Authors Interviews - Claritas Books
Pictured: Osman Sidek and Enon Mansor

This is a translated transcript of an interview on Facebook Live with Sujimy Mohamed on 24 Jun 2022, conducted in Malay, regarding the appropriateness of discussing sex in public:

Sujimy: Let’s take this question. Can we (Muslims) talk about sex? This seems like a general question …

I feel this question is about Islamic ruling … Is it sinful talking about sex … or is it considered cheeky, naughty etc.?
So, my answer is: it is 100% permissible because … the Prophet talked about sex … otherwise we would not have so many sex-related hadiths. And later we will analyse hadiths which say … don’t approach your wives like animals … and when you have sex, wife should come first husband comes later …
These are my brief summary of the available hadiths and there are so many hadiths on sex … and imagine the Prophet didn’t talk about them at home but in the mosque and public places … So, sexual issues were not hushed up in Islam.
And I want to emphasise that the Prophet’s advice for wives to come first before husbands, is a modern-day sex therapy idea. And I just mentioned to my daughter yesterday, “Do you know that when the Prophet was asked what he meant by having sex that breaks one’s fast, the Prophet clarified that when it is like an eyeliner is inserted into its bottle … then the fast is nullified.”
So, it is very explicit, yet very well-mannered. Our community needs to learn the appropriate vocabulary that are suitable for decent conversations about sex. And we approached Sujimy to help normalise decent conversations about sex based on Islamic teachings and using the latest and updated knowledge from sexology.
And I read a scholar saying there are 30, 40 Quranic verses discussing sex-related issues.
As for me Sujimy, its not just that we can talk about sex, rather, we must talk about sex i.e we must normalise public discourses on sex because, if we don’t, society will still talk about sex but they’ll do it inappropriately. We talk or we don’t, they still will.. While we would do it responsibly, they would do it inappropriately.
Sure, this is just my opinion, but I give two evidences. First, during the thick of Covid lockdown (in Singapore), remember: There was a blog run by Malay guys … and they were chastised by the public because their programs were laced with vulgarity, swear words and worst of all, replete with misogynistic jokes …
So bad, even the President (of Singapore, Madam Halimah Yaacob) had to voice her displeasure …
haha yes … Second evidence: about the same time, a poll appeared on cyber space – “which ustazah to gang bang” – Do you remember this incident?

Sujimy: Yes, I still remember.

… that one, MUIS (Islamic Religious Council Singapore) had to intervene …

Sujimy: … right … I feel I completely agree with Mr Osman i.e. if we don’t normalise responsible public discourses on sex something else will fill the vacuum right? It's better we talk about sex openly in good manner otherwise other contents will appear in our community which are obscene and undesirable.

There’s something else we want to add … and it is about those misogynistic jokes that guys like to share and enjoy among themselves.
… yeah for starters, these are actually demeaning to all women, including their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, even if they did not have their loved ones in mind as they were making these jokes … but nevertheless they demean their loved-ones too as they too are women …
In the long-run, men’s respect of women can be affected if these jokes become normalised among men … as jokes can have subliminal effect on societal perception if they get drummed often enough into our minds … for example among our impressionable boys growing up and looking up to their uncles with those “witty” jokes about women …
… in the long run, it will subconsciously affect their values and attitudes about women… that they are a sex object. But this is the obvious effect of misogynistic jokes. What is less obvious … this one, I think I leave it to my husband …
What is less obvious, but is already happening, is that misogynistic jokes can also be detrimental to men too!
Most misogynistic jokes are based on misinformation about women’s likes, dislikes, preferences and general experience of the sexual relationship … most of these are a result of men equating women’s sexual experience to theirs, due to ignorance …
For example, that “gang bang” joke stems from the ignorant male perception that women would feel honoured to be considered by men as “too hot” that they (meaning the men) cannot control themselves … I mean men – at our instinctive, animalistic, “uncensored” level – would relish women swarming all over us …
… but to us women … instinctively … the first thing that comes to mind at the suggestion of rape is violence … because it is someone forcing himself on us without our consent … it is traumatic to say the least … and to suggest “gang bang” … how can that be honourable to us?
Another joke that I have heard from women concerns their husbands’ suggestion of paid sexual services every time they give monthly maintenance (nafakah). They find it cute.
I think they take it as some kind of sexual role play … police and thief … doctor-nurse kind of scenario … so the sleazy image is equated with a sexy atmosphere … and supposed to turn her on …
… possibly? … but do men understand how demeaning it is to women to be considered a prostitute … even in jest … ?
Yeah, maybe some men don’t. It could also be a spill-over from army-days jokes … or what some call “locker-room talk”. Men and boys may not realise how misogynistic jokes have a slow-burn effect on male misperception of the female desire … in other words we can develop a wrong idea of what turns women on.
Enon So, if this misperception is ingrained in our men, in no time, the women will find them undesirable …
… yeah … and that’s what we mean by the detrimental effect of misogynistic jokes on men. Some may regard this as only our theory … but Enon is already seeing it in counselling and we have also seen it online in the “gang bang” poll.
If the effect runs deep among our society’s men, it is perfectly possible that our women may start seeing men from other societies more desirable … not that they are necessarily better either … but often, what is not yours can appear better, just because what is yours appears to you as bad …
… the grass is greener syndrome …
… or worse still when they start seeing women as much greener as opposed to men, sexually speaking …. And I won’t be surprised if many more women can do a better job than most men in pleasuring a woman sexually.
Well, anyway, this goes back to our belief that if the responsible in our society can drop their hang-ups, shyness or even misplaced piousness regarding sex as a taboo topic in Islam … then … serious, decent, accurate, knowledge-based discourses regarding sex can become the norm, as opposed to the jokes, insults, vulgarities and pornography that is the norm currently, among Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Watch the interview (in Malay):
Check out the playlist in our YouTube channel where more discourses on sexual relationship are available:

Books by Osman Sidek and Enon Mansor

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