Dubai Undeterred by death threats she received after publishing a book on sex education, a Dubai-based Emirati marriage counsellor is coming out with her third book on the same subject.
Dr Wedad Lootah, who feels strongly about sexual equality, said the book is under review and is a sequel of sorts to her first book which sold over 20,000 copies and is now in its eighth edition. Her second book — on social issues in family interactions — also did well.
Dr Wedad said there is a general lack of awareness about sex education among married couples in the region. She counsels several Arabs, including Emiratis at her Dubai Healthcare City clinic and teaches them how to have a healthy physical relationship.
She said she became convinced that couples needed help when she was working at the family reconciliation office of the Dubai Courts. In 2001, a woman came to her with a complaint that she wanted to divorce her husband because he was having anal sex.
“I counselled the couple. I reasoned with the husband that his wife was in pain and that she disapproved of his act due to religious and health concerns. But he said he couldn’t do without it. So we helped the woman divorce him and get alimony and full custody of the children,” Dr Wedad said.
Not all cases can be resolved so easily though. Dr Wedad recalled a case where a woman wanted to end her two-year marriage as she was sexually dissatisfied with her husband. But the husband initially refused to divorce her. He finally gave in on the condition that she would forego all her rights.
Dr Wedad said she decided to write a book on sex education in 2006 when she encountered disturbing cases: a woman who had suffered anal sex over 20 years of her marriage, another woman married for 30 years who believed that only men had the right to enjoy sex, and yet another woman who was being threatened with divorce if she did not comply to her husband’s obscene demands.
“In the first case, the woman told me her husband of 20 years would have vaginal intercourse with her only when he wanted to get her pregnant. At other times, it was anal sex. The woman had not even realised that this practice was against Sharia law,” said Dr Wedad, adding that the wife eventually demanded a divorce.
The first book in Arabic titled Top Secret: Principles and Etiquette of an Intimate Marital Relationship was published in 2009 and was translated into English. “I wanted people to know that Islam does not frown upon married people seeking pleasure during the act of love-making. Every imaginable pleasure is allowed, save anal sex, which is proven to be medically unhealthy for women,” said Dr Wedad.
“We also have Arab generations raised abroad who believe that we’re savages and that sex education does not exist in our religion and culture. So I set out to prove to them otherwise. It’s important for parents to provide sex education for their sons and daughters who are about to be married.”
When her first book was published, Dr Wedad received a “death threat from a GCC national”. However, opposition died down when her book was well received.
“My family was divided. My husband and children were by my side along with some family members, while others thought it was too much of a risk. But when they saw that my first book was received well, they were fully supportive,” she said.