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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“[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.
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.)
Marriage, on the other hand, is augmented and made stronger by regular sex.
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