Advice: Why is sex so taboo?

Dear Love InshAllah,

How do I talk to my sister about sex? She’s 24 and about to get married. I’d like to be able to talk to her about this, but she makes me feel uncomfortable whenever I say something that is remotely close to the topic.

Signed,
Why is sex so taboo

Ms. Sunshine replies:
 

 
Your sister may be uncomfortable having this conversation with you, but you can still offer her your support and wisdom. Why not write her a heartfelt letter? Sharing advice about something so intimate can be difficult and embarrassing for both of you, but letters can give you the space to choose your words carefully and express your intent more clearly.

I might choose a simple, but elegant stationary–since this could become a keepsake– and begin with all of your wishes and prayers for this new chapter of her life. Tell your sister how much you love her, and what you want for her. Then get right into the things you want to share. It is much easier to listen to advice about uncomfortable subjects when we feel loved and respected, so be conscientious about your tone. Avoid making any assumptions about what she is feeling or her sexual experiences. You may also want to include a few books on the subject or a small gift. Wrap them nicely and include your letter. You can mail them to her, or, if you have access, leave them somewhere discreet in her living space. This could lead to the conversation you want to have, or it may just communicate your love and advice. Either way, you both win.

Shy Desi Boy replies:

Remember those super awkward sex education classes in public school? Where some guy who looks like Kip from Napoleon Dynamite tells you that if you don’t have sex the right way that you will die? Well, that is not what you should do, lecture your sister.

What I’ve always found lacking from discussions about sex is personalization. Discussions of sex lose their authenticity—and often sound downright creepy—when we remove ourselves and our own lives from the discussion. If you are going to talk to your sister about sex, then please do talk to her about your own personal experience.

It might be jarring for your sister to hear you speak about sex and, when you first open up, she might tell you to stop because it makes her uncomfortable. But if you are honest and sincere, then I am almost sure your sister will appreciate it, if not now, then certainly later.

What then to tell your sister? Some ideas: if you have struggled to enjoy sex but now enjoy it, explain that journey to her. If you and your partner have learned a way to communicate about sex, share your advice. If you realized that certain positions are more comfortable, give your sister some suggestions about sex positions (yes, I am being serious). If you or your partner have been reluctant to perform/receive oral sex but now enjoy it, help your sister understand what you both did to change your attitude towards oral sex.

Most importantly let your sister know that it is ok—and rather common—to struggle with sex. Many couples take a long time before they find a rhythm in bed. Let you sister know that if she is scared or nervous or unexcited, that these are perfectly normal reactions and feelings.

I always tell my friends, whether they are Muslim or not, that when you get married you should have at least one person in your life outside your marriage who you can speak with about sex. As with everything else in life, we lean on others for advice. Why not for sex too? And who better than one’s sibling.

I wish you the best and hope that by talking with your sister you will help her realize that sex should be anything but taboo between siblings.

Related advice column: Clueless about my wedding night

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3 Comments on “Advice: Why is sex so taboo?”

  1. Reblogged this on pengantin pelik and commented:
    Because it’s easier and faster to reblog, my analysis of ‘What Makes a ‘Good’ Wife’ will have to wait til the weekend. For now, dear married friends and family, I actually welcome sex advice closer to my wedding date. Hahahah. So email me, snail mail me, or drop me a text that goes, ‘Come let’s have coffee and talk about sex’, okay? ;p

  2. JC says:

    Dear Why,
    I’m not going to suggest *what* you should tell your sister. Instead, I’m suggesting that you use this opportunity to create a closer and more intimate bond with her. In my own experience, granted being male, I’ve learned that my wife and her sisters talk to each other about their sexual experiences – particularly when they have questions or problems. You should try to develop a trusted, private and open line of communication with your sister such that not only can you talk to her about it (by the way, a 24 year old will probably know a lot more about sex than you may expect her to), but she will feel comfortable asking you questions later on if/when she experiences something different or new. Not only will this bring the two of you closer together emotionally, but as long as she knows she can trust you to keep it private, it will increase the trust between you, which is a critical part of maintaining a close relationship with your family members after marriage (when we tend to diverge away from our parents and siblings, due to new living arrangements, re-ordering of priorities, etc.). This close relationship will also help the two of you to support each other as your parents age, as you each have children, as you both face new challenges in life.

  3. Naeemah says:

    My sister is exactly like that. She finds it so awkward talking about sex and often tends to leave the room when I raise the subject with our older sister who is more than happy to discuss everything and go in to detail very accurately and to the point. I am a 24 year old myself and trust me when I say this, I know a hell of a lot about sex. Raise the topic with your sister in a fun way so that she may feel comfortable and as you continue, instil some homor (trust me she will loosen up -it just takes time). I wish you luck! And May God bless your sister’s marriage and grant her and her husband a lifetime of happiness and joy🙂