Wedad Lootah is the Muslim Dr. Ruth

Wedad Lootah is the Muslim Dr. Ruth June 8, 2009

In many ways, Wedad Lootah is a typical Muslim woman. She wears full-body niqab (which only allows her eyes to be seen), and often quotes the Koran. However, many are calling for her death because she is a sexual activist.

From The New York Times:

People have said I was crazy, that I was straying from Islam, that I should be killed,” Ms. Lootah said. “Even my family ask why I must talk about this. I say: ‘These problems happen every day and should not be ignored. This is the reality we are living.’ ”

She is not a liberal by Western standards. One of the themes of her book is the danger of anal sex and homosexuality generally, not because of AIDS but because they are banned by the Koran. But her openness about the issue was itself a shock to many here.

Lootah’s book, “Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples,” was inspired by her eight years working as a marriage counselor. Here’s a sample of her advice:

Many men who had anal sex with men before marriage want the same thing with their wives, because they don’t know anything else,” Ms. Lootah said. “This is one reason we need sex education in our schools.”

She is also emphatic about the importance of female sexual pleasure, and the inequity of many Arab marriages in that respect. One of the cases that impelled her to write the book, she said, was a 52-year-old client who had grandchildren but had never known sexual pleasure with her husband.

“Finally, she discovered orgasm!” Ms. Lootah said. “Imagine, all that time she did not know.”

Lootah also dedicates quite a bit of her book to the subject of infidelity. She says the increasing number of “foreign women” in Dubai and things like the internet and texting has made cheating much easier for Arab men (divorce rates have soared to 30%).

Islamic leaders, much like U.S. religious leaders, worry that sex education will lead to increased promiscuity. However, even though they have the added deterrent of honor killings and genital mutilation, sex outside of marriage is on the rise.

Here’s some more advice:

Some people are amazed I can work with people with only my eyes showing,” Ms. Lootah said, with a ripple of laughter. “Maybe it’s because of the way I move my hands! But I can tell you that people come here, and they speak very frankly with me.”

She reels off stories from her practice in rapid fire: the Emirati military officer whose wife had an affair because he was away from home too much; the woman who thought fellatio was against Islam (not true at all, Ms. Lootah notes); the wife who discovered her husband dressing up as a woman and going out to gay bars. She seems bent on showing that there is a whole world of sexual confusion that would benefit from open discussion.

and

A few days ago a woman came in and asked me if it is O.K. to kiss the man all over his body,” she said. “I told her, ‘Read my book!’ ”

More power to her!

Brother Richard

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