A new 'taboo-breaking' book aimed at providing halal sex advice for Muslim women hit the shelves last week. The US-born author, who goes by the pen name Umm Muladhat, wrote The Muslimah Sex Manual: A Halal Guide to Mind Blowing Sex based on her experience of keeping the spark alive within her own marriage. It's being hailed as 'the first halal sex manual for women,' although we have heard tell of other less modern examples, but this one has been praised by Muslim women's organisations for bringing a taboo subject into the limelight in a thoroughly modern way.
Muladhat herself is now being proclaimed the Muslim non-sex-worker answer to Belle du Jour.
'I didn't find any guides to sex aimed at Muslims, women or otherwise. There are plenty of books already on marriage, but spicing up a Muslim's sex life while staying halal? There's nothing,' explains Muladhat.
The book doesn't shy away from the gritty details, either. Candid advice is offered on everything from kissing to BDSM and cowgirl positions (one chapter it titled 'How to be a freak in bed') – with the central message being that Muslim women have a right to sexual satisfaction and should enjoy a varied sex life.
The reaction to the book has, on the whole, been good. "I've received encouraging feedback, but also a significant number of demeaning and disgusting messages," the author told The Guardian.
"One woman said it's not needed, they learn everything from their mothers. I doubt any mother speaks in as explicit detail as I have." The author added: "I put an emphasis on having sex only with your spouse, but having the full range of sexual experiences with that spouse."
Muladhat said she felt compelled to write the book after she discovered women getting married with pretty much zero knowledge about sex other than snippets gleaned from the back of marriage guides.
An acquaintance admitted to her she was struggling during the first few months of her marriage.
"Her sex life was horrible. In fact, it was fast becoming non-existent. She had been a model Muslimah her entire life. Before marriage, she had never so much as held a non-mahram's hand, let alone become physically intimate with one," Umm explained on her website.
Umm Muladhat, The Muslimah Sex Manual
"She had eagerly looked forward to marriage as a chance to finally indulging in all the physical intimacy she had postponed for the sake of Allah. But, without any education, the new bride had no idea of what sex should involve other than the mechanics. She didn't know what he liked. She didn't even know what she liked," Muladhat explained.
So the author wrote down everything she'd learnt from 30 years of marriage, chats with friends and magazine articles. She saw the girl again one month later, and this time she had "a huge smile on her face" and begged Muladhat to share her experience with other Muslim girls.
The book deals with cultural misconceptions that decent women don't — or shouldn't — enjoy sex. And, according to Muladhat, a lot of Muslim women are confused about what sexual acts are permissible in Islam.
"Guilt associated with sex is drummed into women from childhood," she explains. "It's portrayed as something dirty where women's sexuality is often controlled."
Umm Muladhat, The Muslimah Sex Manual
And it's not just women's lives the author is having a huge affect on. After holding informal workshops, Muladhat was inundated with emails from men also looking for advice.
"I've received dozens of emails from men asking if I had any plans to write a companion book to teach them how to please their wives in bed. I've taken that into consideration and plan to write a follow-up if this book is successful," she also told the Guardian.
The author has chosen to stay anonymous because she didn't want to solely be known in her community as the 'sex book aunty', in addition to any potential backlash the book might cause.
"Initially, I thought my real name would add credibility, but it's a sensitive topic," said Muladhat. "Whether it's ethnicity, socioeconomic status or religiosity, people who want to attack the book will invariably do so by attacking the author. By separating my real self from the book, people are forced to deal with the content."
From: ELLE UK