Let’s Talk About Sex: Counselling Muslim Selves Online

Author(s) Mona Abdel-Fadil
Contact Mona Abdel-Fadil, University of Oslo, Postboks 1010 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: mail@monaabdel-fadil.com
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 10, Iss. 1, 2016, pp. 29-60
Published May 10, 2016
Type Article
Abstract Islam Online Arabic, and particularly the counselling service Problems and Solutions, received harsh critique for being too ‘open’ or even ‘un–Islamic’ in their views and dealings with sensitive topics, not least with regards to sexuality. The counselling service Problems and Solutions can be considered the emblem of Islam Online’s efforts to unite secular and Islamic perspectives and relate to contemporary Muslims’ real lives and problems. Counsellors argue that there is a total lack of sexual education in the Arab world, a problem which must be faced head on. Problems and Solutions questioners could ask the most intimate of questions without shame or embarrassment. This article provides an overview of the types of questions about sexuality and sexual relations that questioners sent to Problems and Solutions counsellors. Moreover, the analysis sheds light on: 1) the various aspects of contemporary Arab marriages and taboo–ridden sexuality which counsellors believe to be detrimental to marriages, and 2) a variety of proposed local remedies, including encouraging men to aspire to the ‘new man’ ideal.
Keywords gender, Islam, Middle East, masculinity, sexuality, religion online, social aspects