Honeymoon ProblemsBy: Mormon Heretic
Samira and Firas are a Muslim couple married in August 2009.¬† As I mentioned in my previous post, I‚Äôve been watching the TLC program, Strange Sex (also available on Netflix.)¬† For Firas and Samira, it was love at first sight.¬† One week after meeting, Firas asked Samira‚Äôs father for permission to marry. ¬†Muslims have even stronger prohibitions about premarital sex than Mormons.¬† Samira stated that
‚ÄúIn the craziness of the wedding planning, I knew that I had to go to an OB-GYN to get a birth control prescription because me and Firas didn‚Äôt want to get pregnant right away.¬† I didn‚Äôt tell my mom only because she told me that if I went to an OB-GYN they ‚Äėd do a PAP smear, and a PAP smear makes you lose your virginity.‚ÄĚ
Muslims also believe that tampons destroy a woman‚Äôs virginity.¬† What happened at the doctor‚Äôs office surprised both her and the doctor.
When the doctor tried to insert a speculum for a pap smear, Samira‚Äôs vagina reflexively tightened up and wouldn‚Äôt allow penetration.¬† The doctor tried for 20 minutes, to no avail.¬† Concerned that it was some sort of psychological issue, the doctor referred her for counseling.¬† It appeared to be a condition called vaginismus, an involuntary panic attack in the vagina.¬† Samira and Firas were married for nearly a year, but were not able to consummate their marriage.¬† Samira was devastated.¬† ‚ÄúThis is what you get for being such a good girl‚ÄĚ, she cried emotionally.¬† ‚ÄúWhy did I go through all of that trouble?‚ÄĚ¬† She considered suicide and offered her husband a divorce.
As she did some research on the condition, she learned about a possible treatment with a sex therapist, but it was expensive.¬† Without the money for treatment, she went to her father.¬† She asked , ‚Äúhow do you talk to your family about sex?¬† It was my last resort.‚ÄĚ¬† She told her father that ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre not married” despite the ceremony.¬† Her father agreed to pay for the treatments.
Her therapist said ‚ÄúOur treatment will be direct hands on, hands in, if you may.‚ÄĚ¬† During therapy, I was astonished to hear that she had never looked at her vagina or touched it.¬† It took several months of therapy, but she and her husband made a breakthrough the following May.¬† The credits showed that she was pregnant.
While I think Samira‚Äôs reaction is definitely extreme, I think that many Mormon women can have a similar reaction because we don‚Äôt talk about sex openly, and don‚Äôt discuss problems that can occur on the wedding night.¬† I remember talking with a few newlywed women, and they explained to me that sex was so uncomfortable for them on their wedding night, that they would have preferred to have waited a few days instead of consummating the marriage on her wedding night.¬† I‚Äôve also talked with others that had very uncomfortable wedding nights (one women even ended up at the doctor, concerned she had some sort of cancer.)¬† In another case, the man was so rough that she was injured, and they couldn‚Äôt have sex for a few weeks until she healed.
I would consider Samara and Firas as much more moderate Muslims than we often stereotype.¬† (What other Muslims would even appear on a show like this?)¬† Still, I was interested in her final comments.¬† ‚ÄúThere is a phrase in Islam that there is no shame in knowledge.¬† Now I understand that.¬† I shouldn‚Äôt have been ashamed.¬† I should ask questions.¬† When I raise a child, I‚Äôll share my experience with them, and I want to help them because they shouldn‚Äôt be afraid of something that is so natural.‚ÄĚ