just, I won't take too much of your time. So I'll just put two examples do you allow so john says in Surah Al Baqarah, or hell Allah, Allah Allah tassia Morocco Illa Nisa Eco, it is made halal, or it is made lawful for you to have sexual relations. Allah xojo subhanho wa Taala does not make something halal, which is bad or which is dirty. And there are many other places in Koran Mira where Allah azza wa jal is, you know, highlighting praiseworthy characteristics of successful people.
And, and in the list he's upon what Allah mentioned several things that these are the people who got their prayers, these are the people who fast and give sadaqa. And in that list, you see, I like when levena homely food to him, half of them and those who protect their private parts in Lyla as watching him except from their spouses. So the very fact that he subhanho wa Taala is the one who has ordained this act, Helen and praiseworthy in marriage hold on outside the marriage, and when performed within the marriage is actually a way to earn reward from him as a soldier, then it is incumbent upon us that we get our minds out of the damaging cultural beliefs and put our religion
over our culture. Unfortunately, because of this negative association of intimacy, in rooting from the faulty cultural beliefs, many women can get over the idea of intercourse being bad and dirty. And they end up building an aversion towards intimacy, ruining their marital relationships. And unfortunately, you know, some of these cases actually lead to divorce.
as for this discussion, what are some solution to counter the rain tendency is introduced in a harmful way to a young man or woman.
Yet, this is such an important issue, we need to actually parents need to revolutionize the way they speak to their teenagers about intimacy, no more scare tactics and shaming, this will destroy their marital relationship, lying to your kids, just to keep them under control is not effective parenting, they grow up, they will grow up and resent you. And so will their spouses. I have heard so many endless stories of sisters being told by bit by their parents different different scary situations to avert them to create an aversion towards physical intimacy. So this is not the way we need to go about it to protect our kids, we need to have frank discussions, we need to be able to
openly communicate. And it needs to be presented in a way that a law intended for the physical intimacy to be expressed in the context of a loving and serving relationship between a husband and a wife. It is really a beautiful act that connects couples beyond description. So we need to present it in a positive way. We need to have open dialogue. And the emphasis needs to be on having a and having relations in the context of marriage and not on the act being bad, dirty or hot on.
Okay. And Holly, I 100% support you on this thing. In fact, I have a personal example, actually, to quote. So I'm just going to go ahead and say the story that just happened. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, when my
seven year old daughter, Jenna, she was telling me a story. And then it was a story about a princess or something. And then in the end of the day, get married, basically. And so she said in her words, you know, and they get married, and then they kissed and then she said she had like an ill you know she'd like was showing like discussion about it. So I just had like, you know, a motherly instinct at that time. And I just I seize that opportunity. And I actually addressed her I said, Why is that? No. And then she just said because kissing you know, it's you. And so I sat down and I told her I said but see they were married, so they became husband and wife. So when husband and wife kiss, it's
not a it's actually good. But when someone kisses and they're not husband and wife, like a girlfriend or a boyfriend, then it's very, very ill so in in her in her words. So I think that's what we need to do. We need to just take opportunities and engage our kids.
In these discussion and be open about it, we, you know, we need to clear their mind from that young age. Absolutely Well, for applying Alhamdulillah I, I totally agree with your sisters, I speak to my children about it and I have four Mashallah, in an age appropriate manner, where they can refer to the Koran, where they can use examples from their real life. And we talk about it in a scientific way we discussed DNA, how someone's DNA might have gotten into someone else. And these are questions that the kids naturally and normally have. And when you address them right then and there and they know that you are the person or you're the father is the person that they can come to, then
Alhamdulillah when they become teenagers, they will go to someone else to get nonsense information from someone somewhere else. So I really, really
stress this fact to our audience as well. In fact, some of you have a series on this subject on Muslim matters on this topic, sexual education. I do growing up workshops around the country, that you can, you know, when we talk about puberty, and growing up, Holly does parenting workshops and
addressing these issues from a counseling point of view, Mashallah, these are really like we need to really our community really needs to step up on these matters and on hamdulillah Al Hamdulillah, for sisters like you, but I don't want anybody to get the impression that cultural beliefs are just limited to the east. There are many European cultural beliefs and paradigms that we have absorbed causing the same kind of damage. So could you speak about this in detail?