By Onesa Prude
Rare is the day that my Facebook homepage doesn't tell me about a link uploaded by another single Muslim to a story that details the newest facts and figures of sex. On the days when the links do show up, I have to fight the urge to respond to these posts, in all caps, that YOU SINGLE FOLKS SHOULD REALLY START DOING IT AND ENJOYING IT SO THAT YOU CAN STOP INTELLECTUALIZING IT. With all the talk of sex that single twenty- and thirty-something Muslims engage in, I wonder why they aren't doing more of it.
While these guys and gals ask each other why women want it or don't want it, why men crave it or willingly abstain, I ask myself why these kids don't just get married so that they can get it on.
In my opinion, sex is not an act that should be intellectualized; sex is an act of spiritual and emotional expression. And, as I'm sure others who have had sex will agree, the less that you intellectualize it the better. Sex is about being completely vulnerable and surrendering your ego and intellect. Too much cerebral activity during the act or about the act is often a surefire buzz kill.
Now, I'm not saying that all this talk of sex is unnatural. Sex is on all of our minds and has been at least since we started puberty. It's nothing to be ashamed of -- we are biologically driven to procreate and blessed that God has gifted us with such a pleasurable way to make babies. But where we as a community tend to fail with sex (because clearly we have the thinking and talking about it part down) is in the execution.
In Islam, sex comes after marriage, not before, and, at least on its surface, such a stringent methodology does seem to take the sexy out of sex, especially when contrasted with the media's depiction of the act as a lustful, utterly erotic experience that can (and should?) be spontaneous and the result of a perfectly reasonable lapse of judgment. In August 2008, the Parents Television Council released a study finding that Network TV rarely depicted marital sex positively, opting to portray sex outside of marriage in a more favorable, exciting light. Take into account that for Muslims, marriage, responsibility, and commitment come first and the good stuff (as seen on your local television station) comes second, and you've got a whole generation of sexually frustrated single Muslims who are struggling to control their very natural urges to copulate while being conditioned to believe that their kinky desires won't be fulfilled once they get married.
Add to this the fact that many of us have a less-than-favorable view of marriage because of some combination of what we saw growing up and what our unhappily married friends have told us, and the growing lack of urgency to get married and have sex on part of single, eligible Muslims seems perfectly reasonable.
Does this mean that these single Muslims are content with a sexless life and have learned to live without it? Probably not. If and when sexual urges become seemingly uncontainable, it is not uncommon for less than ideal outlets to be turned to. We've all heard the rumors of the live-in girlfriends, the abortions, the strip clubs, and the prostitutes. Whether we want to admit it or not, there is definitely sex being had -- in a society where there is so much sex available is this really a surprise to anyone? -- but, unfortunately, because of the negative views of commitment, marriage, and sex within marriage that permeate our society, it seems that all this intellectualization of sex has somehow cooled the fire of sexual desire that used to play a bigger role in single Muslims' desire to seek sex within the sanctity of marriage.
Is rushing to marry just so that one can have sex the solution? Of course not. As the growing divorce rate in our community indicates, marriages are very fragile institutions in this country and young couples should do what they can to build a strong foundation before exchanging rings. But does the growing trend to reduce sex to an intellectual issue overlook the importance of having sex and getting married so that we can have sex? Absolutely. Sex with one's spouse has the potential of taking you to levels of pleasure that are truly celestial; as our tradition tells us, the orgasm is the closest thing to heaven that we will experience here on earth.
Yes, there are sexually unsatisfied married men and women. But there are also men and women who fall deeper in love with their spouses every time that they have sex with them. And yes, those one-night stands of passion and heat that are explicitly portrayed in the movies and on TV look oh so tasty, but as most married folk know, there is nothing more passionate, heated, and sexy than growing closer and closer to your spouse through commitment and devotion to one another.