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Here’s What One Muslim Girl Has to Say About Casual Sex

Here’s What One Muslim Girl Has to Say About Casual Sex

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article, such as those across our entire platform, are not a reflection of the views of Muslim Girl or its staff. We seek to provide an outlet for the diversity of Muslim women’s thoughts, opinions, and stories in our efforts to combat the common silencing of our community as a monolith. We do not endorse any particular position, except to empower Muslim women’s voices by providing a safe space for the dialogue we need to have that is not being had elsewhere, like the one taking place in response to this article. Effective conversations require an openness to various viewpoints, and that’s what we endeavor to provide. We invite you to explore alternative views on this topic provided on MuslimGirl.com and welcome your submissions, letters, and responses to editorial@muslimgirl.com
I get it. It’s hard to wait. To have sex. To wait for the right person to get married to. The loneliness. So many people telling you to just “let go” of the boundaries you have set for yourself, urging you to “live it up,” live a little (because YOLO, right?!) and enjoy a pleasurable activity with anyone who pleases you at that moment.
The peer pressure isn’t just coming from non-Muslims anymore; now it’s even coming from Muslims writing about it in mainstream news outlets.
Sex isn’t (excuse my language) pooping; just a bodily function that’s gotta happen when we feel the urge. It’s not even like eating–a need and a desire that we fulfill–heck, in today’s culture we are so particular about what we eat, how we cook it, and where we get the ingredients from.  Where was it farmed? Is it organic?  Artisan?  Pasture raised, or cage free?  Yet when comes to sharing our most private moments, we are being asked to do so with just anyone, and this is supposed to be “empowering” and healthy?!  That doesn’t quite make sense.
Sex is so much more than just a bodily function; it’s the sharing of bodies, of emotions, of intimacy, and if you are a believer, a mingling of souls, a sacred act of truth, and of giving and receiving.

There is nothing revolutionary about casual sex.

Animals have been “doing it” since time began…and some of the more intelligent animals in the animal kingdom actually don’t have casual sex; instead, they mate monogamously, some for life.
Even the term “casual sex” is just nonsensical, because there’s nothing casual about the most intimate part of a person’s life.
This call to not feel guilty about pre-marital sex is so hypocritical, because the minute you sign a piece of paper, and acquire a spouse, somehow all those habits–years of casually sleeping with just anyone–are supposed to come to an end, and your husband has to remain loyal to you, and you are supposed to remain loyal to him, otherwise suffer the devastation that cheating wreaks on a family, especially families with children.
Can we imagine our mothers having casual sex with whomever they will, or our fathers? (Actually, let’s try not to imagine our parents having sex, period.  Yuck.  But you know what I mean!)  We can’t.
So then why are we so quick to jump on the “burden of virginity” train?  If everyone started to exercise their personal agency without regard for any rules or guidelines–Divine or societal–what a mess would we be in!
I know these waters too.  I wasn’t born “Sister” Hena, just in case someone wants to write me off as a stodgy auntie on her pulpit. I was a teen, too; a young woman who attended a very liberal arts college, then a university in one of the most Himerean cities in the world.
Casual sex, in my experience, leads to roads paved not with good intentions, but stories of heartache, anxiety, loneliness once the moments of “pleasure” are over.

Just listen to Zayn Malik’s song “Pillow Talk” if you don’t believe me.  

The dopamine recedes, the oxytocin and vasopressin are still flowing, and people engaging in casual sex are no better off emotionally than if they hadn’t had sex.
In fact you are better off, science tells us, if you wait.

It’s not all Sex and the City episodes and Cosmo covers.  Carrie got a ring, sure, and Beyonce wrote the song “Single Ladies,”…then left the studio and went home to her husband.

The misuse of sex brings incredible personal sorrow; I’ve been a shoulder for many of those tears.
Researchers examining the mental health associations that happen with “hookup” sex report that participants, both men and women, who were not depressed before casual hookups, showed more depressive symptoms and loneliness after engaging in casual sex.

Your largest sex organ–contrary to the belief of men–is actually your brain.

In the book Hooked, doctors Joe McIlhaney and Freda Bush, both OB-GYNS, confront the emotional and psychological damage casual sex does to young, developing brains.
“[W]ith the aid of modern research techniques and technologies, scientists are confirming that sex is more than a momentary physical act,” they write. “It produces powerful, even lifelong changes in our brains that direct and influence our future to a surprising degree.”

In other words, sex can either keep the human brain healthy–or severely damage it.

“[E]very time a person has sexual intercourse or intimate physical contact, bonding takes place. Whenever breakups occur in bonded relationships, there is confusion and often pain in the brains of the young people involved because the bond has been broken,” Hooked says.

The sacredness, gentleness, and completeness of sex with a spouse that is committed to you for better or worse, through illness, through changes in your body, through children or no children, is incomparable. It is good for you, your mental health, your soul, and society.

See Also

If you are lonely and haven’t found the right person to make a lifetime commitment to, address your commitment issues, if you have them. Life is more than kissy face emojis and a “YOLO” mentality.  (Sorry, Drake.)

Sex doesn’t automatically lead to marriage.  You won’t keep him by sleeping with him.

Marriage, on the other hand, is augmented and made stronger by regular sex.

If you are thinking of premarital sex, know that sex doesn’t build a relationship; it’s not even a guarantee of a relationship.

Just pick up any women’s magazine while you’re in line at the supermarket–they’re chalk-filled with stories that go something like “I was f***ing and texting him for three weeks, and didn’t even know who he was.”   That’s empowering?! To each his own, I guess, but that’s just not for me.
Personally, I believe that a Divine Being created us, and knows us better than we know ourselves–and knows what’s best for us.  If the Creator has laid out some rules for us, then we should follow them. That makes sense; sensual and sexual sense.
Written by Hena Zuberi

View Comments (27)
  • This is why I don’t trust religious feminism. You demand to be included, and then you post slut-shaming articles from homophobic authors (http://muslimmatters.org/2010/04/15/day-of-silence-is-april-16th-muslims-speak-up/, and her organization has repeatedly taken anti-gay stances more recently ), not to mention that earlier piece about why men and women can’t be friends. Feminists are increasingly (correctly) being held to the standards of being intersectional; you don’t get some magical special pass out of that because of your beliefs. You don’t get to cherrypick – you either enthusiastically support all women, including women who have casual sex, women who get abortions, and lgbtqia women, or you’re a shitty feminist and you can’t be trusted.
    You keep posting articles “why do people keep asking if being Muslim and feminist are compatible??” This is why, because when you get to the actual controversial issues, even the most progressive Muslim feminists will discriminate against you. Discrimination against you is terrible, but discrimination against large groups of women based on your religious beliefs is apparently perfectly fine. Fuck this, I want real feminism.

      • From the couple of articles I read, this looks cool and I hadn’t heard about it, thanks! Way to seize an opportunity to promote 🙂

    • Because this article doesn’t match YOUR views, it’s not feminism??? Aren’t we allowed to have VARIED views?? Nothing in this article can possible put women in a better place (even hypothetically speaking)? You can’t name one? You need to get over yourself.
      It’s people like you that pretty much say, if it doesn’t fill my view of the world (usually a WHITE American woman’s version of feminism) it sucks, which is pretty much what you’ve shown with your comment.

      • Variety is good when it’s not putting down other women. If the article had been, “some women choose not to have casual sex and that’s great, and some women choose to and that’s also great,” I wouldn’t have had as much of a problem with it. Or if it had been, “I fully support and respect women who have casual sex, but here are some of the potential negative consequences that you should watch out for.” Also the value of variety depends on the situation – if I posted about how women maybe do deserve to be raped if they dress sluttily, yeah that would be “variety,” but it would also not be a useful contribution.

        • Give me one quote, just one, where any shaming is happening in this article. The only problem with it is that it espouses a view you don’t have, therefore it’s aggressive and engages in women shaming.
          She’s doesn’t believe casual sex is a good thing. And she has every right to believe that without be shamed herself (by people like you).
          And did you really just compare rape (a crime) to the author having her view? Seriously?
          And as far as your comment, “on the question of banning the hijab, the feminist answer is no, it should not be banned, because that’s an attempt to control women, and other reasons”, it’s almost laughable. The American/western feminist movement has done an abysmal job of defending Muslim women. And they certainly have not advocated for a women’s right to wear it. In fact, may have argued against it due to their view that it’s oppressive to women (the same old tired line based on ignorance and arrogance).

          • The author literally alludes that if someone doesn’t feel bad about the premarital sex that person engaged in IN THE PAST, that its questionable if they would cheat or not…? There are so many allusions in this article with no direct evidence. Why even bring up loualty and cheating if you can cite a study that shows people who have had premarital sex are more likely to cheat ? That paragraph had no place the in the article.

          • Yeah, that paragraph doesn’t say that at all.
            She basically said she finds it hypocritical people will commit due to marriage but didn’t find that they could do so prior to marriage. Which is a valid point. If someone is a champion/advocate of causal sex, how can you also be a champion of marriage of which it’s distinguishing factor is monogamous, lifetime commitment between two individuals. Casual sex seems to go against that notion, obviously.

          • Casual sex does not go against monogamy. When you have casual sex, you didn’t make any commitment. When you commit to a monogamous commitment, you made a commitment. That’s like saying because I used to rent an apartment and move around before I settled on a house, I can’t buy that house because ‘renting prior to buying is hypocritical’.

          • “When you have casual sex, you didn’t make any commitment” – Thats IF both parties agree to that. There are many an instance where one party in fact did not feel that way.

          • If you didn’t explicitly make a commitment, then why is there any confusion? I guess it depends on cultural context? In the US and the Caribbean (I can’t speak of elsewhere), if you have sex with someone without first discussing the issue of commitment, it’s well understood that you’re having casual sex.
            Cultural differences aside, it would be idiotic to regard sex as an imprimatur of a life-long commitment, yet jump into a sexual relationship without first discussing said life-long commitment with your partner.

          • Depends if you see people as being constant in everything they feel or do. I would think that people get married to be with someone for eternity, while a one night stand is just that – a one night. People do it knowingly and don’t think about where will the baby’s room go. Marriage and falling in love on the other hand, gets people thinking about going places, doing things, sharing experiences. Love and lust are different concepts, each having its own rightful place.

          • Yes, I do do think that sane adults are capable for forming opinions on issues in life and living their lives as such. Like living in a monogamous relationship. Or believing in civil rights for all and treating people accordingly. Or believing that people have the right to choose to have an abortion — anything. Mostly as adults we don’t really flip-flop much — we live our lives base on beliefs that we have.
            It’s funny are okay with monogamous married relationship, if people choose them, but polygamous married relationships — we as a nation will stand up and say NO, NO, NO — even if the women consent to the relationship!
            As a woman, if you have that one-night stand and you get pregnant – which does happen, but opps, you don’t believe in abortion– we have a problem.
            Lastly, love and lust may be different concepts, but they both have consequences, esp. for women. That’s real life.

          • Ultimately everything is “an opinion”. Let me replace “casual sex” with “hijab” in your argument: “She’s doesn’t believe hijab is a good thing. And she has every right to believe that without be shamed herself (by people like you).” How do you feel about that now?
            And you’re right, the American feminist movement has failed Muslim women miserably! But, increasingly there is a push toward including and respecting Muslim women. It’s not good enough yet, but it is there. Whereas I am not really seeing equally progressive points of view from religious feminists on issues that affect me. It’s fine to try and fail to be inclusive, but this article isn’t even trying at all.

          • And a good example of shaming, among others, “The dopamine recedes, the oxytocin and vasopressin are still flowing, and people engaging in casual sex are no better off emotionally than if they hadn’t had sex.” Apparently all people who have casual sex are depressed and lonely. That’s a different statement than “I personally don’t engage in casual sex because I feel depressed and lonely afterwards.” Especially given this author’s history. And the sad thing is, I actually want to discuss the downsides of casual sex, but not with someone who clearly only cares about feeling superior and will latch on to anything I say as further proof that she’s right.

          • You are too defensive to engage. Scientific facts are not matters of opinion, but reality.

      • Going off my previous reply, a more relevant example along the lines of “sometimes variety isn’t good and there’s only one good answer”: on the question of banning the hijab, the feminist answer is no, it should not be banned, because that’s an attempt to control women, and other reasons.

  • “some of the more intelligent animals in the animal kingdom actually don’t have casual sex” – the fallacy of this statement is a good place to start being aware of the gaps of understanding and knowledge in this argument. Preaching and nothing else here.

    • Absolutely. This is preaching and a feel-good article for muslims who are the same as the author. Im embarrassed when muslims put out media that is completely inept and immature to try and appeal to youth.

  • Heres what another muslim woman has to say about this article: morbid misunderstanding of muslim female youth. Terribly logically flawed article. There is so much wrong with this article just from a literary perspective. Im not even sure what to call this: a research article ? Opinion ? Op ed ? A rant ? Very messy, unpoised writing and it leaves the reader just questioning how to even follow the writers thought process. And to end it with “to each their own but not me”??? Why should i even take your article seriously then ?
    Why would you cite a book for research value and then leave an argument like “people who have casual sex might cheat in later relationships” conpletely evidence-less ?
    This is such a perfect article to use as an example of cherry picking, as well as how inept muslim adults are with the perspective of muslim youth. This screams “i dont understand your thought process but i will act like youre thoughtless and try to stay relevant using pop culture references i googled”. Sex in the city ? Are you kidding me ? Do you actually think muslim youth let alone youth in general watch that ?
    Why are you even bringing up magazines ??? We dont even read magazines let alone tabloid mags !!! Have you ever even spoken to a youth ?
    Im sorry but this is laughable !!! And it illustrates my frustrations with how misunderstood muslim youth are by adult muslims while those SAME adult muslims pretend to be understanding, loved role models. Unbelievable. I cant even believe people managing this website thought this “article” was worth any value.
    “I used to be a youth too” not in this era though, why cant older gen muslims just admit they dont know what its like to be a youth in this era ?! Its more preposterous to act like you DO understand !
    Also, this article is not about casual sex. It is about premarital sex in general. And it basically demonizes anyone who HAS engaged in premarital sex as someone untrustworthy by the “good muslim”. Honestly all this article does is make muslims who engaged in premarital sex feel like damaged goods and muslims who havent judge other who have. I have no idea who the target demographic of this article was because it certainly was not muslims who take part in casual sex or even muslim youth in general

    • You are are projecting a lot in your comment. Your comment is messy, disorganized, and extremely emotional.

  • Thank you so much for writing this article. It is very well written and your points all resonated within me.
    Women AND men are dealing with the emotional and physical fall out of hook up culture and casual sexual encounters. To admit this is to admit a failure of secular culture. Guilt is not a welcome emotion, and so people will get defensive and project their issues onto articles like yours. If you feel negatively about this article, you should really ask yourselves why. Maybe you feel guilt, regret, and sadness, and you feel badly about past mistakes and choices. It would be worthy to examine those feelings instead of unloading on this article about ‘slut-shaming’, etc. Is it slut shaming to say that STDs are not a laughing matter nor are unplanned pregnancies, forget the emotional consequences of casual sex?
    I don’t see anywhere in this article where you state that someone is tainted for all of time, spiritually or emotionally, due to casual sex. I only see that you have stated that is DOES affect people in those ways, and that is true. Islamically, premarital sex is a sin but it is not an unforgivable sin. If you have committed zina in the past, you can turn to God for forgiveness and you don’t ever have to mention it again to ANYONE, not even a future husband. But to deny yourself from the spiritually cleansing act of asking for forgiveness due to defensiveness and ego- that’s when you are denying yourself the opportunity of healing yourself from the negative impact of sexual encounters. No one is perfect, but trying to justify our mistakes hurts no one but ourselves.
    I would have also included the rising rates of STDs, the fact there is now a strain of antibiotiic resistant gonorrhea that is a major health issue. (Google it: https://www.google.ca/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=-F4yV_7CNKTM8AfEwoK4Aw&gws_rd=ssl#q=antibiotic+resistant+gonorrhea)
    Do you see this publicized or talked about in the media very much? No. Because it again is an admiission of how hook up culture and casual sex is is a major health threat across all demographic.
    Yes, it is very difficult to resist societal pressure and personal desires. But it’s the right thing and I am so happy you wrote this article. Young kids are being manipulated through movies, music, and pop culture in general, no one talks about the health risks, the emotional fall out, the depression and anxiety. We owe our youth much more. I’m 29 years old and I face this every day.

  • idk I’m just going through all these comments, and am finding some arguments going on too. mainly about readers agreeing or disagreeing with the author and then commenting about it, and then people disagreeing with the commenters and then an argument starts. guys look, in the end of the day this is just the author’s opinion. a big part of this blog is that it is a platform for muslim girls to talk about their views. we all see the world differently, and some people may disagree with your beliefs but that’s OK! and if you go through this blog MANY different women with MANY points of views all speak up. i commend the author for sharing her beliefs, just as i commend every author on this site for sharing her beliefs regardless of what they are.

  • Thank you so much for writing this article. It is very well written and your points all resonated with me.
    Women AND men are dealing with the emotional and physical fall out of hook up culture and casual sexual encounters. To admit this is to admit a failure of secular culture. Guilt is not a welcome emotion, and so people will get defensive and project their issues onto articles like yours. If you feel negatively about this article, you should really ask yourselves why. Maybe you feel guilt, regret, and sadness, and you feel badly about past mistakes and choices. It would be worthy to examine those feelings instead of unloading on this article about ‘slut-shaming’, etc. Is it slut shaming to say that STDs are not a laughing matter nor are unplanned pregnancies, forget the emotional consequences of casual sex?
    I don’t see anywhere in this article where you state that someone is tainted for all of time, spiritually or emotionally, due to casual sex. I only see that you have stated that is DOES affect people in those ways, and that is true. Islamically, premarital sex is a sin but it is not an unforgivable sin. If you have committed zina in the past, you can turn to God for forgiveness and you don’t ever have to mention it again to ANYONE, not even a future husband. But to deny yourself from the spiritually cleansing act of asking for forgiveness due to defensiveness and ego- that’s when you are denying yourself the opportunity of healing yourself from the negative impact of sexual encounters. No one is perfect, but trying to justify our mistakes hurts no one but ourselves.
    I would have also included the rising rates of STDs, the fact there is now a strain of antibiotiic resistant gonorrhea that is a major health issue.
    Do you see this publicized or talked about in the media very much? No. Because it again is an admission of how hook up culture and casual sex is is a major health threat across all demographics. We owe our youth these facts, we owe them candid unsexy realities about casual sex. How many songs on the radio talk about what happens after a fun one night stand?
    Yes, it is very difficult to resist societal pressure and personal desires. But it’s the right thing and I am so happy you wrote this article. Young kids are being manipulated through movies, music, and pop culture in general, no one talks about the health risks, the emotional fall out, the depression and anxiety. We owe our youth much more. I’m 29 years old and I face this every day.

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