Asalam Alaikum Papatia,
I have read some of your stories, and really appreciate your … candor. So that is why I think maybe you can help with this kind of situation. Often when young sisters (ok, really any age!) get married, their new husbands just don’t know anything about women’s reproductive parts and cycles. Like nothing! I don’t feel like it benefits anyone to leave these guys in the dark, but I wonder how much is enough? I know one sister whose husband buys her products for her, but my mom would just die and thinks that’s disgusting! But I don’t want to pretend like I am fasting on my off days- then won’t he want sex? And I just don’t see the problem in men understanding how women’s bodies work. What do you think is the right to approach this issue?
Your Sister in Big Mouthedness
Wa aleikum salam my Sister in Big Mouthedness! Haha, I like that!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being a supporter of my work. It means a lot! It’s also an honor and I’m happy to help raise some awareness because no matter what people say or think, I know I have a lot of closet readers, in a good way alhamdullilah, masha’Allah.
So to answer your questions, I think that it’s admirable for a husband to get out of his way to buy feminine products for his wife. I sincerely think it’s lovely, and there shouldn’t be any shame in that. It’s the right of men to take care of their wives. The Quran supports it.
Now, every generation is different and your mom might think it’s gross because in her time it was probably taboo to let a man get involve in these little private feminine things. If our men have a part in making love to us, in getting us pregnant, in being born from us, they should have a part in the maintenance of the ‘flower’ that makes it possible with the permission of Allah. Subhanallah.
Do I feel gross when I have my period? Sure! Why? Because it’s dead blood leaving my body. It has a strong smell. It makes my life miserable with the aches and the bloating, etc. But do I like my period? Of course! It gives me a break from reality. I’m recharged when it’s over. As women, we have mixed feelings about our menses, and men and young boys should never see it as awkward or gross. It’s that very thing that made their life possible with the permission of Allah! How dare society make them ashamed of this ‘flower’ and its ‘thorns’-mixed emotions, period, maintenance supplies, etc.-? It’s not right. Which brings me to the man awareness of the female body, anatomy, and reproductive organs.
Our prophet sallallahu aleihi wassalam said “The person to whom Allah gives a child must give him a nice name, must raise the child right, must teach the child when s/he reaches puberty, and must start making arrangements to wed his or her offspring. If the parent doesn’t plan for these things and that the child sins, the parent is responsible for the sin.”
Now, no one said to force your children in marriage at an early age or worse, make plans for them. What you need to do, is to instill the fear of Allah in them. If there is no Allah everything is possible in the bad way. And if there is Allah everything is possible in a good way. If they learn to fear Allah, they’ll never deviate from the right path insha’Allah. That said, we also learn from our mistakes but it’s better not to learn the hard way.
Therefore, the best approach is to satisfy the curiosity of the men that never got the chance to learn about women. That way, what they learn will benefit their spouses. Who wouldn’t want a man that knows how to press the right ‘buttons’? So, it’s in the interest of women not to see men that genuinely want to learn about the woman body as perverts. Nothing about learning the human body should be kept in the dark for either gender. In my books, there is no enough. As long as no one is taking a dump in front of their spouses. That’s private and you should keep that personal so that there is still some mystery in your relationship. Even though you see each other during the act and enjoy every part of each other, you should strive to keep number one, number two, and your feminine you-time cleaning of your ‘flower ‘as private affairs! Now, you can still shower together or even make ghusl together. There is a fine line in every thing I’m suggesting here.
Now as big mouthedness sisters, we can help men learn more about women by :
1. Teaching our boys when reach puberty about the human body in general.
This is what my aunt did. She’s a Physician and an old school hijabi. She taught us the anatomy of the male and female body when we reached puberty. Then, she quizzed us on the way the human functions. After that she taught us how to make ghusl and when such a big ablution was required (a wet dream, menses, sexual contact, jumah prayer). You better believe the boys (my cousins and brothers) knew when we (girls) were excused from prayers, it meant we had our period and the whole mechanism behind it.
“They will ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is harmful, so keep away from women during it. Do not approach them until they are purified of it, when they are purified you may approach them as Allah has ordained.” (Qur’an 2:222)
Thus, it’s the duty of every Muslim man to know of menses and not seek sexual relations when ‘The English’ are present!
They also knew when someone’s period was late. Funny how boys would keep track of these things to taunt us girls even when they knew that most of us were good girls. That said, we had a few drama with some of our older sisters having their shares of not listening…
Anyways, my aunt believed in awareness of both sexes and sexual education. For that, if these were commonly discussed subjects and known things, it would avoid a lot of STDs. She’s also a big supporter of December 1st; World AIDS Day.
But do not mistake her openness with sex talk as her being a liberal person. Because she’s far from it. She doesn’t believe in sex before marriage at ALL! She informed us that she’s doing her duty as a parent and it wasn’t an opportunity for us to start having sex. It was merely an education. Under her roof, we were forbidden to date or have sex, period. For all she cared, we could all wait like her until marriage. And that, if she waited until after medical school at 30 years to get hitched, we could all do the same. Don’t think, her suitors didn’t try to pop that cherry. They tried to no avail! One even ended up in the emergency room, lovesick, lol! Anyways…
2. Drafting online articles on the way women’s bodies work
This is where I can make an impact since I’m anonymous. You, as my sister in big mouthedness, can make an impact here too. *wink* Anybody well versed in the area should pitch in here.
3. Having classes in mosques with a knowledgeable Imam or a knowledgeable Imam wife to enlighten these brethren of the ‘delights’ of women’s bodies.
I’m sure the sign-up sheet will be full instantly! Haha, I don’t know…I’m just assuming. Community leaders give security to troubled couples. Many men would never admit their lack of knowledge to a sex coach, sex education educator, or a doctor (gynecologist, family practice physician, etc). But if the community leaders worked with these sex educators, miracles will occur in my opinion.
I hope this answers your questions. Feel free to comment if I need to discuss certain things further more. Jazak’Allah khair for reaching out and for being the first one on Love Letters to Papatia. Fi amani Allah and Love fil-Islam, ameen!