Many years ago, prior to my conversion to Islam, I had a “relationship” with an aspiring writer (who, might I add, is still “aspiring”). Every few years since, the Aspiring Writer has attempted to revist/recreate what happened between us in what I can only assume is an utter lack of inspiration in his current life. His creative flights of fancy took the form of poems, short stories, and even podcasts. All talking about ME, the things we did together, and what he thought of as “us.” With each new episode, I was (and am still, as he continues to use me as a source of inspiration) enraged. I feel betrayed, used and completely misunderstood as I never dared go after my “droit de réponse” in public. Maybe this is my “droit de réponse.” Strangely, I always had a hard time explaining exactly why he made me so mad until I read an article on Feministe last night and discussed it with a dear friend in Paris. The Feministe article isn’t about sex per se, I think she is getting more to the point of being body-conscious, with maybe a side dig at evangelical Christianity. And I think it is well written (obviously so if I chose to blog about it). But the passage about her sexual encounter with her Mormon bf and his inability to put on a condom made me feel the same way the aspiring writer makes me feel: Sex is the no-share frontier for me.
I overshare a LOT on line, I tweet what I had for breakfast, but I cannot and will not talk about who I may or may not have had sex with. Sex is something so intimate and personal, there are details that (threesomes and orgies aside, *snort*) rightfully are only known to two people. And that includes one-night-stands as much as long-term relationships. I don’t want to share how good (or bad) someone was in bed
What does Islam have to say about “teh overshare?” First off, the slate of converts like me is wiped clean at conversion. Which means, in principle, that what I did before I converted is no longer relevant to my current life as a Muslimah. That is a debatable point of view in that our experiences shape us, whether within the shade of Islam or not, but whatever. Then you have the “good brothers” who say that “blushing Muslimahs” should be pious and shy about anything that the Hislam patriarchy thinks we shouldn’t talk about. But as a convert who truly believes that I had a series of principles before I came to Islam and those principles have stayed with me and are in line with Islamic belief (which is why I converted), sex has always been about me and my chosen partner. I have major issues with people who use sex as art, or who delight in regaling teh interwebs with tales of their bedroom exploits. My cases of overshare have always been in private with close friends, and God knows I have tried not to name names. What’s the point? In most cases, past is past, so why live in it? And if it isn’t the past, why does the world need to know about your current relationship? If sex isn’t private, what is precious and secret in this world? That doesn’t mean be a big prude in bed. That means don’t let anyone know what your game is. I could be a big prude, I could not be a big prude, but since I now take the precaution of not sleeping with bigmouths, no one will ever have to know.
Not talking about my sex life isn’t about me being a “blushing Muslimah”, selling out to Hislam, not being body-conscious or trying to hold on to my history for myself (which is what the Aspiring Writer accuses me of). It is respect for my past, respect for my partner(s) and respect for myself.
27 June 2010 at 6:27 pm
Back in the 1990s before I became Muslim, I used to listen to folk music a lot and that included Ani DiFranco, a feminist type from Buffalo, NY. She did one song called “Gravel” in which she told a former or current boyfriend, “you were never a good lay / and you were never a good friend”, and confesses that he’s basically a waste of space but she adores him anyway. I thought, pity whoever ends up as her boyfriend (or girlfriend, for that matter) as she might write a song about them.