Fatima El-Hajj is a 24-year-old sexologist in Copenhagen, and she’s a devout Muslim. Since opening her practice a couple months ago, she’s been overwhelmed with clients who trust her knowledge about the relationship between Islam and sexuality.
El-Hajj reports that much of her job involves correcting misconceptions and addressing her clients’ confusion about sex. Because it is a taboo to discuss sex, people are limited to trusted relatives or friends and misinformation spreads easily.
In an interview for Vice, El-Hajj explains her initiation to studying sexuality:
Having been born into a Muslim family, I knew extremely little about sex and its place within my religion. It was taboo and people didn’t really talk about it, but the more I looked into it, the clearer it became just how negative and distorted many Muslims’ views on sex were. I couldn’t understand why my own religion had such a depressing view of it. It’s a human right for each and every person to enjoy making love—why shouldn’t Muslims be part of that, too?
El-Hajj also discusses learning about the historic relationship of Islam to sex:
[I] was studying literature about sexuality within Islam and discovered a wealth of information and detail I hadn’t had the slightest notion even existed … For instance, keeping one’s partner erotically satisfied is a great way to win blessings. It’s also written that a man may never ejaculate before the woman has achieved orgasm. Both partners are expected to smell good, as well as keep properly manicured nails and well-groomed pubic hair. This all helps to ensure a healthy sexual appetite.
As it is written, as it shall be.