Sexuality and Islam.
Sociologist, International Expert, Rabat, Morocco. email@example.com
This paper deals with three major questions: (1) What are the sexual norms defined by the sacred texts (Koran and Sunna)? (2) What are the sexual practices currently observed among Moslems? (3) To which extent are current sexual practices of Moslems dissociated from Islamic sexual norms? Sexual standards in Islam are paradoxical: on the one hand, they allow and actually are an enticement to the exercise of sexuality but, on the other hand, they discriminate between male and female sexuality, between marital and pre- or extramarital sexuality, and between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Men are given more rights with regard to the expression of their sexuality; women are forbidden to have extramarital sex (with their slaves) and both genders to have homosexual relationships. The combination of these paradoxical standards with modernisation leads to the current back and forth swing of sexual practices between repression and openness. Partial modernisation leads to greater sexual tolerance. But restrictive sexual standards have gathered strength and have become idealised as a result of the current radicalisation of Islam. This swing of the pendulum between repression and openness is illustrated by phenomena such as public harassment, premarital sexuality, female pleasure, prostitution, and homosexuality. Currently, Islam is not any more the only reference which provides guidance concerning sexual practices but secularisation of sexual laws is still politically unthinkable today. So the only solution is to achieve reform in the name of Islam, through the reinterpretation of repressive holy texts.