Am I immoral because I’m attracted to my husband?

Published: May 15, 2016

This chapter contained a list of dos and don’ts for both husband and wife, and one of the instructions read, “The wife should not be vocal about her physical desires because the husband might misinterpret it.” PHOTO: ANDRIANNA WILLIAMS/CORBIS

During a conversation with a female friend, she let me in on a strange secret. She said,

“Once, my husband doubted my morality,”

I remained silent, mostly out of curiosity. She continued and said,

“It happened when I tried to get intimate with him; not with a stranger but with him, my own husband.”

“What exactly do you mean?” I asked bewildered.

“He hadn’t come home from work and I was missing him. Aroused, I approached him, thinking he’d appreciate that. In return he gave me a stern look and said, what is wrong with you? Why are you behaving so immorally?”

This was expressed with a dejected and forlorn look on her face. Naturally, this would affect any wife.

Surprised by her story, I tried to convince her that Pakistani men were neither this judgmental nor as narrow-minded.

“No that’s not the case. A man may approach his wife whenever he wants, because he is the husband, but when his wife wants to exercise the same right, she is immediately labelled as immoral,” she replied angrily.

“Perhaps, your husband has some sort of psychological knot in his head.”

I responded, in an effort to try and figure out the reason behind his strange behaviour.

“If this sort of mentality is prevalent in all men, then it’s safe to say that the entire male population in our society has psychological issues – not just my husband.” she added.

I was honestly beginning to get a bit impatient and bothered by her generalised accusations. How was she finding it so easy to blame all men for her husband’s fault?

“What do you mean?” I asked out of politeness.

“Just so you should know Mr Shahid, newly wed brides are instructed by elder females in the family to show deliberate ‘self-control’ during intimacy, especially in the early days of marriage. Now isn’t that an example of unfair moral policing? The slightest expression of natural desire towards one’s own husband is enough to declare a woman as morally corrupt. Isn’t that completely absurd?

Women are also human beings and have feelings, just as men do. They also need comfort and pleasure like any other human, regardless of their gender. How can anyone associate this with one’s morality and character? It makes no sense.” She added.

After listening to her, I figured there may be some truth in what she told me. It really couldn’t have been based on imagination.

So, in order to evaluate her accusations and stereotypes, I asked an elderly man whether it should or is considered ‘incorrect’ for a wife to initiate intimacy with her husband.

“How can it be wrong? She has every right to. There really is no objectionable element in such behaviour, but during these 40 years of my marriage, my wife has never done this. Not even once.”

Concluded the elderly man with great pride.

That satisfaction on his face validated my colleague’s heartfelt allegations.

To further probe into this warped mind-set, I discussed the matter with one of my friends. He handed me an old book on morals, traditions and ethics and advised me to read the chapter “Azdwaaaji Zindagi kay Adaab” (Ethics of married life). I didn’t even know such a book existed!

This chapter contained a list of dos and don’ts for both husband and wife, and one of the instructions read,

“The wife should not be vocal about her physical desires because the husband might misinterpret it.”

I was left speechless and shocked after reading this particular instruction. Why do husbands tend to misinterpret mere affection? But more importantly, why is initiating intimacy looked down upon?

The root cause can be traced to our tribal mind-set, where the concept of patriarchy never allowed women to express themselves, let alone be independent. In a society where love marriage is perceived as a taboo, it’s not surprising that a wife expressing her feelings towards her husband is misinterpreted as immoral.

Not every individual, man or woman, behaves in the same way. But if women are still looked upon with suspicion only for being expressive, and if in certain books of ethics women are being advised to hide their feelings, it means our society is blinded by medieval customs and definitely needs to move forward.

Shahid Wafa

Shahid Wafa

The author is a Lahore based broadcast journalist who currently works at Ptv as a News Producer and Reporter. He regularly covers issues of social, political and judicial importance. He tweets as @shahidobserves

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Read Below

    Her husband felt it to be immoral because the Shariah says so.

    Islam does not allow women to act in a manner that might portray their image as being “sexually-promiscuous.”

    It always lands back to the religious beliefs for Muslims, but most of them would prefer ignoring this fact.Recommend

  • Uncle Tom

    Not to be out done by Fifty Shades of Grey, ET is coming up with “Fifty Blogs of WTF!!”Recommend

  • minerva

    where and when islam said it?Recommend

  • Shabber Abbas

    Shariah of Sunni and Shia Islam allows and in fact encourages intimacy between a married couple regardless of who initiates it whereas Wahabi Islam Shariah forbids it. Wahabi Islam is a fabricated narrative created to destroy the rich and authentic scholarship-based Islamic Shariah which was around for many centuries before this intolerant Wahabi ideology reared its ugly head.Recommend

  • Lala Mustafa Soomro

    Excuse me. The woman in question was trying to be intimate with her husband not any other man but her legally married husband! —-She was not being promiscuous –and the sharia says no such thing against it. Recommend

  • shahid

    Islam allows only long Daarhis to be ‘sexually promiscuous’ and others as immoral, bad character male or female..; Only Daarhis have this as as their birth right; They can look, watch, drool, and even grab women and have whatever they want by force and still go to Jannat… their kind of Islam.;Recommend

  • Sapiosexual

    I hardly doubt its related to religion. And even if you think so, then you surely haven’t read about marital responsibilities of husbands.

    I somewhat believe that the misinterpretation is more related to the belief that women are non-sexual in nature than anything else. This notion is common in conservative families in south asia and middle east and not just in muslims.Recommend

  • Ali S

    This is news to me – I never knew that such unspoken laws existed. If Pakistani women really are this sexually repressed by society, I might have to consider marrying a non-Pakistani – I think I’ll find it difficult to have sex with someone who doesn’t want to be sexually aroused, it will just feel wrong.

    It also explains why most Pakistani marriages are dour, contract-like affairs – any sexual spark, even between a husband and wife, is a no-no. It seems like in Pakistan the only reason women should be intimate with any man (including their husband) is to make babies, not for their own pleasure – any reasonable man would find that a turn-off.Recommend

  • Irfan

    Who the hell told u tht sharia thnks it improper for a women to approach her husband when she feels for IT.. go ahead give us refernce .. Enlighten us Maulana sahbRecommend

  • Nadia

    It happens in our society. Author has raised a hidden point.Recommend

  • Ahmed Amin Malik

    Thumbs up Shahid for writing this piece: we must bring up such social issues so that the taboo is broken and we can correct society’s misguided approach towards Islam. All this mostly happens because our elders, in some cases, are too shy to discuss these things and therefore, we turn to our conservative mail-dominated society which has come to pride itself over most pathetic ideas.

    Islamic or the Sharia doesn’t label any such thing as immoral and in fact, if one read extensively, anyone can find that non-fulfillment of a wife’s physical needs are described as valid grounds for her seeking divorce: this goes a long way to tell all those decreeing this as immoral that actually, Islam promotes husband and wife to be adequately intimate behind the curtains so that none of them has to look elsewhere for fulfillment of such desires. And then again, Islam calls husband and wife garments of each other and that should tell people a lot about Islam’s take on intimacy.

    Lastly, I would quote from the article: “Newly wed brides are instructed by elder females in the family to show deliberate ‘self-control’ during intimacy”. I fail to understand these elderly females: this lack of complete involvement by the newly wed bride might actually lead to more complications than vice versa.Recommend

  • Ahmed Amin Malik

    Top Quality Ignorance on Islamic LawRecommend

  • Ahmed

    Well, my wife does initiate intimacy and there is nothing more that I like.Recommend

  • ask

    Religion has little to do with it. Underlying cause is fear. Female arousal, natural & uninhibited, can intimidate an insecure husband. Fear is of failure to perform to the damands. Some times anxiety on that score can even cause temporary impotency. And then imaginations & suspicions begin. If there is no show of female hunger, there is no need to satisfy her & men can carry on selfishly, speedily. In many societies (except the Tribal) in the Subcontinent the men are scared witless of a woman’s sexuality. Women know this and choose discretion over ardour. Tragic!Recommend

  • AntiStupidity

    Pakistani culture in such issues is nothing more than BS. Islam is much more liberating and open minded than stupid cultures which hold no ground in religious interpretations. I learned the topic from true scholars and i must say before that i was blinded by my own stupidity. That’s what happens when generations of generations go uneducated. Having a liberal degree doesn’t necessarily make one educated.Recommend

  • shahid

    I am encouraged. thank you.Recommend

  • Nida

    I dis agree with what you hv written here… you are spreading wrong views abt islam… please dnt misguide others in name of islam Recommend

  • salma

    hahaha….so ture and make it public is more immoralRecommend

  • umair khan

    Absolutely RightRecommend

  • umair khan

    Husband seems sick, nothing else.Recommend

  • ceerah

    Oh God. This was an eye opener. This issue definitely is because of our patriarchal culture and lack of understanding of true teachings of Islam.Recommend

  • ceerah

    No. You are wrong. People like you are the reason Islam is misunderstood.Recommend

  • Mirza Aasauf Baig

    In Islam, It is duty of Husband to make his wife happy, give respect to her and always treat her with Kindness. According to Hadith ” The best of you is he who is best to his wife”Recommend

  • Mirza Aasauf Baig

    Attention Please!!! In Islam, It is duty of Husband to make his wife happy, give respect to her and always treat her with Kindness. According to Hadith ” The best of you is he who is best to his wife” Thanks…Recommend

  • Mr Junaid

    I think normal man will like this attitude of his wife. its perfectly normal. and it is turn on for man. No need to shy girls new generation is quite liberal in these things.

    from a young man about to marry soon.Recommend

  • Razzy

    A woman can even divorce her husband if he is sexually impotent. What does that tell you?? Islam is very practical about these things. In fact, unlike victorian thought which proscribed that sexual relations in marriage was only for producing children, it is clearly mentioned in the hadith that fulfilling one’s natural desires (as long as it is not objectionable) is one of the purposes of marriage (so that a person may not look towards adultery and the likes)Recommend

  • Gurion

    So, oral is allowed in Islam?Recommend

  • khawaja

    These are the double standards of our society, we never even allow our female students to sit with their fellow students in the university even they are sitting in the same classroom.Recommend

  • محب اللہ کراچوی

    I’m sorry that your marriage or that of your parents or relatives is four and contract-like but please don’t generalize about the rest of the society.Recommend

  • محب اللہ کراچوی

    Who is the author of this book you found? What makes you think that the writings of some crank or the reactions of this one guy you heard about tell you something about the society in general?Recommend

  • ASD

    I dont what sort of man he was…Honestly speaking, a sensible man would love it. Never happened to me. I might say it is longed thing that never happened. Reading the comments, I would say Islam does not preach to suppress a persons intimate desires whether its men or women. People who advocates misinformation are either too serious in their lives or they just dont like it, and base their preference on Islam.

    Hazrat Muhammad SAWW used to race with Hazrat Aisha (R.A). Was it immoral? He did it just to show the people that its okay to enjoy your life. Similarly, Allah’s Apostle used to drink from the same place where Hazrat Aisha (R.A) had drunk, showing the love for his wife. Islam is great! Ignorance of Islam leads people to hush their feelings.Recommend

  • MIF

    nothing wrong with her being getting intimate with her husband or even vocal about her sexual desires (absolutely nothing to do with ISLAM) but her being sharing this very intimate thing with a man is absolutely inappropriate……Recommend

  • Dawd

    Exactly: 1) Had it been a female writer it would have been inappropriate nonetheless, intimicacy is a secret between a husband and wife
    2) I was shocked to find out the writer is male which adds to it.Recommend

  • Dawd

    Also from what angle is the author coming from, is it from a social, psychological, physical or religious perspective. Obviously from a religious perspective you shouldnt talk about it without knowledge. If it came from another angle, that is advice, feel free to take it or leave it.Recommend

  • Farhan Shahid

    This is why the female organ must be removed. Hadith is full of benefits for female and happiness of family.Recommend

  • ZM

    This also proves life is not like Fifty Shades of Grey. lolRecommend

  • Sane

    What a trash and what a trash discussion?!!Recommend

  • talhat

    Worst article read in my life.shahid pl do a favor, stop writing, do anything but don’t write pleaseRecommend

  • Hammurabi

    Not the husband only——most of the male population of traditional societies.Recommend

  • shahid

    Blog talked about a section of society, not whole of it.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    This is why female genital mutilation is done in some cultures, so that the female does not enjoy sex and hence is not sexually promiscuous. Sex for a female is to be like a duty towards her husband like cooking washing, rearing Children.Recommend

  • Tahir mahmood

    AM I IMMORAL???
    NO> no NO> the august lady has been quite right..it showes great high standered of morality,integrity .in early days of ISLAM hazrat umer asked hazrat HUSFA ,his daughter,that how much period a woman can remain seperate from his husband.. she replied maximum @ two month.hazrat umar made it must that every fouji/sapahi must be sent on leave to attend his wife physical need.in this case husband is munafic.failed to deliver her lady rights.as, areligious man .one has to to condenm ,his reaction.Recommend

  • E x p a t r i a t e

    A general illiteracy may be a factor here in this case, and generally the lower middle class families, living in joint family system has these kinds of problems.Recommend

  • user

    Fake storyRecommend