The Islamic headscarf and Hijabs – Do They Play a Part in Sexuality?

Arab Hijab Sex In The Workplace – What’s a Porn Star To Do? It’s no surprise to see Arab hijabs popping up in adult films. And it’s no shock to see the Muslim faith is featured in such explicit material. From an article in Playboy (issue June 2021) by Debra Bennett:

“But even for those who support the modesty of Islamic law, using the Islamic headscarf in movies and pornography can be offensive. Some Westerners view the hijab as a symbol of the continent’s religious heritage. Others see them as a sign of decency among certain classes of Muslims – and of Arabs, themselves. And still others insist on seeing the hijabs as a way of modesty.”

Why is this necessary? Because in the case of Arab culture, Islamic law does not require a woman to uncover her head to bare her hair for anyone but her husband (and in the case of unmarried, Muslim women, it’s required for Muslim men to see their women covered). So why are they being depicted so prominently in Muslim pornography? Because it’s OK to portray this, according to them. They view it as merely an accessory worn by Muslim women for decoration. What’s not OK is to portray it as the primary garment from head to toe – in effect, the literal equivalent of a niqab.

In Arab-occupied areas of Africa and the Middle East, hijabs aren’t just seen as clothing. They’re also considered a status symbol. As one officer in the Kenyan army pointed out to a reporter, the fact that the women wear a head scarf means they belong to a lower class. It’s a “sign of prosperity and social position.” (Kenyan women, incidentally, have chosen to remove the jilbab – and now the burka – to create a more modern look.) Thus, the sexual implications of Muslim hijabs are, according to Saleh Bani, author of Muslim Women, “both empowering and corrupting… When used as a veil for the purposes of sexual inhibition, these head coverings embody a complex mixture of tradition, religion and western sexual fantasies.”

That’s right. According to certain Islamic schools of thought, it’s not just a scarf: it’s a form of sexual intimacy and degradation. According to another school of thought, the wearing of a scarf means you are a sexual being who belongs only to men. And if your man happens to be a pig (who, by the way, shouldn’t even be in your bed), you shouldn’t expect him to do the same. Better yet, he shouldn’t be able to have sex with you.

Of course, these are just opinions. Some argue that Muslim women should have the option of choosing what kind of clothing they cover their bodies in. To do so, they say, Muslim women should be allowed to “modify” the meaning of the religion to make it more suitable to their own needs. And, to an extent, this is true: Muslim coverings provide women some options that might otherwise be unavailable.

But then, there is the other side of the coin, the flipside to the argument presented above. There is a certain social, cultural, and political context to the wearing of Muslim hijabs that makes the sexual implications problematic at best. For example, the hijabs used by Muslim women in countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are often tight-fitting and revealing. Many Egyptian women have reported being asked if they are married or single during mandatory marriage rituals. In conservative Arab societies, it is common for a woman to be married before her wedding night, and sometimes to get married without her partner knowing about it.

In other regions of the Muslim world, including Afghanistan and Algeria, where the women’s dress codes are more moderate, it is customary for a young woman to be married off before she is given a proper education. And even within the Islamic world, culturally conservative regions, it is not uncommon for a young woman to get married and then forced to wear an Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab, until her marriage is complete. So, when it comes to Muslim hijabs and Islamic clothing for women, you might be better off staying away from these particular types of covers. And when it comes to covering your head during sex, as a general rule, it seems to be a personal choice. It is no worse, actually, to wear a scarf to bed than it is to do so during a religious ceremony.