Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sex-ed for Muslims

There was a recent post on Tuttie's blog 'Taking Over the World' on the topic of Muslim girls not being taught what they need to know about sex and reproduction and all these things. Girls not knowing what menstruation is until they get it or not knowing how a wedding night is supposed to go until they're doing the act with their new husbands (talk about traumatizing!!).

I feel that sex-ed is necessary... I wish it wasn't necessary to have it in schools, but it just is because not all parents inform their kids about these things. So I support sex-ed. My child is much better off with the sex-ed classes they give here than nothing at all. OF COURSE the best is to learn everything from their (Muslim) parents but as explained, that just doesn't always happen.

I have a 2 and a half year old daughter and I plan on teaching her little by little the way things work in life. I don't want her to think a woman gets pregnant from kissing and I don't want her to think a woman gives birth from her bellybutton. I want her to know about menstruation and why women have it. I want her to feel proud of becoming a woman, and being a woman. As Muslims, it's especially important because of all the responsabilities that come with being a woman. I talked to my husband and we agreed that when she becomes a woman, we will celebrate it (a dinner out, a gift) and that she will get an extra privilege to mark this new stage in her life.

I also want her to know about sex. This is the part that I would rather she not learn about in school, just because of the general way it's taught. It's right for them to teach it the way they do because of how the majority of students are raised and the society we're in. I mean, it's necessary for them to learn about sexually transmitted diseases and contraception and all that in a lot of detail and to enforce condoms because of the fact that they have sex young and with many partners. I want my daughter to know these things, but I don't want her to think it's OK to have sex with everyone and at any age, which is almost implied in these courses. At least here in Quebec, there is no emphasis on abstinence in public school. So sex-ed in school is definitely not the whole picture, but it can help a lot of parents with getting the children the basics, and they can fill in the blanks (relating sex with marriage, all that stuff) if they are the uncomfortable type.

So please, parents, if you are not comfortable talking about sex, let your kids take sex-ed!!!

17 Comentários:

Stephanie said...

I might be in the minority here but I actualy feel pretty comfortable talking to my kids about sex. Actually, my 3 youngest are still completely clueless, but when my oldest came home repeating some ridiculous thing he heard from the neighborhood boys, I just told him point blank what intercourse consisted of. The look on his face was priceless and still makes me laugh today.

Stephanie said...

And another thing, given how openly sex is talked about in the Sunnah and in some places the Quran, there's really no reason for Muslim parents to feel it's something shameful to talk about in a controlled setting with their children. Babies coming from belly buttons! R U kidding???

Candice said...

I think I'll feel pretty comfortable talking to my daughter about sex too. I guess we'll see when she gets to that age. I will make myself comfortable with it! It's just too necessary!

.::Tuttie::. said...

I am with Stephanie. Since I had to give BOTH my brothers the sex talk I feel more comfortable with the topic. Another issue for me is that since I was abused and no one really explained to me what was going on I internalized eveyrthing and it has taken a toll.

That is why I fell very strongly about it. The whole shameful aspect of sex is cultural. I feel that there is a way of teaching children without stripping them of their natural shyness hayaat.

Because NOTHING strips a child faster of their hayaat than to be abused. (am writing a post about it).

LK said...

O_O You are so right. I can only imagine the life altering trauma of a wedding night if you had no clue what you were getting yourself into...The idea is nerve racking enough with the information LOL

You have to talk to girls. There are also a lot of books to help too. If I have a girl, I want to make it clear to her how her body works and how sex works. And let her know that it is not ok to sleep with everyone, even if her friends have already started doing so.

Boys need to be talked to as well. They need to know they can't just have sex with anyone because they can't get pregnant. They need to be taught to respect women and control their hormones. Its a two way street after all.

Wrestling With Religion said...

I think what's missing from sex ed is just inviting the kids to contemplate what is an appropriate relationship context for sex. Not telling them what to think (which is obviously not possible in a secular context), just making them think about it. I've heard they do that in Holland and despite how liberal the culture is, kids wait longer on average and have a strong sense of it being about love and stuff. (Fitrah perhaps?) Here in the UK they bend over backwards to be non-judgmental by not talking about relationships at all, and the result is kids just think they're expected to do it.

Wrestling With Religion said...

They don't talk about the emotional aspect of relationships, I mean. Which I think they should. :)

ZimimeXoxo said...

Its a big misconception actually ... I talked about that with my aunt just recently ... she teaches Math, french and sex-ed to 8th grades. She said they teach sex-ed at school because parents dont take them time to teach their children these stuff, they work , heat up frozen dinners and dont spend '' quality time with their families'' . My mom taught me about menstruation and such when I was what...9 ? after all that talk she said '' sigh, parents expect us to be their children's parents... did you know that I even teach a ''character class'' , '' we teach children how to have a personality , teach them right from wrong and how to be good people '' ... Parents should be teaching that. Its quite sad.

Life's Balance Beam said...

this blog is the most interesting i have read so recently!!! subanaallah ur soooo right! muslims treat the topic of sex like its taboo or something. honestly i believe sex ed is a must as well for girls and boys, but not only to know WHAT it is, but i feel that both ways once our kids are of age, and they are ready for marriage, they know how to please their spouses. i was reading an article and it said 43 % of men and women alike have an unhappy marriage due to the lack of sexual activity. call me crazy but i can understand.

idk i think people need to stop treating it like a taboo, i also noticed that kids who grow up with out having the talk are the bucked wild ones out here fornicating like crazy, vs. kids who grew up like me educated on the topic and alhumdulilah still safe at 20 years old.

good post candice!!

Mrs. S said...

Believe it or not, I learned a lot about the emotional and physical aspects of sex at Islamic school. They were really great about giving us age appropriate Islamic lessons, and stripping away the shame and taboo that is often associated with sexuality.

One of the best parts was that the moms actually threw us girls parties when we became “women”. They were never anything extravagant, just at someone’s house or at the masjid. We all got a new Qur’an and a hijab and some jewelry, but those parties meant a lot to me and my friends and I fully intend to keep that tradition alive with my own daughter.

Candice said...

Tuttie: Yes, definitely the children need to be educated about these things...

LK: So true, boys need to be talked to, too. Since my post was related to Tuttie's post, which was about girls, I stayed on that aspect of it, but it's important for boys too. They cannot be taught that they can go out and do what they want just because they can't become pregnant from it and just because they don't have a hymen or something. And they need to know what is right and wrong too.

WWR (Sarah/Laila): You are so right. That's such a great way that could easily be put into public schools without offending anyone and would be so beneficial to the kids/teens.

Zimime: That's why it's necessary. Even though ideally it wouldn't be at all... They teach morals in schools, they teach everything because the parents just don't sometimes. It's sad but it's reality, that it's also the reality that these courses are necessary.

LBB: Thanks for the compliment, but Tuttie did a similar post just before I did. :p I think you're right about them learning to please their spouse. At least for Muslims because we all know that regular teens will just learn from experience a few people over time and from sources that promote pre-marital sex. So they are not the sources Muslims need, but Muslims also need to learn a bit of technique. :p They should have something at mosques like a pre-marriage DVD each can watch or a magazine or some sessions. It's just hard with the person staying a non-maharam until the marriage (so yes, I think it's OK to talk about things quick-quick, but less OK to sit there together discussing how you will do it).

Mrs. S: Wow, I was hoping to hear something like this about Islamic school. I was hoping that Islamic schools don't banish the subject because they would be the best ones to give their kids the Islamic point of view (aside from the parents who we established are sometimes lacking in this). And how great about the mosque and parties for becoming a woman! :D If I get envolved with the mosque, I will try to start this.

muslim convert / revert said...

yep I know alot of parents dont want there children to take sex ed especially here as they show photo's of penis's and other things,even hand out condoms ,
But I think If the parents took responsibility and taught there children then there wouldnt be so much pressure to teach kids at school. I reckon insha Allah Il be open in talking to my children and explaining it in a manner which is appropiate islamically after all islam is very open and very straight to the piont in its teachings about sex.

caraboska said...

I have a medical problem which could make both my wedding night and every night after that difficult. So I have had to out of necessity become interested in the details of what to do to minimize it - because I would like to be married someday, am even discussing it with someone at the moment, and I could well require months of physical preparation before it would even be possible at all, and extraordinary precautions to be taken even then (possibly including anesthesia). I have of course sought medical advice in this matter. But I would say that for most people, unless they have a medical problem, it does not have to be the way people are implying here.

That having been said, yeah: if people adopt the bloodthirsty view that it has to be done all at once, sure, it will be traumatic. I know a girl who nearly passed out on her wedding night. But the problem was the thinking, the question of *what to do* with the fact that the hymen is there, not the mere fact of its presence.

So mere education will not necessarily help. It has to be the right kind of education. Which is unfortunately extraordinarily difficult to come by, especially in religious circles. I have been pretty much left to my own devices in this matter.

What is really tragic is when even figuring things out for yourself is forbidden. It is a great recipe for exploitation. It is imperative, particularly in the case of girls, for them to know in considerable detail how their body and its responses work, if they are to be able to even make real choices about what they will do with their bodies, much less ensure their own physical comfort when the time is right with their husband.

eyes serene said...

Assalamu alaikom,
I don't think that sex-ed in the classroom promotes sexual activity.

In my experience, the overall message about the seriousness and responsibility of making that decision (to be active) reinforced my decision to wait! And in my highschool, students could go to the nurse and ask for condoms. Even though my friends and I knew there were condoms available in the school, it didn't prompt us to become active.

There are kids that are going to be active, and I want services like free condoms to be available to them, because they're going to do it either way. Best safe rather than sorry. And I want all kids, active or not, to understand their bodies, STIs, pregnancy, etc. Education is never a bad thing.

Some parents are behind the times or don't know everything. For example, did you know that brushing your teeth before activity can increase the risk of HIV transmission? I didn't even know that until I was an adult. So, I'm glad I'm not the only one talking to my child about these things because educators will have the latest information available to them, information that might have passed me by. (Note: my eldest is not old enough that some of these things have been appropriate yet, but she's old enough that she's had some sex-ed classes.)

The school staff held meetings with all the parents and explained in detail what the sex ed classes would cover, and parents could keep their kids out of the classes if they preferred. I found nothing offensive in the material. I want my child to be well informed because I want her to make educated decisions about her life. The school is not encouraging her to be active, I'm sure as heck not encouraging her to be active, so I think the messages she receives from school and home are positive and informative.

You know where we really need to be concerned? Media. The schools aren't going to teach our children to be morally bankrupt but a lot of what is on prime time tv honestly is inappropriate. I'm more concerned about the messages sent by media (tv, magazines, etc) than I am about any other influence, simply because it's so pervasive (and persuasive!)

Candice said...

Eyes Serene: I totally agree with you. Sex-ed classes are necessary (as was the point of my post) and I also agree that the media are the big (HUGE) problem in promoting sex.

I think though that there is a better way to about sex-ed. Just a slight addition, like Wrestling with Religion (Sarh/Laila) said; to make the teens think about what is appropriate for a sexual relationship.

About brushing teeth, I hadn't ever thought of that, but I guess that after teaching kids that they can get STD's just through oral sex, it makes sense that it's spread more easily when you brushed your teeth since you're somehow closer to the blood that way.

Candice said...

Eyes Serene: I totally agree with you. Sex-ed classes are necessary (as was the point of my post) and I also agree that the media are the big (HUGE) problem in promoting sex.

I think though that there is a better way to about sex-ed. Just a slight addition, like Wrestling with Religion (Sarh/Laila) said; to make the teens think about what is appropriate for a sexual relationship.

About brushing teeth, I hadn't ever thought of that, but I guess that after teaching kids that they can get STD's just through oral sex, it makes sense that it's spread more easily when you brushed your teeth since you're somehow closer to the blood that way.

eyes serene said...

I just looked over my message and I realized I wasn't entirely clear. I know you aren't against sex ed. Sorry for the confusion there!

You said: "....to make the teens think about what is appropriate for a sexual relationship"

Agreed! There should be life courses in school, about all sorts of topics. Like how some schools have parenting classes and kids have to carry around fake babies. The more direction and guidance, the better, really! (I'm all about the "it takes a village" thing.)

I think the risk with brushing teeth is that the gums can become a pathway (brushing can aggravate the gums even if unnoticed/no obvious bleeding.) STIs are so scary. They were just saying on the news today about a study of the number of teen girls who get STIs. I think they said half would pick up an STI of some sort within a year's time, some shockingly high number like that.

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