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Muslim Woman Gives Sex Advice on Arab TV

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    Muslim Woman Gives Sex Advice on Arab TV By NADIA ABOU EL-MAGD Associated Press Writer http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061203/ap_on_re_mi_ea/islam_and_sex CAIRO,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2007
      Muslim Woman Gives Sex Advice on Arab TV
      By NADIA ABOU EL-MAGD
      Associated Press Writer
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061203/ap_on_re_mi_ea/islam_and_sex


      CAIRO, Egypt - Heba Kotb is a conservative Muslim, wears an Islamic
      head scarf, and goes on television once a week to talk — frankly and
      in great detail — about sex. On her show, "Big Talk," Kotb answers
      questions from Muslims all over the Middle East about the most
      intimate bedroom issues with an openness that is shocking and
      revolutionary in a society where discussing the subject is taboo.

      "How do I talk about these issues? Very seriously," the Egyptian
      sexologist says. "I put on a mask-like face and make sure I speak in
      the right tone of voice." She also does it by talking about sex in an
      Islamic light, arguing that the faith is in favor of pleasure for both
      men and women, with one important caveat — that it be only in the
      context of marriage.

      "I'm very proud of my religion," Kotb told The Associated Press in an
      interview at Cairo University, where she teaches forensic medicine.
      "My studies revealed to me more and more how Islam was ahead in all
      sexual matters ... I discovered that Islam understood sex long before
      the rest of the world." For example, Islam "stresses the importance of
      foreplay," Kotb said, and she often stresses to listeners that women
      should also enjoy sex.

      Kotb's frankness is a hit in a region where sex education is minimal,
      male-female contact is often discouraged and talk on the subject is
      usually in hushed tones, allowing myths to circulate freely. She
      lectured in Saudi Arabia and Yemen recently, where she said many men
      in the audience where shocked, while women — some with veiled faces —
      bombarded her with questions.

      Kotb, 39 and married with three daughters, studied sexology with
      Maimonides University, a private school in Florida, and combined it
      with her own knowledge of her religion to produce a dissertation
      titled "Sexuality in Islam." She opened a sexology clinic in Cairo in
      2002, wrote sex advice columns in newspapers, appeared on talk shows
      and answered questions on an Arabic Web site.

      She started "Big Talk" on the independent Egyptian satellite channel
      El-Mehwar more than two months ago. Much of her advice is straight
      biology — laying out facts rarely aired elsewhere. Nothing is too
      sensitive. She discusses sexual positions, female orgasm, even
      masturbation (frowned upon but at least preferable to unmarried or
      adulterous sex, which is "haram," meaning forbidden by religion).

      She takes a strict Islamic line on homosexuality — she calls it a disease.

      Along with doctors, she sometimes brings Islamic clerics onto her
      show, and many callers ask about the religion's rulings on sexual
      issues. Because Islam trumps all else on her show, some complain that
      it's part of a general inclination in the Middle East to view
      everything through the prism of religion.
      "After Islamic banks, Islamic fashion, Islamic TV channels, Islamic
      hairdressers, Islamic swimsuits, Islamic writers ... now Islamic sex?
      This is too much," protested feminist writer Mona Helmi in a column in
      the Egyptian pro-government weekly Rose el-Youssef. "Sex is an
      emotional and human condition, not a religious or identity issue," she
      said.

      Some complain that youngsters are watching the show. "So now girls and
      boys have heard all about Heba's talk about sex ... that will let them
      know more than they should and will get them excited," Somia, a
      housewife, told AP as she watched "Big Talk," too embarrassed to give
      her full name.

      Kotb says frankness is essential and believes 80 percent of divorces
      in the Arab world are due to sexual problems brought on by ignorance
      and societal pressure, such as the idea that man must marry a virgin.
      "Many women know nothing about their bodies, not to mention sex, and
      they were raised to believe sex is for men and a dirty thing," she says.

      She gives sex education courses for unmarried youths with the consent
      of their parents, but in her consulting practice takes only married
      couples. She says she is booked up for two months with couples from
      across the Arab world.

      "It's a beautiful thing what she is doing," said Abier El-Barbary, a
      psychotherapist and faculty member of American University in Cairo.
      "It's a long overdue topic tastefully done," she said.

      *********************************************************************

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