Sexuality and sex as an ExMuslim

Sex.
It’s pretty fun, right?
It is also a pretty taboo topic in Muslim households.
I never received any form of sex ed or had The Talk with my parents.
I didn’t know what contraception was.
I didn’t know what an orgasm was.
I didn’t know what masturbation was.

Growing up in a Muslim household, girls don’t really learn much about sex until they are getting married.  Why should they? Sex is not for the pleasure of women, but instead for the pleasure of man and to procreate.  Perhaps they think that if a girl was to know the joys of sex, they may behave wantonly and jump on every penis that walks by?

I hit puberty in the early 00s, a time before we could easily whip our phones out and look up porn or other erotic material but I definitely had what I like to call urges. The strange feeling of pressure down below and this need to find release, but I couldn’t understand where they were coming from or why and I didn’t dare ask my mother.

I was in my mid-teens when I discovered erotic literature. I had often been going to the library as a means of escaping my family and I stumbled across the romance section. I had ignored that area of the library as I didn’t believe in love (to me it was just a fairytale) and I didn’t want to know of something I couldn’t have but the cover of a book intrigued me so I pulled it off the shelf and when I got home I hid it under my bed.

That night I devoured the book and those strange feelings I had had previously intensified as I read through the various sex scenes. I took my cues from the book but the intensity that was building was so foreign to me that I stopped. Obviously looking back I know that I was building to an orgasm but as a young teen who had no idea what one was, my racing heart and choppy breath both scared and confused me.  I returned the book and pushed all those strange thoughts and urges to the side.

What also confused me was my sexuality. I was not only turned on by boys but by girls as well. That made me feel “wrong”. I had been taught that I should only be with a man so having these urges towards girls made me feel dirty and uncomfortable. I knew I wasn’t a lesbian but I knew it wasn’t just boys I liked.

Fast forward a few years and I had embraced the fact that I was destined for a life of sexual servitude to a man. I would hear the advice older women would give to young brides such as  “Just lie there”, “It doesn’t take long” or “The pain goes away quickly” and I believed that sex was not fun perhaps even painful for the woman. I couldn’t understand why people would cheat on their partner for sex, why “western” women would say it was great and enjoyable. Was everything I had been taught a lie? Was I missing out on some big secret? Were Muslim men and women just really bad in bed?

I encountered a few Never Muslims and I was curious about their remarks regarding sex. They told me that sex could be good if your partner knew what they were doing. They said sex could be fun, exciting and exhilarating.  I was intrigued.

By the time I hit my late teens, my parents had begun pushing me to get married. I didn’t want to experience the staid, boring and possibly painful sexual experience that would be my first time, so I contacted my now-partner and asked him to have sex with me. If I could, I would ensure that my first time would be with someone who knew that sex could be enjoyable for both participants.  I was so awkward and had no idea what I was doing, but I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted my first time to be on my own terms, not my parents or potential husband.

Embracing my sexual side has been a journey.  I had terrible body image and found it very hard to express my desires. I have definitely learnt to be more adventurous and I don’t shy away from different things relating to sex and sexuality.

My advice to other ExMuslims is to not push yourself to have sex and only do it when you feel ready. Do not let anyone pressure you into sex. There is nothing wrong with waiting. There is no shame in masturbation or orgasming. You are not dirty, shameful or wrong for doing any of those things. It is completely natural and feels freaking amazing.

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