Religion

This Muslim Sex Educator Believes God Wants Us to Orgasm

The Prophet Muhammad is thought to have been a big advocate of foreplay.
05 February 2020, 6:00am
Angelica_Lindsey-Ali_Village_Auntie_VICE
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

When Muslim women want guidance on sex and intimacy, there’s a source that may not seem obvious but nonetheless has answers: The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).

“The Prophet Muhammad is a romantic and sexual ideal for Muslims. If we as Muslims look at him as the ideal example of humanity why wouldn't sex be a part of it?” said Angelica Lindsey-Ali.

Since 2011, Lindsey-Ali has gone by the name Village Auntie in her work as a sexual and spiritual health educator. The name refers to the role of a woman in some traditional African communities who young women and girls come to with questions about their periods, sex, and reproduction. “You go to her after you have your first baby, you go to her after the wedding night, husbands go to her to ask how they can better please their wives,” Lindsey-Ali explained. “I wanted to really reclaim that role in a modern society, so I dubbed myself The Village Auntie.”

Lindsey-Ali leads workshops, seminars, and one-on-one coaching sessions with Muslim women and couples around the country about Islam and sexuality. Her approach centers both Islam and traditional West and East African practices of both sex and intimacy in order to fight what she calls the “desexualization of spirituality.” Through tutorials and conversation, she aims to remind Muslim women and non-binary femmes that they have a right to pleasure—and that seeking it out is not haram (forbidden).

Within the context of marriage, Islam puts an emphasis on the pleasure of both partners during sex. It is believed that the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was a big advocate of foreplay. “Do not engage in sexual intercourse with your wife like hens; rather, firstly engage in foreplay with your wife and flirt with her and then make love to her,” he once said, according to one Hadith.

When it comes to learning about Islam and sex, Muslims have long relied on the Qur’an, Hadith, and the opinions of scholars as resources. Lindsey-Ali’s work comes at a time of increasing resources, discussions, and celebrations of Muslim women’s sexuality in media, including books like The Muslimah Sex Manual: A Halal Guide to Mind Blowing Sex and Yumna Al-Arashi’s photography celebrating Muslim queerness and pleasure.

While there are other Muslim sex educators, Lindsey-Ali’s work is unique in its focus on both technique and intimacy. Informed by African traditions, her goal is to eliminate the pleasure gap and curb misinformation about sex within Muslim communities. Her workshops include tutorials that feature biological diagrams, dildos, and physically modeling sex positions—though everyone keeps their clothes on. She also teaches Kunyaza, a method of stimulating the vulva practiced in East African countries like Rwanda and Uganda that can lead to squirting.

Arizona-based entrepreneur Tara Ijai attended her first Village Auntie workshop last year. “I had never given my own self permission to check out some of the things she was talking about,” she said. “We need these kinds of social circles where you're not just sitting and talking without knowledge. It's about connecting sisterhood and education.”

The Village Auntie operates within a halal framework, meaning that while Lindsey-Ali puts an emphasis on women’s pleasure, her advice isn’t necessarily meant for those having sex outside of marriage. Regardless, she tries not to concern herself with how people use the information she gives them. “When I do workshops, I don't ask a lot of questions,” she said. “I don't pry into the lives of women because I'm here to equip them with information.”

That framework also means encouraging her followers and attendees to explore practices like non-sexual touch and fasting or praying together as acts of intimacy that can benefit their sexual connection.

“We [Muslims] desexualized spirituality, but in Islam, sex is a sacred act,” she said. “We focus on hijab, we focus on fasting, what we don't focus on is the fact that sexual intimacy is really an impetus for a lot of people to get and stay married and there's nothing wrong with that.”

With themes like “sacred sensuality” and “the intricacy of intimacy,” the workshops move between explicit sexual instructions, explaining Islamic sexual rights, and teaching women how to discuss their pleasure with their partners.

That’s partially why Lindsey-Ali does not allow men to attend her workshops or demonstrations. “I don't teach men because the way that I teach is very traditional,” she said. “It’s really mimicking the way that traditional women's education was performed in Africa. Young men were not allowed in those spaces.” It also allows space for women and nonbinary people in the audience to be more vulnerable and explore taboos, something attendees like Seynabou, an Atlanta-based master’s student, are thankful for.

So far, Seynabou has attended two Village Auntie seminars. “I really appreciated being able to have conversations with women who I typically wouldn't be able to talk to about sex, ejaculation, the G spot, and things like that,” she said. “Shame and stigma are left at the door because they're always all-women spaces.”

Though Lindsey-Ali is based in Arizona now, the first Village Auntie seminar happened by accident at an all-women gathering of American friends and expats in Saudi Arabia, where Lindsey-Ali initially moved for her husband’s job as an English teacher. It was there that one woman brought up her difficulty reaching orgasm, and Lindsey-Ali, who was already a certified sexual health educator, stepped in to offer some advice. The next thing she knew, all of the women in the room were listening intently.

“That was the first official Village Auntie session,” she said. “I realized that even though every woman in the room, except for one, all of them were married and had children, there was a lot that they didn't know about their own bodies. And there was a lot that they didn't know as Muslim women about the sexual rights of women in Islam. So that’s what made me know that this was something that needed to happen.”

Through sharing her experiences as a Black Muslim woman educating the public about sex, Lindsey-Ali has amassed a growing social media following on both Instagram and Twitter. With her success have also come detractors, sometimes other Muslims who view her work as “obscene.”

But Lindsey-Ali is trained in Islamic law and is fully convinced that her work is within its bounds. And though she tries not to position herself as a religious authority in her sex education work, she does hold onto that knowledge for her critics.

“I primarily use it as an armor,” she said “When people try to attack me I can come with evidence.”