Sunday, June 24, 2012

Zulaikha's Story

I would just like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support for my last post. It was definitely not an easy one to write, but all your emails, tweets, Facebook msgs, DMs and comments on the post were incredible. Sadly, it seems that a ridiculous number of people share similar experiences... I was shocked at how many of you messaged with stories of your own. It hurts to hear & I'm so terribly sorry there has been so much collective pain... just know that you are definitely not alone. There are too many people who have suffered. Lets try to change this attitude of denial or disbelief that parents/caregivers often have in Pakistan. 

I'm starting a petition, I don't often ask for anything specific... but this time I will ask that you sign it. There is power in numbers, so lets see where it takes us. Please share on your Twitter and Facebook pages. Its just a petition... nothing scandalous. So relax. 

If we can get a significant amount of signatures I'm sure someone that can do something will take notice (I have looked and looked and asked around for the correct 'someone' to address it to in Pakistan and still haven't found anything - any leads would be appreciated). 

Though I don't expect much from Pakistanis in terms of actively voicing a cause such as this...crazier things have happened because of social media. Prove me wrong. Please. 

I propose that we petition to get a countrywide government funded Advertising Campaign to warn against Child Sex Abuse in Pakistan specifically. It should cover:

1) What you need to teach your children in order to warn them.  
2) What cues parents should be on the lookout for
3) That it needs to be made clear to children that they can talk to their parents about anything
4)That predators are often people you know and trust, and come from all economic backgrounds
5)That servants should ideally have references from former employees, & children should definitely    not be left alone in their (or anyone you don't know well's) care
6)It should include the alarming statistics related to this issue.

Sign by clicking on the widget above. (I understand ppl may have privacy concerns, all I am looking to collect is names and cities/countries you can fill out fictional things in the address and postal code line) Thank you :) 

If you decided not to sign for some reason, and you need another reason why... just read the following interview. 

Zulaikha, 34, Female

At what age (approximately) and how did you come to know about sexual intercourse?
I was molested as a child by my cook. I was eight years old. He repeatedly molested me for almost a year. I did not understand the experience at all except that it was painful, it made me bleed and that if I told anybody, he would kill me. Of course, this was something he had convinced me of. He also told me I made him do these things. I was very afraid at the time. I think I blocked it completely for years. I didn’t tell anyone till I was 20.

Instinctively, I knew it was BAD and wrong. However, I feared my changing body and blamed it on the experience entirely. It was so traumatic, that eventually I blocked it from my mind by sheer will.

I began masturbating (completely by accident) when I was 11. The muslim shower pretty much did the trick. I didn’t know what I was doing except that it made me feel deliciously good and the moment when I orgasmed was so wonderful that I would do it over and over just to feel it again.

I found out about sexual intercourse from my biology book in 9th grade. I was horrified and it brought back feelings of shame and guilt. However, I was also excited and disturbed that people would do such a thing. I still blocked my childhood molestation (I might as well call it rape) but it would try to creep back into my mind.

Is Pakistan sexually repressed as a nation?
Yes. I think Pakistan is sexually repressed. I think people impose guilt and shame on sexuality and mess everything up.

Have you ever had/Do you enjoy having sex?
I have had sex many times. I have engaged in sexual intercourse with my boyfriends. I had a couple of one night stands which made me uncomfortable. However, I do not regret those experiences.

I had my first penetrative sexual encounter at the age of 27. Before that I had avoided penetration (and done “everything else”) because it frightened me and brought back bad memories. I have had therapy for my guilt but it creeps back in now and then. However, I got over it mostly when I just did it. I wouldn’t have done it and would have stayed frightened if the man hadn’t insisted or threatened to leave me. Bad start but it led to a more fulfilling life. The first time was pallid and quite uninteresting. I didn’t “feel” anything except mild pain. There was no blood. It was quite disappointing. Later I realized it was the man who just didn’t know how to use it! I even blamed myself for it and felt awful and stupid. But again, later, other men proved me wrong.

I love sex. I love the idea of it. I love wanting it. I love doing it. I love doing everything I can during sex. I love how it creates a new realm of understanding/perspective and you become something you are not even aware of otherwise. I love how I can let go and enjoy myself. I also love how I can please another human being. It is gratifying and so much fun.

On premarital sex:
I’ve only ever had pre-marital sex. I’m not married. I just know I couldn’t deny myself sex just because I’m not married. That’s mostly how I’ve been.

The one night stands were between relationships and were not very satisfying. I think sex with a particular person improves with time. You grow into each other and understand every nuance, every signal, every glance. It gets better that way. Sometimes, it is so good it almost kills you with pleasure. I think the Japanese call orgasms “little deaths” for a reason.

Have you had more than one sexual partner in life?
Yes. I’ve had 7.

On Arranged Marriage: 
Not married. Yet. If it happens, it will happen. Just like that :)

On Sex & Equality:
I don’t think it is a completely equal act all the time. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, you have to let the other person enjoy themselves more because it gives you a feeling of having done something good for the other person. I find it hard to explain.

However, if it’s always not equal, then it’s a problem. That wouldn’t really work now, would it? It just wouldn’t be fair. It would also make the person missing out on the fun feel very bad.

What do you think nature and the physical differences between men and women have to do with gender roles in society?
I am generally confused about gender roles in the society these days. I don’t really want to even think about it. I think I am tired with gender roles.

Have you ever experienced a multiple orgasm?
Yes I have. I usually have multiple orgasms. I have one followed by another one almost instantly and then another. It is a very pleasing and breathless experience.

The first time I experienced it was while masturbating because I continued doing what I was doing to myself even after I reached orgasm. I was surprised because it didn’t stop but kept going. Then I decided that I would see how many I could have at the same time. I think my record was 9.

I don’t think I am pleased during sex until I have three in one go. I like telling my partners when I orgasm and how many times because it pleases them.

Have you ever found or had your g-spot found?
I think there is a spot which is more sensitive but I am not quite sure where it is. For some insane reason I think it changes. I think it goes for a walk and decides to settle down in different places.

Do you know anyone who has sex but has not yet experienced an orgasm? What are your thoughts on that?
Yes I know quite a few women who have had sex but haven’t experienced an orgasm. Some don’t even know that they should have one. It makes me sad. It also frustrates me. Why would this be happening to them?

Do you think about sex every day?
I have days when I think about it all the time. But then I have days when I don’t at all. But if I’m reminded of it (by a person, a film, a book, a picture etc) then I start thinking about it. When I was younger, I thought about it more often. I think when I get older, I’ll probably think about it more. Sometimes, I ignore the thought because I work so much. When I’m older and I don’t have to work as much, I’ll probably think about it more.

Do you think sex plays a major role in your life?
I am an artist. A lot of my work comes from my sex drive. Sometimes I think I feel alive because I know sex exists.

On Masturbation:
Masturbation is normal. It helps relieve stress. It also gives pleasure. Self-love is important for self esteem.

Would you morally, ethically or in any way, have a problem with marrying someone who had had sex with someone before you? 
Not at all. Virgins frighten me. Inexperience is frightening. I avoid sexual encounters with inexperienced people.

On Pornography:
I love porn. It is a visual form of fantasy that I enjoy not just for sexual reasons. I find it very interesting and I enjoy dissecting it to understand visual and human culture.

I think it represents the history of the sexual experiences and fantasies of people over time. Vintage pornography is a favorite of mine. I look for it to understand the human condition of the past.

To what extent, in comparison with the rest of the world, do you think people practice bestiality (sex with animals) in this country? 
I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I know people have sex with animals here. I’ve heard about it and even seen it once. I feel bad for the animals because I doubt they are consenting of this kind of behavior. I find forced sex repulsive.

What are your thoughts on homosexuality?
If you’re gay, you’re gay. That’s how I see it. I think people are born gay or straight. Nobody should have a problem with it. It would be like having an issue with somebody being straight. You are what you are.

Do you think education is important, when it comes to something like sexuality?
Yes. It’s very important. If you know more about it, you can make better choices.

What kind of role do you think sex plays in religion?
I have tried to deconstruct that idea for a while and no answers yet.

Do you think we have a problem in this country with sexual predators and Paedophiles, and to what extent, in comparison with the rest of the world? 
I think we do. Hell, yes. I was a victim of a pedophile. I know what that did to me as a person. Some of my friends have faced similar abuse as children. I wouldn’t say that there are more freaks here than anywhere else. A friend in the US was repeatedly abused sexually by both her parents. That frightened me beyond reason. 

Zulaikha and I had a follow up chat too... here's what she said (& it broke my heart all over again. But what an incredibly strong woman she is, that she had the courage to face this ugly fact head on and confront it):

It was rape. He penetrated me and I felt violated even though I wasn't sure what was happening. It was painful and humiliating. I call it molestation to take the sting out. I suppose I still feel humiliated though it wasn't my fault. Nobody tried to locate the cook. I remember thinking that if I ever found him when I was bigger and stronger, I'd hurt him very badly. For years I'd look for him in crowds - in the markets. Then I stopped.

He had worked in my house for years - he was a child when he started. He pretty much grew up in my house. Then he vanished after he stole a lot of things while we were away. I told my parents finally when I was 20. They didn't believe me until my brother told them his story and backed me up. He had also raped my brother. When two of us spoke up together, they believed us. But I'm not sure even now if they really did. Then they would blame themselves. And I don't think they would want to blame themselves. My father was always on flights, away from home. That was his job. He used to be an airline pilot before he retired. My mom would sleep in the afternoon. My brothers and I would be left to our own devices.

I was in therapy before I told them. When I was 19, I tried to kill myself and I had a kind of nervous breakdown that put me in the hospital. That led to therapy and I feel that talking about myself eventually helped me face what had happened to me before. The therapist connected it to my personality disorder (or so they claimed) and I eventually had the courage to face it myself. Then I told my parents. I don't think it was just the therapy. I got tired of being sad and guilty. However, the therapist did make me realize it wasn't my fault. I was afraid I had brought it on myself. I suppose the cultural shit I was exposed to gave me that fear. Only bad girls get touched in "bad ways" and so I blamed myself.


Her story really just shatters me. My heart goes out to her and her brother. How I wish I could ensure that this doesn't happen to anyone again....but sadly it will :( Don't just stand by and let it happen, the least you can do is #SignThePetitionPakistan

Oh - and Zulaikha, never EVER blame yourself for this. Thank you for your immense courage.

If you are a victim of sexual abuse in Pakistan & are looking for support, Sahil is a great resource. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Broken Doll....

I've been meaning to write this post for a while now. Its been eating away at me for months. But I've also kind of been avoiding it. Some subjects are just too upsetting to talk about. I've always been the wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve, emotional type. My need to speak and draw and express myself is pretty intense. Sometimes, when I get a thought stuck in my head, I simply can't rest till I've let it out. So here goes... *deep breath* : an ugly, ugly fucking squid of a thing that encompasses the whole world in its nasty tentacles. But the level of such occurrences, the lack of recognition, the unchecked freedom to abuse in much of the East is unthinkably disgusting. And the way these situations are dealt with is even more disturbing. If you're South Asian who actually grew up in Sexually repressed South Asia, chances are that either you've experienced some level of sexual harassment/abuse as a child or that you know someone who has. Without exaggeration, that's how rampant it is. From groping in the markets, to excessive catcalling, to trusted household help abusing children, and it's largely ignored because of 'shame' and 'honour'.

I wanted to write this post for those people... Those who are often not believed when they painfully recount their story, or those who are told to 'forget about it'. Many parents in my birth country (Pakistan) are not equipped to deal with such situations, they simply don't have the communication tools, the awareness, or knowledge about sex/abuse/consent related subjects. Since our culture's way of dealing with human sexuality is to repress it... often Parents' first reaction is denial, and then withdrawal. They aren't as unfeeling as they seem, but victims of a system that equates sex of any kind, even abuse, with shame and victim blaming. Too many parents are ignorant, uneducated, and simply ill-equipped..they are frightened of letting out the barrage of emotions that could come from such a thing. And so, rather than face the rage, defeat and 'humiliation' in front of society, by acknowledging the incident, many desi parents do what they do best: Sweep stories of sexual abuse under the rug and hope that they go away.

Of course, thats the worst possible thing you can do to someone (especially a child) who has been through even the slightest amount of sexual abuse or harassment. There is so much confusion and guilt involved... that a tiny little mind just can't process it properly. Instead of help innocent children, our society is set up to let them deal with such an experience all on their own.

Because of the taboo associated with anything sexual, parents often protect themselves (from 'disgrace' and 'humiliation') but there isn't enough awareness about the subject to realize that its the child that needs protection in such a situation. The problem perpetuates itself from there. Kids pick up on how closed the culture is about such matters, and are afraid to even tell anyone....imagine going through your whole life with that burden.

I hope at least the Pakistani parents of tomorrow will sit down and have a talk about sexual predators with their children. All parents need to do warn and educate. And they need to make it clear that they're there to listen and support no matter what. Not scold and shame.

In a society that commonly employs live-in domestic workers, without any reference checks, its appalling that this isn't already happening. I personally know of too many cases, where friends and friends of friends were molested by domestic workers. (Of course molesters come in all shapes and sizes, and economic statuses -- they are not always household help, thats not what I'm saying... but more often than not... that is the story I hear in Pakistan - either that, or trusted relatives.)

It's troubling for me to write every word of this post, because this is a cause that's personal to me. I was a victim of some degree of molestation myself. And this is the part I'll really struggle with writing, recounting my own tale - mostly because I have cousins, friends and siblings that read the blog. I've never talked about this openly before (apart from with my husband and sister) It's kind of odd to put it out there, without a veil of anonymity....

I struggle with feeling ashamed about it (just like every other victim of sexual abuse will tell you), though logically I know it was not my fault.

I didn't grow up in Pakistan, so that's not where my story takes place. It was in Saudi Arabia (also an incredibly sexually repressed culture), where we had an Egyptian family doctor. A seemingly nice enough guy, my parents actually became quite close with him and his family, they'd go over to his house for dinner parties, etc. He had two teenage daughters when I was about 6, I hope they didn't have to go through any such thing. 

Anyhow, most of my encounters with him are all very blurry, perhaps because I tried to block it out, or maybe because I was really young...In the clinic, he had an office with a desk and visiting chairs, and then he had a separate examination room (some parts are really vivid however, I can still smell that sick sterile smell of the examination room... and I can picture the small beige mosaic tiles on the floor). 

After me, my parents had my brother and sister relatively close in time... so they were always struggling to handle 2 young babies simultaneously. Whenever we went for a check up (which I dreaded) - my parents would stay behind in the office part keeping the babies quiet - The doctor would take me alone to the examination room. He did everything a doctor should do, except that he let his stethoscope linger on, and graze parts of my body that it really shouldn't have. He would see the fear in my 6 year old eyes and get off on that power. Eventually I'd cry and call for my parents and they would come running, of course.... but I didn't have the words to tell them what had happened - I would say right there, in front of the doctor, 'he touched me with that' (his stethoscope), and I'd say, 'He was trying to take my clothes off' but he would laugh it off and look at my parents and say, of course I was - I had to lift her shirt to examine her chest (it was not my shirt I was talking about), and of course I had to touch her with the stethoscope...I'm her doctor. 

And my parents were none the wiser. He had perfectly reasonable explanations for my accusations, he explained it away as me being afraid of doctors and check-ups (which I am to this day, mind you) - but that's not what I was talking about, and he knew it. He even gave me an evil smile, that would acknowledge that he knew exactly what I was struggling to articulate.

Frustrated at not being able to express myself, I'd give up. And the process repeated itself maybe 2 more times, till I figured that the best thing would be to ask my mom to come into the examination room with me. She was happy to oblige of course...she just couldn't figure out why he upset me so much, but chalked it up to a fear of getting a check-up (which a lot of kids have, and it makes them wail and cry.... )

Now, I wasn't penetrated or even touched or fondled inappropriately - he just brushed his hand and stethoscope past inappropriate areas. I suppose if i had let him do more he would have, but i screamed out to my parents immediately... so he couldn't get very far. But my point is, even though, he didn't really get the chance to do much to me, It has affected me forever...I feel broken by it...till I was about 26 I couldn't go to the doctor alone... and even now, just that cold touch of the stethoscope sends an awful chill down my spine, in a hospital gown I feel naked and hands get clammy and my heartbeat increases like mad. I feel powerless, vulnerable... and almost always violated. If just the brush of a hand could do that to me for decades, I cannot even begin to think of what it feels like for someone who has been intensely fondled, or raped. Especially as a child. My heart breaks into a million pieces just thinking about what that would be like.

Children are so very fragile, it doesn't take much to break them and paint the rest of their lives with a palette of molestation, grief, guilt and shame....

Now, my case was confusing for both me and my parents, because that particular situation did require the doctor to undress/examine me to an extent. So it was very hard for a 6 year old to try and explain that it violated me, or even process it. I was confused because I wondered if that was indeed part of the check up, but I knew deep down inside that it was not. Unfortunately I couldn't find the words to express that. It was 'mild' enough that I struggled with understanding it was sexual abuse for a very long time.

Soon though, we got news that the doctor had died suddenly of a heart attack. I felt relief..... and then immediately after, I felt guilt. I was guilty for feeling relieved, but also.. I wondered if I had caused the doctor to die. Because he had done something inappropriate to me, and 'god' disapproved ... it was all very puzzling. We went to his house that evening. Seeing the red, tear-streaked faces of his wife and daughters made me feel awful. Because I was, in truth, a little relieved that this man they so evidently loved, was dead. In fact my 6 year old brain  had tried to convince me that I may have been the reason he died. It was too much to handle I think, because from that day onward I buried it somewhere so distant, that it didn't resurface till I was in my 20's - and I was shocked to realize, all of a sudden, that I had in fact been a victim of molestation. When that recognition swept over me in my adulthood, I began to put a lot of pieces excessive fear of doctors, it all made sense.

I had been carrying this with me without any recollection of much of my life affected....just by the brush of a hand.

A couple of years ago, I mustered up the courage to tell my mom - her first reaction was 'noooo maybe you're mistaken honey' but I persisted, looked her in the eyes, told her that there was no way I was mistaken. I just didn't have the words to explain myself earlier.

In that split-second, she seemed shattered, she apologized with a look of horror in her eyes.

I told her it was ok. I told her not to tell my dad though. He couldn't handle it. He really couldn't. There's no point in telling him wouldn't change anything. It would only break his heart.

It took a lot out of me to bring it up. I didn't want to revisit it, but I had to tell her....and I'm very close to my parents. They're very open minded and understanding people. My mom has always made it easy to talk to her about anything. And yet, I didn't talk to her about this till I was well into my 20's....

I can only imagine how hard it is for victims of worse crimes, who are not so close with their families.... how does one even broach the subject then? And what if they don't believe you? How badly does that make your self-esteem crumble? I'm lucky, that my mom is understanding enough to recognize how awful it must have been.... but even she did not want to have an extensive conversation about it. Neither did I.

Mine is a story that didn't occur in Pakistan, but it happened to me and my Pakistani family. We were not well equipped to deal with it. I was not warned about predators, my parents were too trusting about leaving me alone with the doctor...maybe they are just from a better time.. when this kind of thing didn't happen.... but thats not likely. They're from a culture of denial that doesn't accept the existence of such things.

That's what I'd like to see change - the bloody taboo associated with sexuality. Is it too much to ask that people get a little more comfortable with the issues surrounding sexuality in our country? Is it too much to ask that Pakistani parents have a talk about potential predators with their children as soon as they are old enough to understand the concept..... perhaps it is too much.... but I'm still going to ask.

Next time, I'll be putting up an interview that deals with this topic. Its ever so painful to hear these stories, but I am glad that some people are speaking out. Getting heard is important and necessary to educate. And sometimes, an important part of healing. I am always happy to provide a place for that. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sex, Religion and omg... menstruation?

So..... much more interesting conversation has been generated from the last post. I'm glad that more of you are participating and letting your thoughts be heard :) Its truly the best way to learn more about topics unknown and un-discussed.... for example one of my commenters wrote on the last post;

"Also, it [Islam] doesn't really oppress female sexual desires. If anything, it protects females by prohibiting men from sex during periods, which doctors today say would be harmful for females."

and then followed up with:

"As for proof, there are doctors you can talk to about sex during menstruation. I have asked doctors, that too female ones about it and the majority hold the view that its not safe, irrespective of how horny they might be feeling. Now to give you some "proof", "A woman's risk of sexually transmitted disease and infection is higher than normal during this time because the cervix opens to allow blood to pass through. Unfortunately, this creates the perfect pathway for bacteria to travel deep inside the pelvic cavity. A woman is also more likely to pass on blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis to a partner during her period, and she's more likely to develop yeast or bacterial infections because the vagina's pH during menstruation is less acidic" as taken from ."

But of course, like I said to him us humans can manipulate facts to suit our needs... we can just pick and choose what to point out, if it strengthens our point... because the same website, does indeed say its perfectly normal to have sex during your period. Certain precautions should be taken, but then again... isn't that the case with all sex? (link courtesy of @themaholupper)

(its time to re-use this illustration, i think :P)

Anyhoo, I took to twitter, to ask what more people's opinions were on the matter. Because I was a bit surprised actually, to read the view that prohibiting sex during menstruation, was actually 'protecting' females. Now of course, everyone has their own opinion and preference... so I'd like to say that I appreciate everyone's input. In fact, without the above comment, I wouldn't have had half as much to say - so thank you!

But I'd also like to point out that there is nothing medically unsafe (religion is another thing entirely) with having sex during your period (see link above for more information). If you aren't in a monogamous long-term relationship... you should be using condoms anyway! 

Here is some of what was said;


And then I had a volunteer email me her own account of having intercourse during menstruation:

Clearly this is a subject many people have lots to say about. And I'm glad it came out, because this wasn't even on my list of topics to write about... it just kinda happened on its own.

*     *      *
Well my boyfriend and I have been dating for over two years now. Our relationship was physical before any emotional attachments. But I think it's safe to say we are quite in love now. We are both each other's first sex partners although he had fooled around with oral sex in his earlier relationships.

When we are together it's quite impossible for us to keep our hands off each other. It's more of my fault actually since I use sex as validation for love. So the first time I was with him during my period we didn't hesitate to agree on having sex.

The issues I would like to point out are 1. Hygiene 2. Comfort 3. Birth control.

For hygiene we just needed some towels under my nether regions. We layered two towels with a plastic bag between them so as to prevent any stains on his bed sheet. We also had to keep tissues and a sanitary napkin nearby in case of any emergencies.

The comfort is totally dependent on the individual. Mentally if someone thinks it's gross, there's no point in doing it since what's the fun in doing something you won't enjoy? But fresh period blood does not smell bad at all. Smells kind of citrusy. I have to hand it to my boy though. He made me feel like there was nothing wrong with me. After some initial anxiety I was pretty happy.

Physical comfort for the girl can be an issue. During menstruation the cervix distends so the penis hits it harder and there is a lot more sensation. The guy here needs to he careful and adjust the speed and force of intercourse accordingly.

Recommended position would be missionary. I tried to ride him once while on my period and despite being extremely erotic and fun, it ended up in a mess of cum and blood on his pelvis.

Now because the girl is much more sensitive, condoms as a form of birth control might not be comfortable. My guy usually pulls out right before ejaculation but that might be risky as it requires practice and control. The female is said to be infertile during menstruation but there is a slight chance of pregnancy since sperm can live in the vaginal tract for upto 5 days. If someone's cycle is short and if ovulation occurs right after menstruation, there is a slight chance of fertilization. I would suggest if not done on the first day, keep some misoprostol handy.
The side effects include increase in blood flow after sex since the hormones released during an orgasm speed up the contractions of the womb causing faster expulsion of the uterine lining. My period lasts 5-6 days but if I have sex I'm done in 3-4 days.

Religiously, as far as I know, Islam condemns intercourse during menstruation.

Personally, I would recommend people to try it if they're curious and not grossed out. It can be a lot of fun since sensitivity is enhanced and if done on the first day you don't need to worry about birth control.
*     *      *
Sounds like she really knows her stuff :) 'Cept one thing that I pointed out to her, and would like you to take note of  as well,  is that the withdrawal method is never reliable, because pre-ejaculate can get a person pregnant too.  

Just sayin' - You should always know what you're getting in to.....

Anyhoo, here's what the men had to say about sex & religion. Remember, dear readers - that tolerance is key - if there are views expressed here that offend you to your core, the best way to deal with that is expressing yourself in a well thought out, relevant comment.

Fahad, Male, 24 
I'm not sure that sex plays much of a role in religion aside from procreation - but I do know there are some specifics mentioned in the Quran.

Sultan, Male, 19
If you look at the view of a mainstream, conventional religious person – sex is very taboo. In religion it’s a very mechanical type thing.

Khizer, Male, 26
I think sex is a part of religion, I don’t know about other religions but in Islam it’s allowed and it’s a part of it. I don’t think it goes so deeply into kinkyness and fetishes etc but its something that is discussed, and Islam does tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, and why you should or shouldn’t … I’ve heard it tells you exactly how to do it because of why you should do it that way because it gives you a higher chance of pregnancy – missionary sex with her left leg on top of your right shoulder…or the other way… so it gets the deepest penetration.

Imad, Male, 25 
I think sex plays no role, absolutely no role in religion. Religion I think is all about restriction – more often than not – and giving yourself more things to do … more of a purpose, and restricting one of your most general desires is one of the biggest self-made purposes… so it has no role, technically.

Qasim, Male, 26
religiously, its purely seen as a way of procreating and thats it... ur supposed to have sex just so u can raise a family... have kids... religiously its not something for pleasure of excitement... its purely for the act of having a kid... ur not supposed to have sex for pleasure. 

Ali, Male, 29
In religion sex is something for which u should not be looking at grls, or using booze or anything... u just take her pants it and leave her... its wrong completely......  its for mens pleasure ... it is a very concealed  act.. u should not see womens body.. it should be dark when u have sex... and i disagree with that...

NJ, 42, Male
Difficult question. Well I think except Hinduism all religions think sex is for reproduction only. In islam maybe its both repro & enjoyment. But sometimes I think why minaret is like erect penis and domes look like big boobs ! 

Bilal, 24, Male
Im not the religious type, specially with my sexuality, im not  always thinking about sex and religion at the same time. That would seriously play havoc with my head.

S.K.A., 28, Male
In a society like ours, religion plays a part in everything. Too bad that the most distorted kind of Islam is all we get. Nowhere in Islam is it forbidden to have sex as recreation (albeit between married couples). We choose to ignore that. The curse of Selective Islamism! Muslims when it comes to sex, not when it comes to basic humanitarian principles of honesty, tolerance etc.

Hamid, 24, male
Sex for most religions is something that needs to be strongly and harshly contained and regulated. Rampant sexuality in a society has many ill consequences, and especially if we imagine the situation in the pre-scientific era when there was no such thing as ‘safe sex’ and there was practically no prevention against pregnancy and STDs, and the society was extremely misogynistic. There was some grain of wisdom in that religions tried to suppress and thwart the sexual impulse to avoid those evils, but I think these attempts were not successful and created many negative consequences of their own.

Arsalan, 20, Male
Well, Islam lays down strict injunctions about the subject, so yeah, sex does play a role in religion. I have studied about Islam a lot, and the fact that mystifies me is that while our religion lays down punsihments as extreme as  stoning for adultery, it doesn’t lay down any law about rape. Also, we have accounts of the prophet Muhammad taking sex-slaves as wives. A princess whose father, husband and entire tribe has been murdered, wouldn’t consent to sex with the man who perpetrated these acts willingly, would she?
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