Some Questions about Sexual Conduct
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I am a Muslim convert and have some questions regarding the intimate relationship between a husband and his wife. I feel a bit shy to ask. However, since I need the guidance of my new religion on them, I am being bold enough to ask them. First, I’d like to know if there are any restrictions in sexual relations between a husband and wife. I have read somewhere that a husband and a wife must not totally reveal themselves to one another during intercourse. Is this so? The Qur’ān says that a husband and wife should abstain from going near one another when the wife is having her periods. Does this mean that no form of sexual intimacy is allowed? Are a husband and wife allowed to have intercourse in any position they like? Can a husband orally stimulate the sexual organs of his wife and vice versa? I would also like to know if a husband is experiencing a lack of sexual urge, can he read or see pornographic material to be ‘turned on’ so to speak? Here of course the reason is not to get pleasure from such material but to use it for a genuine purpose.


As far as sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is concerned, the Sharī‘ah prohibits two things:

1. Intercourse during menses.

2. Anal intercourse.

These restrictions are mentioned in the following verse of the Qur’ān:

They ask you concerning women’s courses. Tell them: They are an impurity. So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. And when they have purified themselves, approach them in the manner the Almighty has directed you [through your instincts]1 -- for Allah loves those who constantly repent and keep themselves clean. (2:222)

This means that, barring these two restrictions, everything else has been left to the taste and inclination of the couple. The freedom they have is very aptly expressed in the following verse:

Your wives are as a cultivated land to you. So come to your cultivated land in whatever manner you want to and extend forward for yourself, and keep fearing Allah, and you should know that you are to meet Him [one day], and give glad tidings to the believers. (2:223)

The portion of the verse: ‘So come to your cultivated land in whatever manner you want to’ refers to the liberty and freedom with which a person is allowed to come close to his wife. It is similar to how a farmer approaches his land. One aspect of the husband and wife relationship is that while fulfilling many other needs, it is also a means of satisfying the sexual urge. If this urge is satisfied between them, it secures their modesty and curbs sexual anarchy. However, if this urge is not quenched between the two, it might lead to grave deviations. It is because this relationship shields a husband and wife from any deviations that a husband and wife are called each other’s robes:

They [your wives] are [like] a robe for you and you [like] a robe for them. (2:187)

One can construe in the light of what has been said above that Islam has neither imposed any restriction on the position or posture for sexual intimacy nor explicitly stopped the couple from orally stimulating the sexual organs. However, a person must always bear in mind that Islam is a religion that stands for purification and cleanliness – both physical and spiritual. A person’s own nature, if it is not perverted, guides him to be selective and refined in exercising this discretion. He may have the liberty to do anything in this regard, but he should always remember that the spirit and essence of this liberty dictate that he should not become an animal. Consequently, cunnilingus and fellatio may not be prohibited by the Sharī‘ah but they seem to be against the norms of a refined taste ingrained in human nature that has not been perverted.

As far as not totally revealing one’s self before one’s spouse is concerned, the following Hadīth seems to be its basis:

When you approach your wives [for sexual intimacy], you [and they] should not be totally naked as donkeys. (Ibn Mājah, Kitābu’l-Nikāh)

The Hadīth has been classified as weak by authorities like Abū Hātim, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and Nasā‘ī2, and it also seems to impose a restriction that the Qur’ān seems to negate.

During menses, only sexual intercourse is forbidden as is evident from 2:222 quoted above. Other forms of sexual intimacy are allowed. Anas Ibn Mālik reports in the Sahīh of Imām Muslim:

Amongst the Jews, when a woman menstruated, they did not dine with her nor did they live with her in their houses. So the companions of the Prophet asked him and Allah revealed ... (See 2:222 above). The Prophet then said: You can do everything except having intercourse with her. (Kitābu’l Hayd)

In reply to your last question, I would say that in Islam the purity and rectitude of both the means and objective of an enterprise are essential. Achieving a ‘genuine’ objective through ‘non-genuine’ means should be avoided. Acquiring sexual urge through means which pollute and adulterate the mind and body can cause more harm than benefit. Viewing or reading pornographic material can also damage your relationship with your wife and lead to many other undesirable activities. So I would advise you to consult a doctor if you are experiencing a lack of sexual urge.




1.The words ‘from where Allah has directed you’ refer to the fact that a person must approach his wife in the natural way the awareness of which is instinctively found in his nature. Approaching her in an unnatural way should be refrained from. In other words, without any external guidance, just as a new born baby instinctively nurtures itself from the bosoms of his mother and just as every person instinctively eats from his mouth, a person should come near his wife after the restricted period is over the way his instincts have guided him.

2. Hāshiyah Sundī – CD version.

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