Publication details [#1222]

Azam, Hina. 2013. Sex, Marriage, and Eroticism in Contemporary Islamic Advice Literature. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 9 (1) : 54–80. 27 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Indiana: Indiana University Press


The paper analyses titles pertaining to veiling, gender relations, marriage, and sexuality in contemporary Islamic advice texts, in order to examine their representation of behaviour, thoughts, and feelings that are connected with sexual desire, romantic attachment, and bodily pleasure. The author shows how these advice tracts, in spite of their different geographical/linguistic provenance, share a number of elements that combine to form an overarching discourse on eroticism. Within this discouse, eroticism is presented in a very negative way, also through metaphors that underline its consumptive nature and degrading effect (e.g., a woman who allows herself to be seen is a precious object that can be spoiled if too many hands touch it). Such negative view of eroticism contrasts with the pious ideal of erotic conjugality that is proposed by the same literature. The dissonance, according to the author, suggests a theoretical gap between traditional and contemporary notions of sexuality, marriage, and gender relations.