Source: The New York Times
Wedad Lootah does not look like a sexual activist. A Muslim and a native Emirati, she wears a full-length black niqab — with only her brown eyes showing through narrow slits — and sprinkles her conversation with quotes from the Koran.
Yet she is also the author of what for the Middle East is an amazingly frank new book of erotic advice in which she celebrates the female orgasm, confronts taboo topics like homosexuality and urges Arabs to transcend the backward traditions that limit their sexual happiness.
The book, “Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples,” is packed with vivid anecdotes from Ms. Lootah’s eight years as a marital counselor in Dubai’s main courthouse. It became an instant scandal after it was published in Arabic in the Emirates in January, drawing praise from some liberals and death threats from conservatives, who say she is guilty of blasphemy or worse.
Ms. Lootah, a strong-willed and talkative 45-year-old, is one of a small but growing number of Arabs pushing for more openness and education about sex. Unlike earlier generations of women who often couched their criticism in a Western language of female emancipation, Ms. Lootah and her peers are hard to dismiss as outsiders because they tend to be religious Muslims who root their message in the Koran.
Ms. Lootah, for instance, studied Islamic jurisprudence in college, not Western psychology, and her book is studded with religious references. She submitted the text to the Mufti of Dubai before publishing it, and he gave his approval (though he warned her that Arab audiences might not be ready for such a book, especially by a woman).
“People have said I was crazy, that I was straying from Islam, that I should be killed,” Ms. Lootah said. “Even my family ask why I must talk about this. I say: ‘These problems happen every day and should not be ignored. This is the reality we are living