My Weblog

November 10, 2006

Sex Jihate

Filed under: Global Jihad, Islam, Terror — limewoody @ 8:12 am

Cairo, 7 Nov. (AKI) – by Alessia de Luca – Heba Kotb receives visitors in a small study on the second floor of a building in Sharia Sudani, in Cairo’s residential neighbourhood of Mohandeseen. Hanging on the wall of the study is her medical degree and sexology specialization. The phone in the entrance rings constantly and the waiting list for patients is two-months-long. Kotb, 39, is a practicing Muslim, married to a fellow doctor and a mother of three. But she is also a pioneer in her subject matter, still considered a taboo in many Middle Eastern countries, and every Saturday morning, she tests boundaries in a show on Egyptian state television.

Kotb invites experts as well as Muslim clerics to discuss sex according to the Koran on her show and then answers phone calls from viewers who ask her for religious as well as medical advice on sexual matters.

“Few people want to enter my line of work in the Arab world,” she says in an interview to Adnkronos International (AKI). “I follow tradition and have a strong personality but, most importantly, have a supporting family,” she adds, explaining how she deals with a job she defines as “different rather than difficult.”

“At first, only well-off people came to me and I had about two or three patients a week. But after I started appearing on television people started to get to know me and call for an appointment, often provided they remained anonymous. Slowly, more people arrived here at the practice.”

Kotb says at first patients asked not to be in the waiting room with other people who could recognise them and some even asked her if the doorman knew what her specialisation was.

“Now things are better and and there isn’t that sense of shame that stopped people from admitting they had a sexual problem,” the doctor explains, adding that her patients now include people “from all social classes, men and women who come here in the hope of solving a problem which deeply influences their life as a couple.”

The sex therapist explains that she offers to patients three different types of therapies: “one for adolescents, one for young couples who don’t know how to solve problems that the first relations can cause and one for couples who have already have children, to help them revive desire and passion, obviously by employing natural methods and exercise. I also give homework to some of them to do before they return for a visit.”

Kotb, who wears the headscarf and is a practicing Muslim, says sexual pleasure is God’s gift. “When I started reading sexology and sexual psychology manuals I realised that far from contradicting the Koran, they repeated things that followed the message of Islam and the texts on the words and teachings of the Prophet Mohammed,” she says.

As a Muslim however the doctor does not condone homosexuality, extra-marital affairs and pornography.

“Homosexuality exists in Egypt. There are no surveys to prove it because it is illegal but we can’t bury our heads in the sand. As a Muslim and doctor I believe it is an illness,” she explains to AKI. “Indeed many patients who have come to me for a threpay against their homosexual tendencies have become closer to religion and understood they were going through a period of confusion. This can happen to those who are very young in a world which is constantly evolving as they don’t know how to deal with their sexual desires.”

Kotb also admits that “Arab societies are changing.”

“Many more girls are choosing to have sexual relations before they get married. It’s not the majority but a much larger percentage than ten, fifteen years ago,” she recalls.

The doctor says she believes “pre-marital relations are a mistake. As a doctor I think virginity is something to be kept for a husband.”

On the other hand, she adds, “God is always on our side and when something was forbidden to men it was done for their own good.”

The doctor, whose last conference in Yemen recently attracted over 300 women, says she fought hard to make a name for herself in this line of work but received more satisfaction from it than she had ever imagined.

“Two years ago a woman with adult children came to me complaining she felt old and, contrary to her husband, didn’t want to do ‘certain things’ anymore. She was 43 and her spouse was 46. I understood something was wrong and asked her if her husband gave her pleasure. She stared at me and candidly confessed she didn’t know women too could have an orgasm. After a few visits also attended by her husband, she came back with a different expression and wearing a dress with bright colours.”

Kotb says the motivation behind her work is “to break these taboos and make couples understand that good sex is good for a marriage and should not be foregone at any age.”


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