Advice: On cleaning up after sex & dating with a disability

Dear Love, InshAllah:

I know this seems like a question everyone already seems to know, but both my wife and I ever really learned the etiquette of sex in terms of how to keep things clean (literally). What I mean is — is there a usual (or better, or sunnah) way to clean-up after relations? I don’t mean ghusl…but if one has relations with their spouse on the bed, how to keep the bed clean? I can’t believe that people wash their sheets every single time after they sleep together. Do some couples just have relations on the bottom sheet, and then sleep atop the top sheet? That would leave some najasa underneath the sheet, but I don’t know if that matters.

Sincerely,
Keeping it clean

Shy Desi Boy replies:

Hmm. Now you have made me curious about what sort of sex you and your partner are having that you would want to ask about cleanliness. My partner and I just have sex on the main bed sheet and I keep Kleenex nearby to clean up any fluids or lubricant that remains. Sometimes when I am not lazy, I put a separate sheet on top of the main sheet and then I throw the sheet in a separate hamper to wash after I have sex. My partner and I use a lot of lubricant when we have sex and I find that helps keep things clean as the lubricant we use leaves a sticky residue. This is what works for us and we have arrived at this through various trial and error, and long discussions. But this is all an entirely subjective matter—what are you and your partner most comfortable with? How do you feel about your body and the fluids it produces?

Have you discussed this with your partner? What is your idea of cleanliness in Islam? My advice is to pick the option that achieves two things: 1) it fulfills your standard of cleanliness and 2) it is relatively expedient. Because no one wants a big production to occur when you are in the mood for sex and you suddenly have to take out a ton of sheets, or supplies, to keep clean. At least I don’t.

Miss Sunshine replies:

There are some fiqh issues involved in this question. For example, not all fuqaha consider the fluids resulting from female arousal and orgasm to be najis, and even semen–once it’s been ejaculated into and flowed out from a woman– is not universally considered najis. Still, from a practical perspective, no one wants to sleep in body fluids. I would recommend that you get yourselves a nice, soft beach towel or two to cover the area where you have sex. That way the towels can simply be deposited into a hamper or washing machine for easy laundering and re-use.

Dear Love, InshAllah:

I need some advice as far as sharing a part of my life with a woman I’m currently talking to for marriage purposes. I’m partially blind (I walk with a white cane) and I’m not sure how to share this with her. Currently, we’re just talking on the phone and we’re supposed to meet in person in more than a month. I want to be as honest about this reality with her without freaking her out. How would I do that?

Sincerely,
Blind date

Shy Desi Boy replies:

The best thing is to tell the person early and as directly as you can. I understand your concern that she may no longer take an interest in you when she learns this. But I believe that the more we divulge with our perspective partners (and the earlier we do so) the better. I can’t imagine what sort of challenges you must face as a person who is partially blind and I also recommend you speak with other friends (irregardless of whether they are Muslim) and ask them what they have done in similar circumstances. I hope this person does accept you for the abilities that you have and for you are able to offer her and all of us. I wish you my very best.

Miss Sunshine replies:

I think the best thing to do is to be straight-forward. Simply tell her exactly what you’ve written to us. Let her know how your partial blindness impacts your life and honestly answer any questions she has.


2 Comments on “Advice: On cleaning up after sex & dating with a disability”

  1. Do read this for an interesting perspective on disability and dating.

  2. JC says:

    Dear Keeping it Clean: Assalaamu alaykum

    Ms. Sunshine is right, that many legal scholars/ulema do not consider semen and/or female vaginal fluids as Najis (unclean/filth). Generally, it is preferred to keep yourself and your sleeping space clean anyway, so, as Ms. Sunshine says, a towel or other cloth you can spread before starting (or over any fluids that got onto the bed) may be useful. And yes, some couples do simply change the sheets every time they get fluids on the sheets. You may also want to consider other locations for your activity, where it may be easier to clean up. Condoms and similar contraceptive devices also can help prevent or limit the amount of mess, if you’re willing to use them.

    To Blind Date: Be honest. Prepare her first, make sure she understands that you have a very important issue about yourself that you need her to know, and tell her that you hope it won’t affect her image/perception of you; when it seems like she is ready to know, tell her simply and clearly. If you try to hide it, you demonstrate two things: (1) that you weren’t willing to be totally honest with you, and (2) that you are somehow ashamed of your situation. Neither should be the case. Inshallah, she will appreciate your directness.

    Wallahu A’lam


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