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Sex in Paradise
Unlike the view of heaven expressed by some Christians, the Islamic paradise offers lots of sex, at least for men. That's all the seventy-two virgins are there for. They have no reason for being available other than sex-on-demand. After all, there are also 100,000 servants (or slaves) to care of every other possible need.
I've always found this idea of the seventy-two virgins somehow ludicrous. I snickered when I first heard of this vision of paradise, and I suspect most other non-Muslims do too. But, on reflection, this paradise is not funny at all. However, it does say a lot about the Islamic view of sexual relations between men and women.
Let's start with the number, seventy-two. I'm sure there are several mystical reasons for the particular number. But aside from that, seventy-two is a large number. What it says is that you have enough different women available that you never have to get to know any of them. If you don't know them, it's just casual meaningless anonymous sex. No relationships will develop. It's using the virgins as receptacles for seed.
Now there's the virgin element. They aren't just virgins until the first sex act. No! After sex, they get restored to virginity. Restored to their original innocence. And innocence is the key word. In traditional Islamic culture, marriage (and resultant taking of virginity) was as soon as possible after the first period. The model for this is Ayesha who was deflowered at the age of nine by Mohammed right after her first period. So, when seventy-two virgins are offered in paradise, what is really on offer is not adult women, but seventy-two barely postpubescent girls, probably in the range of 12-14 years. Continually kept at that age; continually having their virginity and innocence restored; and regularly deflowered. And they have no choice.
The sex in Islamic paradise is always with inexperienced young women. There is no growth; no learning each other's preferences, likes, and dislikes; no need for foreplay; no need for post-coital cuddling and confidences. It is just popping the hymen, ejaculate, and send the girl off for cleaning and repairs. It might as well be seventy-two blow-up dolls with a scrap of cellophane over the vaginal opening.
Even though unlimited sex is a apparently reward in paradise, sex is still seen as dirty; and females are dirtied through the act of sex. That's why sex with a virgin is prized; she is clean. And that's why the virginity has to be restored, to restore the cleanliness, only to be dirtied all over again.
This Islamic paradise presents a pathetic immature view of sex, and ultimately it holds no attractions.
One can only hope that truly modern Muslims are able to find a metaphorical interpretation of seventy-two virgins which puts their paradise in a better light and shows respect for women.
- It used to be that women, having no souls, did not get to paradise. Some modern Islamic "thinkers," to encourage women, suggest they can get to paradise where they will have the privilege of being head virgin for their husbands and setting up the schedule of sexual duties. (Isn't Islamic equality wonderful?)
- I find that 100,000 horrifying. Potentially, one will spend eternity in paradise just doing administration.