Watching pornographic movies is prohibited in Islam whether one watches them alone or with one’s wife to stimulate desire. As for oral sex between the husband and wife, most Muslim scholars see that it is a detestable act that doesn’t reach the category of that which is prohibited. However, some of them state that if it is scientifically proven that practicing oral sex causes mouth cancer then it becomes totally prohibited.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: Watching pornographic movies, whether done individually or with one’s marriage partner, is definitely detestable to Islamic sense of ethics and morality, and, therefore, considered haram (forbidden) in Islam. Oral sex between marriage partners, however, cannot be considered haram so long as it is done consensually—and provided the actual intercourse is performed in the vagina.
Pornography is degrading and dehumanizing to both men and women as well as to human sexuality; it is the root of corruptions. Since we are not allowed to expose ourselves or look at the private parts of others, whether alive or in pictures, how can we be permitted to look at the sexual acts between two people? Such practices are, indeed, not only forbidden but also reckoned as one of the most heinous sins in Islam. Therefore, we must shun them if we wish to keep the purity of our souls. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have stated, “One of the signs of the imminence of the hour will be the universal prevalence of permissiveness and promiscuity, because of which people will engage in sexual intercourse in public to the extent that even the best ones living in those times will only go as far as wishing that they had done so under some cover!”
The reason why such exposure is forbidden in Islam is because of the fact that haya’ (shyness and modesty) is a most fundamental character trait in Islam, which all Muslims must nurture and safeguard at all costs. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “One of the most abiding legacies of the ancient prophets is ‘If you have no shame, do whatever you will.’” He also said, “Being shy is a branch of faith.” Therefore, a believer is instinctively shy of exposing himself or herself in front of anyone other than the lawful partner. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Guard your private parts and keep them covered except from your own spouse.”
While haya’ should prevent us from ex
posing ourselves in front of strangers, there is no such haya’ in front of one’s marriage partner as there is no need for any inhibitions in seeking legitimate sexual fulfillment through one’s marriage partner.
Islam celebrates sexuality within the bounds of marriage. Thanks to Islam’s positive view of sexuality, it considers conjugal union between the spouses as an act of worship. Thus the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “You have rewards of charity in your intimate union with your spouse!” When the Companions enquired, “How can we be getting rewards for fulfilling our carnal desires?” he replied, “What if he were to fulfill it through illicit union; will they not be punished? They said, “Of course.” Then he said, “Likewise, when they do it within the bounds of marriage, they will be rewarded.”
Marriage partners are, therefore, encouraged to be creative in their sexual expressions as long as they operate within the permissible bounds. When we truly understand the Islamic perspective on this issue, we will come to recognize that we have sufficiency in what Allah has permitted for us so that we stand in no need of resorting to what He has declared as haram for us, and that Allah has permitted us everything that is good for us, while He has forbidden only that which is filthy, impure, and harmful for us.
Thanks to Islam’s positive view of sexuality, marriage partners are encouraged to appear attractive by taking due care of their bodies and doing everything possible to make sexual activity as pleasurable, recreational, and mutually satisfying an experience as possible. It is equally important for the couple to know that the sexual relationship must never detach one from compassionate treatment and true partnership with the spouse; thus men are ordered to be extremely sensitive in caring for the sensibilities of their partners. Accordingly, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) forbade men from jumping into bed without proper foreplay. Thus the very notion of coercing one’s partner into sexual activity without his or her willing participation is repugnant to Islamic conscience.
Here is a brief list of sexual taboos which all married couples must observe in Islam:
1. As Islam views conjugal union and husband-and-wife relations as extremely dignified and confidential, one is not allowed to engage in such acts in public or while others are watching. It is also forbidden to divulge one’s sexual exploits with one’s partner to anyone else. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) refers to such behavior as Satanic and hence not befitting of humans.
2. Anal intercourse is totally forbidden. However, partners are allowed to derive sexual pleasure from intimate rubbing of any other part of the body or through oral stimulation so long as such acts are done consensually.
3. Sadistic practices such as deriving carnal pleasure by inflicting pain or chaining one’s partner, etc. are all forbidden as they are considered as degrading and inhumane.
4. Sexual intercourse in the vagina is forbidden during a woman’s menstrual period as well as during the postpartum period. One must wait until the bleeding stops and she has performed ghusl (ritual bathing).
5. Sexual intercourse or intimate touching or caressing, etc. are forbidden while fasting or in state of ihram.
6. So called group sex (regardless of whether it is done between consenting married partners or others) is an abomination and a grave sin. It is sinful even to entertain such thoughts.
7. There is no taboo on partners masturbating each other or having sexual intimacy or fulfillment during menses as well as during postpartum period of bleeding—provided that sexual intercourse in the vagina is avoided.
8. It is haram to engage in intimate sexual union with one’s partner while imagining or visualizing other men or women.
Finally, let us pray to Allah to keep our hearts steadfast on what He has permitted for us. May He make us all cherish and love faith and embellish our hearts with it, and may He make us hate disbelief, transgression, and disobedience. And may the Beneficent Lord also save us all from all of the evil inclinations inherent in our souls. Ameen.